Saturday, 3 August 2013

Xander is one!

I can't quite believe it! I'm a mummy to a ONE year old! Xander turned one on Thursday and we have had a whole week of birthday celebrations! Over the next few weeks I intend to publish some blog posts about planning first birthday parties and gift reviews!! So keep revisiting!

I will leave you for now with a few photos of our gorgeous little man! I can't believe how much he has grown and developed in just a year! Every single day he astounds me with his intelligence and confidence. He makes me so proud!! 

Friday, 12 July 2013

First Steps!

A quick post today! Just to inform all my regular followers of Xander's latest milestone! He's walking!!!! It started slowly with him pulling himself up and walking around furniture at 9 months. By 10 months he was taking his first steps and now with just two weeks until his first birthday he is getting quite brave and walking quiet long distances. I'm guessing he'll be we'll and truly mobile by his first birthday!!! I'm so proud of my little man!! (Sorry for the blurry pic - he's fast!!) 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Xander's First Swim!

As mentioned in my last post a couple of weeks ago we took Xander swimming for the first time!

We are off on holiday in a few days time (to visit relatives in Spain) and whilst there we hope to go swimming several times and so wanted to get Xander a bit familiar with the concept of swimming so it wasn't a completely new experience.

We opted to take Xander to a swimming pool called Coral Reef in Bracknell. It is not our nearest pool but we had been informed by other parents it was a good place to take little ones. If you live anywhere near we wholeheartedly recommend it as a place to take kids swimming! It was a fantastic experience from start to finish!

Xander absolutely loved swimming! He was a complete dare devil! Loving the water cannons and splashing mummy and daddy! We was amazed by the way the kicking in the water came natural to him! He adored the experience completely and was clearly disappointed to get out!

Below is a little review of all the features Coral Reef in Bracknell had to offer. Please note I was not paid in anyway for these comments. They are simply observations of a family day out that I felt were worthy of a share:

- you have to pay for parking but if you use the swimming facilities you get this refunded back at the desk.
- the prices were very reasonable. There is a parent and baby/toddler loyalty scheme where if you visit 5 times you get the 6th time free! You just pick up a card and get it stamped.
- there were several family changing rooms. In them was a changing unit and also a seat that you can strap your little one too whilst you are changing. (a couple of them also had playpens)
- swimming aids (rings and armbands) are provided free of charge to use and there are plenty of them)
- during the week in term time the pool is for young children only.
- the temperature of the pool is lovely! Pretty much bath temperature! Which meant we stayed much longer than anticipated!
- there is a lot of areas specifically for babies and toddlers! Shallow areas with toys and slides for them to play with!
- a lovely feature was they have their own photographer there. Like most public pools you are not able to take your own photographs but if you're anything like me I love photographing everything Xander does and definitely wanted his first swim documented! The professional photographer took some great photos which we viewed and purchased on the way out!

So to finish off this post I leave you with a family pic of Xander's first swimming experience!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday Fun!

My hubby works in retail, so unfortunately bank holidays are pretty much like any other working day to him. Which means that often I/we miss out on usual bank holiday fun.

However my step-sister visited from Milton Keynes yesterday and so we decided to make the most of the beautiful sunshine and take the boys out for the day!

We stayed reasonably local and visited Alice Holt Forest. A woodland area owned and ran by the Forestry Commission. It's a fantastic place with several walks (including a trail called the habitat trail designed especially for little ones with large play structures throughout the walk!), bike riding facilities, a Go Ape tree ropes activity centre, cafe and huge play area!

Our first major challenge was parking! We completely underestimated the amount of people who had the same idea as us! The parking was manic. The result was one of us parking in the carpark and another parking out on the road. We eventually solved it and found a picnic spot!

This was Xander's first picnic and I think he enjoyed it! I packed lots of finger food (pitta strips with houmous dip, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana) which was a good move as we was without a Highchair. Although Xander still managed to get completely messy! Although no where near as messy as when he tried mummy's icecream!

After lunch we headed to the play park. In all honesty my nephew probably had the most fun here. There was less available for under ones and I had to queue for the baby swings. (several of the children that went in them before hand were far top big to be going in them which annoyed me quite a bit!)

After tiring out the boys we headed to the trail for our walk! It was lovely with the sunshine to take a leisurely stroll around although by this point Xander was exhausted and slept most of it!!

