Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Little L is 21 months

Little L is growing way too fast for my liking. Couple of days ago my husband watched me and L and said that I look at her with pure love and admiration. 
Her stubbornness is something my husband and I are trying to deal in our own ways. 
We have been to a local event for new mums and mums-to-be and L behaved really well, I could never imagine that she would calmly stand by my side. As always she was a little bit stalky with kids, but she just loves to interact with them.

Cleaning teeth used to be a bit of a nightmare as L would refuse to do it herself, but it seems that few times in a naughty corner (by the wall) with a further explanation why she is there and what she needs to do helped and if she is messing with a toothbrush she will then allow me to clean teeth properly, hopefully it stays that way!

Sleeping wise we had couple of good afternoon naps where L didn't need me in a room and slept on her own for hour and a half, it is still hit and miss but I do hope it will be something permanent in the nearest future. Night sleeps though are hit and miss as well, we had couple of weeks of evenings L-free (she wakes up at 11pm and then I put her in our bed), and recently she started to wake up again, in that case I would carry her downstairs so that she can sleep in my arms. 

Overall, apart from tantrums and not wanting to leave the place, toys, sit in a pushchair, need to be carried I really enjoy L's company!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils Survival Kit and Colour & Dirt Collector review and giveaway

Before we had L I didn't realise that clothes can be stained to the point that it's easier to throw it away than to get wash it over and over again. 
It was the case until I have tried Dr. Beckmann products, Stain Devils Survival Kit (£3.99)  in particular, which removes over 40 stubborn stains!

"Laundry, textiles and household cleaning experts..
It is very simple… if it says Dr. Beckmann on the pack, then you know it works, because we care about cleaning".

The box contains 3 travel size bottles: Tea, Red Wine, Fruit & Juice stain remover, Cooking Oil & Fat stain remover and Ball Point Ink & Felt Tip stain remover.

I have used Ball Point Ink & Felt Tip stain remover bottle on my favourite jumper which had face paint and felt pen stains. 

The bottle has a liquid solution which you need to apply directly onto the stain and leave to set for 3-10 minutes depending on the stubbornness of the stain. 
I used a thick cloth to put under the stained layer in order to avoid staining of the other side of the jumper (as advised on the packaging), applied the solution, once 10 minutes ran out I used a damp cloth to dab the stained area until clean. 
You can see from the pictures that the stain remover did a great job!

To make sure that stains have gone for good I decided to pop my jumper and few other mixed coloured items in the wash with yet another intriguing product- Colour & Dirt Collector sheets (£3.20).

"This ingenious little sheet is perfect for those ‘what if’ moments of washing, when you have a colourful dress or striped t-shirt that you just don’t know what to wash it with".

Ultra absorbent sheet collects the dirt and loose dye at different temperatures if you follow simple steps:

- put the Colour & Dirt Collector sheet at the back of the washing machine
- then load your coloured/dirty clothes adding a washing powder/liquid

- remove the sheet at the end of the wash 

I have teamed up with Dr. Beckmann to offer one lucky winner the chance to win all the goodies I have reviewed.

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 11 April 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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

Friday, 25 March 2016

Arts & Crafts: Easter addition

This week L and I have been doing different Easter themed arts and craft, it was a little bit different this time round.
I have been scanning Pinterest and found couple of the Easter ideas I wanted to try but this time I wanted L to do all the work. If you use Pinterest you would know that all the crafty ideas look unique and stunning but I'm not convinced that a baby or young child can create/do most of the things posted without a major help of a parent, so here is a true picture of what a 20 months old can do.

I will be honest she didn't last long, but even these small attempts we had is a good start of getting used to doing things whilst seated at the table.

We have been trying Rose Blossom Handmade foam Easter eggs which I have featured in my Eater gift guide . I explained and showed to L that these are the eggs and she needs to decorate them by attaching these colourful 3D stickers. 

Then we have tried decorating an Easter egg with some bubble wrap print paints. I cut the paper in the shape of an egg, prepared a bubble wrap and applied 3 different colours of finger paint. Once bubble wrap was painted we had few goes on small paper squares so that l understands that she needs to put paper on top of the painted bubble wrap, press firmly and let go.

I think it turned out better than I thought!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Starting Well Event at the local Town Hall

Yesterday me and L have visited the local Starting Well Event hold my our local Council. I saw a leaflet in the newspaper and as it's just 10-15 minutes walks and free I thought it is a great opportunity for L to meet other kids, do some crafts and run around. 

