Tuesday, 12 December 2017

How to Correctly Lift Your Little One

Have you ever felt a little strain or twinge in your back after carrying around your child? Did you know that one of the biggest causes of back injury is by lifting children? While the simple answer would be to stop carrying your toddler or child about, in reality this can often be impractical. We’ve all been there when our toddler has refused to walk that one time you’re running late or when we’ve quickly swept them up to show them something above their line of sight. Who hasn’t felt the strain of not only carrying a heavy car seat about but also in trying to angle it into the car? There are many ways in which we can put ourselves at risk when carrying our children, but here are a few tips to help reduce that risk… 

When lifting, keep your child close to you. Injuries can occur when you lift your child with arms outstretched. Place your feet shoulder-width apart- if your legs are closer together, you’ll lack stability.

Avoid bending down from the waist, instead squat down and keep your spine relaxed and straight with your head facing forward, then, using your legs, straighten to a standing position. 

Never twist when lifting! Pick your child up and then turn. 

As hectic as life can be with small children, it’s always worth taking a bit more time to employ safe lifting techniques. Back injuries can have a huge impact on your day to day life.

Have you ever had a back injury directly related to lifting your child? Let me know in the comments below.


Our Letterbox Cake from bakerdays

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to try a Letterbox gift cake by bakerdays! And seeing as today is my little boy’s second birthday, as if we need an excuse to celebrate with a tasty cake! 


You can order personalised and unique cakes, boxes of cupcakes and balloons posted directly to your door from bakerdays! I was happy to learn that they offer gluten, wheat free and dairy free cake options also. 

I decided to order a chocolate cake with a dinosaur theme and added a photo of my little boy too. The cake then arrived exactly when requested and was packaged very securely. The packaging was sleek and tasteful, presented in it’s own little tin. I really did love the addition of birthday balloons, candles and a party hooter too, it was a lovely touch. If I was to offer any one suggestion as to how the experience could be improved, it would be to put in slightly more robust balloons as they did pop instantly. Seeing as the balloons were an added little extra that we hadn’t anticipated, I do feel a little coy about suggesting this, but balloons, when you are two years old are quite simply the best thing ever!


I genuinely couldn’t fault the cake. The dinosaur design was fun, bright and colourful, the lettering was clear and the photo I provided printed very well. The cake was very tasty and chocolatey, I was very impressed!

We will definitely order a cake from bakerdays in the future, in fact for my eldest boy's birthday which is quickly approaching. Having a cake with a real picture of one of them on was really exciting for my boys. I can’t wait to try some other flavours and try some other designs too!

Thank you bakerdays!

I’m excited to announce that you can win a letterbox cake of your very own! Just enter my competition below via the Gleam app for your chance to win! Good luck!


Win a Letterbox Cake from bakerdays

Monday, 11 December 2017

Win a signed and framed print by Freya Morgan and Ecover goodies!

Recently I was able to try Ecover’s New Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent as part of their Ecover Laundry Challenge. I found the scent of this detergent really beautiful and on top of this, it was gentle on the boy’s skin and also did a wonderful job of removing stains.

I’ve been given the chance to host a giveaway with Ecover!
You can WIN a signed & framed copy of this beautiful illustration by Freya Morgan, the designer of the illustrations on the new Ecover bottles, as well as a gorgeous laundry bag with both the detergent and fabric conditioner too!



You can enter via the Gleam App below. Good luck!!  
Win a signed and framed print by Freya Morgan and Ecover goodies!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Tomorrow You Are Two

