Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Flexible Working



Today was an ordinary day in the office. The same familiar faces going about their duties and the same people dunking biscuits in their tea. 

However today was also the day that I informed my boss that I would like to consider flexible working. I read up all I could on the Direct Gov website while I awaited an email back from the Confidential Secretary. By the time she had replied I had already compiled my case and she quickly gave my letter a proof read, and advised me to talk with my line manager.

I sat there glancing up over my computer screen at him, wondering whether I should whisper over to him that I needed a word, or to send him a email, despite the fact he sits right next to me. I bide my time and awaited him to walk away from his desk. I did not want to say anything in full ear shot of the all the ears listening around me. 

I hovered over the send button for a good few minutes before letting the email float those few feet away from me to sit waiting in my boss's inbox. It brought back memories of when I informed him I was pregnant, I was terrified at the prospect. In fact that is why I went into a little more detail in the email I sent him this time around, I did not want him getting the wrong idea and thinking that I was bringing another baby into the world just yet.

He began walking back to his desk, followed closely by the Operations Director. They both gathered around his computer and I began to feel like they were both reading my email. I felt incredibly paranoid. However when the big boss walked away and I was left with just my line manager, I mentioned that I had sent him a email that he would most likely wish to discuss with me.

The email told him all about my plans to work flexibly and that I felt I was missing out on Leo's day to day life and development. I told him that I wanted the best of both worlds and that I had composed a letter with my hopeful working hours in. 

I also said I had made no decision on what I intended to do quite yet, and that I wanted to know what my salary would be and basically just have all the information so I could make a informed decision.

All he said was 'ok, no problem'.

I had hyped myself up, I could feel my pulse racing like it may just pop out of my chest and greet everyone around it. Of course this didn't happen, but the calm collected response, had me suddenly at ease.

It looks as though I will be granted my wish of Monday - Wednesday in the office. There is one other hurdle that I will need to cross, and I think this may be even harder than informing work. Luke want's me to stay in full time employment. He wants me to save hard so we can finally get out and live our lives.

Each time I have raised the subject of working part time with him, I am met with no enthusiasm and also what feels like a lack of understanding. I don't think he quite understands my need to be with Leo. He often says 'Think how I feel' in reference to his full time job, but the difference in my eyes is that I have spent every day for 13 months with him, there have been very few occasions that I have left him.

Luke will come home from work and happily retreat to the gym, and he will also see friends socially more than I do and go out on a more regular basis. So it is his choice to be away from Leo as much as he is. I on the other hand will finish work and come straight home to see him. I rarely go out, out of personal choice. Especially these days as every moment with Leo is like gold. 

Precious.

I can completely see where he is coming from, but at this moment in time. I just want to be with Leo. I would quite happily rent a home and finally relax. 

Of course I am pretty sure my wages will drop substantially. In fact I know this to be true. I think I may even fall below the income tax threshold which in a way would be good. 

What I have to ask is, does this mean my little family would qualify for the housing benefit? 

This would really help us out, and may also get Luke around to my way of thinking, as deep down I know he is just thinking of the financial aspects. But there has to be away around it as so many Mummy's do it. 

Does anyone know what the income threshold is for being in receipt of the housing benefit? 

I have to ask you, what would you do? Am I asking to much in requesting part time work? Or is Luke being un-reasonable by not being open to a compromise? 

There has to be some way that I can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Somehow...


Monday, 30 July 2012

Dear baby boy...


Dear Blue eyed boy,

I have just tucked you up into bed and watched you close your big blue eyes.

I watched you succumb to sleep after fighting with all your might to keep your eyes open. But they lost the battle and your lids rolled down and you laid down your head. 

Fast asleep.

I wonder what you will dream tonight Leo, will you sleigh a dragon or climb the tallest mountain? Will you fight with pirates on your trip to Never Land? 

Or will you wonder why your Mummy is not around any more? I hope you fill your head full of adventures and magical voyages, but I think you do know that something is different. I think you know that something has changed.

