Friday 31 January 2014

Me and Mine - January

After being inspired by the linky 'me and mine', I decided that this was the year we make sure to capture our family, as the boys grow from baby to toddler and from toddler to preschooler.  This year the bloke will celebrate turning 30, and every month I want to capture the subtle changes, capture us right now.  

My very thoughtful sister arranged for us to have a location photoshoot for our Christmas gift and we had a lovely time in the local park with Sharina capturing some beautiful images.  We were lucky that despite it being January, the sun shone and the boys were not too grumpy.

This month Dylan is loving reading letters at every opportunity, wishing everyone a merry Christmas and going out without the pushchair a lot more.

Archie is loving climbing on the sofa to get the remote control,  mash potato and picture books with flaps.

Mummy is loving wearing her slippers, eating biscuits by the tin and when the boys nap together in the afternoon.

Daddy is loving zombie games on his pc, time alone with the boys now that I am back to work part time and cheeseburgers with waffles instead of a bun.

family photoshoot, family of four, two sons,

So here we are in January, our little family of four.

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Thursday 30 January 2014


I am not a morning person, and despite Dylan turning two and a half this weekend, I still have not got used to early starts.  I do not function at five am, I cannot hold a conversation at six and I do not want to watch Sarah and Duck at seven.  I have finally given in to eight though, and that is when our day starts.

Archie still needs to be convinced some days, his body clock is still a bit wobbly and we can alternate between half past seven and half past nine wake ups, despite his bedtime being a steady seven pm.  Dylan on the other hand, can read the clock - well a digital one anyway.  When he comes sleepily into our room in the morning, the first thing he does is check the digital clock on the bedside table.  If the time starts with a seven, then he either comes in for a cuddle, or sits on the end of our bed with a toy, waiting for it to tick over.

The moment a number 8 appears as the first number, he pounces ' wake up mummy, it's eight'o'clock, it's eight'o'clock'.  He demands attention, cold blue milk and the Tweenies, and after bringing me my slippers, I give in and start the day.  

It is not just eight'o'clock that the little guy looks out for, he loves to ask the time, and knows that one is nap time and seven means it is time for bed.  He seeks out numbers, and digital clocks are a favourite, but he will point out traditional clocks at every opportunity too.  It won't be long before we are teaching him to tell the time, and we have been looking at watches at The Watch Hut.  At the moment neither the bloke or I wear a watch, but I think Dylan will pick it up so much faster if we have a clock face for him to study to his hearts content.

But until that day, the important time to remember is eight'o'clock - before then is still the middle of the night as far as I am concerned!

Disclaimer:  Sponsored Post
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Tuesday 28 January 2014

The Simple Things - A Cardboard Box

My children are very lucky, they have a playroom full of toys-  beatiful wooden ones, noisy and colourful plastic ones, the soft stuffed variety, books and puzzles.  Every room in the house seems to have been taken over by their toys, Duplo bricks and Hot Wheels constantly under foot.  Despite all of this, the most coveted 'toys' seem to be the remote control for the littlest (he isn't silly, only the real one will do) and my phone for Dylan.  

Recently we were sent some Little Tikes Cozy Coupes ready for our leg of the Team Honk relay and after an evening spent building one, we retired to bed leaving the newly built car and the box in the middle of the floor.  Come morning, two very excited boys discover the ultimate toy in their living room - a cardboard box big enough to fit two small children in.

We opened up the end, making it into a tunnel and for the next two hours, were entertained with only an empty box and each other.  They chased each other round and through the box, sat in there together giggling and when it all got too much, they pushed it over and sat on it to eat their snack.  

The games I remember from my childhood often involved upturned tables, garden chairs and other household items and it was lovely to see the boys playing so nicely together, so entertained  by something so simple.  I will not be throwing away a carboard box again until it is bashed, squashed and covered in snot and banana!

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Sunday 26 January 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Invitations

With Archie's first birthday only three weeks away, I have been planning a party with a theme.  We all love the Very Hungry Caterpillar, so much so that the little guy has a nursery decorated with the classic Eric Carle illustrations, and it seemed a great idea for his party.

I am sure I will be sharing plenty of photos after the party next month, but for now, here are the invitations that I have been making.  

