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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Are you parenting the "right" way?

When it comes to parenting its something everyone seems to have an opinion on and lets face it there are so many decisions to make when it comes to making parenting choices.

For me there is only one way to parent.... YOUR way!

We are all different our children are not the same and neither you or your baby is a robot programmed to behave and react the same way as every other parent/ baby around. What works for some may not work for others and well that's ok!

So you chose to breastfeed your baby, well done you are giving your baby some lovely nutritious mummy milk and nurturing your child all by yourself good luck on your journey mummy, so you are giving your child formula well done you are feeding your child keeping them happy, content and daddy can help too well done mummy!

It frustrates me when mums attack other mums about their parenting choices, as mum's do we not already all realise just how HARD parenting is without being judged by the people we should be able to lean on for support!?


This is me and my babies and we look pretty happy right!? Can you tell how I parented my children? Can you tell is I breastfed or whether their bums were wrapped is cloth or disposables? Can you tell how I get them both to sleep at night.... No. But what you can see (hopefully) is 2 very happy smiley and pretty darn healthy babies with their very proud mummy. None of the above should matter can we not just support each other?

So whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, cloth nappy or disposables, hypno-birth or c-section can we not all just support each other and our happy babies regardless of our choices. If you sat 10 babies in a row would you really be able to tell how each one was fed or how each one sleeps? Probably not!

After all aren't we all after the same goal happy and content children with happy and content parents? So lets support each other as parents and our happy healthy beautiful babies rather than judging others!

xXx

Sunday, 24 May 2015

SwimFin **REVIEW**

As I am sure you have noticed by now we love swimming. We as a family may not be the best and we certainly aren't winning any medals buts its an activity we can all enjoy together as a family.

Learning to swim is something I feel very passionate about and feel its something children should be encouraged to learn as its ultimately a life saving skill that can so easily be taught either via a parent/carer, a friend or via swimming lessons with a professional.

I have taken both James and Evelyn swimming since they were just a few months old. James now attends weekly swimming lessons as our local leisure centre but before that I used to take him by myself and attempted to teach him myself. During this this we tried several different swimming aids but none seemed to give him the correct swimming position or really help him get going.

The arm bands seemed to simply leave his arms up in the water but offered no support to his core and almost left him standing vertically in the pool with his arms beside his head. The swimming ring was a little better but again it seemed to leave him vertical rather than horizontal in the water as would be needed for the correct swimming position.



Then we heard about the SwimFin, The SwimFin doesn't fight against the body pulling it to the surafce instead it works in harmony with the body to gain a more natural swimming position in the easiest way.



Not only did the SwimFin work wonders for helping get James in to that correct swimming position and offer him that extra bit of support in the correct area it made swimming fun! With the swim fin on James always thought he was a shark it make him automatically want to move around the water, becoming more active and confident as he moved around. You can even buy adult straps for the SwimFin so they can fit on to an adult!



Whats a little different about the SwimFin is that the more visible it is out of the water the less support it is offering meaning the more your child is swimming alone. The more submerged the Swim Fin is the more support it is offering the child so as your child slowly becomes more confident and more able to get their body in to the optimum position for swimming themselves the less the Swim Fin will be aiding them. I love this as it means your child is using less of the buoyancy aid without even realising it as you don't have to take anything away.



If you have or know a child who is learning to swim or could use a little extra support than I would highly recommend trying out the SwimFin, you can find out more about SwimFin via their website here - swimfin.co.uk

Do you and your family enjoy swimming? Is the SwimFin something you or your children would use?

xXx

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Top tips for swimming with children.

Swimming is something I have always thought to be a really important skill for a child to learn, after all it can save their life! 

I have taken both my children from young babies and James absolutely loves being in the water now (in fact we can't get him out most of the time!). I know that taking a young baby swimming on your own can be quite a daunting experience so I have shared below some of our top tips and advice for swimming with your child and building water confidence. 


- Get your children used to the water at home first in the bath. Encourage them to splash about and make being in the water fun, sing songs and play games. This will help build up your child's confidence in water in a relaxed environment in their own home. 

- Attending swimming lessons can really help build children's confidence in the water and not only that but they can really help build up your confidence when taking your child swimming on your own. The instructors at these lessons will often teach you lots of helpful hints and tips on keeping safe in the water and encouraging your baby to enjoy the water more and more. 

- The first couple of times you take your baby/ child swimming don't expect to be in the pool long. Being in the pool (especially if its a little busy) can be quite overwhelming for small babies and children and often quite tiring. When we first started taking James we found around 20 minutes was plenty of time in the pool, we gradually increased that time and now at 5 I think he would stay in the pool all day if he could!