I think you know that Mummy is away more than she is here.

I can tell you know my beautiful boy, that this is not something I want. Being away from you is something I wish I could change, and something that I am actively looking to fix.

The days are so long without you there to brighten my day with your cheeky mannerisms and flirty disposition. I am missing our days together and our walks into town. I miss feeding you your breakfast and getting you ready for the adventures of our day ahead. 

I sit and smile at your photo on my desk. It is a photo we had taken when you were 7 months old. You had just started crawling and pulling yourself up. It is amazing how much has changed in those 5 short months. You walk and attempt to run, your balance has come on so much now little man.

You are a proper little toddler, but above all else you are still my baby. My little baby boy who I long to spend all of my time with, and watch while you grow up into a incredible little boy who never ceases to make me proud.

I just want to tell you that just because I am not around, it does not mean I do no think of you at each and every moment of every day. 

Because I do. I think about you all the time.

I think about exciting things we can do together now I have money in my bank account, and I also think of ways that we can spend Daddy's money too. 

But shhh...Don't tell him.

I am exhausting all of my ideas and doing my very best to find a way back to you. I long to have a few extra days a week where it is just us. 

Mummy and Leo.

I keep thinking about what I am missing while I am not here. While I am not where I am supposed to be, and that is where ever you happen to be. 

You make me complete Leo, and as long as I am a firm part of your world. I am one happy Mummy.

Don't think I have abandoned you little man, I am out earning the money to fuel our adventures. It won't be long before the weekend get's here and we can have some serious fun. 

Until then beautiful boy of mine, know that I love you.

I love you very much.

I love you to the moon and back.

Yours,
Mummy xx

Friday, 27 July 2012

Change



I knew returning to work would not be easy, but I did not prepare myself for just how little I would see Leo throughout the working week.

It is so hard.

My day starts at 7:00am and I spend that time getting myself ready. When Leo awakes I will spend as much time with him as possible before leaving for work. But this is only around 10 minutes at best. I come back for lunch at 2pm and if he is awake great, but he often naps at this time, making this another missed opportunity. 

My last chance to spend some time with him is after work. I get in around 5:10pm after racing home in the rush hour traffic. He is usually out playing in the garden around this time, so I swoop in and hold him in my arms, kissing him all over, feeling incredibly guilty that I have not fed him his breakfast, lunch or even dinner.

They are my rights as his Mummy.

Those little opportunities that I used to take for-granted as an everyday experience have been stolen from me. Just being able to sit down with him and talk away to him while he throws his peas onto the floor and looks at me to see what I think, or when he wipes his mucky fingers all over my leggings after I have just wiped off the food residue he coated them with earlier in the day.

I don't even get to pick out his little outfits for the day any more. Granny get's him dressed. I feel like I don't do anything for him. My beautiful baby boy who I love so much. What kind of Mummy does that make me? I am not even here anymore. Or at least that is how it feels.

I fear that Leo will begin to call my Mum his 'Mummy', and my face will just be another one in the ocean of people that love him. 

That he wont remember that I am his Mummy.

There are already instances of this, when he reaches out to his Granny and does not want his Mummy's cuddles. Granny loves it but I feel completely broken by it. Of course he comes back eventually, but what if he just wants Granny huggles when he is poorly? What if he wants Granny to tuck him in at night as she has been there through all of those days that I just wasn't.  

Work is not bad, in fact it is nice to see everyone and have a little bit of adult conversation. However I don't think I have it in me to see so little of Leo for 5 days out of the week.

Lot's of people keep asking me how I feel to be back, and as soon as they ask I can feel the tears pricking up in my eyes. The truth is I don't want to be back and I don't want to leave my blue eyed boy on a permanent basis. 

When ever someone asks me about work and Leo I just want to cry. I have felt so irritable over the last few days and I know it is because I feel I am missing out. When washing up his bottles and something goes a little wrong, I feel like throwing them against the wall. 

