Friday, 30 September 2016

Tiny Tickers' Think 20 Campaign

Today I'm sharing a new campaign from Tiny Tickers charity which is very close to my heart. 

"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.

Knowing the diagnosis at the 20-week scan means that doctors are ready to make sure that your baby has the right treatment and support as soon as they are born.

One in every
 125 babies is born with a heart problem- that’s more than 5,000 newborns each year in the UK. The baby heart’s charity, Tiny Tickers, wants to make sure that every baby is given the best possible start by increasing understanding of the real purpose of the 20-week scan. 

Early diagnosis of heart defects gives babies a better chance of survival and long term quality of life. Detection during pregnancy means the right medical experts can be on hand at birth, treatment can begin as soon as possible and parents can start getting the support they need- from the start.
Test your knowledge on what the 20 week scan is really for!

The 20-week scan is one of the most in-depth health checks a baby will have during pregnancy. And it’s the very best opportunity to spot heart defects before birth. If you are pregnant, you can test just how much you know about it through an online quiz developed by Tiny Tickers.

At the end of the quiz you can also request an information pack which will give mums to be a check list on what questions to ask the sonographer at your 20-week scan giving you the confidence to protect your tiny ticker.

Tiny Tickers are aiming to reach all pregnant women with practical information which could save their baby’s life.

Please take a moment to take part in the Think 20. Think HEART quiz and then share it on your Facebook or Twitter. Together we can build vital awareness and reach the 1,000 babies sent home every year from UK hospitals with a heart condition that nobody knows about".

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Settling in session at nursery and mummy's worries

Last week my darling L had her 2 free settling in sessions with each session lasting 2.5 hours. During the first session I have been completing paperwork and registering in Tapestry- online system whilst L and her new friends were bringing me all the toys to play with.

I had all sorts of emotions during these hours, at first it felt awkward, I was doubting my own decision, then it got more relaxed, deputy manager answered all my questions which made me feel better about the place and our routine, I saw L interacting with kids and it felt good, it felt right. 

The next session was so much different, I was encouraged to leave L to see how she gets on without me, cutting long story short it didn't go well. Whilst it was only 2.5 hours I was constantly checking the phone thinking about L wanting to pick her up and to know how it went. Pick up wasn't easy, the moment she saw me L started crying hysterically and only calmed down when we were behind the door with a new toy as a treat. 

From that day onwards I started to think over and over again if I'm making the right decision, if L will ever settle, if she is happy there, if they do everything they can. It feels as if I'm trying to pick on things not to like the place, that everything since the day we went to nursery things don't go to plan. I see how L changed, she is no longer relaxed, sociable, outgoing toddler, she knows what's about to happen and will refuse to get into pushchair to go to nursery or let go of me. 
Her first proper session didn't go well either, during/after her second settling in session she managed to pick up cold and suffered with sniffles and high temperature all weekend and Monday morning. I did take her to the nursery when her temperature normalised, but L didn't have any food there at all and after 4 hours there, manager has called me asking to pick L up. 

I was told it will get easier, but it just gets worse, it feels worse, catching yet another bug doesn't help either.I feel so guilty for taking her there, for letting her suffer and cry, it seems so emotional for both of us. I know we can only wait and hope that it improves, wish us luck!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Review: Teletubbies Pull And Play Noo Noo Giant Activity Toy

When I was a little younger I recall watching Teletubbies with my nephew, I could never decide which of the characters I like more. Believe it or not I don't remember seeing Noo Noo but as my husband is a massive fan of this cute blue hoover I knew that Teletubbies pull and play giant Noo Noo toy ( £49.99) could potentially be a great toy for my daughter and her daddy. 
If you are not very familiar with the show- Noo Noo is the hoover character from Teletubbies, a bit of an unsung hero if you like.

L loves to discover new toys and finding out how to play with them in case mummy didn't work it out, Noo Noo pull along toy is not an exception. Once the box was ripped apart and giant Noo Noo toy was out L didn't hesitate and started investigating all the buttons and puzzles. 

I was very impressed with a true likeness of the toy and the size of it, it is truly giant and the biggest toy I have or L has ever owned. What makes it even better- much loved Teletubbies characters are incorporated into the Noo Noo toy.