All in all we had a really lovely day out! I hope you managed to make the most of the beautiful weather!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A week of firsts!

Last week was such an exciting week! With a flick of a switch Xander all of a sudden started doing some fantastic tricks! He's become a right little show off!

I have to admit there was certain things I was becoming a little anxious about. Concerned that maybe he was a little bit behind developmentally. You can't help when going to different baby groups compare where your little one is with other babies of a similar age.

Then all of a sudden: bam! It all comes along at once! In the space of a week or so Xander now:
- says 'baba' and 'mama'
- shakes his head 'no' when you're talking to him! (when hubby tries to encourage him to say 'dada' he shakes his head which is particularly amusing!)
- he waves.
- he claps! (all you have to say is the word clap and he claps, any songs that mention clapping he joins along with! 'if you're happy and you know it' is now his new favourite song and has been dubbed 'Xander's song' at our regular baby group because of how excited and animated he gets when we all start singing it!)
- he has began to get himself into crawling position and has (admittedly only once) crawled a small distance.
- he has began to pull himself up on furniture and walks around it.
- he can stand on his own unaided for a few minutes.
- he has began walking (with the aid of what I call his baby zimmer frame!)

Additionally to all of this:
- he got his first tooth! And then his second! His bottom ones! He looks so cute with them!! And fortunately for us he hasn't made a fuss about it!
- we also went swimming for the first time! Which he absolutely loved!!! (I plan to write a seperate blog post on this!)

So all in all a pretty eventful week! And I have learnt a pretty valuable lesson. There's no point stressing over the small stuff! It will all happen when they're good and ready!

It's all about routine!!

I'm a stickler for routine! I haven't always been that way with Xander but have been for at least the last three/four months. We have a routine because it works!

It works because it brings structure and calm to our lives. It works because we both know where we stand with a routine. It works because there's no second guessing. Xander has learnt what to expect from me and I've become to learn what to expect from Xander.

Our routine is not set in stone BUT it is written on our fridge! It isn't fixed rigidly but we pretty much stick to it (give or take the odd half hour).

7am: wake up
7.15am: breakfast bottle
7.45am: breakfast
8am: bath and dress
9am: nap (I get shower and dress)
10am (ish) We get out of the house and do something - baby group, walk, go to shops, visit family members, playdates (If we don't go out I organise an activity for us - toy play/ sensory play)
12pm: bottle
12.30: lunch
1pm: play/ activity
3pm: nap
4.30pm: Xander usual gives himself a bottle whilst I prepare dinner/ tidy up.
5pm: Xander has tea.
5.30pm: quiet play (hubby usually comes home around this time if working an early shift and plays with Xander whilst I cook, tidy etc)
6.30pm: PJ's on.
7pm: Xander has final milk bottle then gets put to bed.
7.30pm onwards: adult time: we eat, gym, hobbies etc
USUALLY: Xander has a full nights sleep!

I think I may have underestimated the power of a good routine. It's not until a little one goes without one for even a day and everything is disrupted.

Today I went into work for a KIT day and hubby (aka superdad) thought it would be a great idea seeing he was home caring after Xander anyway to get our new carpet fitted! Seriously deluded that this was a fantastic idea he would not accept from
me that this would not be an easy task to undertake. Dada knew best! So the carpet fitters came. Daddy and Xander were restricted to the garden and then our bedroom. I returned home at two to discover Xander had still not had a decent nap or lunch!

Feeding him at just gone two, then squeezing in a nap and his weekly baby sensory session meant just a couple of hours later he was eating again. The afternoon was a complete chaotic rush.

The result = yes, we have a lovely nice carpet fitted. BUT we also have a very grumpy 9 month old who is awake at 2.45 this morning. And YES it is ME up sorting him out!

I suppose I should be grateful... At least the top step (my usual sleep training perch) is more comfy than usual with the new carpet and thick underlay!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

REVIEW: Memories Made Christening Invitations, Banner and FavourStickers

Friends and family and those who follow me on twitter will know I recently organised a christening for Xander!

I booked the church and the local cricket club and quite quickly I opted for a mad hatter tea party theme for the reception! I was completely overwhelmed with ideas and some of them quite ambitious! I knew I wouldn't be able to do it all myself so contacted Jess at Memories Made.