I miss my maternity leave, and my care free days with Leo. I miss walking him to the park while everyone else is at work and school. I miss baby group and our little adventures. I miss sharing my lunch with him on a bench and feeding the ducks.

I miss him.

I miss his little singing hum and his infectious giggle. His beautiful smile and his cheeky disposition.

I just want to enjoy Leo's life and rejoice in every instance. 

I know it is early days and I have lot's to consider. As the truth is I cannot afford a pay drop. But then I cannot bring myself to miss Leo's childhood. The weekends are not enough for me, and although I will make the very most of them, I need more of my little man in my life.

I want to be his Mummy. 

Why is this so hard?




Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Cosatto Yo! Pear Drop Review



Cosatto are well known for their brightly coloured pushchairs with plenty of personality. Cosatto refer to this as their trademark quirkiness and I have to say that I am inclined to agree with them.

I have always loved the Cosatto designs, so when I was presented with the opportunity to put the new Cosatto Yo! to the test, I was more than a little excited. In fact when the new stroller was dropped off with me late last week I could not wait to get it out and take a look at it in the flesh.

Leo and I have been sent the new Yo! Pear Drop to put through it's paces, so while Leo was napping I seized the opportunity to put it together.

The first thing that struck me about the Pear Drop was the gorgeous bright green colouring. It is lovely and a great colour for the Summer (which has finally arrived!) It really does stand out from the crowd. I would be lying if I said I did not get some admiring glances and double takes while pushing this little number around the shops. In fact one lady even went as far as to whisper to her friend 'That is the stroller that I want!'

The Yo! Pear Drop Specification - 
The Techy bit...Before the exciting bit!

- Weight: 7kg
- Size: L: 72cm W: 44cm H: 98cm
- Folded size: L: 116cm W: 30cm H: 34cm
- Handle height: 100cm
- Suitable from birth
- Suitable for children up to 15kg

What's in the box?

Cosatto are so very generous with the accessories that come with their strollers and the Yo! Pear Drop is no exception. 

In the box you will find:

- Footmuff.
- Raincover.
- Shopping basket.
- Detachable hood.
- Chest pads.
- Head hugger.
- Aluminium chassis.


Cosatto provide you with the whole package when you purchase a pushchair from them. I think this is great as with other brands you often have to purchase the extra's at an additional cost to yourself. Having it all provided in the box gives you the added peace of mind that you have everything you need, which is always reassuring especially if you are on a budget or are not really sure what you may need. 

The Cosatto Yo! Pear Drop has it all!


So is it easy to put together?

For the first time ever I can say yes. Putting the Yo! together is a complete breeze.

I had a flick through the instructions before giving my full attention to our new set of wheels, and within 5 minutes it was all set up and ready to go. The Yo! does not take long to assemble at all and I have to say that out of all of the pushchairs I have had the pleasure of putting together, this is by far the easiest. I simply had to pop each of the wheels onto the chassis, attach the hood and viola - we were ready to head out into the beautiful sunshine that seemed to shine just for us and our shiny new stroller.

The Yo! Pear Drop as the name suggests is entirely themed around the very tasty fruit. It really does look great. It is bright Green and completely delicious. The frame is Aluminium and brushed Silver complimented by a partial black frame. Sitting on top of the frame is the seat unit in the head turning Green and the fruity Pear pattern. 

It takes a matter of seconds to unfold this stroller and is just as simple to put away. When the Yo! is up and ready to go it is incredibly sturdy. I have had other umbrella folds in the past, that I have spent much more money on only to find that they are not very strong. In fact there have been occasions where I thought that lifting it up a curb may result in the frame snapping. This has never happened but not having to worry about picking the Yo! up and down curbs is a real bonus. It is completely solid.

I am a fan of simple, straight forward pushchairs as I am one of those Mummy's you see in the car park trying to put the pushchair back down to fold away in the boot, but just can't seem to find the right button to collapse it. This is not the case with the Yo! It could not be any more simple. 

