Monday 30 September 2013

My Funny Little Boy

At 25 months, Dylan is at the age where he can make me laugh every single day.  His language and understanding are constantly improving, but there are still so many toddler-isms and words he can't quite pronounce (anyone for some it-lot? (omlette)).  Inspired by Actually Mummy's Wot so Funee? linky, I wanted to record some of the funny things that have been making me giggle recently.

'Mummy, I'm a pirate, I want Jellyfish and Ice cream'

'I think I might like a tiny little bit more biscuit/cake/snack bar/raisins"/anything that he is currently eating.  One of the most overused phrases at the moment is 'a tiny little bit more', and he always says it with such an earnest face!

Grandma - "You're so clever Dylan"
Dylan - "No grandma, I'm a pickle"

The bloke is trying to teach Dylan about baby animals, but catch him in the wrong (read hyper) mood, and he becomes very insistent,
Daddy - "And what is a baby elephant called Dylan?
Dylan - "erm, a chicken egg"
Daddy - " I think it is a calf"
Dylan - "Erm, no Daddy, I think it is a chicken egg" *nodding very enthusiastically as he says it*

Mummy - "Where shall we go to get some dinner?"
Dylan (giving it some serious thought) - "Australia!" (I think he would be rather hungry by the time we got there!)

Dylan - "what's this, mummy?"
Mummy - "It's a can of soup Dylan"
Dylan - "No Mummy, it's Mr Tumble's spotty bag!"
Mummy - "Is it Mr Tumble's spotty bag?"
Dylan - "NO mummy, it's a can of soup.  You're so silly Mummy!"
repeat this scenario several times a day, with all sorts of random items.

I realise these may be much funnier to me than anyone else, but I want to record some of the nonsense that he comes out with as I am know the silly mis-pronunciations and toddler-isms will be gone all too soon. 

Wot So Funee?
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Sponsored Video - The Right to Sanitation

My little sister has just returned from a life changing trip to Tanzania where she saw first hand the appalling sanitation issues that too many people have to live with.  Having access to clean water and a flushing toilet is something that we take for granted in the UK, but in many countries it is a luxury, and the lack of facilities means more germs and more diseases.

Domestos and the Unilever Foundation have joined forces with Unicef to help support the CATS project (Community Approaches to Total Sanitation).  The CATS program is raising awareness of the 2.5 million people without access to safe toilets and is helping to change behaviours to promote good hygeine. 
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Saturday 28 September 2013

Boots Mini Club Clothing Review

When I found out I was having a baby boy, I was over the moon.  I was also rather glad to be bypassing the pretty pink dresses and shopping for gorgeous dungarees and funky rock Tees.  I thought having a boy would save my pennies, but that couldn't be further from the truth, as there are so many gorgeous  clothes for little boys now.  One of my favourite places to shop for them is Boots and I was lucky enough to be send an outfit for each of the boys from their new season Mini Club to review.

The outfit that they sent for Dylan is not one I would usually have chosen.  I have never bought him cords before and tend to stick to a certain colour pallet, but as soon as I dressed him in this I was in love and it is on again as soon as it is comes out of the washing machine.  The cords look fun and are a great fit and the long sleeved T-shirt is super soft and keeps its shape well in the wash.  The shirt is my favourite part of the outfit and is something I would definitely have picked myself.  It looks great with everything and is perfect for this weather.  I have found that Dylan has quite a long body and I would have loved the shirt to be a couple of inches longer, but compared to other stores we have shopped in, this was the longest.

boots mini club, boots kids clothes, toddler fashion
Dylan wears:
Shirt - Boots £12
Long sleeved top - Boots £5
Cords - Boots £11
Trainers - Clarks
Archie's outfit comprises of a vest with long sleeved top attached and jeans.  I am a huge fan of the integrated bodysuit as there is less fiddly clothes to try and put on a wriggly baby, but it still keeps them just as warm as two layers.  The top layer doesn't ride up as much and when it does Archie's little belly is covered.  The jeans look so cute and have a soft elasticated jogger style waistband for comfort and fit.  They are lovely and soft which is very important to me as Archie is in a sling often and needs clothes that give him flexibility. 

Hanging out with Aunty NatNat, Archie wears
Integrated polo bodysuit- Boots £8
Jeans - Boots £10
Socks - Boots from 3 pack  £4
Overall we are really impressed with the quality and fit of both these outfits.  The T-shirts are lovely and thick cotton, perfect for Autumn/winter and the trousers are clearly designed for babies and toddlers on the go.  Everything down to the socks (which were pretty cosy looking too) was a great fit on them both.  Dylan is 25 months/ 35lb and wearing age 2-3 and Archie is 7 months/19lb and wearing 6-9 months.  The trousers are generous in length (they are longer than they look in Archie's picture) and we haven't found any shrinkage after several washes with any of the items.

I have already bought from Boots Mini Club and I am eyeing up another hooded shirt for Dylan and some dungarees for Archie.

Disclaimer:  I was sent these outfits free of charge but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Troublesome Teething

At 7 months old, my littlest man still has that adorably gummy little smile.  His first tooth is yet to poke through and I am quite happy with things that way for now.  Despite the lack of a little toothy-peg, teething is well and truly under-way and we have the dribble, rosy cheeks and constant urge to chew everything.