Memories Made offer fantastic party packages including invitations, a banner and favour stickers all designed to your specifications! (Prices differ depending on design intricacies and quantities required. Contact Memories Made for quotes)

I shared with Jess my ideas and with enthusiasm she began designing. Throughout the design process I was involved choosing colours and tweaking the wording. Here's the final invitation design:

Aren't they fabulous!! The print finish was fantastic quality and Memories Made also provided the envelopes.

Continuing with the Mad Hatter theme Memories Made also designed a fantastic welcome banner to put in the banner. I love how the elements of the invitation carry on through!

Additionally I received these wonderful favour stickers. Originally I planned to use these on sweet bags but then changed my kind and used them on bottles of bubbles for the children!
The rest of the stickers I used on the envelopes of the thank you cards!

We received lots of compliments about the invitations, banner and favours! I love the way all these elements tied the Mad Hatter theme together! I recommend wholeheartedly the fantastic service Memories Made provide! They will create products completely unique to you and fit your theme perfectly!

Memories Made can be found on Facebook. Why not give them a follow and view all the fantastic items on offer. Including new baby frames, wedding and christening gifts, mothers day and fathers day gifts and also letters from Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy! Alternatively email Jess at Memories Made:

(I received the party package at a reduced rate in exchange for this blog review. All views expressed are my own)

Friday, 5 April 2013

Controlled crying update:

So, it's been just over a week since we started the whole controlled crying routine. Up until now it's been going really well. After just two nights of midnight wake up's Xander began sleeping through!

To say we was relieved was an understatement! The luxury of him sleeping 12/13 hours a night meant we have begun to get our evenings back! It's been lovely to sit and eat a meal with hubby and just talk! To catch up on all those programmes I have series linked but just never got around to watching! I've even managed to get some crafting done over the last few nights! It's been lovely and such a change to the five times a night wake up calls we was experiencing before!

Tonight however is the first night in about a week Xander has woken. We have been to a wedding today. (it was utterly beautiful!) but I think quite mentally exhausting for Xander. He was so fantastically behaved. He stayed quiet throughout the whole service and was very sociable with all the other guests (there were very few other children there so he received a lot of attention) but the day did affect his routine. He had to eat lunch earlier than normal (as the service clashed with his usual lunchtime) as a result he didn't eat much lunch. He then grazed until the serving of the wedding breakfast and then again ate at a time not usual to him. He lost his afternoon nap. He did sleep a little in the car on route from the church to the reception venue but it wasn't a lengthy nap. Finally we left at 7pm (after the wedding breakfast and speeches) and was home by 7.30pm but it did mean that by the time I prepared his bottle and changed him into his pjs he still went to bed later than usual. All of this I think has affected his sleep tonight.

He's been awake about 40 minutes now. I'm religiously sticking to the routine I have put in place, but he's being stubborn! I'm tired... I know he's tired. I'm determined not to give in. I know he can fall asleep on his own. I know he can do it! It would be so easy to give him a milk feed and cuddle him
In until he drops off but I know that's just a momentary fix. I'd just have the same fight on my hands tomorrow night.

I'm putting this night down as a blip! I really hope it is. It's been going so well but I guess everyone has a bad nights sleep every once in a while!

Anyone else had experience of this after a busy day? I'm guessing it's normal?!

Monday, 1 April 2013

REVIEW: Baker Days Gift Cakes

I was bumbling around on twitter and came across the wonderful team at Baker Days. I started following them and shortly after they contacted me and asked if I'd like to review one of their cakes! Well, that's an offer you can't refuse. I instantly accepted

The offer to review a cake couldn't come at a better time as I was in the midst of planning my son Xander's christening. I had already ordered the main christening cake but had the complication of three guests as well as myself requiring a gluten free diet. Not a problem for Baker Days - they offer gluten free sponge occasion cakes in two different sizes! They also offer a whole range of other types of cake, in a range of sizes which all sound yum!

I was sent a letterbox cake (which. serves 3-4 people) As the name suggests it is sent via post and comes packaged in a tin to protect the cake straight through yours (of gift recipient) letterbox!

The ordering process is really quite simple. There's a whole range of designs and styles of cake to choose from. You can upload photos and your own wording to personalise cakes or simply choose a standard design. There's also another service on offer. A service which I think is simply fantastic - the opportunity to have a cake designed completely from scratch to ensure a perfect fit to your party theme!! This design service is FREE if the design can be done within an hour or theres a small charge if additional times required. I opted to have a cake designed. As Xander's christening reception was a mad hatter tea party theme I requested a cake along these lines. I sent the christening invite for additional inspiration and was delighted with the final result!