They are incredibly simple to make, I drew round a lid on both red and green card to make the big circles and then drew round a cup to make the white paper circles.  The caterpillar's face is made from shapes cut out of card and glued on, and I used a hole punch and some treasury tags to link the circles together.  The invitation folds up and opens out to share all the information on our little guy's big bash.

If you have any ideas to make this Hungry Caterpillar first birthday party even more special then please leave me a comment! I am having great fun planning.

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Friday 24 January 2014

11 Months

11 months have gone by in the blink of an eye.  Whilst I stopped to savour every day, week and month with Dylan, Archie's first eleven months seem to have passed by in a blur of breastfeeding, nappies and chasing a toddler round, and suddenly in place of my newborn there is a cheeky little boy, not really a baby, but not yet a toddler.  A child with his own mind, a determination and the cheekiest smile.  Archie is hurtling towards his first birthday and I honestly can't tell you how nearly a year has passed since I brought him home from the hospital that cold Sunday afternoon.

11 month old baby boy, 11 months old, baby diary, monthly update

At 11 months Archie is an explorer, a climber and a little monkey at times.  He is not content sitting still and lying him down to change a nappy requires a small team.  He sees what he wants and goes for it, no matter what is in the way and would rather climb over an obstacle than go round it.  He is not afraid of heights and given half the chance he is half way up the stairs.  He has mastered climbing onto our bed and the sofa, something that took Dylan an extra 9 months!  He is happiest when standing, and although he has been pulling himself up for quite some time, it is only this past month that he has experimented with letting go, getting ready for that scary next stage and those first steps.

Archie has been happy feeding himself, but we have taken a slight step back in the last month as he seemed to be getting more and more unsettled and agitated in the afternoons.  We added in a few spoon fed meals and he is like a different child, much happier and more content.  Although he is confident feeding himself, I think he has a lot of fun spreading his food around the four corners of the room, and this way we know he is getting enough.  Despite turning his nose up at puree when we started weaning, he is perfectly happy for me to be doing the work now and still eats everything and anything on offer (including tumble dryer fluff given half the chance!)

Being a second child, Archie has had to slot into his older brother's schedule and they both nap after lunch.  Archie is still generally fed to sleep for this, unless he has fallen asleep in the sling or buggy, and sleeps anything from one to three hours.  Quite often he will wake after only half an hour,still sleepy with his eyes tight shut and a whingey cry, and he will settle straight back off if I bring him into my bed for a cuddle.  Trying to move is forbidden though and he will sleep as long as he is cuddled in my arms.  Although it may well be a bad habit, there is something so precious about curling up with him for an afternoon nap, and I don't really discourage it. 

Our nights are still eventful with at least one wake up without fail.  It is starting to get really hard, having not had a full night's sleep for so long and I am contemplating getting tough, but when it is 4am and I am sleepy and cold, feeding him back to sleep is by far the easiest and quickest option.  Archie is still breastfed on demand although I have been pushing him to 3 feeds a day (and one night), and this works most days.  when I am at work he quite happily goes all day without milk, but when I am around I find it very hard to say no when he makes it incredibly obvious what he is wanting.

He has two extra teeth joining the original four, and you have to be careful when he comes for a big slobbery kiss (as he does frequently), that he doesn't try and imprint these teeth marks on your face.  He is a very affectionate boy though, coming for cuddles and kisses throughout the day and still happiest when in his mummy's arms.

This next month will be spent planning a first birthday party and my next Archie update will be his first birthday.  I am excited about everything to come, but still wondering where on earth this year has gone!

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Tuesday 21 January 2014

Me and My Shadow

A child's brain is an amazing place.  A pear can become an airplane, a stick in the park is a magic wand and you can fill yourself up on pretend coffee and cake.  Dylan has recently discovered his shadow and it makes late afternoon walks all the more fun when we have to constantly check that his shadow is following us.  

We wave at him, and we wave at Mummy and Archie's shadows too.  We walk round corners and behind trees to see if he is still there and we say goodbye when we finally make it home.  Every now and again then we look for him, with the obvious place being the least obvious place for Dylan to look.