It is hard to put the sleepless nights and grumps down to teething when he is still too young to communicate but I don't doubt that it is playing a rather large part.  I thought I would share what is helping us through the tough teething times though.

neckerchew, teething bib, bandana bib with teether

Dribble Bibs

With winter on its way, I need to make sure Archie does not have a soaking wet patch on his clothes and we are using bibs to soak up the inevitable dribble.  I am a huge fan of the bandana style and there are so many out there, that you can get ones to match every outfit.  I find the bibs that are backed with fleece are best for keeping Archie dry and we now have quite a selection.  We were sent a Neckerchew for Archie which is a bandana bib with a teether built in the end of it and now that his motor skills have developed, he is loving it.  The fact that the teether is built in means no dropping it out the buggy in a dirty carpark, or losing it in the car, and it is fully machine washable.  It did take Archie until 6/7 months to have the co-ordination to use it properly but we find it great for travelling with.  The bib is not quite as absorbent as some of the others we have used but it is well worth investing in one for convenience, and you can always stick another bib underneath if your child is super dribbly.  They are all reversible and so go with loads of outfits.

teething list, chewing bib, cheeky chompers, neckerchew


Bonjela is great, but babies teeth come through in different orders and I used to find myself applying it to Dylan's entire mouth.  With Teetha powder, I just tip it in Archie's mouth and it instantly calms him.  He seems to like the taste of it and it is really easy to carry in the nappy bag, my handbag and even my purse (I like to be prepared!).  We keep the Calpol for the really bad days, but Teetha is our go-to solution for everyday teething woes.

Sophie Le Giraffe

This toy has been around for years, but I was dubious when Dylan was small and I didn't believe the hype.  I decided to splash out the £10.99 this time though and see whether Archie would get on with it, and it is now a handbag essential.  Despite both my boys preferring to chew a finger over a refrigerated ring, Sophie is a hit and Archie finds her easy to hold and chew.  No matter how they hold it, something will fit in their mouths and as soon as I started squeaking it, his little arms start going in excitement.  I am well and truly a convert to Sophie and it was definitely an investment I would make again.

sophie le giraffe, teething troubles


When Dylan was a couple of months old, I bought him an amber teething necklace.  At 25 months, it still sits round his neck and has become a part of him.  I honestly can't say whether it works or not, but we have never had a sleepless night from Dylan's teeth and despite copious amounts of dribble, the whole process of teething was rather easy.  We have been sent a Baltic amber anklet for Archie from Amber Anklets and I don't think we will be taking it off in a hurry.  It has fallen off a couple of times, I am not sure whether his ankles are a little skinny or whether his desire to chew his own toes means he pulls it, but we are being more careful now and it seems to be staying put.  Each bead is individually tied on, which means that even if it does break, there are no little pieces rolling around to be eaten.  Dylan has been wearing his necklace for nearly 2 years though and it is still completely intact.

Breast Milk

If all else fails, breast feeding provides such a comfort to my little man that it is more than just sustenance, and the milk contains properties that help relieve the discomfort.  Archie is still fed on demand and I know that on a difficult day he may feed a little more but it is worth it to give him some relief from the teething horrors.

So that is my teething survival kit, is there anything you would add?

Disclaimer:  I was sent an amber teething anklet and a neckerchew free of charge but all other items mentioned have been purchased by myself.  All views and opinions are completely my own.
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Thursday 26 September 2013

This Too Shall Pass

I can no longer remember Dylan's baby cry.  I know he sounded like a newborn once upon a time though, all those months ago.  I know that his cry has not always been the toddler wail that it is now, but I can't remember the old sound at all.

I can still picture his first wonky smile though, with his tongue looking almost twisted in his mouth and his eyes lit up with excitement.  I can still remember that first beautiful giggle as I kissed his neck, and how long we spent trying to get him to make that perfect sound again.

I know that Dylan fed through the night for many months, sometimes once, sometimes every hour and I know that there were days when I was so tired, so fed up and probably wishing the time away until he was bigger and sleeping better.  When I look back on those first few months though, what I remember is picking him up, latching him on and watching his perfect features settle into a calm and dreamy state as he curled into my body and felt safe.  I remember wanting to freeze that moment and feeling at peace myself.  I remember those special moments between us, proudly showing off my baby to the world in constant wonder at this little person that I had created.  I remember being amazed by him every single day.

As Archie is hitting a rather difficult patch, waking more and more frequently in the night, I am trying to remind myself that it is only a phase.  We will get through it and as big as it may seem now, in the grand scale of things it is tiny.  This stage will pass and become just a memory, barely even that.  When I look back at my seven month old baby, I will smile at the way he giggled at his brother, the excitement in his eyes as he bounces in his jumperoo and the way he cuddled into me like I was the only thing in the world that mattered.  
I will know that he didn't sleep well, but that hungry, sleepy cry will be a sound I can't quite remember, replaced by a full belly laugh and the raspberrys he blows at every opportunity.

The memories of mornings spent with a hot coffee in my hands waiting for the caffeine to hit will be but tales to tell my teenagers that are still in bed at midday with no signs of surfacing and I will look at them wondering where those two little boys were, who woke up with the biggest smiles on their faces even at 6am.  The nights will never be as long again, the mornings never quite as early as they are now, these days will pass.

There are so many precious moments that I want to remember from these early months, that there will be no space for the sleepless nights and the baby cries.  Every stage is just that, something that will pass, whether it be good or bad and when I am up for the umpteenth night feed, I am trying to remember just that.  This too shall pass, and it will be but a distant memory - make sure you have enough of the great memories to shadow it out.

p.s Archie's gorgeous outfit was sent to us from the lovely people a Name It - review to come soon

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Wednesday 25 September 2013

7 Months In

Archie is now 7 months old and despite him having come so far from that precious newborn he was only a few short months ago, he still seems so little.  This month has seen the 9-12 month clothes start to come out of hiding and many are a comfortable fit on him.  As Dylan was so much bigger, his 9-12 clothing is the right season (even though hDylan was only born in the August), which is making things much easier and cheaper.