To my littlest boy,
Tomorrow you are two. I’ve been thinking about this fact a lot the last couple of days because truth be told, I’ve not quite wrapped my head around the fact you are one and have been for a whole year. Since you arrived it feels like the laws of time have shifted. Sometimes I go to pick you up expecting a baby and there’s a toddler in my arms, I fetch you a toy from the toy box and realise that developmentally, you’ve outgrown it. And sometimes I hear a little one talking, proper words, sentences even, and I catch my breath realising that it’s you. This began the very moment we met, when my hour-old baby was suddenly two days old, my two-week old suddenly a month old. I was aware of it every-time I tried to put you in a baby grow that you’d suddenly grown out of, every-time you hit a milestone; clapping, crawling, walking, running, jumping… time runs away and it feels like I’m always a few paces behind. But this feeling, the simmering panic that my baby is passing me by, has taught me to slow down. It has taught me that time is so very, very precious. That if you want a cuddle, or to read a book, or to show me a car out the window, then nothing, no household chore, no outstanding email, no pressing work enquiry will ever, ever triumph over that. Over you. My beautiful boy. By the rules of this new law of time, you may well be sixteen ‘next week’ but today you are still one. And so this evening, as I tuck you in to bed, as brief as I know this will be, I think I’ve caught up.

Happy birthday Squish.     


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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Wicked Uncle Christmas Gift Guide.

We’ve been really excited to work with Wicked Uncle this Christmas and were thrilled to be given the opportunity to test some of their toys which we picked from their website. Wicked Uncle offers a great selection of unique, interesting and stimulating toys for children. When browsing the website for gifts, it offers a very handy tool which can allow you to select a particular age, gender and/or toy category, for example Brainiac or Adventurer.

The toys I have picked were with my toddler aged 1 years (almost 2!) in mind. Here’s what I selected.

Magnetic Stacking Rocket
This magnetic rocket can be taken apart, rebuilt and taken apart again! It’s a fabulous, sturdy toy and will fascinate toddlers who may not have explored with magnets before. The wooden rocket is visually appealing, complete with a happy little astronaut inside!


Farm Sound Blocks
Next we picked these wooden blocks which make animal noises when the blocks are paired correctly. These blocks are colourful, bright and will encourage your child to problem-solve and learn animal sounds too!  


Sound Puzzle- Farm animals
Lastly we picked this fun wooden peg puzzle which makes the correct animal sounds when the puzzle piece is placed correctly! This adds a whole other level of satisfaction to finding the right slot!


There is a great array of toys over at Wicked Uncle and they also offer the chance to have your products gift wrapped in a choice of fun wrapping paper, as well as to be delivered with a greetings card and/or personalised gift message! 

My little boy is going to be so over the moon with these presents on Christmas morning!  Thank you Wicked Uncle! 

Disclaimer: I received the toys in exchange for my unbiased review.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Exploring the books of Anne Stairmand

This month we’ve been reading the books of Anne Stairmand! My little boy, aged 4, was absolutely thrilled with his copy of Desmond’s Dragon. This lovely story follows the tale of a dragon- obsessed little boy who longs for a dragon of his very own. And that’s just what he gets! After discovering a baby dragon in his garden one evening, so begins a funny and charming little adventure between the two as they spend the day at school together. My little boy was giggling away as the dragon gets up to all manner of mischief. The book is presented with bright and interesting illustrations which my little boy enjoyed exploring. We loved this tale and it has a a sweet little ending too.


We’ve also been delighted to explore the book Archie Dingletrotter’s Flying Caravan which explores the tale of a little boy who travels with his family from village to village in a colourful caravan. One day they arrive in a wonderful little setting and decide to stay. Archie makes new friends and enjoys a very special party! This book has bright and colourful illustrations, perfect for capturing your child’s attention!

For slightly older children Anne Stairmand’s books include; The Phantom Sock Snatcher: the tale of a little boy who, after finding his socks kept disappearing, embarks on an incredible adventure, Petronella Pumpernickel-Pinkstocking-Berck and Big Wart: a story about an unusual girl and her encounters with a new boy at school and The Idiot Family at Home: a story about a very spoilt family and the punishment of community service bestowed on Jimmelta Chew Van Der Bratt! Each of these books feature fun interesting illustrations to enhance the story.


The books of Anne Stairmand are funny, unique and offer a rich array of unconventional and extraordinary characters and story-lines. Why not check these out for yourself. You can find copies of Anne’s books here.


Happy reading! 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Surviving the Run-Up to Christmas

Have you began to make preparations for Christmas yet? Perhaps you've finished your wrapping or perhaps you've barely started to think about it. It's certainly hard to deny that it can all become a little overwhelming at times but this great article by Aaron Joshua reminds what's really important this time of year... 

