Friday, 29 January 2016

Geronimo festival programme

"Geronimo, the largest children’s festival in the North West has announced its most exciting line-up to date, with headliner CBeebies Superstar Justin Fletcher!

The biggest star on British children’s TV will be performing for one day only at each festival on Sunday 29th May at Tatton Park and 1st May at Harewood House. 

Known for his starring role in CBeebies shows Something Special, Justin’s House and Gigglebiz, Justin Fletcher will be performing his signature act on the festival’s main stage. 

With more acts and activities still to be announced, Geronimo is a fantastic day out for the whole family, promising an exciting programme of acts, amazing experiences and wonderful adventures.

The programme, includes:
The return of Mr Bloom to the Geronostage Zone! Geronimites can ‘pop along’ and say ‘Ello!’ with Mr Bloom, where there’ll be a bundle of veggie stories, gardening games, and catchy nursery songs for toddlers and parents alike. 
Our favourite explorer, Andy Day will be performing his Dino Rap show filled with tales of his adventures to far away lands as well, and Alex Winters from CBeebies will be hosting the main stage each day, along with daily meet and greets. 
Join Cook and Line from Swashbuckle in a rip-roaring pirate adventure! Full of fun songs and silly slapstick comedy, this energetic and interactive performance will be loved by children of all ages.

The Adrenaline Zone will challenge even the bravest adventurers with tree climbing, den making and a thrilling zip line that will reach speeds of up to 60KPH! For those who like things a little less fast paced, there are fencing and archery taster lessons and Parkour sessions where Geronimites can learn how to jump and roll like a Pro.

New for 2016 is the Arena Zone, an extravaganza of live displays featuring motorbike display teams, sheepdog shows with a difference (we haven’t got any sheep so we had to use geese instead!) and owls in the falconry show- on horseback. For history fans, watch the Knights of the Royal Order as they carry out a live joust, or check out a local band of cowboys showing off their horse handling skills.

If you thought the Library Zone sounded dull then think again! Join some dance classes to learn Bollywood or Zumba moves or enjoy a gigantic drumming session – beware, it’s going to be noisy! For fans of Frozen, there will be a Frozen singalong and the talented Mr Yipadees show will be bringing instruments to life.

Catch award winning theatre productions in The Theatre Zone, with Pocket Story Theatre - winner of the primary times children’s choice awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. Fabularium is the most eccentric of travelling shows and Les Enfants Terrible present the Imaginary Menagerie--- travel with Dr Longitude as he regales you with his strange stories and takes about his travels.

Gasp in awe at the breathtaking aerial trapeze show, try your hand at plate spinning, or hop onto stilts in the Circus Zone. This zone also includes a full circus show and Circus fudge will also be performing his show from Glastonbury festival – don’t miss it!

Enjoy a hands-on wildlife experience in The Pasture Zone where kids of all ages can climb aboard for a ride on one of the donkeys or Shetland ponies.

Crocodile Joe will be hosting his amazing reptile show and new for this year, there will be the largest collection of giant Tortoises coming to Geronimo.

In the 3ft and Under Zone, little ones can join a fun class with Tumble Tots, take a ride on a balance bike or take a dance lesson with baby ballet. For the tiny tots, simply chill out in the baby yoga tent.

Fans of live music are in for a treat at the Bandstand Zone with popular acts on throughout the day. The lineup will be announced shortly.

Creative kids can join in the many craft workshops in the Funky Junk. From amazing woodwork workshops, hair braiding, face painting and fairy making workshops, to stone carving and totem pole making, there is something for everyone to get stuck in to.

Or why not enjoy some old fashioned fun in the Fairground Zone? With an old fashioned Helter Skelter, traditional carousel and steam powered swing chairs for kids and grown ups who are still kids at heart!

And where better to have some fun than in the beautiful woodlands of Tatton Park and Harewood House? Transformed into the Woodland Zone, Geronimites can make a mud pie or fairy potion, learn to create a whistle from a carrot or build a den. Older kids can monkey around in the trees in a mobile high ropes course or strap on a helmet and ride the mountain bike course.