Noo Noo giant pull along toy comes has few entertaining features:

- suitable for 18 months and up
- big, round googly eyes make Noo Noo more realistic
- it has a string allowing your little one to pull it back and forth
- pink "light ball" at the back of the toy lights up when on the move and when playing music; On/Off buttons and slot for batteries are at the bottom of the light
- 3D Teletubbies jigsaw (on one of the sides of Noo Noo toy) with little knob on each toy allowing your little one to grip each shape and take it out or put it back in
- large shape sorter (on the other side of Noo Noo) with a storage section allowing to store shapes and play with them. Both these activities allow your little one to develop skills, both visual and problem solving
- interactive buttons on top of the toy making slurping sounds, repeating Teletubbies speech and playing music depending on the button you press (some sounds maybe similar)
- On/Off button has different mode: Voice- allowing Noo Noo to make all sorts of funny noises, spin the brush and pick up magnetic custard splat (a very accurate representation of the Noo Noo); Off mode and Mute mode which essentially mutes any Noo Noo noises apart form the interactive buttons on top of the toy.

Even though L has never watched new version of Teletubbies she recognised characters from the TV advert straight away, which I think made her even more connected with the toy. We have been testing the toy for couple of weeks now and only recently discovered funny noises Noo Noo makes when set to Voice mode. I would advise to give Noo Noo's nose or eyes a little shake that's how our toy "woke up". 
Unlike other pull along toys sturdy Noo Noo will not fall on it's side or upside down. L pulls it along from one room to another with different obstacles on the way and I haven't heard the toy falling over once which also tells me that it's a sturdy toys.

Teletubbies Pull And Play Noo Noo Giant Activity Toy is a perfect toy for Chistmas or birthday, keeping your little one entertained and educated for a long time.

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.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What to consider and ask when choosing nursery

Some of you may recall that I have been on a nursery "hunt" for L for quite some time, I wanted to feel welcomed, wanted L to feel relaxed and wanted it to be as I wanted/imagined in my head. Even though we have 5 nurseries in the area it was a very tough choice.

The very first nursery we visited, I decided to visit again on their Open day, to see how I will get on with nursery managers and what facilities they offer. You can see a massive different when they put up a show for you and when it's a random visit. Always good to compare these things. Long story short I didn't like staff members, not that I'm sexist but in the light of recent articles I have read I feel not comfortable with male staff members looking after my daughter but more so I didn't want L to pick up slang "You know what I mean, man" coming form a nursery nurse every other word is not something I would want L to pick up, so it was a big "NO".

Next nursery didn't have a garden attached to premises and a little balcony they have, is not always accessible due to slippery decking, it was also confirmed by a staff member that kids don't tend to go outside. Not only that shocked me the fact that they didn't say a word when L climbed onto a mattress (in her outdoor shoes) where kids sleep but also one of the nursery nurses was not interacting with other kids and choosing to sit in the corner listening to my conversation with other staff member. 

Third nursery just didn't feel right, with it's massive activity rooms I didn't feel that we clicked as well as I didn't like that they had no grass in the garden area which is also facing people occasionally smoking right by it. 

Visit to the fourth nursery was a random one, I didn't book an appointment but was welcomed anyway. I liked that L would be able to sleep on her own bed under the shelter on a fresh air, I liked that they didn't dismiss an idea of potty training and reassured me about that and many other things. It just felt right even thought it is furthest out of 5 nurseries. 

Now to the question and tips:
Tip: Even though I didn't book an appointment to visit any of the nurseries on my list I would suggesting calling prior to your visit or you may be turned down at the door. Having said that when they least expect guests who can see the real nursery and staff, you can see what what it really is.

To be honest with you OFSTED report is something we didn't take into consideration at all, according to some sources these could be easily adjusted and do not reflect reality. I based my assessment on our experience there, our likes and dislikes.

It is a good practice to ask about their policies i.e. accident policy, illnesses, food allergies, drop off/pick up policy (to they charge if you are late for picking up, how strict/flexible they are with dropping off hours, who can drop off and pick up your child).