Surviving the Run-Up to Christmas 

The last few weeks before Christmas are a mixture of excitement, stress and a burning desire to not look at your bank again until January. Every year, the festive period seems to roll around quicker than the last, with retail outlets bringing out the tree and decorations almost as soon as we bid goodbye to summer.

Christmas can be difficult enough, but as anyone who is a parent to young children will confirm, making it out alive can be the best that we can hope for. All of the presents, all of the sugar, and all of the threats that Santa Claus won’t come if you don’t behave is a lot for anyone to digest.

Buying the Presents
Presents, presents, presents. So many to buy, so little money to buy them with. Those with large families understand the struggle of finding a gift for everyone that falls within budget, doesn’t look too cheap and, most importantly, is something they will actually like.

How early you begin Christmas shopping is an indication as to how organised you are. If you are one of those that, smartly, begin buying the odd present in August or September, then please disregard the next paragraph as this does not apply to you.

To those that wait until just a few weeks/days before Christmas to start buying your gifts, this is the beginning of the blind panic. Stock and availability of this year’s must-haves are low and it looks as though you will have a disappointed child on Christmas Day. Also, buying everyone’s presents in the same pay cheque seriously harms your bank balance – hello overdraft city. But, when it is all said and done and you have wrapped all of your presents, it’s all worth it, right?


Decorating
As well as buying presents for everyone, the other traditions that we all swear buy is decorating our homes in brightly coloured festive d├ęcor and erecting a tree to boot. The other tradition, while carrying out this tradition, is for families to have a semi-serious argument about where to put said decorations.

It’s a joyous time and, with young children caught up in the magic of Christmas, seeing the decorations go up is about as exciting as it gets before the big day. This means that we are firmly on the road to Christmas, that Santa’s sleigh is being packed by his elves, and that it is socially acceptable to play Christmas music loud (because it truly isn’t Christmas until we hear Noddy Holder below out “it’s Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaas!”).


Giving
Away from the commercialisation of Christmas in its modern form, it is important to remember what the true meaning of the holiday is - to be thankful for those that we are surrounded by, and to look after one and other. People from all walks of life, whether they are Muslims giving Sadaqah, Christians providing a warm place for the homeless to stay or just making someone else’s day with a simple act of kindness, do their best to give back at this time of year.
Giving doesn’t necessarily mean spending big on the latest craze that will only end up gathering dust by the time February rolls around. Giving doesn’t even have to hold any monetary value whatsoever. Giving is providing someone a hot meal, warm clothes or simply your time. Something that truly makes a difference.

When we remember what the true meaning of Christmas is, suddenly, the trials and tribulations that come with preparing for the festive period wash away.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Why I’d last about a day in a zombie apocalypse (thanks, kids).

Let’s get one thing straight. I would be AWESOME in a zombie apocalypse. Fact. However my kids would suck in one and thus, I’d be lucky to last out the week. Let’s look at some of the key requirements of surviving one and I’ll explain why…

Staying hidden
Now, I’d be pretty good at hiding. I’d make sure I was properly concealed. I’d maybe read a book, catch up on a bit of sleep etc. My Kids? They are crap at it. See the below examples for evidence.




Keeping Quiet
Again, I’d nail this. However, my dear children are utterly incapable of keeping quiet for longer than 3 seconds. Once, I thought they’d achieved a full minute of silence but it was because I’d left some of my chocolate out.

Obtaining supplies
Now, I reckon I could stealthily do a quick scour of the local shops, rummage through a few neighbourhood cupboards and be back in no time. However, my kids would a) have to be told 4356 times to put their shoes on b) one or both of them will have lost their coat c) they would cause all manner of havoc because we were going shopping and not to soft play d) they would do that thing where they go all rigid like a plank so you can’t strap them into their car seat.