When folded it is quite long but it fits with plenty of room in the boot of my 206. However if you are in need of more space then you can always pop off the front wheels, and this should allow you to position it perfectly in the boot of your car. 

The Yo! Pear Drop has a fully lined hood that has a UPF of 50+ which has been great in this sunshine. There is a very handy peek a book window which I found brilliant. It allowed me to see exactly what Leo was doing at all times, and we even played a little game of peek a boo, which Leo absolutely loved. 



Now after Leo and I have been putting the Yo! through it's paces I am pleased to report that it has really done us proud. We have been to the park in it, and gone over the field with no problem at all. We have fed the ducks by the river and tested out those all important breaks. They are very simple to pop on with your foot and when on, it is not going anywhere! Which put my mind at ease considering we were pretty close to the river!

We have turned many a head pushing this little beauty down the street, and I know I should now rejoice in their pram envy, but part of me has to anyway. 

I mean look at it!



I have been referring to the Yo! Pear Drop as Leo's First 'Big Boy stroller' and this is because it is the very first and only stroller I have ever owned that does not have the option of facing me. But at 1 whole year old (and a couple of weeks) I think it is high time I let him graduate from facing me and let him look out into the exciting world around him. And guess what! He loves it. 

The Yo! allows Leo to sit completely up right and stare out at everything and everyone that passes by. It steers so smoothly and is sturdy without being heavy. Leo squeals with delight when something catches his eye and is completely safe in the fantastic seat unit that features a chunky 5 point harness. 

The harness can be easily adjusted to one of three different height settings as I discovered when altering the straps for Leo. The seat combines a solid back and a very simple recline/incline with the use of straps that can be tightened and released by a simple clip. When Leo has fallen asleep it is so simple to adjust the Yo! into a recline so he can have his full sleep out.

The Yo! Pear Drop comes with it's very own stylish cosy toes as I mentioned earlier. We are yet to put it into use due to this glorious weather, but I have to say that not only does it look great but it is so very soft and fleecy on the inside and waterproof on the outside! Leo does not always keep his hands in his cosy toes (I discovered this over the winter) and Cosatto have added a very clever kangaroo pocket for those little hands on a cold day. It means Leo will get his own way and have his hands outside, but has the opportunity to hide them away too.


The cosy toes can also be unzipped, leaving the bottom panel which can be used as a reversible seat liner. There is a very fruity pear fabric on one side and a green fleece material on the other, which means you can choose whichever side of the liner that takes your fancy! My favorite side is the Pear as it just looks great and carries on the style of the Yo! The seat liner provides an extra layer of padding to the seat adding additional comfort for little bodies, that can be used throughout the summer, making those little naps that little bit more dreamy.

I have a question for you all. Who of you have ever been caught in a completely un-expected down pour, and reached into your basket to find you have neglected to pack your rain cover? I know I have. So what if I was to tell you that Cosatto have covered this all important base4 by the means of the incredible rain cover bag, that attaches to a special hook by the handle? Because that is exactly what they have done. This bag comes colour coded with the rest of the stroller in the same vibrant green and means you will never forget your rain cover again! 

Now for my all time favourite feature....*drum roll* please!

The Yo! features the most impressive shopping basket I have ever had the pleasure of filling up! It is easily accessible and has a very generous sized basket. I have been taking all of Leo's nappies, drinks and food out in the bottom, which means I don't need a changing bag. This is great as I don't like hanging my bag over the handle bars.

What do Leo and I think over all?

I have found the Cosatto Yo! Pear Drop absolutely fantastic. We have been going everywhere in it, Leo has a comfortable ride and I find it a joy to push around. The padded handles make it soft and easy to grip and the swivel front wheels make it so easy to manoeuvre.

I have not found it easy to push around one handed due to the Two separate handles, but other than this one point I cannot fault this very attractive stroller. 