I have enquired about few things:

- ration of children to nursery nurse, if they have a key worker who would be responsible for taking a good care of your little one

- daily routine (it was important for me to know what L would be up to during the day firstly to know what educational and fun activities they hold and secondly for my own comfort)

- I have assessed the grounds and room sizes in general and a sleeping arrangements for the day. I'm not very keen on L sleeping on a floor even on a mattress I wanted her to have sleeping routine close to what she is used to at home. In L's nursery they provide beds and sleeping bags, those kids who are used to sleeping in a pram/stroller can sleep in a buggy

- Have a look at a menu (if the provide food and cook it on site, if not don't be afraid to ask about the food supplier and if they allow sweet snacks, drinks) 

- Do they do trips out and where to? How much do they charge if they go to classes

- Do they aid in potty training and what is there policy on that

- How nursery will update you regarding your child's day and development. Some offer updates via Tapestry (online source where you can also add your comments or photos as well as keep an eye on your child) or paper daily report where you can comment in written form 

- Do they hold parents evenings (where you can get to know other parents and meet and talk to other staff members as well as learn about your child's ups and downs or even ask additional questions

- Do they supply with wet wipes, nappies, drinks? What sort of drinks do they offer?

- Settling in procedures, price list ( for the full day, half a day, hourly rate, absence rate, registration fee). Do they accept payment via salary sacrifice scheme 

- Do they adjust to fit your usual child's routine and if your child goes 5 days a week how would they go about settling/adjusting your child to the nursery routine?

- Fussy eaters, will they be able to assist if your child is a fussy eater

- How many change of clothing to bring in general and when potty training and what items your are expected to label and buy

- What's their policy on dummy? Will they allow a child to use it if used to it during nap times and when upset? The same with comforters. 

There could be more questions or your questions could be different to mine, but it's all about how you feel and your child feels about the nursery/staff and how the nursery can adjust to suit your requirements. 

Hope this could help some of you!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Num Noms Wacky Bakers challenge

I have seen cute collectible toys Num Noms before but thought that they are more suitable for older kids than young toddler as contains lip gloss. Recently I have noticed lots of parent bloggers reviewing Num Noms with their toddlers so thought that maybe we should give them ago as well.

Luckily we have been offered to take part in a cooking challenge called #WackyBakers and I had something very special I was dying to try with L but never had a chance to and this was a great opportunity to do so. 

I have used Num Noms Yog Yog recipe as a basis for our experiment, but substituted  the ingredients as per Num Noms Freezie pops set we have received.
Freezie Pops scented set (£8.99) contains:
- Strawberry Pop
- Tropi- Cali Pop
- Grape Soda Pop
- Icy Berry Go-Go
- a little tray and a spoon

To make Yog Yog I have used a cookie dough and chocolate chip set I had, strawberry and apricot yogurt with a little addition- red grapes.

Cookies didn't go to plan, I made them too thick, but I think cookies and yogurt could make a nice snack for breakfast (my husband normally has something similar at work) or during the day.
L saw Num Noms for the first time and was absolutely mesmerised by motorised Icy Berry Go-Go. The rest of Num Noms characters form the set smell absolutely divine, sweet more like a chewing gum. Icy Berry Go-Go has a little button bow once pressed will start or stop moving, well the moment L pressed the button we haven't seen her or the toy for the next hour or so. 

Challenge results, happy mum (I have eaten cookies and yogurt) and happy child (L enjoyed playing with her new scented toys).

Disclamer: we have received materials to make chefs hat, Num Noms label, Num Noms series 2 set for the purpose of this challenge.

Friday, 16 September 2016

EasiYo- ‘make it yourself’ yogurt maker and 2 sachets giveaway

Ladies and gents, may I introduce you to a hassle free yogurt maker EasiYo. 

"EasiYo’s new bright and bold Red Yogurt Maker is the perfect way to make delicious, fresh yogurt in your own home for all the family.

The new maker - featuring the first redesign in the brand’s 23 year history- is sleek and stylish, yet simple. With no moving parts or electronics, it’s easy to clean and is the perfect size to fit compactly on a kitchen shelf.

Because EasiYo is made fresh in the home, there are no artificial colours or flavours and no stabilisers delivering all the benefits of homemade goodness. EasiYo is also gluten free and vegetarian".