- Using a buoyancy aid can also help your child gain confidence in the water. We found the SwimFin to be the perfect buoyancy aid as it kept the child in the optimal swimming position and only offers the amount of support your child requires. It is also shaped like a shark fit and so children will love wearing it and as they bound around the pool they are gaining confidence and often learning basic swimming skills such as reaching with their arms and kicking their feet to move faster. 

- Take a towel or if you have one a hooded poncho style towel to the pool with you and leave it pool side (somewhere it will remain dry). As I am sure you have noticed when you get out of the pool its REALLY cold, babies especially will really feel this so having a towel to hand when you get out will mean they stay warm until you get them dressed.

- My biggest top tip would be to stay relaxed and calm, enjoy the experience and bonding time with your child. Have lots of fun and remember your baby will pick up on your mood so lots of smiles and encouragement whilst in the water will mean they will feel more happy and relaxed to be there. All children will develop and learn in there own time and confidence will come over time so just stick with it.


Do you have any top tips for swimming with babies or children?

xXx

This post was written in collaboration with our SwimFin review which can be found HERE.

The Ugglys Pet Shop Dirty Dog Wash Van **REVIEW**

I don't know about you but my children seem to love anything gross and disgusting, particularly my 5 year old little boy who seems to find anything disgusting amusing! So when we were offered the chance to review the Ugglys pet shop dirty dog wash van I knew it would be right up James street, I eagerly awaiting the sneering I knew was going to come when James heard the "gross" noises inside the van!

Unfortunately for us we were out when the van got delivered and got left with our neighbours who brought it back to us rather amused and confused as to why our parcel was "farting" and "burping" so the pet shop van brought plenty of laughs all round lol!

The first thing I noticed when taking the van out was the attention to detail that has gone in to this toy such as the bones on the wheels, ugly dog related stickers all over the van and even teeny tiny spiders on the scales. I often find with children's toy's those little details are over looked but as James gets older the little details are thing he really notices.


To the back of the van is a toilet which makes 'gross' noises when pressed or sat on by one of the uggly pets, the dirty dog van actually makes 30+ sounds all together! There is also a functional weighing scale which the pets can weigh in on. The back of the van can also either be placed up so that the pets don't fall out when driving along, or it can be left open so that all of the objects in the back can be used.


The Uggly's pet shop van is aimed at children age 5 years+. I thought this was good age to appeal too as any younger and the small dogs could easily become a choking hazard and the child needs to understand a little about the 'gross' noises to fully understand the toy.

The Ugglys pet shop van seems to we pretty well made and seems to be able to withstand some pretty rough and over enthusiastic play time including being dropped off the sofa once or twice. The van in priced at £19.99 which to be sounds like a reasonable price for a toy that has provided lots of entertainment for James and it very well made and sturdy.


I also liked the fact you buy "extra" gross pets to add to your collection so it means children can add to an existing toy rather than wanting another new toy. The extra gross pets are priced at £2.99 for 2 so a perfect price for young children to purchase with pocket money etc.


You can purchase The Ugglys per shop dirty dog wash van from Character Online website which can be found here - www.character-online.com.

xXx

Monday, 18 May 2015

OXO tot feeding utensils **REVIEW**

As soon as babies start eating you hit a whole new mind field of the baby shop, the feeding isle! It contains a huge range of plates and bowls in different shapes, sizes and proportions as well as cutlery in a huge range of sizes and shapes and then there is the beakers!

So when the lovely people at OXO tot offered us some of their range to try with Evelyn we were really intrigued to see how these would fare.


The plate which is priced at around -- the plate divided in to portions which I have found really helpful in giving me a rough guide in how much of each food to dish up for Evelyn. It also features a detachable ring which we LOVE! It can be put it place to stop food from falling off the edge of the plate when baby is trying to use a spoon but it can also be removed as they get older and gain a little more control. The rim edge leans in slightly so it means as they scoop food against it the rim almost pushes the food back on to the spoon.



The plate also features a non slip base which was great to keep the plate from sliding around especially on the high chair tray. It didn't however of course stop Evelyn just picking it up and chucking it on the floor. However I don't think any amount of non slip or suckers would stop Evelyn doing this as she would just pick it up off the plate and chuck if she couldn't move the plate! The base also has small symbols on the bottom to show you what should go in to each section to really help you work out portion control for proteins, carbs and fruit/veg.