7 month old, 7 months baby boy, baby boy in dungarees, the mummy adventure

Archie is now having three meals a day and we are almost exclusively baby led weaning.  I do still have puree in the house for those days when I am too lazy to cook anything nutritional for him but he is generally eating the same as we are and is much happier for it.  This month he has been loving the introduction of meat and fish, and his favourite foods seem to be pasta in tomato sauce and sweet potato.  

Archie is also having water from a beaker quite happily now, although he has decided that he is not so keen on the milk.  I attended the MAD blog awards last week and Archie refused to drink milk from a bottle during my absense, making leaving him very hard work at the moment.  We are going to attempt it soon from a beaker or cup and see if he will be happier with that.

Sleep has been all over the place and after getting into a brilliant routine with just a 4am wake up, we regressed to feeds every 3/4 hours through the night.  I am hoping it was just a growth spurt as the last couple of nights have been much better, but he has been waking up ready for the day at 5:30 some days and I am not budging from my viewpoint that this is, in fact, the middle of the night still.  At this age, Dylan was happily sleeping 14 hours through the night without a feed so I am finding it difficult still being up so much with Archie.

Dylan and Archie are still getting on so well, and Dylan is desperate for Archie to play with him.  He will often turn down all of his toys, insisting that he only wants to play with Bubba, and he will spend the afternoon giving Archie toys and over enthusiastic cuddles.  Archie is desperate to be on the move and follow Dylan as well and I can't wait to see where they are at in a couple of months.

Archie is still rolling all over the place and would be out the door and across the road given half a chance.  He is really trying to move but so far no crawling (thank goodness).  He certainly won't be still sat immobile on his first birthday like his big brother though!  Archie's favourite pastime at the moment is definitely bouncing and you will mostly find him in the Jumperoo.  He won't stay still (which is making getting a good photo of him on my camera phone very difficult!)

7 months in to life as a family of four, and new adventures are about to begin once the littlest gets more mobile
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Tuesday 24 September 2013


Autumn appears to have landed and as much as I will miss the carefree days of summer, Autumn is my favourite season.

I love the colours- the warm reds and browns as the leaves fall from the trees and the excuse to change up my wardrobe.  I know many of you will still be mourning the sun so I thought I would share some of my favourite things about this new season:

Cable knit, whether it be tights, a blanket or a warm jumper, I love the cable knit look. I will be wearing it, my house will be wearing it, even the littlest one will be snuggling under a cable knit blanket.

Crunchy leaves - The seasons are a sensory adventure for little feet, from soft sand in summer, puddle splashing in the winter and of course stomping through crunchy leaves in Autumn. I am looking forward to days at the park with the boys and that reassuring autumnal sound.

My scarf collection is pretty impressive and I love having an excuse to wear them.  There is something so comforting about a cosy neck and they can brighten even the most boring of outfits.

The footmuffs going back on the pushchair is a personal highlight as I think that babies look so comfy cocooned in them.  I am on the look out for some for the boys and have been eyeing up the icandy range at John Lewis (Our icandy cherry footmuff is so soft and warm).

Hot chocolate has to make the Autumn highlights list, we ventured down to a lovely cafe this weekend for a mug of the good stuff complete with whipped cream and mini marshmallows.

Slippers are another of my weaknesses and I like to have a pair in every room so that I don't have to go hunting when the coldness strikes my feet.  I have spent the weekend spreading them out in preparation for the season.

And finally, building dens - technically this can be done in any season but Autumn seems the best for it, and there is nothing more fun than eating snacks in a den!

So there are my Autumn favourites, what would you add to the list?

Disclaimer:  This is a Sponsored Post
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Monday 23 September 2013

An African Adventure

My beautiful and brave little sister has just returned from a summer spent really making a difference.  For 10 weeks she has been improving the quality of so many people's lives in Tanzania, Africa and I am so proud of all she achieved.  She challenged herself mentally, physically and emotionally and has agreed to write a little something about her trip for me.  

When asked the question what is the most essential thing in your life people have responded with family, love, house or money, but the one thing we take most for granted is water. We use it without a doubt every day; drinking, cleaning, cooking and washing are just a few ways in which water is essential to our lives. This summer I got the opportunity to spend 10 weeks with a community that before we arrived had no water.  

Going with
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Sunday 22 September 2013

Bouncy Bouncy Baby

I have a baby boy who loves to bounce.  Suddenly his little legs are struggling to stay still and he just wants to jump around with a great big grin on his face.  We have been busy testing out a Fisher Price Jumperoo and I am entirely convinced that it is his favourite toy.

The Jumperoo is an entertainment station for small children as well as a workout for their little legs and Archie can't get enough of it.  He loves spinning the wheel (and occassionally trying to nibble it) and Dylan loves to show him how to use the toys too.  What he really loves though is jumping. 

jumperoo, fisher price, review, baby bouncer

Ever since we introduced the jumperoo to the little man, he has not been able to stand for long without an urge to bend him leg and bounce on whatever we are holding him on.  Unfortunately his desire to move constantly coupled with my camera phone makes for a complete lack of usable photos of the jumperoo in action though.

The Jumperoo came in several pieces and was relatively easy to put together.  I did find clipping the seat unit on the frame a bit of a struggle but it didn't take too long.  Once made up it is a large toy although it can be folded for storage.  In reality, we use it every single day, usually multiple times so it just stays out.  When Archie is too big for it I know that we will be able to dismantle and pop it in the loft though.

The toy has three play stations within baby's reach and the piano (with the addition of batteries - not included) plays music and lights up.  Archie hasn't yet worked out how to spin himself between them yet but I don't think it will be long before he is spinning in circles.  There are also two toys that dangle and Archie loves reaching for these and desperately trying to eat them!