His fascination knows no bounds and a trip to Canterbury at the weekends was all the more enjoyable as we followed our shadows down the high street, jumping, running and exploring how it moved.  

I have tried to explain the science, but at not yet two and a half, Dylan prefers the magic, his black shadow, who is always there to keep him company.

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Monday 20 January 2014

Team Honk Dover

Later this week, you will find myself, the boys and some other bloggers and parents doing one section of the Team Honk relay from Lands End to John O'Groats.  Bloggers are pulling together to raise money for Sports Relief and I am part of a small team organising the Dover to Gravesend leg.

Team Honk 2014 blogger Relay

Not ones to make it easy for ourselves, we shall be picking up the baton from Dover castle and bringing it down to the Thanet coast for a Toddle along the seafront from Ramsgate round to Broadstairs, before driving it onto Gravesend to pass to Mari for her bike ride.

Sally from FadedSeasideMama and I have been planning and eating cake (well mostly eating cake) for a few weeks and are looking forward to the challenge of getting a group of toddlers around the coast and the folks at Little Tikes have kindly sent us some Cozy Coupes to make the journey a bit more exciting!

We are still relying on as much support as possible though so if you want to join us on the toddle, if you are a company wanting to help out or if you have a few spare pennies to sponsor us then please do!  Our fundraising page is HERE and we would appreciate any help in getting to our target and making a difference in so many people's lives.

#TeamHonk Dover Little Tikes

The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.
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Sunday 19 January 2014

Making a Photobook

I love to record memories, that is the biggest reason I started this blog.  Our children change and grow so fast, that it won't be long before the sleepless nights and tantrums are just a distant memory.  Whilst they may not be the things we want to remember, there are plenty of moments that we capture on camera and thanks to the folks at CEWE, I had the opportunity to make a photobook at the Ideal Home Show last month.

I didn't have a specific event that I wanted immortalized and chose instead to just use photos I had taken of the boys in the previous month, a snapshot of their lives and something for all of us to look back on and remember.  In October 2013 Dylan was 26 months and Archie 8 months old.

The software was really easy to use and even I could have managed it at home.  There are nine choices as to the size and shape of book you want, and I went for a small landscape book with the fancy paper as it meant when open on a flat surface, the pages would lie flat too.  We are keeping our book on the boys' book shelf so they can get it out to look at whenever they want to and the lie flat pages make it much easier for them.  You can now add videos to your photobook too, something I was completely unaware of, by reducing your video to a QR code that can then played on a mobile phone.  I am not one for taking videos but I love this idea!

I went for a black background on every page as I like the classic look, but you can choose from a variety of colours, patterns or even your own photos.  For each page you can choose independently how many photos you use, the layout and the background so it is totally personable. 

I am really impressed with the quality of the books and the options, and I found the site easy to use.  I will definitely be making another book in a couple of months with our holiday pictures in and I think they would be a great way to commemorate baby's first Christmas too.

Disclaimer:  I was invited along to the Ideal Home Show where the CEWE team helped me making a complimentary book.  All thoughts, photos and opinions are completely my own
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Friday 17 January 2014

Back to Work

11 months is a long time - Long enough to enjoy most of a baby's first year, first smiles, first laughs, learning to roll, to sit, to stand, to crawl.  First tastes, first night in their own room, first Christmas.  11 months is long enough to find our way, establish a routine of playgroups, outings with friends and quiet afternoons building, and knocking down lego.

After eleven months of maternity leave, last weekend saw me return to work part time, something I had been both looking forward to and dreading in equal measure.

I haven't left Archie for more than a couple of hours in the day before and he won't take milk from a bottle or beaker.  He is a mummy's boy, wanting me in his sight at all times, there to pick him up when he falls, feed him on demand and give those special cuddles that only a mother can give.  

I rarely leave Dylan either, and whilst he is a relaxed and independent little boy, I am used to having him here with me, my little sidekick, every day.  The idea of leaving both my beautiful boys for a whole day at work, and then for 2 shifts every week following, was a little daunting, and I worried about how they, and I, would cope.