We arrived a little bit earlier as I envisaged lots of parents and kids at this free event. 
Upon arrival I was asked to complete a form to register with local children centres and we were given a tote bag and a bag with few books and leaflets for L.

As the soft play ares wasn't ready yet we went to see what was going on on different stands:
- table with crafts for older kids
- messy tray with oats
- childcare 
- oral care
- weaning
- free snacks and drinks
- face painting
- Bounce and Rhyme and much more

I think I have seen someone doing their manicure there as well as I could smell nail varnish not far from Kinder Gym zone.

Whilst we were waiting for Kinder Gym zone to be open I have managed to speak to weaning experts who said that there is nothing to worry about, L puts weight steadily and can't fit in all I want her to eat as she still has a small stomach

oral hygiene expert who looked at L's teeth as I was worried that she has a decay from fruit as we don't give her anything sweet/sugary, we played with a puppet  and cleaned it's teeth, were advised not to use electric toothbrushes until 5-6 years old etc; 

I spoke to NCT representative and possibly told her too much about out breastfeeding experience and later found out that she wasn't able to breastfeed due to health condition (that learned me to keep my mouth shut); 

discussed 2 and 3 year funding as well as childcare vouchers which was useful but need to look this up online; 

we walked passed crafts table as I have noticed small tubs of glitter which with L would be on the floor straightaway; 

we have met a bear mascot and listened to a lovely story and nursery rhymes and of course popped bubbles in the end;

tried a smoothie maker bike which generates energy for a blender whilst you cycle; 

couldn't walk passed face painting, L was a little bit anxious at first and smothered most of it but when she saw herself in the mirror was happy to see a flower on her cheek;

the last but not least was Kinger Gym where they had different colourful sections, slide, hoops just like soft play. L wasn't sure what to do at first but once she saw other kids she just repeated what they did.

It was a great event and L enjoyed herself, but I think maybe there was too much going on as she seemed more reserved than ever.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Breastfeeding & Formula

Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding always spark a passionate debate on my social media. Jamie Oliver's comments about breastfeeding have spark yet another debate between mums and dads.

I have always wanted to breastfeed L, we had lots of bottles prepared, manual and electric pumps, breastfeeding cover and a very comfy breastfeeding cushion but on the window seal in the corner, hidden away from every one else we had a starter pack with formula. 

Every time we had midwife around who wasn't happy about L's weight gain even though it was steady but slow I doubted myself, I doubted my ability to breastfeed. I felt so awful, first they shake their heads, then say that I'm doing a great job, if that was their way of supporting it was pretty rubbish! 
My husband saw the state of me and insisted on introducing formula, to me it felt like the most selfish decision I could have made. Why would I do such a thing?! I would do everything I can do breastfeed L, I would stick at it and prove to myself and other people that it is possible to do no matter what.

Almost 2 years later I'm still very passionate about breastfeeding and proud at what I have achieved but my opinion about formula has changed.
I put enormous amount of pressure on myself and didn't give my husband a chance to offer a bottle and be more involved in feeding. I didn't leave L for longer than couple of hours, I didn't go out to enjoy myself, we couldn't go out to a pub or cafe because she was either hungry or upset, it is of course all worth it, but I wish someone told me to take it easy. 
Now I see no harm in mixed feeding, as we would be so much calmer and relaxed. I'm not saying I am supporting formula feeding more now I will be always a breastfeeding advocate, but I do understand and support those who have tried breastfeeding but have low milk supply, those who have twins, health condition or premature babies but opted to bottle feed.

But I do not yet understand those parents who have opted for formula without trying breastfeeding first. I know I don't have to, it's their choice ..

Friday, 18 March 2016

Easter gift guide for little toddlers

1. The Crackin’ Egg Co. hard boiled eggs
2. Plant a bunny seeded paper
3. Sidewalk chalk eggs
4. Easter themed handmade skirt
5. Easter kids luxury story book


If you are a fan of Dragons' Den you may recall an episode where entrepreneur Rob Shaw presented crackin' and colourful hard boiled eggs.

"At The Crackin’ Egg Co. we think eggs rule. Simple, tasty and filling, these little powerhouses of nutrition are packed with protein, omega 3s and lots more wholesome stuff.

So we’ve done you a favour. It goes like this. Our hens lay ‘em. We gather and hard-boil ’em. Then we add a little protective coat to lock in the goodness. Just the job for when you’re peckish".

