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Sunday 26 November 2017

Xmas Day learning fun with Dom and Geri personalised wrapping paper

Not one to shy away from a learning opportunity on any day of the year (hey, learning should be fun so this isn't as 'scrooge' as it sounds!) I've found the perfect product for your gifts this Christmas!

Dom and Geri personalised wrapping paper flatlay with xmas decorations

Dom and Geri have a fantastic range of personalised wrapping paper, banners, cards and gifts available, so I decided to try out their Christmas wrapping paper for Arthur and took me forever to choose a design as there was so much choice, but I settled on this star wrap for Charlotte and a snow globe wrap for Arthur....

Monday 25 September 2017

6 products to help make infant reflux more manageable

Reflux is not a new experience for us. When my first born, Arthur, was a baby he had colic and reflux so extreme it left us in a place of sleep deprived shock and really impacted on our first few months of parenting. I wrote a blog post at the time 'Dealing with Colic and Reflux in babies' which documented our experience and everything that we tried to help deal with the situation - including medication and plans of action. I still refer back to the post now that Charlotte also has reflux, and if you are in the same situation I would urge you to have a look at the post just in case there is some advice in there which may be of help.

This time around I am more accepting of the reflux, and whilst I am exploring alternative reasons for it such as over supply and hyperlactation (more on this shortly), I am focusing on what I can do to cope better with the reflux and make the next few months as easy as they can be. There are a number of products I really couldn't do without at the moment....

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Summer Infant - By Your Bed Sleeper - Assembly, demonstration, review

We have been trying out the NEW Summer Infant By Your Bed Sleeper - the only bedside crib with an optional incline to help with reflux.

This review includes a video which shows our assembly of the product, and a talk through how to use the different features alongside our thoughts on the product itself...

Summer Infant By Your Bed Sleeper review and demonstration

Tuesday 22 August 2017

She's finally here - introducing Charlotte Iris

She's finally here! After 2 sweeps, 2 acupuncture sessions and a first stage of induction, our little bundle of joy finally made an appearance on Sunday 13th August - 10 days late. Please bare with me whilst we enjoy our first few weeks with Charlotte and settle into life as a family of may take me a little longer to respond, but we are still here ...

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Thursday 27 July 2017

SENSSE Silicone Facial Cleansing Brush and SENSSE Hot and Cool Toning Bar - review

I am a huge fan of natural skincare - but if I can use this alongside a bit of non-invasive, non-surgical technology then even better! I have posted previously about my experiences with non-surgical facelifts in salon, but I am always on the lookout for products which can be used at home as part of a regular skincare regime.

SENSSE Silicone Facial Cleansing Brush and SENSSE Hot and Cool Toning Bar - review

I was recently given the opportunity to try out the SENSSE™ Silicone Facial Cleansing Brush  and also the SENSSE™ Hot and Cool Toning Bar.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Coping with PGP, SPD and Pelvic pain in Pregnancy

PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain), SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)  and general pelvic pain during pregnancy is really common. As many as 1 in 5 women can be affected and it is often all thanks to a lovely little hormone called 'relaxin' produced during pregnancy which causes the ligaments in the pelvis to relax. 
 Pelvic Girdle Pain can be incredibly painful and may have a big impact on your every day life during your pregnancy - not just because of the pain, but also the difficulties it can cause in carrying out every day tasks such as walking, lifting, sleeping etc.
If like me, you suffered in your first pregnancy, the chances are it will start earlier and probably feel more severe with each subsequent pregnancy - sorry!

Coping with PGP SPD and Pelvic pain in pregnancy

With Arthur, I really struggled during my third trimester and eventually had to stop driving. This time around, the symptoms started as early as 9 weeks pregnant - when I fell down the stairs as my legs just gave way from lack of support. Steadily, it has got worse and I now have a set of crutches to help me walk around - which doesn't happen very often because it is just too painful! PGP or SPD is not easy to deal with, but it can feel almost impossible when you also have a very lively 2 year old to care for!

I certainly haven't found a cure, but there are a few treatments and products available, many of which I couldn't do without, which do make this condition more manageable and a little easier to cope with...If you are suffering from PGP or SPD I hope you find this list useful, and perhaps get a little relief from your symptoms!