On the other hand, 11 months is a long time to have never spent more than a couple of hours alone, never switching off fully from the role of Mummy.  11 months of feeding my baby several times a day (and several times a night), carrying him in my arms or a sling and having constant companionship is both a privilege and a little tiring and I felt ready for some time away, time for me in an odd kind of way.

11 months was just the right amount of time for me, not too soon that I was upset about leaving my baby, and not too long that I was desperate to return.  I felt ready, apprehensive but ready, and it went smoothly.  Archie  fed just before I left the house and managed to go the rest of the day with plenty of solids but no milk.  Dylan enjoyed time with his Daddy, building walls and then pushing his trucks down the slide to crash into them.  I came home to two sleeping babies, and only a little extra mess.  It was a success.

I am really lucky that I can return to work for just 2 shifts a week.  I will be doing around 10 hours per week which is the perfect balance for our family, giving me precious time away and a few extra pennies, and letting the boys have time with their Daddy and their Grandma, which they are going to love.  For us, this is what works and I am looking forward to carving a new routine from it.

Photos by the lovely Sharina from Ask Sharina Kent

It was physically hard work being back at work, I am constantly on my feet with no comfy sofas to fall back on when I need to put my feet up and have a cup of tea and I came home with aching legs, ready for a long soak in the bath.  The upside of this is that hopefully I will start to feel a bit fitter by the time summer comes and the oversized sweater is replaced with a strappy vest!

When did you return to work?  Where you able to do it when you wanted to or was it based on financial or family needs?

Disclaimer:  This post does contain a sponsored link 
but I put as much time and effort into it as any other post.
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Thursday 16 January 2014

Little Tikes Playdate

At the end of November the boys and I were invited along to a playdate hosted by Little Tikes.  It was a chance to get together with other blogger friends, let the little ones play with some lovely new toys, and have a chat about the different stages of playing, learning anf interacting.

My boys obviously play very differently.  Dylan is all about the imagination and loves cooking in his little kitchen and serving me pretend coffee and cake throughout the day.  Archie on the other hand prefers to chew his toys, and press buttons of course! The Little Tikes range has different toys for the four distinct personalities; little learners, little movers, little builders and explorers and little grown ups. 

It was lovely to be able to sit back and just watch them and with such lovely toys on offer we were able to do just that.  In fact, the boys barely wanted to stop for lunch, they were having so much fun playing!  There were toys set up for each group and something for everyone.

The most popular toy with both the boys was the pirate water table and we ended up with some very wet trousers and dungarees once they had finished splashing!  It offered opportunities for everyone, from exploring different textures for the littlest ones, to washing up boats for those little grown ups.

It was interesting to see that stereotypes make no difference to how the children play either, with Dylan heading straight for the princess cozy coupe as soon as we arrived.

We had a lovely time at the playdate catching up with other bloggers and their children and the day was made even better when Father Christmas turned up to give the children some lovely gifts!

Disclaimer:  We were invited along to this play date by the folks at Little Tikes who paid for our travel and sent us home with some lovely goodies,  All thoughts and opinions are completely my own though and the children were utterly enraptured by the colourful toys.

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Wednesday 15 January 2014

Pasta Loaf - A Healthy Family Meal

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of recipe posts on this blog, especially not healthy family meals.  You may have noticed that I rarely admit to entering the kitchen, let alone using a saucepan, or an oven.  I am not a fan of cooking, and with two small children (quite literally sometimes) hanging from my legs, I find nothing relaxing about cooking.  Eating though, Eating is something I am very good at.

With Archie and Dylan both having tummies to be filled every night though, I have had to venture into the kitchen much more often than I would like to and have discovered that actually, my cooking isn't too bad! I may improvise rather randomly at times (although using banana instead of egg works surprisingly well), and interpret a recipe my own way, but the boys don't complain so I am happy that way.

The challenge was to cook a healthy family meal for under £10 and as soon as the word 'challenge' was used, the kitchen became a much more exciting place.  I had seen a pasta loaf recipe link on social media that looked interesting, different and it contained vegetables so I thought it was worth giving it a go.

pasta loaf, budget recipe, pasta and pastry, cbias, social fabric

I took a trip to Tesco to pick up my ingredients, going shopping after work at the weekend as I know that the later on you go, the better the bargains.  Unrelated to my recipe, I managed to pick up a 10 pack of paper cups for only 5 pence in the bargain aisle!  I often browse the reduced section for inspiration as despite it all having a short date, it is usually ok to cook the next day.  