Book your tickets now!"

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Tiny Tickers raising awareness of early heart defects detection

If you remember last year I was sharing Tiny Tickers posts and as the cause is close to my heart I'm sharing it with you again this year.

"National Heart Month is in February and we at Tiny Tickers, the baby hearts charity, are asking you to support Heart Week between 7th - 14th February 2016. Heart Week is a chance to join together 
to help babies born with serious heart conditions by raising vital funds and awareness.
Tiny Tickers is a small national charity that aims to improve the detection, care and treatment of congenital heart disease (CHD) in babies. Tiny Tickers provides specialist training to health professionals and sonographers so they are better equipped to identify a heart defect during a pregnancy scan. We support parents and families dealing with a diagnosis, and we raise awareness
of heart defects in babies so that parents know what signs to look out for.

When heart problems are detected during pregnancy, babies get treatment from the first possible moment- and early detection is shown to greatly improve their chance of survival and long-term quality of life, and lowers the risk of side-effects of heart failure such as brain damage.

Heart Week will help raise vital funds and awareness for the 1,000 babies who are sent home from hospitals every year with an undetected heart condition. 

Martha’s condition was thankfully picked up during pregnancy. Her story perfectly explains how lifesaving early detection can be. Meet Martha here
If you are worried your baby is one of these 1,000, these are the 5 signs that will help you protect your baby.
Think HEART points to a range of symptoms that, although non-specific, may be signs of an underlying heart defect - reducing oxygenated blood flow and needing urgent attention:

  • Heart rate: too fast or slow? (normally 100 to 160 beats per minute)
  • Energy & Feeding: sleepy, quiet, floppy, too tired to feed or falling asleep during feeds?
  • Appearance: a pale, waxy, dusky, blue, purple, mottled or grey colour may mean that not enough oxygenated, red blood is getting to the body (normal oxygen saturations are 95-100%)
  • Respiration: breathing too fast or slow? (normally 40-60 breaths per minute)
  • Temperature: cold to touch - particularly hands and feet?

To get your free Heart Week pack, including your Love Hearts 'Guess the Number of Sweets' game, REGISTER HERE.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: VTech Splash & Sing Bath Book

L has received this lovely Vtech book for her first birthday and we have been using it ever since.

"VTech, the creator of the Electronic Learning Products (ELP) category and the award-winning InnoTab, Toot-Toot Drivers, and Kidizoom handheld toys, is a world leader of age-appropriate learning products. Since 1980, VTech has been developing high-quality, innovative educational products that enrich children's development through fun and smart play".

Vtech Splash & Sing bath toy is a lovely interactive toy which floats in water, plays easy to remember music and makes squeaky noises suitable for kids between 12 -36 months.

At first glace Splash & Sing book didn't seem waterproof to me, maybe because I have never heard of bath books before and I was also worried about the battery and the speaker, but once we placed it in the water it seemed fine.

The speaker side of Splash & Sing Vtech bath book has a plastic brush attached to the side for imaginative play; a flashing key note button, once pressed plays music; switch on and off button and volume button, once pressed can be less loud or louder.

The front page like the rest of the book is waterproof, can be easily cleaned with water or a wipe and has a cute, little squeaky duck.

If you flip the book to pages 2 and 3 you will see a cute monkey with a squeaky ball on the left and on the right side a large bubble which plays music and a song (once pressed) the lyrics of which you and your little one can read or sing together.

Page 4 has a different scene with a monkey character who holds a duck which ones pressed plays a song (lyrics found at the bottom) and different tunes. 

Tip 1: you won't find it in the instructions and it took me few months to work out- when you press a key note to play music also press a big bubble from page 2 or a duck from page 4 for additional monkey or duck sound effects. 

Tip 2: Sometimes key note play different tunes but you can also change them yourself by pressing it every single time music stops.

Tip 3: When you dunk the book under water make sure to shake it to get rid off excess water in the speaker. 

L likes to dance and sing to it's tunes. She also plays with it when I'm taking a bath and she needs to be pre-occupied.