Saturday 15 July 2017

Testing for Group B strep in Pregnancy with Strepelle

It's July, which means not only is this Group B Strep awareness month, I am also over 35 weeks pregnant - the perfect time to test for GBS (Group B Streptococcus). Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies, causing meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Most of these infections could be prevented, but the U.K. Is one of the only developed countries in the world which does not routinely test for Group B Strep and many pregnant women haven't even heard of it! Have you?

Group B Strep test in pregnancy with Strepelle

One in four women carry it and one baby a week dies of the infection. Being a carrier doesn't automatically mean that your baby will be poorly - however, there is a risk that GBS can pass to your baby during childbirth, which can create serious and life threatening complications. Knowing your level of risk means that you can be prescribed medication in time for labour in order to keep your baby safe.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

When the birth of a new life means saying goodbye to another...

Back at the start of 2015, having waited 15 days past my due date for the moment to finally arrive, I gave birth to my first child - Arthur. It was a joyous and yet overwhelming experience, filled with awe and wonder and also many, many moments of 'new parent fear'. 

When the birth of a new life means saying goodbye to another

Family and friends came from far and wide to meet this lovely new little person, and watch carefully as we tried to put together some semblance of normal life amidst the sleep deprivation, constant feeding and numerous nappy changes. Feelings of happiness combined with anxiety became the new normal and we shuffled along between us in a state of shock and survival, until 2 weeks later when paternity leave was over and it was time for me to do this mother and baby thing alone.....I'll admit, I got as far as closing the front door behind him, my darling husband, before bursting into tears and sobbing my way back up the stairs, baby in arms, already counting down the minutes until he would be home from work.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Arthur's bedroom interiors - with a little help from Miffy

A few weeks ago I wrote all about decorating Arthur's bedroom - This is definitely still a work in progress, and I suspect that by the time we have totally finished it, it will be time to move Arthur into a new room and put his new sibling in there (thankfully the room is very gender neutral!).  The bedroom has a neutral colour palette with greys and whites to mimic a calming sky-like environment, with designs so far focusing on stars, clouds and aeroplanes. 

There are still a few key pieces to source, such as curtains and theme appropriate cot-bed bedding - the problem here being that Arthur has a cot-bed sized duvet, but a regular sized pillow! I have also struggled to find bedding which is 100% cotton which we prefer....again, perhaps I should just wait now until we buy him a regular sized single bed!?

I love the little extra touches we have added over the last few weeks. Arthur's Daddy was born and raised in Holland, and his grandparents (my parents in law) still live over there, so Miffy (or Nijntje as she is called in Holland) created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna has always had a special place in our home!
 We already had a few Miffy pieces for Arthur, such as books, toys, comforter....but we were recently sent this coat hook and snow globe from the UK Miffy Shop and I think they fit his bedroom theme of aeroplanes and stars really well...

Thursday 8 June 2017

Midwife in a Box from The Natural Birthing Company

Pregnancy - it's supposed to be one of the most natural things in the world, but it doesn't always feel that way does it?? The stress and strain of growing a new life can take its toll on your body and it doesn't necessarily stop once your bundle of joy arrives. From engorgement and soreness to low milk supply....stitches and tears to scar tissue and stretch-marks ...and hot flushes to swelling... the natural birthing company has developed a solution to help make the whole process feel a little more 'natural' and manageable.

Midwife in a box the natural birthing company

I have been lucky enough to try out their 'midwife in a box' which includes their perineal massage oil called 'down below', postnatal compress solution called 'pure bliss', 3 breastfeeding oils called 'bosom buddies' and their cooling body spritz called 'cool it mama' - all wrapped up in a gorgeous box along with 2 cotton organic flannels and some directions and advice on perineal massage.

Saturday 3 June 2017

Father's Day 2017 Gift Guide - 7 gift ideas and giveaway

Well the day is almost upon us - Father's Day: Sunday 18th June 2017 - where we celebrate the role models in our lives who play a Father figure to us or our children. Of course, this isn't always 'Daddy' - it might be Grandpa, Uncle, Brother, partner, family friend or anyone else who helps us, looks after us and deserves a little bit of recognition and spoiling on a special day. 