Surviving on rations                                                             
Let’s face it. Unless we had an endless supply of cheesy puffs we’d be screwed. Plus all the other things they like eating, such as bananas and cheese, are perishable. Look at the infographic from Data Label below which states just how long food would last in this type of situation. The bright side is, is if we survive 5 years plus we can still all enjoy a custard cream.

Avoiding zombies
The simple fact of the matter is, whereas I would avoid zombies at all costs, my children would make it their life mission to touch one, simply because I’d told them not to. And if I employed reverse psychology and told them to touch one, they would still touch one. DEAD.

So there you have it. 5 reasons my kids will be the death of me come the zombie apocalypse.  


But don’t forget, I would be awesome in one.


*Data Label provided this infographic

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Hot Pink Wellingtons

Winter Car Seat Safety

*Sponsored Post*
Winter is approaching and the days and nights are getting cooler. It’s this time of year where we strive to ensure our little ones are wrapped up snuggly warm against the chill but did you know that you should remove your child’s thick winter coat when they are travelling in a car seat? There’s a reason for this. By leaving your child’s coat on in the car, it creates a gap between your child and their safety harness. If there was to be a collision, the harness wouldn’t be as close to their body as is required to correctly restrain them. So what should we do? When placing your child in the car seat, ensure their coat is removed and that the harness is pulled tight enough that you can get two fingers between the straps and your child. Obviously we don’t want our children to be cold so if required, once they are strapped in, tuck a blanket in around them making sure it doesn’t come above armpit level. You will be able to reach a comfortable temperature using the car heaters and then the blanket can be removed if necessary. Older children will be able to remove the blanket if they become too hot. In addition to this, it’s essential to ensure your child’s car seat is correctly fitted and it’s recommended that your car seat is fitted by a trained car seat adviser.


Drive safe everyone! X

Car seat, baby

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? If you need any inspiration, I've compiled a list of some unique gifts to help you on your way... 

For your children... 
What could be more magical in the lead up to Christmas than receiving a letter from Santa? These beautiful personalised letters are delivered in an envelope from The North Pole and are addressed directly to your child. Each letter is printed on high quality paper and even includes a 'good child' certificate. I can't wait to see my little boys' faces when they find these have arrived! You can order one at Real Santa Letters


For your teen...
My husband and son would absolutely love this Astrobot kit! It can give your child an introduction to robotics by enabling them to build, program and code their Robot. You can buy one here!



For your nieces and nephews...   
I'm a huge fan of personalised books.  They make such lovely keepsakes. This one enables you to star your pet alongside the famous Grumpy Cat! Sure to bring a smile to a child's face on Christmas morning! Grab yours here.



For your chocolate-loving bestie...
Kids and grown ups alike would absolutely love making this chocolate pizza! The kits comes with everything you need to make your pizza and at 7" there's plenty to share (or hide and eat by yourself!) You can pick one up here.



For your unicorn-loving friend...
How about these fabulous unicorn slippers? Perfect for adding a bit of sparkle to those cold winter nights. Grab yours here.


For your gadget man... 
Who wouldn't love a car that can drive up the wall and on the ceiling? Who, I ask you?! Find yours here!



For the Family... 
What better way to spend Christmas afternoon than with the hilarious Game Of Things? Choose a topic eg 'Things.. people do when no one is looking' and then everyone writes down their answers. Then you all try to figure out who said what!



For your crafty friend... 
Your friend will love knitting this gorgeous foxy scarf. It's suitable for all abilities plus every purchase made helps fund Alzheimer's Society's work! 




For your special little person... 
What could be better than the gift of wise words? Wise(ish) Words For Everyone is a personalised book packed with funny and useful advice! You can have the name of your child featured in virtually every page and can also edit each page too. What a fabulous keepsake!  You can create one here.




For yourself...
I'm obsessed with handcream and this one is lovely! It soothes and hydrates dry, rough and chapped skin and leaves your hands feeling silky soft. Perfect for nourishing your hands after all that post nappy-changing hand washing! It makes a great little stocking filler. Nelson's Calendula cream can be purchased here.




So there you have it, my 2017 gift guide! Happy Shopping!! 


*Several of the items were gifted to me in order to feature in this gift guide. All opinions are my own.