The cake fitted in perfectly with the rest of the reception buffet and my celiac guests were delighted that they could have a piece of gluten free cake! The cake provided us with four reasonable sized portions, was deliciously moist and really very tasty!

I wholeheartedly recommend Bakers Days. I love the idea that you can send the gift of cake! That the cake can be personalised to suit the occasion and the cake looks so beautifully presented in the gift tin, with gift card, balloons and party blower that anyone that receives a Baker Days cake as a gift will definitely feel special and loved!

I received this item for free for the purpose of this review. All views expressed are my own.

Fun at the farm!

We have had a jam-packed weekend of Easter fun and we finished the long weekend in true Easter style by visiting a farm and seeing all the newly born spring animals!

Despite the chilly temperatures it was lovely to stroll around Millers Ark Farm in Hook and feed, stroke and hold all their gorgeous animals including lambs, baby goats, donkeys, horses, cows, ducks and rabbits! It was the perfect way to end Xander's first Easter!

He definately enjoyed saying hello to all the animals!! Here he is gently stroking a newly born goat! So cute!!!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter!

Hope you all had a fab Easter! We've had a lovely Easter weekend so far! Friday we visited a soft play and farm, yesterday we visited Wisley Gardens and today we spent the day with family!

Tomorrow we're planning on visiting another farm which has an Easter open day! They have lambs and chicks to hold!! Can't wait!!

I leave you with my gorgeous chick in his Easter bonnet we made at play group in the week!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Controlled Crying Progress

A couple of nights ago I posted on here discussing my decision to start using the controlled crying technique with Xander. He was waking a lot, often for no apparent reason - apart from possibly his teeth playing up.

Well the first night was successful. He woke up once. I eventually settled him down using the Jo Frost (Super Nanny) technique. Once he was back to sleep he slept through until morning!

So confident I was with this progress I tried it the next morning for Xander's nap and low and behold within 2 minutes he was asleep in his cot and had a nice long nap waking up in a lovely mood!

That evening I tried the technique again and it worked perfectly! In fact he slept all night! 7pm - 6am, he then went back to sleep until 8.30am! Bliss!

That takes me up until tonight... Night 3. He went to sleep well. But now he's awake. I'm working through the controlled crying progress and it's taking a while tonight. He's not screaming anymore, just murmuring a lot so I'm hoping he's started to settle but he's squirming around a lot tonight and I don't think he's going down without a fight. I suspect his teeth are giving him jip. His cheeks are rosy red. I've just got to be strong. I'm
Sitting outside his door and have two more minutes before I need to go in and settle him again...

So I have just gone it and 'settled' him
and now he's screaming again! I really hope he settles down soon. I just need to stay strong and remember this is for his own good! Thank goodness for facebook, twitter, pinterest and blogging during times like this! All of which are occupying me during the intervals.

About 28 minutes in: Xander has really started to settle now. I'm still sitting outside his door. There's long periods of silence then a bit of murmuring, but I think we're getting somewhere! The cats sleeping next to me in his bed and snoring away, hubby is upstairs in bed...I'm just so tired I need sleep!!

30 minutes in: I'm due to check him in 2 minutes time. He's settling down now. And then I go and have a huge coughing fit outside his door and he's crying again!!! Nooooooooo!!

I go downstairs get myself a glass of water. Compose myself and give myself a talking too. I must be strong! Remember why I'm doing it! I'm the boss! I'm in charge! I come back up stairs and do my check. He's asleep!!

Off I dash to bed! Fingers crossed this is the only wake up of the night!!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

More Easter crafting!! Footprint chicks!

Tuesday afternoon we had a wonderfully crafty time all in preparation for Easter! I'm an avid card maker and love crafting with my (8 month old) son, even if at the moment he's not 100% sure whats going on!

For ease we create a lot of footprint art! So we made a couple of easter chick cards to send out to Xanders grandparents! 

They were so simple to make. All we did was painted Xander's foot in yellow poster paint (he likes this - it tickles) and then stamped it down on a white card base. Then using an orange felt tipped pen drew on the beak and feet details. We stuck on some goggly eyes and some yellow feathers for wings! To finish off the card we printed off a happy Easter sentiment using the computer!! 