Father's Day 2017 gift guide

The problem is, it can be hard sometimes to find unique and thoughtful gifts. I've always liked the idea of affordable Father's Day presents so that when Arthur is a little older he can use his own pocket money to carry on the tradition, but at the same time, it is also nice to be a little bit more indulgent!

Whatever your preference, I've compiled a Father's Day Gift Guide List below with lots of lovely ideas for that special person - some with a nice little twist on the old favourites!

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Summer Infant Panorama Digital Colour Video Monitor - Review

Why oh why did I not consider a video monitor before now??!! It's like rediscovering the joy of those newborn days where you just used to stare at them sleeping for hours on end - except this week I've been watching Arthur 'failing' to have a nap and literally howling on the inside at what he gets up to whilst trying not to give the game away!

Summer Infant Panorama Digital Colour Video Monitor review

Saturday 20 May 2017

A Perfect View with Perfect Glasses

Both my Husband and I are short sighted and require correctional lenses in order to see. My prescription is quite bad and so I usually wear contact lenses - but a few years ago I suffered from a serious infection in my cornea called Acanthamoeba Keratitis which left me unable to see in one eye and requiring hospital visits, hourly drops to my eye and a corneal scrape (yes it was as painful as it sounds!) Luckily I made a full recovery, but I was unable to wear contact lenses for quite a while and I often try to give my eyes a break by switching to glasses whenever possible. 

A perfect view with perfect glasses

My Husband on the other hand hates wearing contact lenses and wears glasses every day. Between us we probably spend a small fortune on glasses, frames and lenses and so are always on the look out for reasonably priced glasses online or in store...

Thursday 11 May 2017

The Holiday Bump...

Negotiating a holiday wardrobe whilst pregnant is no easy task. In theory, it sounds perfect: long, cool, floaty dresses, flip flops which don't constrain tired, swollen feet and the ability to wear a bikini without worrying that your tummy might look a bit big, because, well you know - it's supposed to!  

Arthurwears black and white pregnancy bikini and kimono - the holiday bump

Sounds like a match made in heaven, unless of course your ever expanding bump (and body) is not only unpredictable but also out of control. By day 3 of our holidays I'd outgrown my underwear and suddenly realised the perils of having to keep my legs hair-free when I struggled to even see them...

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Decorating Arthur's far...

Decorating Arthur's Bedroom: This little project has been THE slowest bedroom / nursery decoration - possibly ever! It started when I was pregnant with Arthur (before I even started blogging) and now I'm pregnant with the next baby, the nesting mode has had a full on revival! There is nothing like a massive baby bump to make you think that climbing up ladders and bending over furniture (steady) is DEFINITELY the best idea for your bank holiday weekends...

Monday 17 April 2017

Breast Milk Protein - why is it so important for Child Development?

Breast Milk Protein - why is it so important for Child Development?

*Disclosure: advertorial feature

As an Early Years specialist, the brain development of young children from birth to five has not only been a focal point for me as a Teacher and as a Parent, but it is also a subject I am incredibly passionate about.

I am sure that many of us have come across the social memes and quotes on this subject explaining how optimal brain development happens in the first five years of life - and the opportunities we give our children in those five years will impact how the next 80 turn out. It is absolutely true. This can feel like a huge responsibility, and is one of the reasons I always endeavour to provide fun and exciting Learning Through Play opportunities wherever possible.

It starts way before this though - good nutrition and a healthy body are also absolutely critical to brain development and learning, and this is most important in the first 1000 days of life - from pregnancy right through to their 2nd birthday – helping to build their nutritional foundation for life. Remember that saying 'my body is a temple' ? well so is theirs - only they rely on you as a parent or carer to provide them with the good stuff they need in order to develop. Protein being especially important, as it gives them the building blocks they need to develop and grow.

Thursday 13 April 2017

Saturday 8 April 2017

Did I have a traumatic birth? - why things don't always have to 'go wrong' to be wrong...


It has taken me a really long time to write this post...27 months in fact, and even now there is still a part of me that asks, do I have the right to suggest that my birth experience was traumatic? Should there be a real medical emergency and threat to life in order to feel this way, or can the after effects of a certain scenario be enough?