The other item we were sent from the OXO tot range was the beaker.
We have tried several beakers from different brands with varying levels of success. This beakers features wide, long and easy to grip handles which seem to be just in the right place and at the right angle to encourage baby to tip the beaker up slightly (something which Evelyn has struggle with other beakers to do). The main body of the beaker is clear and features a measure on the side so you can always see how much water baby has drank which is really handy too especially in the summer or if they are poorly.


Over all we loved these products from the OXO tot range. We loved the vibrant bright colours and that they seem to be good, sturdy and quality pieces of feeding equipment for baby. The only small issue we found was that the hard plastic to the spout area of the beaker was easily scratched by Evelyn's teeth whenever she drank from it. This didn't effect the use at all it just made it look a little worn after a little use.

The OXO tot feeding range is available is 3 colours hot pink and white, Aqua and white and Green and white. All are bright vibrant and eye catching.

Why not check out the other fantastic baby and toddler feeding items OXO tots have to offer via their website here -

Do you own any products from the OXO tot range?

xXx

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Puddle Ducks swimming lessons **UPDATE**

Evelyn has been enjoying her Puddle Duck's lessons for 4 weeks now (where does the time go!?) and she has honestly come on leaps and bounds since that first lesson.


After mentioning about a sign being placed outside to make it easier to find, we were thrilled to see a lovely big clear sign directing us to Puddle Ducks on our arrival! The changing rooms are always lovely and warm as is the pool so no worries about babies getting cold! 

Jen our teacher has been lovely as I am sure are all of the Puddle Ducks teachers, she is fantastic with the babies and you can tell by the way she runs her classes she is enthusiastic and really cares about all the children at Puddle Ducks. Having such a lovely teacher really does put your mind at ease especially when taking your children swimming for the first couple of times when both you and your child may be nervous.

In our lessons Evelyn has been practicing lots of submersion and turning techniques as well as exhaling water and blowing bubbles. Only last week Evelyn, with a little help from Jen swam under water through a hoop and out the other side to mummy kicking her little legs behind her bless her!


The classes cover lots of techniques that as well as learning and perfecting in class you can also take away from the pool and practice in your own time, as well as really focusing on babies confidence in the water being the best it can be. Evelyn has started dipping her mouth in to the water to copy me when blowing bubbles.


For us so far Puddle Duck's swimming lessons have been great, they have been fun and Evelyn has learnt through fun, song and rhyming as well as being on her way to learning some basic techniques that could potentially one day save her life!

If you are undecided about joining Puddle Ducks with your little ones I would say quite literally just take the plunge and do it! From what we have experienced so far we are sure you will love the lessons just as much as we do!


Make sure you come back and check out how she has got on in another few weeks.

Why not pop over to the Puddle Ducks website and check out what lessons they have to offer to cater for you - www.puddleducks.com.

xXx




Friday, 15 May 2015

Flair Plasticine **REVIEW**

James adores craft activities and there is nothing much better to keep a child entertained on a rainy day stuck indoors than a day of crafts! I am in awe of James imagination and what he can create with a few simple objects and his own imagination.

So when we received a lovely bundle of Plasticine products for James to try out from Flair I knew he would be over the moon, it also brought back childhood memories for me! 
James immediately noticed the Ninja Turtle squidgems (no surprise as he is a huge ninja turtle fan!) and he was so excited at the possibility of creating his own ninja turtle.

The squidgems kit comes with the 2 colours of plasticine you require as well as thin cardboard accessories which you apply to the plasticine once you have moulded the body, head, arms etc to create all of the details such as eyes and weapons. Priced at just £1.49 these make great inexpensive activities or gifts for any ninja turtle fan. 
Also included in our plasticine bundle was this set of colourmax plasticine (rrp £2.99) which is a set of 24 tubes of plasticine in a wide variety of colours. Or if you are looking for slightly larger quantities of plasticine you can also purchase the Funtubulous set (rrp £6.99) which include 7 larger tubes of plasticine + 4 cutters. There are no instructions or limitations with plasticine which is what makes it so great! 

Here are some of the things James made with his plasticine (we used the colourmax and funtubulous plastice to create these) - 


For me Plasticine is one of those childhood toys that will never go out of fashion and even as an adult I had the urge to sit down with James and help him make little creatures. The great thing about plasticine is that it doesn't dry out either so your creations can be kept or reused later on to make something different without having to ever worry that the Plasticine will dry out and become unusable. 

We did find that one the colour's were mixed they were almost impossible to separate again however this didn't really bother James as he wanted to keep his models once they were made anyway.

If you want to find out more about Plasticine and the wide variety of products you can buy pop over to the Flair website here - www.flairplc.co.uk.

Do your kids or you love to create with plasticine too? What do your kids love to create? 

xXx