I just love these Easter chicks!!! Hope you manage to find some time for Easter crafting with your little ones! Happy Easter! 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Round One: Controlled Crying. Mummy 1, Xander 0.

It's the middle of the night and I'm looking for something to occupy me for the next ten minutes before I check on Xander again. Yes... Tonight I've decided enough is enough and I've given into the controlled crying technique!

Xander has slept through the night on and off since about three months. Just when I think we're getting somewhere something pesky comes along and puts a spanner in the works (colds, chest infections, teething)

He's just got over a chest infection. He's well, he has rosy cheeks so expected teeth soon. But there's no reason why he should be waking as frequently as he is at night. I haven't made it easy on myself. I've succumb to giving him milk feeds at night. Which isn't a problem if he was only waking up once on the night. But last night he woke up 5 times! He's drinking milk he doesn't need (he's having three solid meals a day and at least a pint of formula during the day) I'm
Essentially rewarding him for waking up unnecessarily. He needs sleep... So do I!

So I've read up on sleep training and controlled crying. I had a good chat with my friend Steph and even saw it in action today as she put her son jack (a week younger than Xander) down for a nap. And have decided to adopt the super nanny (Jo Frost) approach. 2 minute interval... Check ... Double to four minutes... Check... Double to right... Check... Double to 16... Check... I now have one minute before I need to check him again and he's literally stopped crying...

I've been and checked... He's asleep!! He's turned 180 degrees in his cot but he's fast asleep!

I'm under no illusion I'll probably have to do again at least once if not twice tonight. The technique says should be effective after seven consecutive nights. We will see! But round one to mummy!

(also wish to thank a lovely guy on twitter called Spencer, @adadcalledspen who offered me a lot of support tonight during intervals. It meant a lot to have some encouragement!)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Getting excited about Easter!

With it being Xander's first Easter I'm keen for it not to pass us by. We've had lots of fun this week with paints making Easter cards for friends and family! I also scoured netmums and came across a free Easter themed event at our local toy shop - Enchanted Wood in Farnham. I was delighted to discover they still had some places and so booked Xander on! We went along yesterday morning!

We had so much fun! Firstly there was a Spot The Dog Easter story. I was amazed how quietly Xander sat and he listened so intently! Afterwards followed some singing and dancing to Easter themed songs including 'If you're hoppy and you know it' and then a puppet show involving the Easter bunny and a chick (I think this was Xander's favourite bit!) He squealed with delight each time the Easter bunny made an appearance!

The session finished off with a mad rush Easter Egg hunt around the toy store!! Xander seemed more excited in eating the laminated Easter egg halves rather than anything else!

I'm sure next year he'll be a lot more excited!! Especially if he's hunting for real chocolate eggs!!

The session was specifically for 0-4 year olds. Although a fair deal was geared around the older children Xander still appeared the have lots of fun! Why not check out whats going on locally this Easter in your area!!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Footprint crafts: Easter Bunny Cards!

So Easter is fast approaching! It's cold outside and you may be planning a few days in with your little ones! So why not occupy them with some crafting?!

Get out the scrap card and paper, poster paints and glue and make some Easter cards for your little ones to give out to friends and family!

That's exactly what we did this week and here's our creation:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ideal Cases (ipad case) Review

I was lucky enough to receive an iPad from my hubby for Christmas (I must have been a good girl!!) I was concerned that It would easily get damaged and was keen to get a case for it to keep it in tip top condition. So I was utterly delighted when Ideal Cases gave me the opportunity to design my own cover as part of fuelmyblog campaign!!

Ideal Cases has a really fun website where you can create cases for mobiles, tablets and e-readers!! you can create something really plain and simple (if thats your thing) You can create a case with photographs using a whole range of templates provided for you or if you're feeling super creative you can completely freestyle and deign your own from scratch!!!

Never being one to shy away from a challenge I decided to create my own design and this is the final result:

Being a crafty person I really enjoyed the creative process!! It was very similar to digital scrapbooking. You can use photos, doodles, images, patterns, text or clip-art or a combination to create your own unique design!! The whole process was very easy to do and lots of fun!

I choose to have my design printed onto a faux leather case (although there is also a clip on case option available too) and received my order just three days after I sent off my order and I was thoroughly delighted with the finished product! The design was printed exactly as I had created it on screen. The case offers high scratch protection to front & back of ipad & medium drop protection (which is perfect for clumsy old me!)