The Yo! is priced around £220.00 and can be purchased from Mothercare, Boots, Argos and many other online stores. The Yo! Comes in 3 very delicious fruity flavours, demonstrating that their truly is a Yo! for everyone:



- Toffee Apple
- Pear Drop
- Cherry Pop

For a full list of stockists please visit the Cosatto website.

I give the new Cosatto Yo! a big thumbs up in performance and cosmetic style. Cosatto have succeeded again in a good looking stroller that truly has a big personality.  

Before you go, why not take a look at our adventure with the very yummy Cosatto Yo! Pear Drop!?




video




Disclaimer: Leo and I were kindly send a Cosatto Pear Drop for the purpose of this review. However all views and opinions are honest and my own. 
We are thoroughly enjoying the Yo! 








Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Life and Times of The Working Mum


Today my life changed, and I set out on a solo adventure for the first time in what feels like forever. I don't remember setting out on my own anymore, and it is never usually just 'I' but 'We', as in Leo and I. Me and my beautiful little man together and united. Taking on anything and anyone.

My latest adventure will follow me - Leo's Mummy as I return to work, and tackle both family life and working life. Not out of choice, but more out of having too. Don't get me wrong, I feel it is important that I return to working life, but I just wish I could have seen Leo through to school first. 

Today was the big day, as the sun rose high up above the small riverside town where I live I awoke to my alarm beeping. I picked out a summer dress and got myself ready to head off to the office for my very first day back. 

There was no sign of Leo awaking any time soon, and I was silently longing for him to wake up before I had to leave for the day. Just so I could see his little eyes light up and give me those first morning smiles, that I have become so accustomed to. The smiles that make everything right with the world.

I tip toed into his dark room and I saw him tucked up sound asleep, with his little bottom stuck right up into the air. His blankie caressing his sweet little face, and magical dreams weaving through his beautiful mind.

I stood by him, watching him. Longing to spend the day with him in the sun.

Just one more day...

Then I took one last look, and lingered for what felt like forever. I then walked out of his bedroom and left him to sleep.

It was time to leave and to address my very first day back in the office.

I walked in and so many faces had changed. People had left over the time I had been away. New faces replaced them and their names were a mystery to me. So much had changed and to me it was one big shock. To everyone else it had happened gradually, to me they all came at once.

Everyone was welcoming and I was pleased to see my desk was ready for me to get settled into. The first part of the morning was gone in the blink of an eye catching up with people I had not seen in months. Sorting my emails and trying to remember what I actually did for a living.

Surprisingly one of the very first things I did was fill out a holiday form, and book off lots of days that I wanted to spend with Leo. One of which was even for blog camp this September! My boss's face was an absolute picture. Especially when I informed him that I still had a full years worth of holiday to use before January! 

I was surprised that no work had actually been put aside for me. I had to get my hands on something to do. When I finally got hold of some, I thought it best to follow the instructions to the letter. And slowly I worked my way through a job that I used to be able to do with my eyes closed. It took me all morning and kept me busy, but when that was completed. That was it. There was nothing else to do for the afternoon. 

I popped back at lunch to see my little Leo and he was being walked up and down the drive with Granny. He looked so sleepy. I wound down my window and called his name, and he instantly fixed me and smiled, reaching out to me. Wanting a cuddle. I continued up the drive and saw him start to cry. I parked up and ran and gave him a big cuddle.

We spent the hour lunch break together and before I left to return to work. I gave him some milk and put him down for a nap. I felt happy that I had done something for him and happily left him snoozing, not feeling like I was missing out too much now he had succumb to a nap.

The rest of the afternoon passed slowly. Boredom set in and the sunshine shone down making me want to run outside and forget it all. Then 5pm came around. Finally.

I got home as quickly as I could, and spent the whole evening with Leo. We have had a lovely time reading books and giggling. Leo has been climbing onto the furniture and looking mighty proud of himself. We saw a buzzing fly that mesmerized him, and as I copied the buzzing noise the fly made. Leo copied him too. We both giggled and he then continued climbing.