About a year ago I was gifted EasiYo maker and I put it to use straight away. I liked it's sleek, shiny design and was very intrigued about it's results. The making principal is very easy:
- fill large red thermos base with hot water  until the line and
- add lukewarm water to the 1L plastic container mixing with one EasiYo Yougut sachet (shake it to mix well)
- put plastic container inside red flask leave overnight or for 8-12 hours to set. Easy!

"There are over 30 flavours to choose from, including Natural, Greek Style, Banana, Apricot, Strawberry, Lemon & Ginger Bits and Forest Fruits.

EasiYo is stocked all over the UK at retailers including QVC, Lakeland, Holland and Barrett, Wilko’s, The Range, Hobby Craft and a large number of independent stores.

The EasiYo Red Yogurt Maker is priced at RRP £17.99 and each EasiYo yogurt sachet is priced from RRP £2 (per 1kg serving)".

Fancy winning red EasiYo yougurt maker and 2 sachets?  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 14 October 12am):

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Battle with the weight: update 6

I wasn't sure if I should be writing any updates this month as it was a bit harder than I thought. 
I haven't done any exercises apart from walking with L but I did hope that eating salads for lunch will work. Sadly I didn't notice any changes this month at all, it seemed that I was gaining more weight with all the new, tasty deserts to try during the holiday in Cornwall and now my mum is staying with us, which means lots of food offered even if I don't want it.

I keep thinking about "quick fix" options, but as I'm against anything that can potentially damage my health and not compatible with breastfeeding it seems like desperate measures, but I just need to get my act together. 

I'm hoping that when L goes to nursery in few weeks time I will be able to force myself onto the treadmill. I need to do it as I don't like what I see in the mirror.

Any words of wisdom from my lovely readers?

Monday, 12 September 2016

Review: Bibetta Lunch Bag

As some of you may know I was on a little search to find suitable nursery for my little L, one of the main factors for me was in-house lunch and snacks as I'm not a particularly good cook. I have found an ideal nursery (I think) who had a very appetising lunch menu the only problem- they are changing food supplier and in the meantime children need to bring homemade food. As it's only for a short while (I hope) I needed a lunch box/bag that would keep L's food fresh and fit everything I want L to eat during the day at the nursery. 

Bibetta have a lovely range of good- sized lunch bags (£9.99). You can pick turquoise, green, pink and blue lunch bag, each has it's own design and comes with an animal shaped name tag attached to the handle.
As we had so many comments in the past that L looks like a boy I have opted for a girly colour- pink with cute flower and butterfly print.
I was really surprised to learn that you can use neoprene not only for swimming/surfing purposes but for creating quite unique lunch bags! I assume that if neoprene suits keep your body warm in the water, 100% neoprene lunch bag will keep food inside the bag under certain temperature for quite some time.

Another great feature- perfect size! The moment I saw this lunch bag I knew it can fit from ordinary lunch boxes and bottles to odd shaped ones. It's the perfect size (it can also be slightly stretched) for almost any possible lunch/snack you are planning to fit in it, be it in a packaging or loose and carried by an adult or a child with no problems at all.
It is also very light, soft to touch, can be easily wiped or cleaned in a washing machine, the shape of the lunch bag designed to be almost seamless inside which helps to clean it without the need of brushing crumbs from the corners, zip puller made of rubber material makes it easy for little hands to open and close.

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

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Baby Show, Olympia tickets giveaway

The Baby Show is the UK’s leading pregnancy & parenting event series, taking place annually in 3 venues and attracting a combined audience of almost 70,000 visitors.

A unique family-friendly shopping and advice experience, the show features 1000s of products and 100s of brands and the opportunity to hear from and meet some of the UK’s top parenting experts.

From pushchairs to nursery ideas, maternity fashion to healthcare, our experts are on hand to help you make the right choice for your growing family.

The Baby Show highlights include:
- Expert Information and Advice- Parenting Experts, Breastfeeding, Sleep, Nutrition & Weaning Advice

- Superb Shopping, Outstanding Choice & Value, Leading Brands, Latest Innovations, Product Specialists

- Family Fun- Baby Photography, Daily Fashion Shows, Competitions and Giveaways

- Essential Facilities, Feeding Area, Crèche, Changing Area, Shop & Drop and Collect-by-Car Services.