What we didn't like:
- instructions don't explain how to use the book (as per my tips above). Prior to finding out "special functions" I was convinced it was broken as it only played couple of songs. A thorough booklet would be much needed.
- once your little one starts to play with the book in the water you will notice that the music gets quieter. When you flip the pages the speaker part dunks in the water and you can hardly hear the music even if you try to make it louder.

Having mentioned all those negative points we still thoroughly enjoy this book!

Friday, 22 January 2016

From a Mother to Another Charity Campaign

Every other month I try to look through L's clothes and toys to see if I can donate something to families in need, young pregnant mums-to-be. So when JoJo Maman Bebe have asked bloggers to spread the word about their campaign I didn't hesitate. 

"The JoJo Maman Bébé, From a Mother to Another recycling/ charity initiative was launched in 2015 to make sense of clothing waste and as a responsible move to prolong the lifespan of worn baby and children’s clothes. Donated pieces were sorted into sex, size and season and beautifully wrapped as gift packs of co-ordinating outfits which have been distributed via Barnardo’s 
all year. The initiative is now being extended to offer distribution via the Trussell Trust’s Foodbanks and to those displaced by the war in Syria.

From a Mother to Another, the initiative from JoJo Maman Bébé, starts collecting again on 2nd Feb 2016

JoJo will be collecting good quality outgrown or unwanted baby and children’s clothes in, sizes 0-6 years, at their 72 stores across the UK and Ireland. Customers are requested to make up complete
outfits to give something worthwhile this mother’s day. 

Laura Tenison, founder & CEO of JoJo, visited refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley on the Lebanese Syrian border late last year. As a result JoJo launched an urgent appeal to collect winter shoes and
boots for the children living in tents, now under snow. Customers reacted with empathy and the thousands collected are currently being distributed on the ground to refugees with so little".  

Want to help here is how:

"It is crucial to spread the word, and together we can make a difference to disadvantaged children whilst working to reduce
landfill from clothing waste".

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Celebrate National Breakfast Week with Organix


"Organix is celebrating National Breakfast Week (24th – 30th January) to help inspire mums and dads to get a great start to the day with their little ones. So why not shake up breakfast time and try something new. For babies, Organix has a range of tasty cereals and for babies, toddlers and mum and dad why not try one of Organix’ simple and tasty recipes.

Dr Frankie Phillips Nutrition Adviser to Organix shares her reasons why eating breakfast is so important, plus some easy, healthy breakfast ideas that babies - and all the family - will love:

· Research shows it really is the most important meal of the day.

· Breakfast is an energy boost - it replenishes and restores the energy that’s been used up overnight, after all it literally means to “break fast”!

· Eating breakfast has been shown to boost mental and physical performance - giving you and your little one more get up and go, and making you more alert for the day ahead.

· Sitting down to eat breakfast together is a great way to start the day as a family.

· Breakfast is a perfect opportunity to fit in a wide range of healthy nutrients, vitamins, minerals protein and energy - all needed for your little one’s growth and development".

I have been scrolling through Organix breakfast recipes and came across breakfast corn muffins recipe which I will share with you below:

Sounds yummy! I will be trying this recipe in he next few days, hope L likes it!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Review: Doidy cup

When L was introduced to solids we tried different bottles to see which one works best for her. We tried click lock cups with a spout, straw cups, 360 cups etc etc.
We have eventually opted for a sippy cup and then a straw cup, but every now and then L would demand to drink from mummy' s or daddy's cup. We of course try to give her as little water at once as possible but some days she would be so forceful that most of the water would end up on her clothes and floor.

When we received a doidy cup (£3.80)  for review I was very intrigued to see how L would react to a weirdly-shaped cup, which has an open top.

"Doidy Cup is the uniquely slanted training cup. Designed & made in the U.K. it teaches your child to drink from the rim of an open cup from 3 month+...The sloping design allows a more natural upward and downward motion of the hands and arms, it teaches infants to drink from an open cup and how to put it down correctly".