Wednesday 5 April 2017

The most Advanced Facial in West Yorkshire? - Ilkley Beauty Clinic introduces the new CACI Synergy

CACI Synergy non-surigcal facelift at Ilkley Beauty Clinic

How about this for a non-surgical face-lift facial: Red and blue LED light therapy combined with microcurrent energy, orbital dermabrasion, ultrasonic peeling, hydratone and CACI's unique Wrinkle Comb (a non surgical 'botox' alternative) ... these are just a few of the advanced technology techniques used by Zoe at the Ilkley Beauty Clinic with the brand new CACI Synergy system - favoured by celebrities such as Meghan Markle. 

I have tried the classic version of this amazing machine previously at Ilkley Beauty Clinic and been astounded by the results (you can see my before and after photos of the facial here) so frankly, this sound of this new one, and all the extras it had to offer, had me more than a little bit excited!!

Thursday 16 March 2017

Should I give in and try controlled crying?... I think I've found my answer...

Should I give in and try controlled crying? I think I've found my answer

This isn't the first time I have sat down and asked myself this question. Usually, after a particularly tiring night I might whisper the words in the back of mind - but then just as quickly I seem to push them away with even louder thoughts of "never, never, never..."

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Mark making activity box for pre-writing and emergent writers

Mark making activity box for emerging writers

When we are thinking about how to help young children become successful writers, there are a number of steps, or pre-requisites,  which must come before the expectation of a good pencil grip and the ability to form letters. The ability to mark make starts with the physical development of the child - esssential elements include building on their gross motor skills first and foremost before moving onto fine motor control and eventually pencil grip. Building up the muscles in their chest, shoulders, arms and hands is a really important process that young children must have the opportunity to go through before being expected to sit and form letters or write sentences - and this starts right at the beginning, through the use of 'tummy time' with babies.
This blog post isn't going to focus on these larger movements, I'll save that for another post! This piece will hopefully give you some ideas of the kinds of resources and activities you can do with children who are ready to start exploring mark making, or who are also getting lots of gross motor development alongside their mark making opportunities. The key, as always, is to keep things fun and interesting!

Wednesday 1 March 2017

The Importance of Learning Through Play Outside - Wigwams and WOW moments

Big Game Hunters WigWam

One of the biggest mistakes we can make as educators and/or parents of young children is planning for and seeing the outdoors as something entirely separate to the indoor setting. In the Early Years, wherever possible the outdoor area should be an extension of the indoor classroom - not a carrot dangled on a stick in the form of 'playtime', used as a reward once the more 'important' work and activities have been completed inside. Often, when 'outdoor play' is confined to short bursts, we see a lot of 'low level' learning taking place and 'playing around' rather than quality play - simply because the children don't have the time to engage in all of those important processes that result in quality learning and interactions, deep level learning and sustained shared thinking...

Sunday 12 February 2017

XYZ Smart Collagen Luxe Cream Review and Giveaway

XYZ Smart Collagen Review

Just before Xmas I was sent some of the XYZ Smart Collagen Luxe Cream to try out. I had heard of this cream before in the past, but only in relation to the 'tattoo healing' cream it was originally developed to be used as. Having the grand total of zero tattoos myself, this sort of passed me by - but I can see how this would work. The cream is now being hailed as the next best thing for wtrinkles and anti-ageing - claiming to Increase your skin’s natural collagen production to lift, firm and smooth the skin and visibly reduce lines and wrinkles, making you look 7.5 years younger.....which at the age of 31 would give me the face of a 24 year old. Yes please! Having been endorsed by the likes of Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan and being 100% vegan, it certainly grabbed my attention. As with most skincare reviews, I like to give it a try over a number of weeks in order to see a true result. 

Sunday 5 February 2017

I haven't written in a's why...

I haven't written in a while, here's why

It's been a while since I've published a blog post...not since last year in fact, which makes it sound significantly longer!!

I'd already got used to cramming most of my blogging into the hour of 9-10pm once I'd 'finally' managed to get my toddler to sleep, but then on Christmas Eve it just hit me with full force: morning sickness...