I found my ingredients and they came in at under £8, with plenty left over of some ingredients for other meals.  I may have chickened out of following the initial recipe completely as I didn't want too much pressure and it was only eighty pence for ready to roll shortcrust pastry!

I have never cooked Butternut Squash before, and I was actually rather excited to try it for the first time, hoping desperately that I would like it.  I try hard to give the boys access to a wide variety or fruit and veg and they both eat everything and anything, but I am not so good myself.  I had to google how to cook it and should someone have had a video camera around when I tried to peel it, it would have made quite a funny film!

Here are the ingredients I used in our pasta loaf dish:

250g macaroni
2 red peppers
1 butternut squash
50g butter
Fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of cornflour
3 medium eggs
250ml double cream
Feta Cheese

1 pack of ready to roll shortcrust pastry (or you can make your own of course!)

If I was making it again, I would probably use more vegetables and less pasta, as it would be healthier for us all and given lots more flavour.  So how did I make it? . . .

I roasted the butternut squash in the oven whilst cooking the pasta on the hob, making sure  the pasta didn't go too soft.

I then heated the butter in a pan and added the peppers which I had diced. 

After a few minutes, I mixed the cooked pasta, roasted squash and finely chopped parsley into the peppers and stirred in the feta cheese.

I rolled out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and lined the inside of a loaf tin with it, chopping off the excess.  I filled it with the pasta, lightly pressing it down.

In a separate bowl, I mixed 3 beaten eggs, the cream and the cornflour (which I had made into a paste with 2 tablespoons of water), and if you have older children, you could add salt and pepper.  As I was planning on feeding this to Archie who is only 10 months, I left out the seasoning.

I poured the sauce over the pasta and then made a pastry lid, covering the pie completely, and sealed with my fingers.  I made a small hole in the lid to let the steam out, and popped it in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 4 for one hour.

When it came out, I left it 15 minutes to cool in the tin and then turned it out, leaving it another 15 minutes before slicing it.

pasta loaf, family recipe, baby led weaning, food photography

The dish may not be the healthiest, but it is hearty, filling winter food that went down very well with the bloke, the toddler and the baby-led-weaning 10 month old.  You could easily add more vegetables and use wholemeal pasta if you wanted to.  Most importantly, it is simple enough that even I can make it and this was big enough for the four of us to eat one meal and an extra meal for the boys too.  

In fact, the leftover £2 gave me just enough to buy some ingredients for a little dessert too and Dylan helped me making fruity pancakes afterwards. 

We mixed one mug of self raising flour, one mug of milk and one egg in a bowl

We grated in one apple (including skin) and tipped in one finely chopped banana.

We cooked it in a frying pan using butter instead of oil and the fruit made the pancakes naturally sweet and delicious!  The boys loved the treat and I felt happy knowing that they contained fresh fruit and no nasties - definitely a hit!

baby led weaning, ten months old, pasta loaf

So it took the term 'challenge' to get me into the kitchen, but I managed to cook a two course meal for all the family for under ten pounds so we are all happy!

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Monday 13 January 2014

Just a Little Boy

I expect a lot from Dylan, I expect him to eat well and to go to sleep nicely when I tell him it is bed time. to play nicely with his friends and his brother. To look out for Archie, to be polite to family, friends and strangers.  To say please and Thank you in the right places.  Not to wake me up until 8am.  To understand danger and not run out in the road.  

He is a chatterbox and as we chat, I take for granted that he understands me, that he can express what he wants and how he feels.  I look for him to tell me that he is tired, hungry, scared or sad.  When we talk, about everything and anything, I often forget that he is not yet two and a half, that he is still just a little boy.

Photo taken by Ask Sharina Kent

When we are at home, he is confident, he challenges me, he is curious and he wants to discuss everything.  He asks me what we are going to do today, at what time, with who.  He tells me what he wants to play, to read or to watch.  He sits alone with his puzzles, a determined look on his face as he tries to place the pieces together in a way that makes sense.  He lounges in the corner, narrating a book to the room, telling us what is on each page - unable to read the words, but more than capable of interpreting the pictures.  