The case is designed with a prop feature so you can prop your iPad up whilst using it, this is a feature that has proven invaluable as I use my iPad to Skype my relatives and it means that we can have a steady conversation!!

Overall I really love my new iPad case, my only minor criticism is that occasionally the case slips over the sensor and my iPad locks mid use. Although now I'm aware of this I can often prevent this from occurring.

I think that the final product is brilliant!! I would thoroughly recommend using Ideal Cases to create fun but practical, personalised gifts for all your gadget loving friends and family!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A post dedicated to the angel Matilda Mae

I'm still awake. It's 1.40am. I have no reason to be. Hubby is fast asleep, I've already gone in and fed Xander, the house is still and all is quiet. Except my mind won't switch off. My thoughts are loud, my thoughts are shouting and I'm just so angry. So angry and heartbroken that there's a mummy out there who is having to come to terms with the most tragic experience. The sudden loss of her 9 month old beautiful girl.

I've never actually met this mummy, yet I speak most days with her on twitter. I speak to her more often sometimes to friends I see in the flesh. We was pregnant around the same time, she gave me some wonderful advice approaching my pregnancy and post pregnancy. When the beautiful Matilda Mae was born I was so excited to congratulate her for creating something so simply perfect and I even accepted that this beautiful girl was the deserving winner of the mamascarf baby competition that Xander did so well in.

Last night this mummy and daddy did nothing different to any other night. Bedtime routine no different than usual. But sadly when they went to check on her a few hours later she had passed away. Now it's clear from her messages on Twitter she is looking to blame herself. She mustn't. I'm sure it's easy as a distant outsider to say that but I hope she reads this and realises what she did that evening was a similar routine to most of us mummies. It could easily have been anyone's baby. And i'm so sorry it was yours. If you read her blog you can instantly see what a fantastic, loving and responsible mother she is. Matilda Mae was very blessed to have such a wonderful caring mummy. I can safely say that. 100%.

Tonight has made me reflect. To truly realise how blessed we are to have our Xander in our lives. I love the bones of our little man but until today I really did not appreciate the significance or magnitude of that love. I orbit around him. Everything I do is governed by him and nearly always for him. I have no idea how I would ever cope without him. So tonight i took my time to put him to bed, i let him fall asleep in my arms, i held him until my arm ached and then I kissed him goodnight and popped him in his cot.

I can't sleep tonight. So instead my thoughts are with the simply gorgeous smiley angel Matilda Mae and her family. May you rest in peace sweetheart. Xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

REVIEW: Gumigem necklace

When I visited The Baby Show back in October I met the lovely folks at Gumigem:

Gumigem jewellery has been especially designed for mum to wear and baby too teethe on! All the range is made from a soft flexible silicone which is safe for babies to pop in their mouth and munch on! That's right, a fun stylish piece of jewellery that doubles up as a baby teething aid!!

They kindly gave me the pick of their stall and allowed me to select a piece of jewellery to review when the time came for Xander to start teething.

I selected this beautiful necklace:

Well, the time has come! Xander has begun teething and he's a grumpy little so and so!! His cheeks are red, he's very dribbly and his fingers are constantly in his mouth. At just over five months the tip of his very first tooth poked through the gum.

For Christmas Xander received pretty much every teething toy under the sun but Xander has dismissed them all. Nothing has been able to beat his fingers as a means if soothing his irritated gums.
At this point I decided to try out the Gumigem necklace I received back in October. Here's our views on the necklace:

What we loved about the Gumigem necklace:
- Lovely bold design which is very fashionable!!
- Fun bright colour!!
- I've worn the necklace out and about and received lots of compliments! Many people were surprised to discover it actually served dual purpose as a teether!
- The necklace can be washed in warm soapy water or popped in the dishwasher for hygiene purposes!
- The necklace has a breakaway clasp which means if baby tugs hard on it they won't strangle you!!
- An ideal teether in babywearing scenarios.
- This has been the one item Xander has actually chomped on for more than two minutes and does appear to be easing his discomfort.

- A whole range of colours and designs available at very reasonable prices.

