Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Never underestimate a cardboard box

The entertainment value of a simple box never fails to amaze me. It can be a car, a house, a den anything you want.
In our case it was a tunnel. For 20 minutes Seb crawled through it back and forth giggling like it was the best thing ever.
The box has now been cut up to use as floor protection for messy play. Endless uses!

Monday, 27 February 2012


This weekend has seen lots of firsts for Seb.
  • He has learnt to climb the stairs.
  • He can also now climb onto the sofa.
  • He went on his Smartrike for the very first time and loved it.
  • And now he can walk(though he prefers to crawl) this week we are going to get his first shoes!! As a shoe addict i'm incredibly excited about this!
It never fails to amaze me how quickly they grow and change.
We weighed him today and he is now 26lb 6, where did my little baby go?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Activity: Wibble Wobble

This is a really messy one but so cheap and easy.
We've done this activity a few times from when Seb was around 10 months old and you could do it with a younger baby too though beware they may just eat it all up.

Its jelly! Yes the wobbly stuff is great fun to play with and explore.
All you need is some jelly(i get the sugar free stuff and make it up but you could buy ready made)and some containers. You may also want to cover your floor for this one.

I make up the jelly, plonk Seb into his highchair, pop the set jelly onto his tray along with some containers and away he goes.
He loves squishing the jelly between his fingers, and picking up chunks of it and moving it in and out of containers, throwing it and eating it.
Even when we first started doing this at 10 months, it kept him amused for as long as 30 minutes which is amazing for that age. Its really fun to get yourself messy with this too get squishing the jelly in your hands, it encourages Seb more when i'm 'helping'.This is fantastic for a little ones fine motor skills and also for using their senses of taste, smell, sight and touch as well as just being a great excuse to be silly with them. You can introduce new words by talking about the textures and tastes.
Obviously it doesn't have to be done in a highchair, you can do it in a big container, or on the floor with a plastic covering or even in a cheap paddling pool.

Because Seb is only young i've always stuck with just a basic one colour jelly and he loves it but you could do loads with this for older children.
Why not make several colours seperately, or layered jelly. You can set things like plastic bugs or animals. inside the jelly for them to find. You could set fruit into it too.
If they are old enough get them to watch or help to make the jelly up, for us its everyday but for them seeing something change from powder(or jelly cubes) to liquid to jelly is just magical.
Or how about getting several flavours and doing a blindfolded taste test.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday is caption day!

I provide the image and you provide the caption.
This was taken at my parents house last January when Seb still fit in his carrycot(so long ago now!).

Friday, 24 February 2012

Recipe: Root veg soup

I make alot of soup, pretty much every week i make a batch up and freeze it in portions for Seb to have for a healthy lunch throughout the week. I love that you can bung pretty much anything in and it will taste good, you don't need to stick to a recipe and can use up all your leftovers.

For my root veg soup i used
  • Half a parsnip
  • A carrot
  • Half a small portion of swede
  • Half a sweet potato
  • A small onion
  • 1 veg stock cube(check the salt if giving to little ones)
  • 500ml boiling water
  • A little veg oil
Chop up all the veg into chunks. Pop into a pan with the oil and fry for a couple of minutes until the onion is softened. Meanwhile dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Add the stock to the veg and bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer.
Leave to simmer for 20-30 mins until the veg softens.
We like our soups smooth, so pop the soup into the blender and then blitz it. If too thick you can add a bit of hot water to the mix and blitz it for a few seconds.
I then leave to cool and portion it off into labelled freezer bags. One fully cool i freeze it and get it out as and when i need it.
Seb loves this on its own or with a bread roll to dunk in(M&S sell fab mini sized ones)


I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Hollybobs in a Meme all about firsts.
I enjoy these, its a good way to find out about the person behind the blog.

Who was your first boyfriend?
My first proper boyfriend was Clive when i was in year 7 or 8 at school. It lasted about a month i think.

First person you kissed? My first kiss was with the same boy, it was behind a bush on the school field, very romantic. It was awful too!