I am still wondering why we never got one of these with Dylan.  I was eyeing them up from when he was little but put off by the price and space.  After having this opportunity I know I would definitely invest in one for any future children as they are brilliant and provide such entertainment for a baby.  I think they are well worth the money (and you can always sell them on afterwards if you don't have space to keep it).


The Jumperoo is suitable from around 4 months, or when baby can hold their head up well all the way through to 26lb.  Archie fits in perfectly, can stand comfortably and bounce and has plenty of growing space as the unit has 3 seperate height adjustments as baby's legs get longer.  This toy has been tested (by us) and appears to be toddlerproof.  Dylan has not worked out how to climb in and has not managed to sabotage it in any way from the outside which is always a plus!

We are Jumperoo converts well and truly and despite this being a rather bulky toy, I know how much Archie adores it and hearing his little giggle as he pushes off is priceless.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product free of charge for the purpose of this review 
but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Tuesday 17 September 2013

Graco Sky Review

As part of Graco's Ambassador cometition we have been sent a Graco Sky travel system to review and I have been busy testing it with both the boys over the last few weeks.

Graco sky, graco travel system, graco sky review, alpine green pushchair, travel system review

The pushchair comes in a choice of three colours, black night, sea pine green and purple shadow and all three are unisex enough for both boys and girls.  I went for the green as it was a lovely and unique shade and I haven't come across a pushchair quite like it.   

The pushchair comes as a chassis, seat unit, footmuff, raincover and car seat and the seat can be either world or parent facing.  This is a huge priority for me as even at 2 my toddler prefers to be facing me as we walk so that we can have a chat as we go.  His new favourite pastime is singing me nursery rhymes and it works a lot better when I can hear what he is singing!  The seat unit is plenty big enough to accommodate him (and he is a very large toddler - 99.6th centile for weight and height at 25 months), yet it still looks comfortable and secure with my seven month old in the seat.  The seat is lovely and padded so perfect for smaller babies.

parent snack tray, toddler in graco sky

This model doesn't come with a carrycot and instead has a newborn 'nest'.  As the seat reclines, it creates a cocoon around the baby and the footrest comes up, revealing some material that attaches round with velcro making the nest secure, cosy and perfectly sheltered.  It has the benefits of a carrycot without the added piece to store although as Archie is a tummy sleeper, I would still have preferred a mattress for him as this will have the straps still. If I was using this for a newborn, I would pad the bottom out with blankets to create more of a bed.

Graco Sky in babynest mode, cocoon for baby, graco sky review

There is a handily placed parent unit by the handlebars with two drink holders and a seal-able middle tub which is perfect for munching on the go.  The basket is quite frankly the best pushchair basket I have ever seen and I have been tempted to try and climb in myself to really test it.  It has no problem holding my nappy bag, jackets for me and the boys,  a small lunch box and my handbag and this is certainly my buggy of choice for shopping!

Graco sky basket, huge pushchair basket, pushchair review

The carseat is easy to use and comes with a removable frame that helps it attach to the chassis.  It seems secure, comfortable and safe and has a removable headrest for new babies.  It has a 3 point harness which I find easier for using with a sleeping baby and still feels as safe as a 5 point parness.

Graco sky car seat, six month old in infant carseat, graco sky review

I would prefer it if the seat panel came off as it isn't fixed all the way round and it would be great if you could take it off to wash it.   The seat unit is fully recline-able though and can be done so with one hand.  I do find the material is quie hard wearing and I think it would be easy to clean with a sponge but being a paler shade and knowing what newborns are like with their nappies, I do prefer something I can pop in the washing machine.

The fold is incredibly simple and can be done one handed too which is great for using it on public transport.  It is surprisingly compact as well and can be folded with the seat still on when forward facing.  When folded it is free standing though which is perfect for storing when there is not much space.  

graco sky review

This pushchair is much more traditional looking than many of its competitors, but it still has all the features you would want from a travel system.  It is sturdy, well built, comfortable and easy to push with such a great basket.  I would recommend it as a great value travel system, as it comes with everything you need to get going.  Although I do prefer a traditional carrycot, this would be great for those with little space to store bulky parts or for those on a budget as the newborn can comfortably use the seat unit as a nest or go in the car seat on the chassis for short periods.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the Graco Sky for the purpose of this review 
but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Monday 16 September 2013

Dream Big, Little One

Every single day I am watching my little man grow, from a baby to a toddler and more recently into a little boy.  Dylan is now 25 months and he is desperate to learn, to understand and to communicate.  This weekend saw the next step in his journey as we said goodbye to his cot and hello to his bed.

transition from cot to bed, toddler bed, dream big little one

Well really all we did is remove a side from his cot, but it still feels like such a big move.  We are starting to give him the independence that he is craving and making the transition from nursery to bedroom.  

Tonight will be the third night of our little man sleeping in his big bed and so far it is going so well.  I have put the old cot mattress on the floor covered in a blanket for when he inevitably falls out but he managed a three hour nap time staying put as well as most of the night time! 

He hasn't been bothered at all about the transition and has just taken it all in his stride, as he does with most things! My baby boy is growing up so fast and watching him accept this change so easily reminds me what an amazing little dude he is.

Dream big my little one

bedtime story with daddy, bedtime story, toddler bed, cot to bed
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Saturday 14 September 2013

Britax Bob - A Man's Perspective

As well as testing the Britax Bob Sport Utility Stroller myself, I asked a male friend to help me out with this review.  Despite my best intentions of getting fit, I know I still have a fair way to go so our friend Nick has been helping out.  I think with a pushchair like this it is helpful to have more than one opinion too and as men are quite often taller and faster, their experience will be different.