Tickets packages start from £14.45 for Friday and £15.45 for Saturday and Sunday (babies and children come free).

The Baby Show will take place in Olympia London from 21 to 23 October and I have 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway.

To be in a chance of winning complete the Rafflecopter form below (giveaway ends on 7 October): 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Little L is 26 months old

I thought that novelty of loving your child wears off, but I can't stop loving L, I admire her every single day, look in her eyes as if for the first time, kiss her chicks over and over again.

I can't tell her off when she is so cute, but sometimes of course a strict parent in me steps in, she wouldn't necessarily stand in the corner but I do tell her that she may end up there. I think because I prefer to smother her in kisses more when I say "no" it seems a bit of a joke for L. 
For the past month our shopping routine has slightly changed, L wouldn't want to sit in a pushchair and would prefer to walk or be in my arms which for me made shopping very awkward but I am used to that now.

Potty training has some progress as well, we didn't master big P yet but L shows interest in potty more and more and I couldn't be happier. We had a little accident on a chair with poo, I didn't tell L off as I knew she just wanted to do it but ended up there and she told us in the end and didn't smother anything, which is great right?!

Sleeping and eating routine didn't really change much, I wanted to slow down with breastfeeding and introduced bottle of milk before/after L's naps but when L wants breasts I can't say "no", it wouldn't work anyway.

We had some great progress with speech, L would repeat words she hears in both English and Russian and would burst just before bed time with lots of words, describing her face or my face. It's very cute and sweet and I love this stage, she is more of a person who can have a conversation with you, basic but we can talk. L is such a great and funny kid, she would wave at strangers or pets, people would smile back, why wouldn't you?! :-)

L loves to repeat my facial expressions or even test us by poking my husband or me or creating funky hair dos with my hair, singing songs/repeating songs in her own way it's so adorable. We have an all time favourite song L heard when we were in Moscow, it's a lullaby and once it's on TV L would sing along remembering words or if she doesn't remember them would sing about what she sees on the screen totally cute and funny! 

I just can't believe she is getting bigger! Still my little girl!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Our week away in St.Ives, Cornwall

Last week we have spent in a place all of us were looking forward to visiting- St.Ives, Cornwall. 

What was meant to be a 4 hours drive took pretty much the whole day, with lots of traffic but this wasn't the only surprise, parking was another obstacle on our way, with few scratches at the front and back of the car we have finally parked the car and helped my family-in-law to do the same and off we went to enjoy the sea just 3 minutes away!
The weather was so weird, it could be raining (blowing in your face) but yet so warm. We were taking off our raincoats and putting them back up, others who are more used to this weather would just carry on walking in t-shirt and shorts.

For the first few days I couldn't relax at all neither could L, she would wake up the moment I tried to leave the room or wouldn't sleep at all as was disturbed by creaky floorboards and seagulls outside. Eventually when L got used to this noise and I had some help from in laws it felt more like a holiday. 

I have never been in a town with such narrow roads, but such blue sea. I would hate pushing the stroller along the pavement and be forced to go on the road by other tourists but would totally adore the sea view. 

We have tried to make the most of it and spent some time on seaside when days were warm and sunny, tried seafood ( crab and lobster, I will be preserving their shell ), fudge, Cornish scones and clotted cream, veg and meat pasties and of course ice creams in local cafés and restaurants. 

On one of the days we drove to St. Michael's mount, where we walked across the discovered path when the tide was out. Thankfully I have borrowed baby carrier for L otherwise it could have been a disaster (pushchair are only allowed to cross the path and once ticket to visit the castle is purchased you will be asked to leave your stroller behind on the allocated area). It was quiet a walk, the right footwear is essential, I had my pumps on and could feel every stone I stood on and as L was on me the only way to go forward was to hold on to the rail, certainly could seem like a doddle for fit people! 

Once we made our way to the the castle, each room had it's own history and again fantastic views. For a moment I completely forgot that we are still in England!

Upon reflection, we had such a great time in St.Ives! Would be lovely to repeat it one day, maybe when L is older and can truly appreciate beautiful views and sea!