Last night Leo started being able to push himself up to standing without an object to aid him. I thought this was fluke but today he has continued this, and this evening he carried on doing it. I was so proud.

A great end to a good day. 

I have not spent all day with Leo but the time we have had, has been special. Very special. He has been fine without me but wanted me during the time I have been here. Which is good as this is how life during the week will be now and it is time to find a new routine. 

This is the start of the life and times of the working Mum, and the adventures we encounter along the way. It is true that me returning to work is the end of an era, but I have to remember that it is also the start of a new beginning. It is time to get some money behind us and finally get our own place. It is time to be a family of 3. 

Just us 3. 

I do have to work to live, but my reason for living is Leo and I will do anything and everything I can to give him the best start in life. 



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Sun Is Setting...



The sun is now setting on my very last day as a stay at home Mummy. It is setting on the most amazing 13 months of my life. It has been the most magical time, where I have watched my little man grow from the fragile baby that he was, into the most beautiful little boy.

I feel so privaliged to have been able to stay off work as long as I have but I don't feel ready to return yet by any means...

I have watched intently as Leo has changed, and grown. One day he could not move at all and the next he was rolling over to look at the world from a different view. Then came the sitting up and First teeth, leading the way for the crawling mobile baby of mine to suddenly take off. Leo made it very apparent that the days of being able to sit down for Five minutes were now over. 

Leo's First words and development has blown me away, and most recently his ability to walk has just made me think 'wow'. He toddles every where now and it wont be long before his balance is spot on and he can run as fast as his little legs will carry him. 

You can ask Leo questions and he will always shake his head to say 'No', even if he really means Yes. You can have a real giggle with him and actually laugh so much that your sides will hurt. If you ask Leo where the Star is, he will point his finger up to the Star ornament that hangs in the hall. His understanding is amazing.

People have asked me whether I will continue blogging now I am returning to full time work. The answer to that is most defiantly. One of the many reasons I set this blog up is to capture the life of us working Mummy's, and I feel that it is even more important now for me to keep writing things down, so that I don't forget a single moment. 

I will miss watching Leo day in and day out, and I have cherished each and every day. Even those day's where we have been stuck inside because of the pouring rain or because he has been too poorly to really go anywhere. I have loved them all.

It is safe to say that I have that butterfly feeling deep down at pitt of my tummy, the same feeling I used to get at the end of the Summer holidays when it was time to go back to school the next day. This time though it feels magnified and it may even be tinged with guilt and indeed sadness for leaving my little man. 

I have spent the last Two day's out in the sunshine with my beautiful baby boy. We have been having adventures down the park and enjoying each other's company. There have been many laughs and memorable moments, and they are what I will be taking back to the office with me. 

So as the sun sets on another beautiful day, it is setting on me as well, and as the moon rises high into the sky it, is telling me it is time to make the transition into a working Mummy. I don't know if there will be a magical wind that sweeps around me and lifts me high up into the air when this change happens...a Beauty and the Beast, Fiona and Shrek moment? But I know either way that is going to happen.

As the warmest day of the year is upon us, I will be slipping on my attire for a day in the office. So make sure you all enjoy the lovely weather for me, while I am daydreaming out of the window, refreshing my Twitter time line for the umpteenth time.

I have already been looking for ways to prevent tomorrow from happening, I even resorted to texting my boss to make sure that tomorrow was the date we had agreed. Unfortunately he confirmed that tomorrow is indeed the big day! 

One thing is for sure though...It really is the end of an era.

Wish me luck!

Laura 
xx 

P.S - Here are a few ways we have enjoyed ourselves over the past few days!








Monday, 23 July 2012

It's Christmas at John Crane!


I have a love for traditional wooden toys, everything about them is just brilliant. They look great and they last allowing years and years of fun for future generations. I know so many people who have such toys from their own childhood that their own children now play with today. 