Nick has been taking his 2.5 year old son out with the stroller and here is what he had to say:

My initial scepticism, upon taking this buggy out for the first time, was soon replaced with a level of respect for the design and quality of build. This has clearly been designed and built for running. It is light and rolls forward with minimal resistance. The lack of friction results in the runner requiring very little effort to keep the forward momentum going on the buggy. From the runners point of view the ride of the buggy is smooth and fills you with confidence. The buggy’s suspension and tyres handle minor bumps, potholes, low kerbs and grassland without a fuss.

The fixed wheel at the front works well despite my initial concerns. Cornering and sudden changes of direction are able to be accomplished intuitively and without too much disruption to the run. The handlebars sit at just the right height and allow for regular shifting of hand position. The hood is the best I have come across – it actually keeps the sun off the little cherubs face when the sun is directly in front. Everything about this buggy suggests utility and quality.

I have also taken this buggy shopping into a busy town centre. Whilst the lightness and ease of movement made for an easy trip from the house to town, once in the shops it was easy to forget the length of the buggy. This resulted in a few apologies to other shoppers after they received a bump from the front tyre. Having said that it was extremely manoeuvrable even on the shiny floors of a supermarket and made for an easy, uphill walk home when laden with shopping.

I would compare this buggy to a good quality hybrid bike. For example, running uphill with it is uncannily similar to riding up a hill - leaning on the handlebars as your legs feel the burn. Running along with this buggy genuinely evokes the feeling of cycling.

Taking this buggy out for a run changes the very nature of that run. The real danger that this buggy could encumber and annoy the runner has been ameliorated by excellent design and superb build quality. This is refreshing and I am genuinely pleased that I had the opportunity to use this buggy.

So it sounds like this is a stroller that can take the pace, and is suitable for dads as well as mums for running with.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the stroller for the purpose of a review 
but all thoughts and opinions are my own (and Nick's)
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Friday 13 September 2013

Toddler in Traction - A Mum's Survival Kit

I posted earlier this week about Dylan's survival kit for the four weeks we spent in hospital whilst his leg was on the mend, but now I am going to share mine.  For four weeks I slept on a pull out chair, and every night that I was there, so was Archie. As a breastfed baby he is too reliant on me to stay anywhere else and is still fed in the night so we had a rather cosy cubicle.

I could not have survived the month without my friends and family.  Every single visit, for however long made such a difference to our day and I am forever grateful to my Dad who drove up on his lunch break every single day to bring me a sandwich and let me get some fresh air.  Being stuck inside 24 hours a day means every little break is so important, even if it was just a wander up to the canteen.

I am a strong believer that chocolate is its own food group and it was my secret treat and guilty pleasure during our stay on the children's ward.  There were only a few minutes a day when both boys were asleep and I was not and I made the most of them with the help of some Dairy Milk.  Never underestimate the power of chocolate!

I was sent a beautiful baby friendly necklace from the people at Babyologie and this really cheered me up.  It was lovely to get something for me and it was perfect for keeping Archie occupied.  He has taken quite a shine to it and will happily sit on my lap for ages just playing and chewing it which was great for when I needed to do something with Dylan. 

Twitter was always there when I needed to talk to someone and I had so much support.  It was great to know that at the press of a button I could talk to an adult at any time day or night and I had some great advice too.  It can be very isolating stuck in a children's ward (especially when the other children and parents in our room didn't speak any English) so it was lovely to have this connection to the outside world.

The last part of my survival kit is my attitude.  I decided early on that there was no point stressing, wishing I was anywhere else or getting upset.  My job was to be strong for my boys and I tried my hardest to make sure that we had a good time.  I rested when I could, took people up on their offers and indulged myself whenever I needed it.  I really think that positive thinking goes a long way and despite the professionals quoting us 5-8 weeks, we were out within four and free to enjoy the rest of the summer.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this necklace as a gift from a company that sympathised with our stay rather than as a review.  I would buy it ten times over though as it is the only teething necklace Archie wants and it looks gorgeous with near enough everything!

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Thursday 12 September 2013

Summer Family Fun

The cosy pyjamas are out, rain covers are reunited with pushchairs and shopping for wellies is on this week's to-do list.  Autumn appears to have arrived and I am looking forward to crunching through red and brown leaves and snuggling under blankets with hot chocolate and Disney movies.  Our summer was eventful with a month spent in hospital but the memories I have come away with are priceless.

family photo, whitstable beach
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Tuesday 10 September 2013

Cosatto Troop Car Seat Review

At the rate my little man is growing, it won't be long until we need to update his carseat, so when Cosatto offered to send us a Troop, their new group 1,2 and 3 seat, I couldn't resist checking whether it was cosy enough for a 9 month old as well as spacious enough for a 12 year old.

Cosatto troop car seat, group 123 car seat, car seat review, impact shield car seat

Cosatto have been one of our favourite baby brands since we first discovered them all those months ago.  Dylan and Archie have quite a selection of Cosatto high buggies, car seats and high chairs and I fall in love with every new collection they bring out.  We have been testing the Troop in the funky pablo design and I have to admit that I love it even more in the flesh.

With a white base and colourful triangular design, this car seat was designed to stand out and we get comments from everyone who spots it.  The seat can easily be attached to the car using the Isofit systembut it is perfect for occasional use too as rather than strapping the carseat in with the seatbelt and then using the 5 point harness, both actions are combined into one with the use of the impact shield.

The impact shield is used for younger passengers and slots into the chair keeping the child incredibly secure.  Some have been sceptical about it as a 5 point harness is the norm, but I have to admit it feels more secure than a traditional carseat and there is no way that sea is going anywhere if it is strapped in properly!  Dylan loves having somewhere to rest his arms and seems very comfortable in there.

For an older child, the impact shield would be removed, and the seat belt used over the seat.  To make the seat usable for an older child, there is an easy handle at the back of the head rest that when pulled up, raises the head rest and broadens the shoulders leaving lots of space.  I haven't tried the seat with an older child yet but I can see that this will last Dylan for many more years!