Doidy cup comes in 17 colours which could suit you and your baby as well as be particular helpful for adults who are not capable of drinking from a normal cups. "Can be found in Boots, John Lewis, Kiddicare, JoJoMamanBebe, NCT, Toys r Us Amazon and other baby, pharmacy and health outlets".
 The cup is recommended for newborn from 3 months old and is dishwasher and microwave safe. 
The first few days L tried to completely ignore it, in fact she didn't' like it, I can't remember how many times I had to pick it up and wipe the floor. As nothing was happening I thought that it's not the right time for her and put it in the back of the cupboard. 

Recently I decided to introduce doidy cup again and this time L was more accepting. She tries to hold it by it's handle from both sides, doesn't mind drinking water from it but wouldn't master non-spillage drinking as it seems she can't "see" the water, with milk it is a little more obvious as milk is white and more visible in a pink cup.

Having tried the doidy cup I still have doubts that a 3 months old baby is capable of drinking from it on it's own, having said that we have tried cup feeding before but we didn't proceed with this method as I was worried that newborn L would choke.

I like it's unique slant shape and hoping L will use it more and more to avoid tears when mummy and daddy won't share their big glass of water.

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 15 January 2016

L eats: Organix baby biscuits

L is very fussy with her food, one day she can have all three meal, the next day she won't have lunch, but when it comes to snacks she is always up for it.
For the past few weeks L has been testing Organix baby biscuits and here is what we thought.  

Organix we don’t just make tasty, organic food for children; we aim to help educate parents and children too. Staying true to our word and beliefs is top priority here at Organix and we are committed to never adding anything unnecessary and to setting standards with our food. It's called our No Junk Promise, runs across all of our foods and always will, meaning parents can make an informed choice.

Organix baby biscuits come in 3 different flavours: bananacreamy vanilla and strawberry and cost £1.39 per box. Available from Asda, Boots, Morrisons, Waitrose and Sainsbury's.

These biscuits are recommended from 7 months (stage 2) and were developed in a round shape ("ring") as it is easier to hold with small hands.
Baby biscuits are quite soft and crumbly and melt in a mouth easily.

Flavours are very tender and not overpowering which means will suit most babies. L at first was wasn't sure about these biscuits, but once I started to add them in her porridge she got used to texture and didn't mind eating them as they are. 

To be truly honest I didn't mind them either :-)

Disclaimer: I was sent the items mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Arts & Crafts: no sew felt Quiet book

Just before Christmas I wanted to create something special for my little girl, something I can make myself and L can play with and learn about the world. 

I decided to stock up on assorted colours felt sheets, hot glue gun, Velcro sticky pads and create a no sew Quiet book.
For those who don't know Quiet book is a trendy, handmade felt book which will keep your little ones busy. They can be made professionally and cost a fortune due to time consuming task or they can be made by a loving parent where you can decide if you are planning to use a glue or a sewing machine as well as make it more suitable for your child's age.

As I don't have much time on my hands I have decided to use no sew method and create few pages with L's favourite animals, coloured stacking rings and coloured shapes.

I was cutting and gluing when L was napping/sleeping roughly for a week which felt like forever! From excited and motivated self I finished the book feeling relived, knowing that I won't be able to repeat it ever again!

I have glued all the small bits so that L won't lose them and the rest left loose for L to attached direct to the felt (felt to felt) or onto Velcro (felt to Velcro). 

To bind the book I have used double sided eyelets, threaded the ribbon through and tied it at the back.

Tip 1: Use a pen to draw a 'sketch' on a felt

Tip 2: If you decide to make your your no sew Quiet book, don't waste your time on printing templates. Find a relevant page you want to copy. I.e. Google 'stacking rings Quiet book', open a picture on your laptop and put a felt sheet over the image and follow the lines with the pen, quick and easy!

Tip 3: Pick simple designs as it is easier to draw by just looking at the image on the screen.

Tip 4: use PVA glue instead of hot glue gun as it can burn your fingers and leave marks on the surface when used for small felt pieces.

Tip 5: Don't over do it with fancy stuff as the smaller the child the greater the chance that they can try to reap it apart.

Tip 6: Have a separate small bag for all the detachable pieces.