John Crane invited me along to their press day last Thursday for the un-veiling of their Christmas range, and to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement. John Crane were one of the first people I followed on Twitter and who took the time to welcome me into the Twitter community, and it was lovely to finally meet Helen and Amy, the people behind the Tweets.

I have to admit that with my return to work on Wednesday this week, I am already setting my sights on Christmas and all of the festivities. So with my heart in the right place and Luke's credit card firmly in my pocket I set off to Northampton to see what Santa may be leaving under my Christmas tree this year. 

I arrived at John Crane's new premises and followed the John Crane sign's like a yellow brick road up to the show room, completely aware that I was just a few moments away from toy central. Being the big kid that I am I could not wait to open the double doors just ahead of me and look right into what could very easily be classed as Santa's grotto.

The show room was everything and more than I had imagined it to be. There were wooden treasures all over, set up in the most marvellous displays. Pirate ships out at sea, farm yards with all of the animals and great castles in all their glory. I quite honestly did not know where to feast my eyes next. 

I was greeted by Amy and Helen who both took the time to show me around and answer any questions that I had about the toy's. 

John Crane's own range is Tidlo but they also stock:

- Lilliputiens 
- Pin Toy
- Sevi
- Trudi
- B

Amy took me on a very welcome guided tour around the show room. I found my eyes wondering all around at the fabulous toys, and when I was instructed to have a play I did just that. I saw many toy's that are a bit too old for Leo this Christmas, but over the next few years they are exactly what I will be hoping Santa will bring for him.


Here is a selection of some of my favourites:

The Pirate Ship from Sevi: As soon as I laid my eyes upon this I thought 'Wow'. It is detailed with a crows nest, port holes, an anchor, captain's helm and goodness knows what else. I could in vision future Leo playing with it in my mind's eye and saw the play value jump right out in front of me. It is a beautiful toy that comes complete with all of the crew and contains 23 pieces in all. The Pirate Ship encourages imaginative play which I feel is essential.

The Pin Toy Ride on Digger: Amy showed me this great working toy, that even allows you to scoop! It has been developed over 18 months and has been put to the test to make sure it does exactly what it says on the box. It is every little boy's dream to have a working digger, in fact it was even my dream as a child, being the tom boy that I was. The digger scoop can turn left, right and also move up and down. I would love to find this under my Christmas tree this year! I mean....with Leo's name on it of course!



The Tidlo Kitchen Station: This has been on my Christmas list for Leo for months now. I fell in love with this kitchen as soon as I saw it. It includes a hob, oven, sink and all the utensils you need to cook up a storm. It is an ideal size for young toddlers and the smart red design oozes appeal to all budding young chefs. It is for 3 years and over so again we have a little bit of a wait before he is really ready for it. However this is something that I will be buying sooner rather than later. Leo will love this with the doors and all of the utensils there are to play with.

The Pin Toy City Police Station: It was all set up and ready for action, little wooden police men were all in form ready for a busy day in the stationIt features a large front window offering views of the reception desk and waiting room area. There is also a jail to allow the little one's (or the parent's) to make sure all the trouble maker's are behind bars!


The Tidlo Acorn Garage: As a child I used to love playing with car's and I even had my very own garage. I spent hours pushing the car's up and down the ramps making up games as I went along. I could see that the same play value would be met by my little man and he could start enjoying something like this from now. The garage is spread over Three levels which you can get to using the slopes or the lift. It also has it's own filling station for when your cars are low on fuel and a car wash to keep your cars looking nice and shiny! This great set includes seven different coloured cars and a ‘garage and car service' sign.


I could quite easily go on and on telling you all about the amazing range of different toy's that are available for your little one's to add to their Christmas List's this year, but I know you would be much more excited by the collage of photos I have created of the magical John Crane show room. 

So without further adieu here are some more of my favourite toys available this year!