The seat feels well padded, soft and secure and I would be confident using it for Archie when he progresses from his infant seat in a few months time.  Despite Dylan being an incredibly chilled little man, I can already see that Archie is raring to go and he will be the one climbing up the curtain poles in a few short months.  One of the great features of the Troop is that even a little monkey wouldn't be able to escape the shield, unlike a harness and all the time the impact shield is on, they will not be able to unbuckle their own seat either, which would make me feel a lot safer.  

cosatto troop, group 1,2,3 car seat, cosatto car seat, 9 months to 12 years
On the smallest setting at 23 months

The only real issue I have had with this seat is that it is quite big and I do struggle to get the seatbelt round i sometimes although there has never been an occasion where I couldn't manage it.  The list of pros is pretty impressive though:

-Side impact protection
-washable covers
-2 position seatback recline
-5 headrest positions
-gorgeous design
-works from 9 months all the way to 12 years
-free 4 year guarantee
-easy to use
- works in all cars

I would definitely recommend this seat for ease of use and the practicality of not needing to upgrade every few years as your little one grows.  Although it is quite big, it is this aspect that offers the great fit and extra protection so it is well worth it.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this car seat for the purpose of this review 
but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Monday 9 September 2013

The Very Best Age

I am finding myself falling in love with my two year old all over again.  2 seems to be such a magical age.  Of course it is not always fun or easy and we have our fair share of difficulties, but mostly it is just amazing.

My little man's cheeky personality shines through more and more each day and with his newly acquired language comes the ability to make us laugh more than ever.  He knows he is being funny, cheeky and silly and he loves to get a reaction.  I love the newborn cuddles, the baby days and those first wobbly steps but I am falling in love with the little boy that Dylan is becoming.

two years old, amazing age, two year old boy with pushchair

At 2 his imagination is really developing and he loves nothing more than playing make pretend.  He often goes pretend shopping (always for bananas) and watching him browse the side of the road trying to decide which invisible banana to pick is always amusing.  

In the absense of a doll, he will push Mickey mouse round in a pushchair for hours, stopping to change Mickey's nappy or feed him snacks and meals in the Bumbo.  Mickey mouse often pinches Archie's spot in the pushchair and I am told adamantly that Bubba must go in the sling as Mickey mouse needs to lie down and have a little sleep next to Dylan.

Everytime I leave the living room, I come back to find my beautiful two year old has scrambled up onto the sofa and is giggling away at being in Mummy's chair.  He wants me to crawl up to him and throw him over my shoulder and despite the same thing happening multiple times a day, it is always met with shrieks of excitement.

Dylan loves to sing and recites the entire Twinkle Twinkle Little Star nursery rhyme over and over throughout the day.  He sings the wheels on the bus, See saw, marjery Daw and happy birthday to you, with random shouts of crash thrown in too and will often sing songs to Archie to entertain him (although Archie is less of a fan of the crashes)

two year old, toddler, terrific twos, brothers

At 2, my little dude is learning his mind and what he wants.  He knows what he likes, and he knows how to get it and it is wonderful watching his communication come on.  Odd words together have now turned into full sentences and I am loving being able to have a little conversation with him now.

At 2, I am still his world, his source of information, stimulation and love.  He still needs me as only a small child can, yet he is gaining his independence and becoming his own person too.  

Despite the terrible side, 2 is starting out as a magical year and I know that as he grows, so will his imagination, his vocabulary and his ability to amaze us every single day.
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Sunday 8 September 2013

Toddler in Traction - Dylan's Survival Kit

Traction, Toddler, broken leg, 1 year old, 2 year old, toddler stuck in hospital, toddler in traction
There is no worse place to spend the summer than in hospital and being stuck in with two under twos, one of which had a broken leg in traction was challenging!  I couldn't have survived with a smile still on my face without the amazing support I had from family and friends and I am so grateful for everyone who sent thoughts or gifts and who came to visit us.  I thought I would share the things that helped Dylan cope with 4 weeks of bedrest, a toddler's survival kit!

Dylan was 23 months when he broke his leg, and suddenly his cosy cot had been replaced with a hospital bed, plastic sheets and open sides.  It was important to make his new bed (which he would be spending the next few weeks tied to) as comfy as possible, and so I brought in his teddies that usually live in his cot, as well as a pillow from home that would be a lot less sweaty than the plastic hospital editions.

Despite the home comforts, it was still a new environment and one that I was worried would ruin the amazing sleep routine we had at home.  We were sent a Tranquil Turtle and it was priceless for calming Dylan down at the end of the day.  As he was confined to a bed day and night, I needed to do something to symbolise that it was now bed time and the end of play and the calming sounds and light show were perfect to lie back and watch before drifting off.  Although Dylan found it too stimulating to fall asleep to, it certainly calmed him and reminded him that it was time for rest.

I was rather disappointed with the snacks available in our children's ward.  There was a fridge full of chocolate, biscuits and jellies, yet I often had to ask for fresh fruit as it was not readily available.  There was a small fridge in the patients kitchen though, and I often brought in yummy treats of my own for Dylan, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple are his favourites and they kept him cool and happy during the roasting hot month.  We were also sent some lovely 'Bear paws' which were perfect for those tricky moments (like bed baths which he hated).  They are 100% fruit with no nasties yet designed to resemble sweeties, and we were certainly not telling Dylan how healthy they were.  'Sweeties' helped us through the difficult time and I was reassured knowing that Dylan was getting another of his 5 a day at the same time.  We have a stock of these at home now for treat time!