Ever since I can remember hard boiled egg was a quick and healthy snack for when there is nothing else in the fridge, for long-haul train travels (we used to travel for 3 days on a train to see our grandparents) and of course were commonly boiled/painted in onion shell for Easter by my mum. She has always kept them in the fridge for few more days/weeks before chucking the rest to birds as once "sealed" in the onion shell dyed eggs were suitable to consume in the next few weeks.

So when I saw Crackin Eggs products I was very intrigued and familirised by the idea of hard boiled eggs sealed in a paint.

We have received a pack of 6 free range hard boiled yellow eggs (Ocado £3.49), a pack of 2 hard boiled red eggs with sweet chilli sachet (Ocado £1.59), a set of 2 hard boiled green eggs with sour cream and chive seasoning sachet and a set of 2 boiled blue eggs with salt and pepper seasoning.

Crackin eggs features:
- low GI
- low in carbs
- gluten free
- stays fresh for a month

Once we cracked these eggs we noticed that the yolk is bright orange which is very different to yellow yolk we are so used, but absolutely normal for free range eggs. The taste differs as well, it's not completely different it's just much stronger.
We have tested a big pack of eggs first, attempted to try them with curry and chilli con carne but the taste of the egg was overpowering the whole meal, unlike in the salad or sandwich eggs seemsto work much better.

Out of 3 packs of eggs with powdered seasoning my husband preferred sweet chilli and I liked salt and pepper one. The principal is very simple- crack the egg, rip the packet with seasoning and sprinkle on top of the egg. 

Crackin eggs can be used for a quick snack on the go for you or your toddler, in salads, soups and when you are too lazy to boil eggs yourself.

When I saw Plant a Bloomer for the first time I couldn't believe that such a unique gift even existed- shaped seed paper. I'm not a big fan of plants, my mum and sister had too many for my liking.

When L was born my in laws brought us a flower in a pot which symbolised a new life, new beginning, but as we had our hands full the flower was left neglected for many, many months. 
But when I came across Plant a Bloomer few months ago, I thought that it's the right moment to start my new relationship with plants and to explain to L how to care about flowers and plants which she loves to rip and hold in her hand.                                           
"Plant a Bloomer is a range of quirky 'plantable' gifts, decorations and accessories made from a unique seed paper crafted from 100% recycled materials. Plant to grow wildflowers or trees!"

We have received a lovely rabbit shaped paper with elderflower seed embedded into it (£4.50). Little Bloomers come in a variety of shapes and colour to suit your occasion with different seeds or flowers embedded into the plantable paper made from recyclable materials. 

Plant a Bunny comes in a hard paper envelop which makes it a quality and nicely presented little gift or a wedding favour. The gift comes with full instruction which are very easy to follow.

Firstly we placed the bunny into the water to soak

Once we collected enough soil in the ground..

We placed elderflower seed paper and covered it with soil on top.

L followed all the instructions I have given her and I think she was very excited about our little garden pre- Easter activity, mostly because we were planting a bunny (something she knows and recognises) shaped seed paper and of course she had lots of fun with mud, soil and water as we sprinkled a little bit of water on the soil to feed the seed paper.. 

Now it is my responsibility to look after the pot and make sure our seeds grow, fingers crossed we might have a real elderflower growing in our pot!
When I was little I used to love pretend play where I was a teacher and my sister's piano and mum's wardrobe were my "chalkboards". I not only liked to be a pretend teacher, I also liked to use my colourful chalks outside to draw on a pavement. When I came across YPO egg shaped sidewalk chalk eggs I was very excited to try them out and to see if L would be a big fan of messing with chalks as I did.                               
"We have a large choice available from leading UK suppliers, so we can provide you with everything you could possibly need to successfully run your organisation.
Our range includes approximately 30,000 products and 100 frameworks; so whether it’s just pens and paper, computers, furniture, or even things like electricity and insurance, we can help you get the best deals around".

These lovely, colourful chalk eggs come in a plastic egg carton imitating real eggs packaging. 
The pack of 6 eggs can be purchased at a price of £0.85 excl. VAT. They seem quite light, weighing 40g each but they do not crumble and after couple of uses remain the same size.

At first I wanted to wait till Easter but as we have such a brilliant weather we have tested them on our pavement and give them 5 out of 5!

I'm a big fan of handmade clothing items, I have caught myself browsing through different websites but never bought anything as I couldn't justify a price of an item which will be worn only once. 

Recently I came across Bowspoke Angels who sell reasonably priced skirts, hair accessories and much more for girls and boys from newborn to 6 years old. 