Potential issues with the necklace:
- It was difficult to encourage Xander to take to the necklace at first. After telling him for the last couple of months not to pull mummy's necklace I was actively encouraging him to play with this one! It may be worth wearing the necklace well before the teething process to encourage familiarity with the item.
- It's not a teether the baby can have and play with in their own. It is important to remember safety. You couldn't really take off be necklace and give it to baby to munch in unless you was very carefully supervising baby as there could be a potential chocking hazard.
- Could encourage clinginess if baby wants to use your necklace as a soother/teether. On reflection I would be more inclined to by the silicone bangle for this reason.

Overall I think Gumigem jewellery is a wonderful idea and there is such a brilliant collection of designs I'm sure you will find a colour or design that really suits your style!! Gumigem jewellery would make a fantastic baby shower gift as the mum-to-be could wear the jewellery straight away as a fashion statement! And it would certainly make a change from bibs and babygros! It's a gift for both mummy and baby!

We received this item free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views expressed are my own.

REVIEW: Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream from Chemist Direct

Chemist Direct is an online chemist offering medicines, health and beauty essentials, fragrances, pet products and household cleaning products at lower prices than on the high street. It also has a large dedicated mother and baby section offering products for baby bath time, feeding and nursing, and maternity products for mums, featuring brands such as Bio-Oil, Chicco, Burts Bees, Halo N Horns, Avent and Mam. The section also runs monthly bulk buy offers on items such as nappies, baby wipes, baby formula, nappy cream – offering further savings to families!! It's the ideal business to have saved in your favourites for those times when it's just too much effort to leave the house and go shopping!!

Chemist Direct sent us some Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream (available from their mother and baby section) to review.

To be honest up until recently we haven't had much need for nappy rash cream as it hasn't been something Xander has really suffered with, however with onset of teething came the nasty side effect of nappy rash (and dribble rash on his chin and neck) and the Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream has proved itself to be extremely useful!!

What we like about Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream:
- Made from natural ingredients (calendula, chamomile, almond oils and sesame oils)
- Lovely smell (a result of the essential oils used within the product. You can especially smell the lavender!)
- A massive tube (75ml) which will last for ages as a little bit goes a long way!
- Not too sticky
- Not as thick as other rash creams so quite easy to rub in.
- Can be used not just for the nappy area, also ideal to use for dribble rash around the neck and chin area.
- I like that the product is in a tube rather than a tub, it takes up less space in my changing bag.
- Products haven't been tested on animals.

What we don't like about Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream:
- Being stored in a tube, initially when we began using the product we wasted some cream as we squeezed too much out. Once out of the tube you can't put it back in!

Generally speaking we really have liked using Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream and will continue using it in the future!! An recommend this cream to other parents and babies.

You can purchase this cream (and other products from the Weleda range) from Chemist Direct for the bargain price of £5.60. That's 19% discount off the RRP £6.95.

We received this item free of charge from Chemist Direct for the purpose of this review. All opinions posted are my own.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Xander's first snow!!

Hi all, just a quick post today to share some photos of Xander's first snow! To be honest we literally stepped foot in it for five minutes in total!! We took a few pics, he wasn't too impressed when I laid him in the snow for a snow angel pic! But Xander absolutely loved watching it out of the window, he couldn't stop chuckling!

I think it's fair to say we are all snowed out now and looking forward to it thawing out and normality resuming!! Did you have any good snow days? Did you make anything impressive whilst out in the snow?!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Xander's first tooth!!

Saturday was a landmark moment in my little mans life! After a couple of weeks of rosy red cheeks, trying every type of pain relief available (Nelson's teething granules are by far the best!) and sleepless nights Xander's first toothy peg cut through!!

Here's a little pic of my gorgeous boy on this momentous day. Just love him!!

Saturday, 12 January 2013 Britain’s Best Days Out: Review of Marwell Zoo!

As part of Money Supermarkets Britain's Best Days Out
we were given tickets to  Marwell Zoo,
So on a chilly November day we went for a family day out
and this is our review!

We entered the park, purchased a map
and decided what route to go,
They offer a route where you can see all the animals 
or a wet weather one for rain or snow.

The first encounter we had was with a waddle of penguins,
then we headed up the Savannah track,
Daddy and Xander stood on the veranda
and watched the cheetahs having a snack!

Then off into Africa we ventured,
to view the monkeys, zebras and giraffes,
The tallest giraffe leaned over the rails making Xander cry
but the Bongos made Xander laugh!

We went to Cafe Graze for our lunch and really enjoyed our meal,
The facilities were really good too, 
The toilets were clean, plenty of highchairs,
and a microwave to heat bottles through.