The hospital had a great selection of toys in the playroom that I could borrow for the little man whenever he needed something, and having the attention span of a toddler meant I was often wandering between the two rooms finding him new things to play with.  We were lucky enough to be sent some lovely things though that he could keep beside his bead and not worry that someone else had broken/lost/stolen the pieces.

The GLTC sent Dylan a gorgeous wooden rocket and it is still a favourite toy now.  I love traditional toys that encourage imagination and Dylan loves things that can blast off so we were both very happy!  It comes as 5 parts which connect by magnets, and Dylan loves building it, taking it apart and rebuilding it.  It is great quality, durable and beautiful and will definitely be one of the toys I keep for the grandchildren once he is grown.

Dylan's Uncle and Aunty brought him in a fisher price police car which he was over the moon with and we were also given a wonderful Fireman Sam fire truck.  Emergency vehicles are a new obsession and so these were both a big hit!   Cars and trucks are easy to play with whilst stuck sitting up as he could brum them around the bed, and he enjoyed playing with the men and the little parts that came with them both .

My Godmother is pretty amazing at buying gifts and she sent Dylan a fuzzy felts Hungry caterpillar which kept the little guy occupied for hours.  This is perfect for children on bed rest as you can either play it on the bed or at a small table over the bed and it is reusable unlike a sticker book.  We are huge Hungry Caterpillar fans and we used this to practice counting as well as naming fruits and foods.  Sticker books and colouring books were also a big hit and by the end of our stay I think we had a copy of every single preschool magazine (although somehow we never got two the same!).  These were great for when Dylan needed quiet time as he could flick through them alone but they also had great stories in to read together.

The play specialist was lovely and she wheeled Dylan's bed into the playroom for an hour every weekday morning to play with him, giving me an hour with just Archie and a chance to go for a wander or get a hot drink.  If you are in this situation and anyone offers to watch your child - do it! This was a great opportunity for both of the boys as they both got some one on one time.  She also gave him other toys and bits to play with from the store cupboard, and we had some great fun with the playdough.

I tried to make our stay in hospital as much fun as possible and found a great idea for a game.  We stuck little stickers all over my leg and used face paint crayons to play a giant game of join the dots!    Once the fun of that had worn off, we had fun drawing all over ourselves (Dylan spent most of the hospital stay in just a nappy as it was so warm).  It was creative, fun and something totally different and it kept the little man very amused.  The paint all came off with either a wet wipe or a wet flannel and the crayons last for ages so we have been playing this in the garden as well since we got out - paddling pool at the ready!

Books were a great source of entertainment, and I splashed out on a few new ones when the Book People visited the hospital.  As well as bringing in some of our favourites from home, we discovered plenty of new stories from Julia Donaldson and the Cat in the Hat series too.  Being unable to run around and play meant we spent a lot more time talking and Dylan's language literally snowballed in the four weeks we spent in hospital.  The books really helped that and he loved 'reading' them independently too.  We were sent a gorgeous personalised book by Lost My Name a few weeks before, and being forced to sit still meant Dylan's attention span was long enough to appreciate it and he loved his very own personalised story and learning about Yetis!

You Tube was indispensable and as well as putting on Dylan's favourite programs when we all got a little fed up, we introduced him to some old school classics too.  Fun House and Teletubbies went down well and of course more than a few Rhyme Rocket and In The Night Garden episodes were played too.

Dylan's favourite source of entertainment though was visitors and someone new to break up the day. Despite being stuck in bed for so long, I think he quite enjoyed the attention, being spoiled and all the lovely things we managed to do.

Disclaimer:  Some of the items mentioned in this post were sent to us free of charge but I was never asked to write about them.  I have chosen to do so alongside other things that were gifts from family and friends and things that I bought myself.  All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Babes With Babies

One of my favourite things about summer is the beautiful dresses.  I love the bright colours and feeling girly and despite shorts generally being the more practical option with two littles, I still adore a pretty dress.

Babes with Babies do both maternity and nursing clothes and they sent me a beautiful outfit to wear to Britmums Live.  The white dress is perfect for nursing mums as it is long enough to be practical with a pushchair and young child, discreet enough to breastfeed in and is still completely wearable once all the babies are weaned.

I chose this white summer dress as I love how fresh and bright it looked, (and it makes me look more tanned).  It came beautifully packaged and I instantly loved it.  From looking at it, you cannot tell that it is designed as a nursing dress as the catches are discreetly hidden, but the top of the dress comes down and a hidden second layer comes up, meaning everything is very covered when feeding out and about.

This is very important to me as I prefer to keep feeding private and in this weather it feels cruel to try and cover baby's head.  If I wore a non-nursing dress, I would have to pull the whole thing down and feel very exposed, but this dress is perfect for me.

The rest of the dress is floaty and light and perfect for covering that post baby bulge that I just can't shift.  The dress may be white which is not the obvious choice with two small children, but it washes up well and still looks  like new after 2 months of wear!

babes with babies, tiggy day dress, white nursing dress, discreet nursing dress

This is my favourite summer dress, perfect for breastfeeding and beyond and so easy to style!  At £79.99 I think this Tiggy day dress is more than I would usually spend on a nursing dress but I will definitely be wearing this for summers to come as it is comfortable and the nursing clips are completely hidden

Disclaimer:  I was sent this dress free of charge to wear to Britmums Live, 
all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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Thursday 5 September 2013

This Moment

The days are always long and sometimes hard.  They are filled with smiles, tears, laughter and kisses and no two days are the same.  When it comes to 7pm though, I am more than happy to take my two little men to bed.

After bath time comes pajamas and we walk up the stairs together to brush Dylan's teeth.  He loves to wash his hands at the moment so of course we give them a thorough scrub afterwards before going into his bedroom.  The chair has been moved now, so we sit on his old cot mattress and some cushions on the floor and we read a story.  He is loving his Henry Hugglewug book at the moment, but the Gruffalo is our go-to book most days and he loves reading it by himself after we have read it together.