"I started making bows just as a hobby and then friends asked to buy... Once I started my Instagram page it bloomed from then!! I've always wanted to make clothes so skirts is where it started, now I have rompers, bloomers, playsuits and leggings!! "

We have received an Easter themed skirt for L in size 18-24 months worth £10.

This made to order cute bunny skirt is made of 100% cotton, machine washable on a cooler temperature setting.

The skirt has elasticated waistband and will look good with tights if worn during colder months or with high-knee socks.

We have tried the bunny skirt with long sleeve top/ vest and a cardigan on top which looks really cute on L. 

You can pick any available fabric and order matching bib or hair accessories which make a great going out outfit.


As you may know I like to do arts & crafts with L and as Easter is fast approaching I was delighted to collaborate with Rose Blossom Handmade.
"I am a corporate lawyer. I was diagnosed with cancer last year at the age of 35 so took up crafting as something therapeutic to do during my chemotherapy. Since then, I've fallen in love with crafting and stumbled on party bags after getting tired of spending money on the usual plastic tat for my daughter's party bags. I wanted something fun and engaging and inspiring for little hands and minds.... and so the Story Parcel was born.

I do themed Parcels for Christmas and Easter, as well as presents and even a monthly subscription parcel. I have since handed my notice in to the huge law firm where I worked and have never been happier crafting away, coming up with fun new party bag ideas. I'm currently working on a fairy theme... complete with a gorgeous wooden fairy door for the child to decorate themselves!"

We have received Easter kids luxury story book and hand crafted parcel with a little colour-in Easter themed picture at the front of the book worth £5, "extra books or crafts can be added for £1.50 each with £3 postage".
"Inside each hand sewn paper parcel is a lovely story book to be enjoyed together over and over. Once you've read the book, your little one can get stuck into their Easter craft... From sewing a bunny decoration to building an Easter racer".

You can choose which books and craft activity can go into each story book. As I was really indecisive I have asked Anna- the owner to include what she thinks is best for L's age and this is what we have received:

I have opened the story book to have a sneak peek of what's inside but we will be reading and doing crafts on the day. L likes books with colourful pictures and I'm sure she will be having lots of fun looking through the book, listening to the story and pointing at the pictures. 
Foam Easter eggs with fridge magnets at the back and Easter bunny mask would be a great hit on the Easter day. Easter eggs are very easy to decorate as you would need to stick the decorations provided and L loves stickers and bunny mask would be another interesting challenge for us 3 to make on the day. 
It will be interesting to see if L figures out that she can colour the packaging itself, I'm sure she will be happy about that too and keep our walls and doors crayon free!

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Battle with the weight

Every now and then I keep looking at myself in the mirror I like what I see- a nice looking woman with a bit of a flabby tummy nicely covered under jeans and a jumper. This slim mirror makes me look thinner than I actually am and only when I have noticed horrible, red stretchmarks on my tummy and couldn't zip up my favourite every day coat, I have realised that all these months

I've I was fooling myself. I'm not pretty, I'm fat, embarrassed and upset that I have managed to become so awfully fat. I don't want my friends to see me like that, my husband will never admire my body, I will never feel confident in a fat shell.
I have tried different dieting brands who kept me motivated for a short while, but once I was back to my normal life healthy eating didn't last long. Not because I didn't want it, just because I'm bad at cooking, bad at improvising and inventing new meals and bored of having the same food over and over again.

This week I have seen lots of very inspiring photos of ladies who have managed to lose weight in 3-4 months. I thought if they can do it, I can do it too! Commencing this week I have started running on a treadmill, for my bright, happy, thinner and confident future!

If you feel the same please join me, let's chat, let's motivate each other, let's transform ourselves!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Review: Baby Einstein Discover and Play Piano

L is a very musical child and I do hope it's all due to our efforts and musical toys we have been buying for her.
When L was 5,5 months she has received Baby Einstein Discover and Play Piano (£20) for her 1st Christmas.

The toy's base is made of plastic but piano keys are soft and easy to press for little fingers or toes. 