We decide to go out, so he fetches his shoes and coat, and a jacket for Archie too, reminding me to pack some snacks in the nappy bag.  He lets me know whether he fancies a ride in the buggy or whether he would rather walk.  He holds my hand, or stays close to the buggy, checking for cars before we cross the road, pointing out shapes in the street, from the circle drain covers, to the long yellow lines, to the rectangle post boxes.

He is my little buddy as we giggle together and share a joke.

But then something will happen, a dog will bark too loudly, a stranger will talk to him that he isn't sure about, he will trip as he walks, and suddenly I see my little boy, not yet two and a half, still learning about the world around him, still gaining vocabulary daily and with so much beyond his understanding.

As we discuss the moon and I try to explain, on his insistence, why we can sometimes see a full moon and sometimes only a slither, and I get a look of confusion back, I have to remember that he is two years old, just a little boy.  

I find it hard sometimes, the contrast between the intelligent child that is learning to read and count, and the toddler that needs me so much still, whose falls can be mended with mummy kisses and who comes and finds me in the kitchen because he really needs a kiss and a cuddle.  The little boy who is more than capable of taking himself off to bed and tucking himself in, but who sucks his thumb and cuddles his ducky as he drifts off.  My big boy, and my baby.

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Thursday 9 January 2014

Sleep Solutions

Dylan has always been my super sleeper.  He didn't reliably sleep through the night until 7 months, but since that day, I can count the amount of times he has woken in the night on one hand and they generally involve him being physically sick.  As a one year old, he would happily go to bed at 7 and not rise until nearly 10 some mornings, with 8:30 being classed as an early one, and he loved his naps, often standing at the bottom of the stairs after his lunch, waiting to be taken up.

We decided to take the sides off of his cot just after he turned two, and it went so smoothly, I was feeling rather smug! Unfortunately things started to change a few weeks later, and our 9am starts moved forward a couple of hours.  I started to get used to 7am as both my children suddenly decided that they were not happy unless they could see the sunrise.  

A couple of weeks after that, we had problems getting Dylan to bed.  He would happily go into his room, snuggle up with his Ducky and shut his eyes, but as soon as I got back down the stairs and dug out the Cadbury's, I would hear a pitter patter of little feet on the landing as he explored.  It would take several attempts to get him to stay put, sometimes up to two hours and it was all the more frustrating because of how easy we had had it for two years.  He didn't cry, didn't cause mischief, just wandered, sometimes coming down the stairs and standing silently outside the living room door.

Slowly but surely I have regained some sleep, and pushed the morning back to eight o'clock (most days) - a much more reasonable time, but we are still having problems getting the little guy to stay put.  We have tried reasoning with him, bribing him, putting him back silently, all to no avail.

This Christmas, Santa was very kind and got Dylan a brand new Duvet and some lovely rocket covers in the hope that this novelty would be a new incentive to stay tucked up inside them.  Unfortunately it does not seem to be working and the night wanderings, whilst only lasting around 20 minutes on average now, are still an everyday occurrence.  We have been considering going one step further and upgrading his cot bed to a full sized single, a big boy's bed and something higher off of the ground and not as easy to climb out of.  We have even considered going the extra mile and going for a guest bed with storage, as who can resist a huge double bed for yourself, and his room would look so tidy with some underbed storage for the toys!  It would also be perfect if we have visitors, (providing they don't mind sharing with a few teddies of course!).  We have discovered that Carpetright now do beds too and very reasonably priced!

Contour Miracoil Memory Ottoman Bed

We have discussed the idea of a stairgate on his bedroom door, but I hate the idea of going backwards and introducing our first stairgates to the house when Dylan is nearly 2.5 years old seems strange.  Other than these we are stuck! Does anyone else have a bedtime wanderer? What did you do to get them to stay put?


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Wednesday 8 January 2014

G Nappies Review

We have been using cloth nappies since Dylan was two months old and as both boys are still in nappies, it is certainly the most economical option.  We have tried a variety of brands over this period and recently had the opportunity to try the Gnappies with disposable inserts.