Overall time spent on making Quiet book- 1 week
Overall money spent on making Quiet book: £13.86

- 42 coloured felt sheets (30cm x 20cm) £8.16
- glue gun £3.65
- eyelet and pliers £2.05

And here is my creation:
All pieces are detachable and either can be attached felt to felt or felt to Velcro strip.

Quiet book can make a great toy if supervised by an adult and can make a great keepsake.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Review: Pampers Baby-Dry Pants

Nappies are one of the most used baby products in many households. Before L was born we bought 10 packs of nappies to last us a month, which wasn't too expensive comparing how much we pay now for them in a bigger size. 
Put the price aside it's all about quality and comfort and Pampers as a one of the top nappy brands promises to protect our babies bums.

We were sent a pack of Pampers Baby- Dry pants in size 4 worth £5 for a pack of 23 pants. 
Pampers Baby- Dry pants have extra absorbent layer, extra breathable, provide up to 12 hours of dryness and all-round stretch material.
I was looking forward to testing Baby-Dry pants as they are incredibly useful if L won't sit still whilst changing her nappy. We have tried pull ups before, it was a trial purchase to see if you can use pants nappies on a daily basis, but I have decided against  the supermarket's own brand as they were a bit too tight and L had nappy rash few times.
When L saw Pampers Baby-Dry pants pack for the first time she was very excited, the pack has an easy carry handle and for an excitable toddler it was a fun "bag" to play with.

Pull up pants themselves will surprise you with their unique design:
-cartoon image at the front

-tear down sides and 

a small tape attached at the back for easy disposal.

Whilst the design is innovative it took me a while to get used to a tear away method of changing these nappies. When it comes to soiled nappies I take L to the bathroom to take the nappy off and to wash her bum. I normally would be holding L with one arm and detach the nappy straps with the other, which is a fairly easy process, with new Pampers Baby-Dry pants I worry that if I tear away the sides I can drop some of the contents of the nappy on the floor.
I must be so used to "normal" nappies that every time L wears Pampers pants I think if they are comfortable and stretchy enough for her. Having said that L didn't have any red marks as a sign that they fit perfectly fine, which is great! But not only that, they keep L's bum dry as claimed on the packaging for 12 hours and don't irritate her skin or leave a nappy rash!

L and I give thumbs up for Pampers Baby-Dry pants and recommend them not only for toddlers ready for potty training but for active, wriggly babies who don't like hassle of nappy changing!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Will I ever be ready for another child?!

This is something that I was asking myself for few weeks now and the answer seems to be "No" than "Yes". I love L unconditionally and will do everything that is in my power to help her if she needs me, to make her happy, full, strong, clever and healthy. 

My life spins around L, her necessitates and I completely forgot about myself. Thats what we- parents do, right?! 
With her lack of sleep, eating habits which I probably exaggerating as I worry so much about it I have no time to do anything, let alone to have well deserved "me" time. 
It feels that I have so many bugs in my head, that I worry about so many things that I can't see the light beyond all that.

I'm sure some of you have it tougher- with no money in the bank, no roof, no one to support you, with more kids on your hands and worse troubles than mine, but for me it feels like my own problem is larger than anything at the minute. 

I hear stories about mums being able to leave their husbands with newborns and go to meet their friends or go to a salon for a mani and I envy them as I have never had this opportunity. Because my baby was/is always my priority, because I have never had a chance to express enough milk, because I always wanted to be there to feed her, to put her to sleep, me and not someone else, because L would never sit still in her pushchair or highchair to let me enjoy a cuppa or a meal in a pub or a cafe.

I love cute, little babies and will shed a tear every time I see a newborn, but am I ready to potentially go through the same trouble again?! It seems that my own life has been stopped, I can't carry on with studies because I have no time, I can't lose weight because I have no time to cook healthy food, let alone to have time for my husband and I.

I love being a mum, feel like I was made for it but at times it is so tough that I doubt that we will have more kids.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

In The Night Garden Live tickets giveaway

In the past 18 months I have heard mums who say that they like In the Night Garden tv show and those who say it's bonkers and don't want to watch it, but we are bi fans of the tv show ad live performance! What not to like if you see happy characters and a happy, smiling and dancing toddler!

"IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE is an amazing musical theatre experience for all the family. Children’s favourite CBeebies’ stars - Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends - are all brought beautifully to life on stage using full-size costumes, magical puppets, enchanting music and breathtaking projections.

IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE takes place in its own all-weather, all-weather, purpose-built inflatable Showdome with many family-friendly facilities. This site-specific structure is a huge hit with children and parents and its immersive theatrical experience makes audiences feel they are actually entering the magical world of the TV. 

Andrew Collier, Creative Director of Minor Entertainment said: “Parents tell us that children as young as a few months old engage with the live show, and the looks on the faces of the children and parents in the audiences are absolutely amazing. It's a huge responsibility and enormous privilege to give so many children their first experience of live theatre.”

"This summer the world's only In the Night Garden Live Showdome is coming to London, Birmingham, and Manchester. The Showdome will be visiting:

Blackheath, London (subject to licence)
26 May - 11 Jun 2016

Richmond Old Deer Park, London
18 Jun - 2 Jul 2016

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham
9 Jul - 23 Jul 2016

The Trafford Centre, Manchester
30 Jul - 21 Aug 2016 "

For your chance to win a family ticket to see In the Night garden Show simply visit the link below and submit your entry:

Please note: the competition ends on 10 January 23:59m, T&C apply.

Good luck!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Review: Freida's Pantry Feeding Food bars

I remember those first few weeks of L's life when I have tried everything I could to up my milk supply. To say the truth I don't think any of the teas, pumping, expressing, having more drinks or dairy helped me at all. I felt lots of pressure from midwives and health visitors and of course I wanted it to work. It's such a shame that only now I came across Freida's pantry as I would love to see how it would have worked for me back then.
"We make the UK's healthiest food bars for pregnant and nursing mums - and tired dads too! We believe in natural nutrition and will do all we can to support your new family naturally".

I have received 2 pre-pregnancy/during pregnancy bars and 2 breastfeeding food bars.

Both types of bars can be purchased here or via Ocado website in packs of 3, 5, 7 and 14 bars, with individual bars priced at £1.20 which seems quite reasonable. 

"Healthy And Nutrient Packed Pre-Pregnancy / During Pregnancy Bars. Freida’s Feeding Food is a tasty and nutritious food bar full of healthy oats, nuts and seeds:
- a convenient and portable snack for busy mums on the go
- helps with additional calories through healthy fats
- high in fibre and a source of omega 3 and 6

Freida’s Feeding Food is a tasty and nutritious food bar full of healthy oats, nuts and seeds:
- a convenient and portable snack for busy mums on the go
- helps with additional calories through healthy fats
- high in fibre and a source of omega 3 and 6".

When I had a first bite of the Freida's feeding food bar I noticed an overpowering sweet fennel taste which put me off a little bit, but if I had a chance to try it earlier when the supply was low I wouldn't care about it and just kept going. 
The pre- preganncy/ during pregnancy bar on the other hand tastes very sweet, but  dry. 

Tip: once I have tried it with a yogurt or dairy drink it tasted so much better! So I would certainly recommend it to have it with a drink and not by itself!

It is quite feeling and gives you that boost which most of us mums need for the day to get on with our duties. 
I have read about parents batch cooking and freezing their meals for the first few weeks when new baby arrives but have never considered doing it myself! Now I know it was a big mistake and Freida's pantry bars could have been a great, handy and helpful snack for those hungry, hands full/busy moments. 

Overall, I didn't feel any difference in my supply as I have tried the bars when my supply was established, but I'm happy that I have discovered the brand as I would certainly recommend it to my expecting mum friends and would love to see if it actually works.

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 1 January 2016

What Little L's wore- Christmas feature

We had a very rough few days prior to Christmas celebrations but I think we managed to pull it off.

Here is my gorgeous daughter in her cute dress from TK Maxx! Only after we took the dress off I saw that cute little panties were attached to the skirt, as you do!

Happy New Year, everyone!