Baby Einstein piano main features:
- 3 modes: instruments, numbers, animals
- suitable for multi-lingual children 
- 3 language modes: English, French and Spanish
- suitable from 3 months old
- plays over 20 classical tunes 
- volume button to make it louder or to turn it down
- durable but not heavy

Once you have picked the language you can choose a mode and play with keys or use instruments above the keys, depending on a mode they make noises and light up.
In Instruments mode you can can pick a piano mode, violin or horn mode by pressing one of the buttons above. Once pressed 5 keys will play this particular instrument tunes.
In Numbers mode, each key you or your little one press will say the number from 1 to 5.
In Animal mode you can pick one particular animal by pressing red (for cat), green (dog) or yellow (for duck) buttons above musical keys, once the animal is picked the piano keys will either quack, meow or woof.

I expected that tunes will be annoying and loud but it seems to be quite pleasing to our ear and even if we had too much we can turn it down so that L still can play with it.

It seems to be a hit from day one and 12 months later L still enjoys Baby Einstein Discover and Play Piano, one of the best presents ever!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Giveaway: 3 bundles of Organix Goodies Raisins and Chunky Fruit Bars

L has always been a fan of Organix foods, we have tried breakfast cereals, puffs, fruit pots which were a hit! 
We haven't tried Goodies range yet, but I have 3 bundles (12 months+) to give away to you, my lovely readers!

"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".

"For little explorers on the go, our delicious apple & date chunky fruit bars are 100% fruit squished into bite-sized pieces and our juicy raisins are suitable for little explorers on the go and come in handy mini boxes so they're great for lunchboxes and out and about".

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 28 March 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

CORGI HomePlan's 'How Safe Is Your Street' campaign and giveaway

We have never been lucky to have good neighbours until recently, some were too young to care, others were to reckless to care about people but apparently not all of them are like that! There are caring, chatty, sensible neighbours out there, those who you want to be friends with, help out/rely if need be, lend your driveway to park a car, exchange Christmas cards and presents. 

"The CORGI name is heavily associated with safety and we take that responsibility very seriously. That's why we've created an online hub packed with information on how to get involved and to get practical tips on how to help your neighbours. From ideas on how to play a bigger part in your community to a video with psychology professor Dr Sandi Mann on breaking the ice with neighbours you want to check up on, this is a great resource for homeowners who want to build a stronger community.

Since winter is set to continue for another few weeks, this is an extremely important message we would like to get it out there.

From single mums to elderly or vulnerable people, there could easily be someone on your street struggling alone that would benefit from an occasional visit and the offer of a helping hand. By taking a few simple steps to get to know our neighbours, we can all help build a safer, happier community for everybody".

I am very delighted to offer one of my readers the opportunity to win CO alarm to keep for yourself or for your neighbour, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition starts ends on 25 March 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Review: FabLittleBag tampon disposal bags

I have never used tampons as a teenager as was told that it is not recommended for younger girl who are not yet a woman. But once the did was done I bought my first pack of tampons and never looked back! 
Couple of weeks ago I came across FabLittleBag tampon disposal bags for girls and women.

"FabLittleBag is a new small bag to finally provide women and girls with the opportunity to dispose of their tampons in a discreet, hygienic and easy way".

I have received a bathroom pack with 20 FabLittleBags (£2.99) inside and a handbag pack with 5 FabLittleBags (£1.99) available from "Waitrose and Ocado and available online through specialist sanitary product distributors Sanitary Owl and later this year, Pink Parcel". 

Essentially FabLittleBag is a cleaner, discreet and mess free way of disposing tampons or even panty liners/sanitary towels (there is more than enough space for that as well).

The bags can be open with one hand due to it's patented green loops, you just have to put a thumb and index finger through the loops, pop the tampon or whatever you are trying to dispose of, unpeel the seal, put in the bin..done!

Bathroom pack is a small plastic bag with a perforated line for easy opening. It contains 20 FabLittleBags which could either be used at home or work as a re-fill pack for handbag pack. 
Handbag pack's envelop is made from a more robust material as meant to be kept clean with other bits and pieces in a woman's bag.

FabLittleBags "are made from 35% organic material and are oxo-bio-degradable".
I have used one of the bags whilst was away enjoying my belated birthday Spa day and it was a truly handy item as I couldn't find any tissue or toilet close to women's changing room.

It seems a little bit pricey to use the bags every day especially with my periods lasting a week but I think it has a potential. I have been in pretty mucky toilets at schools, airports, hospitals, pubs and the list goes on..but I truly believe if one tries to dispose of intimate rubbish in a cleaner, less messier way, one can set an example for others. I think this could be a great example for younger generation as well as an interesting and useful item to keep in their school bags. 
But not only that, you also keep sewers clean, free from blockage and if you didn't find a bin you can keep FabLittleBag safely in your bag until one is found.

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