I tuck Dylan up in bed with Ducky, bear, owl, penguin, dog, penguin cushion and his blanket (he likes to name each one as we put him down), shut his curtains and kiss him goodnight, reminding him that he is my beautiful boy and that I love him.  

I leave the room with Archie, and walk a few steps down the hallway to his room.  His room is light and fresh with the white walls, simple decor and lack of clutter and we both seem to feel instantly calm as we step in.  We settle in the nursing chair that once occupied a corner of his big brother's room and forego the stool.  I curl my legs up and wrap my body around him and as his desperation reaches a pinnacle, he latches on to feed and I hear a shudder and a sigh of satisfaction.  

This is the moment where I sit and smile.  

I look down at his beautiful soft white skin and the bright blue eyes that are slowly closing beneath his long long lashes.  The little button nose and those perfect lips that are earnestly working for more milk.  The tufty hair that grows up and out and in the palest shade of blonde. making him look like he has permanent bed head and his little body curled up in mine.

I watch his chubby fingers cling onto my skin, massaging it, pinching it and holding on to me.  Finally they start to settle and his energetic legs feel heavy in my lap.  My beautiful boy is falling asleep and as I watch his innocent, angelic face fall calm, I hear another little voice call out from a cot just down the hall,

'Nun night Mummy, luff loo. Nun night Daddy, luff loo, Nun night Archie, luff Loo'

This moment is perfect.  This moment is everyday, it is magical, it is ordinary, it is a privilege, it is perfect. 

This is the moment I forget everything else and realise quite how amazing being a Mummy can be.  This is the moment that nothing else matters but my two beautiful boys and I feel like I could sit there all night staring at this amazing creature that I created who is now nestled into me deep in slumber.  I reflect on the day, choosing the good bits to remember and cast the rest aside, and I know that however tiring and stressful the next day may be, I will have this moment to look forward to, this small moment of bliss where I know I am exactly where I need to be.

This is the moment I know one day will be a thing of the past.  Dylan won't always be so sweet and innocent and Archie will learn to put himself to sleep. 

Right now though, this is the moment that makes me smile even though no-one can see it. 
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From You to Me

As a Blogger, I love recording our lives online and I already have so many amazing memories I can look back on at any given time.  My love of writing started many many years ago though, before we even owned a home computer and I still love the traditional pen and paper.

I was sent a couple of 'From you to me' books, 'Our Story, For my Son'  to record the boys lives and I absolutely love the sentiment of them.  With a section for every year from birth until 18, the chapters feature prompts that encourage you to remember all the amazing things from the last year.  The hardback books feature titles like 'things that happened in the world this year'  and 'my hopes and dreams for the next 12 months' alongside inspiring and amusing parenting quotes.

I am certainly a soppy one a heart, and these are now a permanent feature of the boys baby boxes.  I will be hunting them out every year the night before their birthdays and filling in the books in the same way that I stop and write them a letter every year to remind them of how far we have come, how many adventures we have had and how much excitement the future holds.

Dylan and Archie's stories are recorded in both a public way and through these books in a private way as well and I hope one day they look back through them with the fondest memories of their childhood.

I love these books and can wholeheartedly recommend them for yourself or as the perfect present for a new parent.  They are great quality, a timeless design and a great reminder to make every year count.  I have purchased some myself previously from their ranges as well as being sent these two to review and I am sure I will be buying more over the coming years.
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Wednesday 4 September 2013

Weaning the Second Time Around

At five and a half months, we made the decision to start weaning Archie.  For several reasons this felt like the right time, and we decided to go for a similar approach as we had with Dylan - a mixture of traditional and baby led weaning.

I was apprehensive about starting the weaning process. My little baby would suddenly be eating real food and it marked the beginning of his independance from me.  For 9 months I grew this little baby in my tummy and then for the next 5, I fed him.  For fourteen months, I was his only source of sustenance and nutrition, and suddenly I would be sharing this role.  Suddenly I am not the only one who can feed him and it is rather strange to let go of this.  

Archie's weaning began whilst we were in hospital and as there are very limited facilities there, it mean for the first few days he had baby rice and later on some puree.  Unlike his brother, he wasn't so sure about the new tastes and seemed to still prefer his milk, but he has slowly come round to the new routine and seems to be enjoying his meals more and more.  

Breadsticks are a big hit as is banana.  He likes the apple or strawberry and apple purees, although he isn't so sure about the spoon yet! We were sent some tommee tippee spoons which have a super flexible end and he seemed to prefer these as he could have a little chew on them too.  They also sent us some lovely little pots which are just the right size for storing mini breadsticks in the nappy bag! They are also perfect for storing and heating homemade purees in.

Tommee Tippee, weaning pots and spoons, weaning second time, baby led weaning

We are taking our cues from Archie, and have been moving more towards baby led weaning over the last couple of weeks as he seems much happier with this and is proving quite adept at feeding himself.  He prefers savoury food and devoured a chilli con carne with rice as fast as his brother could!

As his appetite for solids has increased, I am starting to see the number of milk feeds decreasing and as much as I miss the dependance, it is much easier to go out, knowing that I don't need to stop and feed him quite so often.  His hunger can be appeased with a snack until I find somewhere to sit down and I can have a bit of a lie in at the weekend as the bloke doesn't need to bring him up for milk quite so much.

Archie is putting weight on again now and mealtimes are adding more of a routine into his day.  Although I miss the easy days of a purely milk diet, it is lovely to watch the boys sharing a sandwich at lunch time.

Disclaimer:  We were sent some Tommee Tippee Weaning bits free of charge 
but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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