First Job? While still at school, apart from regular babysitting i had a job at Waitrose working weekends. It funded my nights out and clothes habit.

First pay packet? What did you do with it? It would have most definately have been spent on clothes and alcohol.

First CD you remember buying? Wonderwall by Oasis on single. I played it non stop for weeks.

First holiday abroad? I was tiny so i don't remember but i imagine it would have been somewhere like Spain.

What age were you when you moved out of your parents home? I was 19 when i officially moved out and went to uni but i had been pretty much living at a boyfriends house before them.

Now for the tagging!
I tag
Mel from The Adventures of Mummy, Daddy and Finn
Bethany at Momma and Baby Boy
Chloe at A Twenty Something Mum

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review: Organix Goodies Mini Cheese Crackers

The lovely people at Organix sent me(and Seb) some of their new Organic Mini Cheese Crackers last week. I was excited about this as i had seen them on their website and was wanting to get some as we are total cheese fiends in this house.

These retail at £1.99 and for that you get a box containing 4x20g bags of the crackers so it works out around 50p a pack which is pretty good.
Each bag has a generous amount of bit sized crackers inside, for Seb a bag would last for 2 snacktimes as he is only 14 months but obviously an older toddler would eat more.
I am quite fussy with food that i give Seb, snackwise he doesn't have crisps or sweets(he had a couple of choc buttons on his birthday and Christmas) so its always good to find something new that i am happy for him to eat. These are baked and contain organic wheat and rice flours, they have no added salt, no artificial colours or flavours and no hydrogentated fat.

Now onto the most important thing.. the taste!
Seb gobbled his up and of course i had to try some too. They are really tasty, of course they taste cheesey but its not overpowering. Seb has had his plain at snacktime and also dunked in homemade soup. I think they'd also be nice with cheesespread.

My overall verdict is that these are fab to keep in your handbag for when you're out and about and make a fab snack for your little one(and mum too).

These will be available from Boots, Waitrose and Asda.
For more info on these click here

**These were sent to me for review but the opinons expressed are my own**

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pancake day!

Just in case you didn't know its Shrove Tuesday tomorrow! Whats your favourite topping? For me it has to be nutella, yum!
I'm popping up a couple of recipes one for traditional pancakes and one for buttermilk pancakes and some ideas for toppings for little ones.

Traditional pancakes(makes 8-19 pancakes)
150g plain flour
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
350ml semi skimmed milk
25g melted butter
sunflower oil(for frying)

Sieve the flour into a bowl and stir the sugar in. Whisk together the egg, egg yolk and milk together in a jug then pour into the flour and sugar and whisk together to make a smooth batter. The stir in the butter. Leave to rest for around 10 minutes.
Put some oil into the pan on a medium heat and leave until hot.
The pour in some of the batter, until is covers the base and cook for around a minutes then flip and cook the other side until cooked through.

Buttermilk pancakes(makes 12 pancakes)
100g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 eggs, seperated
200ml buttermilk
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Combine the egg yolks and buttermilk in a jug and pour into the flour mix and whisk until smooth. Then fold in the egg whites.
Heat 1tsp of the oil in the frying pan and drop in spoons of batter around 5 to 6 cm in diameter. Cook for around 2 minutes each side until cooked through. Remove and repeat until all the batter is used.

Yummy toppings for little people(or yourself)Link
  • Sweetcorn
  • Grated cheese
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Tinned peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Cooked apple slices with cinnamon
  • A really easy topping for babies is using a little of a fruit pouch, i used a little of a Baby Zilli blueberry pouch on a pancake a few weeks ago and Seb loved it. Although they are stage 1 weaning pouches they are great for squirting into yoghurt, porridge etc even as your little one gets bigger especially if the fruit is out of season.
  • Chocolate spread
  • Jam
  • Honey(not before 12 months)
  • Ice Cream
  • Squirty cream
  • Golden Syrup

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Daddy Daycare

So who watched this last night? What did you think? I hated it.
What a ridiculous programme!
If you didn't watch it was 3 men, one who never spent time with his kids, one who who had an unexpected baby and had subsequently booked a vasectomy and the last didn't want children with his partner. They were put to work in a large nursery for a week.