Gnappies have an option to suit everyone with a choice of either cloth or disposable inserts.  The outer G pants are soft, stretchy cotton come in a variety of gorgeous colours and funky prints and contain a breathable, waterproof pouch which holds the insert.  The cloth insert can be washed and reused but the disposable insert is discarded much like a disposable nappy, but is much more biodegradable than a standard nappy and can even be home composted with the right equipment.

One great benefit of this design is that you can use cloth at home and disposable inserts for when on day trips or holidays when you may not want to carry the dirty inserts.  I tend to use disposable nappies if we are staying overnight or on holiday but this would be a great compromise.

I loved the design of the two nappies we were sent.  They were practical and would look great in the summer with just a T-shirt.  They were a much slimmer fit than most cloth nappies we have tried and having the velcro tabs do up at the back stops little hands trying to prise them open, as my cheeky 10 month old is prone to.

The nappies come in several sizes based on weight, from x small to x large and Archie is wearing Medium, with it being a great fit on him at 10 months, and plenty of growing space too.

I was dubious that just one disposable insert would be enough but I was really surprised when after 3 hours  we had no leaks.  I have been using these nappies for a few weeks now and have not had a single leak.  The waterproof pouch fits snugly and keeps everything contained and being able to dispose of the insert meant they were extremely practical.  The same Gpant can be used all day if it isn't soiled which would be great for little girls if you wanted to co-ordinate a nappy with a dress.

One thing I have found about these nappies is that they are definitely more expensive than other cloth nappies.  The disposable inserts work out far more expensive than using disposable nappies which I think will put people off making the change.  They are much better for the environment and kinder on your conscience but as mothers, many of us don't have the disposable income and are drawn to the cloth option partly for the frugal side.  

Using the cloth inserts does work out at quite a considerable outlay cost but I must admit that these nappies are lovely, and I would certainly consider buying more as the designs are great and they make cloth possible even with snug fitting clothes.  Their resale value is also quite high and they can last through several children so I do think they are worth investing in.

Overall I am really impressed with these nappies, their fit, absorbancy and style are brilliant and I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to make the move to cloth, or wanting to use cloth from birth.  They are easy to use and wash very well.  The price is the only downside I can find but they are an investment, and something this cute can be justified!

Disclaimer:  I was sent two Gpants and some disposable inserts for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Monday 6 January 2014

A New Dynamic

Up until quite recently, Archie has been a baby, Dylan a toddler.  They have loved each other, cared for each other and enjoyed having a brother to spend the days with.  Dylan was the active one, bringing toys to Archie, entertaining him, looking out for him.  Archie is now well and truly mobile, comfortably cruising the furniture and crawling on his hands and knees.  He is climbing the stairs, exploring every surface and toy and causing mischief at every opportunity! 

The dynamic has changed, it is no longer a one sided show, but the boys are learning to play together.  They sit with the same toy pressing buttons or moving the characters around.  They follow each other, they giggle together playing their own little games. Archie is becoming a toddler before my very eyes.

The dynamic is always changing and it won't be long before Archie is the dominant one.  His personality is cheekier, his will stronger and I foresee all kinds of fun as they grow up together.

There are two sides to these changes though, and of course Dylan still needs his space.  He has puzzles to do, lego to build and books to read without a little brother trying to chew the pieces.  He wants to spread out and get stuck in like he used to, but Archie has other ideas and this can cause some obvious friction between them. 

 I haven't yet come up with a solution for when they are both demanding of my time, and they still nap together in the afternoons leaving me no one on one time during the days.

Mostly though, the changes are exciting to watch.  Archie is learning to play, and Dylan to share.  They are entertaining each other, growing a friendship and I have more and more moments where I can sit on the sofa with a cup of tea and just watch them smiling and playing together.  I knew that having the boys so close together with only an 18 month gap would have its advantages as well as its challenges and seeing the boys together now both are so clear.

I feel like they have the best gift ever in having a sibling to share their childhood with, a constant companion and playmate but there are times I just want to split myself in two.  Mostly though, I am finding this stage exciting as we grow alongside one another as a family.

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