After lunch we braved the cold to see  more animals
including meerkats, tigers and horses,
We couldn't help noticing all the fun things for the children to do
 including play parks and obstacle courses!

We was quite energetic and walked our way all the way around the zoo, but just to note that if you didn't want to walk  
there was a road train to take you around too.

We finished our visit by seeing the capybara 
which are Daddy's favourite animal by far,
Finally we went to gift shop and brought a cuddly capybara
which Xander cuddled all the way home in the car! 

We had a completely splendid fun packed day,
there was so much to see and to do,
As Xander gets older we will most certainly be regular visitors to Marwell Zoo! 

We received a family ticket to review Marwell Zoo for free through Tots 100 and Money Supermarkets Britain's Best Days Out Campaign! Visit the MoneySupermarket website  to view a fantastic range of printable money off  vouchers and deals to keep you and your entertained for less.

Find money saving offers on everything from family days out for the kids to exhilarating experience days. There's a whole range of bargains available on a great family day out with the kids including theme parks, popular UK attractions and many more fun places and activities!! Click here to find fantastic value vouchers!

We will definitely be consulting this site before planning any family days out in future!  

Christmas Round-Up

Hi all, let me begin by wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2013!! It's hard to believe that Christmas is already over! I hope you had a good one!

We had the joy of celebrating Xander's first Christmas and we celebrated it in style, literally starting on the 1st December and doing something Christmassy everyday leading up to the BIG day! A lot of our family brought Xander Christmassy themed clothes and I just couldn't resist buying more so I actually managed to dress Xander in a Christmas related item of clothing leading up to and including Boxing Day!!

I felt intense pressure to get everything just perfect and that included the Christmas tree. After convincing myself that our old tree wasn't good enough I dragged hubby to the shops to buy a brand new tree and decs. Now, I'm a complete perfectionist when it comes to Christmas tree dressing and went for a blue, white, silver and purple theme. What surprised me this year was how much I was willing to go out of my comfort zone and add non-coordinating baubles and decorations to the tree that people brought us to celebrate Xander's first Christmas!!

The baby group we regularly attend had Christmas themed crafts running at each session and we had a lot of fun creating tree decorations, Christmas cards and calendars:

A major enjoyable part of the build up to Christmas was taking Xander to visit Santa for the first time. Santa played a massive part in my Christmases as a child. Every year Santa visits my Ann's home to hand deliver the gifts. This is a tradition that still continues to his day, so I was keen to introduce Xander to Santa early on and avoid the typical crying at Santa routine!! I was utterly delighted that Xander wasn't at all phased by Santa and we actually visited Sandra's grotto twice (as well as a Santa visit and Xander's baby group!) So by Christmas Xander and Santa were firm friends!!

We brought Xander an advent calendar and arranged for a letter to be sent from Memories Made!! I also had a keepsake box made especially for Xander's first Christmas! I've kept everything from gift tags and cards to the joke, hat and toy from his first cracker!!

Christmas itself went by with such a blur! Hubby worked right up until Christmas and only had Christmas Day and Boxing Day off. Christmas Eve me and Xander had a PJ day. We watched lots of Christmas movies and I finished wrapping the last few gifts. This is a tradition I'd like to maintain for years to come!

Xander slept all through the night on Christmas Eve!! So we woke up lovely and refreshed! We actually had to wake Xander up to get Christmas proceedings underway! First task of the day was to Skype the in laws! They've only recently got online so Skype was a new experience but it was lovely to open presents together and for Xander to see his great nana and grandad on Christmas Day! He seemed to enjoy the experience, moving up really close to the webcam to say hello!

Obviously being Xander's first Christmas all our family wanted to share his special day. So there was a lot of rushing about on our part to ensure this happened. First up over to my mums, where we shared a lovely morning together and had lunch with them. Then in the afternoon over to hubby's family for more gifts and food! To be honest as lovely as it was in hindsight I think it was all a bit too much for Xander, a bit too overwhelming.

So the next day we spent the majority of the day at home. Just me, hubby and Xander. We opened the rest of his presents with him. We played with his toys and we all sat on the sofa and watched Happy Feet. It was just what we needed!!! Boxing Day evening we popped over to my Nan's for tea and of course to see Santa! His new friend! Here's a pic of my perfect little family all dressed up this Christmas!!