The nursery was staffed by mums. Several were shown basically saying men know nothing etc. I did wonder what would happen if a man applied for a job there? Yes some men are a bit rubbish but there are some amazing dads and childcare workers out there.

Now some of the tasks they were left to do were quite frankly daft, i felt sorry for the men. In once scene one of the dads was left to get 12 toddlers to lie on their sleep mats and nap. How many people could do that? The nurseries i've worked in don't leave one person to get 12 toddlers to sleep and i doubt many people could actually do it unless the toddlers were very compliant!

For me it would have been much more interesting to have them speak about their issues and try to work through those and then perhaps have them spend time with their own children.

At the end of the programme, the first dad spent one who day with his kids, the second had his vasectomy and the third was trying for a baby(i think the change of heart would be more to do with him talking about why he didn't want a baby rather then spending a week in an nursery)

I think it would be interesting to see a programme on men who work in childcare, the positive things they bring to a setting and the prejudices they face.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Early Learning Centre Haul

At the weekend me and Phil had a little Early Learning Centre Haul. I went on to order one thing and ended up order a few more things too.
I really struggle not to spoil Seb, i get such a buzz buying stuff for him but at the same time i don't want to spoil him.
Anyway, here is what we ordered.
Happyland Sports Day Racetrack
Happyland People of the WorldAquadoodle, i'm keeping this until he is a little bigger but it was on offer
Bath toySkittles, this is for 2 plus but Seb loves throwing balls at stuff so i think he will love it! Triangle, now this is a 3 plus toy but again Seb loves instruments so we will just have it out when we are sat playing with him and can stop him doing anything he shouldn'tAnd thats everything!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Activity: Playdough play

And here is my little terror playing with the dough we made. As he is so little its more about touching the dough for him rather then doing anything with it. I let him get to grips with it and gave him a few utensils and showed him how to make marks in the dough.
He quite enjoyed it, although i do think he is a little young and will get more from it as he grows.
If your little ones are older theres loads you can do with dough, heres a couple of ideas
  • Cooking, give them all sorts of kitcheny things and let them pretend to cook. Old pans and cutlery are good, as are cake cases if they want to pretend to bake, you could even give them a tub of hundreds and thousands to decorate with.
  • Instead of just using dough to model give them shells, stones, straws, buttons to use in the modelling too.
  • Let the dough dry out a little and carve it instead of modelling with it.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Activity: Making playdough, basic recipe and variations

We made playdough. I've not made my own playdough for ages but now Seb is getting older i thought we'd have a go. Its really easy to make and is fun for children of all ages.

Put 2 cups of plain flour and 1 cup of salt in a bowl
Then add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 cup of water. If you want to make it coloured pop food colouring into the water before adding, make sure you add quite alot to get a good colour. I used blue and also added some blue glitter i had lying around.
Mix the ingrediants into a paste then put into a saucepan and cook on a low heat. Don't worry if its gloopy it will gradually come together in the pan and become a dough and form a ball. When it has cooled enough take the dough out of the pan and knead for several minutes.
Make sure you soak the pan right away to make sure all the residue will come off.
You should end up with a soft ball of dough like this. This dough will last a week or so kept in an airtight container. If you want to make a longer lasting dough you can add cream of tartar to the mixture which will make it last for several months again if kept in a container.

As i said above you can add any colour to the dough and you i also added glitter. Other things you can do include;

  • Add sparkly stars for magic dough
  • Add the food colouring once the dough is cooked and then knead it in to get a marble effect
  • Make smelly dough by adding peppermint essence, ginger, cinnamon, strawberry flavouring, lemon juice etc
  • Make stretchy dough by using self raising flour rather then plain
Once you have had fun with the dough, you can cook it in a hot oven until it goes hard(from 10-20 mins usually) and once cooled you can decorate it with paints, glue and glitter etc

Do you make your own dough? What do you add to it?

Tomorrow i'll be posting about playing with the dough.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Strict routine or baby led?

I saw this on a friends Facebook profile and it made me smile.
Now i don't for one second have any issue with people who follow Gina Ford or any other routines out there, its whatever works for you but i knew even before Seb was born it wouldn't work for me. I don't like strict routine and so wouldn't impose one on my baby.

Instead we went for a baby led approach, it wasn't something i thought about, i just went with the flow. Fed on demand when he was small, let him sleep when he wants to sleep and i would never wake him unless absolutely necessary.
For us it works well, we have a rough order to the day but no definate times for things and i have a very laid back boy. He gradually set his own bedtime finally settling on 7pm and we've stuck at that but thats about all.

While doing training to be a nursery nurse(many moons ago) it was rammed into us that babies NEED a strict routine and that followed through into nursery work that i did, set times for meals, naps and acitivities. Yet when i went onto to do my degree in Early Childhood Studies i did alot of reading and got more experience and my thoughts changed.
Yes certain things need to be done each day and its easier if you have some kind of order to it especially in those early days but i don't think a one routine fits all approach is necessary and in some cases can add pressure onto new mums, why get a baby up at 7am if they are sleeping soundly? Why not catch up on a bit of sleep yourself?
As long as everything gets done does it really matter if its not done at a certain time?


ETA- Thank you for the comments on this post, if i reply to each them i will be repeating myself on each one so i'll say it here. Its really interesting getting everyones views and i hope people enjoy reading mine. I think its very much down to your personality and your own baby as to how you approach these things!

Saturday is caption day!

I provide the image and you provide the caption!

An outtake from our messy play photos.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Huggies Cotton Soft Sheets

Huggles cotton soft sheets
When i saw these Huggies Cotton Soft Sheets while doing my weekly online shop i popped them into my basket right away. When Seb has a tooth coming he gets very bad nappy rash for a couple of days, it comes very quickly and bleeds and he cries so much when i change him that it makes me cry too. I have been using cotton wool balls and water to clean him instead of wipes when it happens and give him nappy free time and it clears quickly then reappears when the next one is coming.
I'm sure many of you know that its not easy cleaning them with cotton wool balls or pads, especially when you get the horrible poo that comes along with teething too. So thats why i was keen to try these out.
Made with natural fibres they are billed as an alternative to other cotton wool products as they are the size of a baby wipe meaning you get better coverage and they are gentle enough for newborns. You can use them dry, with water or with cream.

The packaging is much like a bag of cotton wool with the drawstring close at the top. You get 60 in a pack and they pull out one by one, joined a bit like sheets of loo roll. I did find the first couple of sheets ripped when pulled out but the rest were fine. They feel basically like a dry wipe but softer.

The first use of mine was on Sebs sore bum, i used them with warm water and i was impressed, they stayed strong and cleaned up sticky poo with no problems.
Then while Seb has been poorly i have used them dry on his nose as an alternative to tissue, again they worked well. He has managed not to get sore and dry around the sensitive bit under his nose.

Overall i am pretty pleased with these, i think they are a good idea. They would be fab to take in your hospital bag instead of normal cotton wool and also would be good for topping and tailing. I also think they would be good with cleanser on to take off mummys make up. They retail at around £1.50 a pack and i imagine some shops will have them on offer due to them being a new product.
I'll be getting some more and keeping them for days when Seb has nappy rash and also for when we go our Haven break for quick clean ups.

Have you tried these yet?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Activity: Tray Painting

Yay more messy play! Todays post is a good way of introducing painting to older babies and toddlers who are a bit young to enjoy more traditional painting. Seb is 14 months now and is not ready for proper painting on paper yet so this is a fun alternative for us.

I got these Early Learning Centre Finger Paints for Seb for Christmas, they are aged 3+ but are also fantastic for younger children due to the thickness of the paint. They are great for doing hand and foot printing too. They come in packs of 4 for less then a fiver, i chose the neon brights. I really recommend these.
For this i picked the green.
Basically i painted Sebs highchair tray with a thick layer of the paint and put a few utensils on for him to play with. Then Seb was stripped down to his nappy. I know when i do messy play posts he tends to just be in a nappy but i find it much easier then using protective clothing as i can just chuck him straight in the bath after and theres no washing to do.
Into his highchair he went, i showed him how to use the utensils to make marks in the paint and also to make marks with his fingers too and he soon copied me. Remember to keep a cloth or wipes handy to wipe your hands. When marks had been made in the paint we got a sheet of paper laid it on top and made a print. Great for giving to grandmas!This isn't something that kept Seb amused for ages, probably 15 mins max and he did try to eat the paint off of the utensils but as long as you watch your little one like a hawk they shouldn't ingest too much!
Its a really simple activity and is very easy to clean up, the paint came off quickly with antibac wipes.

You don't have to do it on a highchair, any washable surface will work for this. It would be fab to do on surfaces with different textures for little ones to feel through the paint and would also be great to do outside in summer to minimise mess!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Thinking about number two

Maybe i'm mad but the day after having Seb, i was sat in my hospital bed with him fast asleep in his cot and i turned and asked Phil when we were going to have another. Obviously i was semi joking but i have always wanted a big family. My mum was one of 6, I am one of 4 and my sister has 5 children so we have quite a large family really.
Ideally i would love to have 6 children, and if we won the lottery i would happily buy a big house and fill it up but sadly we have to be practical and so 2 or 3 children will be our limit. I don't want huge gaps, i am the youngest by 8 years and though i had a fab upbringing i would have loved a sibling close in age to me.

But when do you start planning for baby number 2? How do you know when its the right time? Is there ever a right time?

I have been so broody since Seb was born, my womb literally aches for another baby and i can't help but cry everytime a baby is born on tv. I think mother nature is trying to tell me something! Phil is broody too, even he gets a little tear when watching One Born Every Minute and coos over newborns when we are out.
Before now its not been practical to have another, financially it would have been a struggle and we don't have the space.... but in January we are hoping to move somewhere bigger and our finances are on a more even keel these days now so maybe we are heading towards the right time.
Oh but we're getting married in September, do i want to be a pregnant bride? Its all such a big decision!

If you are onto number 2 or 3 or more, how do you know when its the right time?!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday is caption day!

I've seen this on a few blogs so i'm giving it a go!

I provide the imagine, you provide the caption xxx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: Early Learning Centre Martian Moonhouse

Happyland Martian Moonhouse

As you can tell i love the ELC Happyland range! We've always had it for children in our family and also in the nurseries i have worked in. It grows with your child.
This was one of Sebs Christmas presents, you can buy it for £40 here. Remember to join the birthday club as you receive a 20% off voucher a few weeks before your little ones birthday meaning we got this for £32 as his birthday is in November and we had a voucher.

The moonhouse comes with 3 aliens, an alien pet a spacecraft and a moon mobile. Here they are from the front.

and the backI came across this when looking for a dolls house type thing for Seb, i wanted a house with people for him to play with but they all seem to be aimed at girls, and while i don't mind him playing with pink girly things i think a full on girly pink dolls house would have been a bit too much.
So i found this, an alien house and family. It has a kitchen, sleep casule, garage and even a hot tub! It also has a slide and a trap door. It makes lots of sounds when you do various things.

Seb really likes this, even before it was out of the box on Christmas day he was playing with it. The aliens are a great size for his hands and the house itself is really sturdy. He loves making the sounds work and putting the aliens down the slide. Its nice and bright making it very attractive to a toddler.
My favourite thing about this is that it has an off button! Also you can change the volume of the sounds!! Apart from that its great for imaginative play, creating stories and talking about what the aliens are doing so its also quite social. Its also fab for developing fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Do you have this toy? What do you think of it?

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