I would like to thank John Crane, Helen and Amy for hosting a lovely event and for putting on such a lovely buffet lunch after allowing us to have a look around the magical show room, and finally for letting all of us Mummy bloggers have a sit down and a gossip.

It was great to meet Roz at Life, love and lollipops, thank you ever so much for allowing me to give your gorgeous little man a big squeeze! Clare at Emmy's Mummy, I hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy with your little man, and Leta at Attachment Mummy it was great to meet you again and thank you ever so much for dropping me back at the train station after such a lovely day!

Christmas at John Crane is set to be very exciting and judging by all that I have seen, the Elves have been very busy so far this year! 

What will you have under your Christmas tree?





Sunday, 22 July 2012

What happens when you give your One year old an ice cream cone?

Leo's God-daddy's family run a very successful Pizzeria and Ice Cream Parlour in our local town. Saying it is good just does not do it enough justice, and Leo has discovered from a early age that home made ice cream is indeed...Very yummy! 

So yesterday on one of our visits, he was given his very own ice cream cone with a little bit of home made ice cream all of his own. He has been given these special treats in the past but usually smacks them around on the table before, ensuring all of the ice cream is suitably melted and all over the place. Finally proceeding to throw it to the floor in one splattered mess. 

This time however he proceeded to munch the whole lot. 

Thoroughly enjoying every little bit. 

So this is what happens when you give your One year old his own ice cream cone...




 As you can see Leo decided to use his ice cream cone to style his hair. Leo was one very sticky little man after indulging, but it was safe to say he had enjoyed himself.

 It was straight home for a bath and hair wash after his latest taste adventure!


Friday, 20 July 2012

When 'No' Makes You Cry

Just this evening Leo you awoke for the second time since I put you to bed. 

Your cheeks were all Red and you were feeling warm to the touch. I offered you milk and you shook your head to let me know this was not what you wanted.

I carried you downstairs thinking your teeth were the culprits in this scenario. I measured out the Calpol and offered it to you, where I was met with the same shake of the head. A firm no in your own special way. It was then Leo that you swiped your hands in a deliberate motion to knock the spoon away and out of my hands, resulting in the sticky calpol going all over your clean baby grow.

I looked you straight in the eyes and calmly said 'No, that's naughty' and for the first time ever in the history of me telling you 'No', your bottom lip quivered and you began to cry. A very different cry to your usual temper tantrums. It was a sad cry that really made me feel terrible. 

Guilty and Sorry.

I don't know what I said differently tonight that made you react like I had said the most hurtful things in the world, but you certainly did not like being told 'No'.

I said what I said firmly but I was not angry bubba. I did not really mind changing your baby grow after I had given you the biggest hug in the world, while stroking your beautiful face and kissing your little nose. 

I did not mind at all. 

I calmed you down and kept you close, and after calming you down and sitting quietly for a little while you did take your Calpol and had a bit more milk. There was no more shakes of your cheeky head tonight, and then you let me give you one more good night kiss before tucking you back into bed.

You then rolled over and snuggled into your favourite blankie and closing your eyes once more.

Goodnight baby boy.

I love you.

P.S - Will you be popping through a Fifth tooth any time soon? You may need some more at almost 13 months old. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Mummy
xx

The MAM Anti-Colic Bottle Review



When Leo was a tiny little man, who was most contented in his Mummy's arms (this feels like such a long time ago now...) he suffered temporarily from bout's of Colic. Colic is a common condition in young infants and can leave babies crying for no obvious reason. Colic is a abdominal pain that is said to be brought on by wind or indigestion, and can leave our little ones feeling very un-comfortable.

Leo has been sent a 5oz MAM Anti-Colic, Self Sterilising Bottle to put through it's paces. I was apprehensive as Leo obviously does not suffer from colic now and has no problem bringing up his mighty wind all on his own. He has also been very picky over what bottles he will actually drink out of due becoming very familiar with our usual brand that he has known and loved over the last 12 months. 

However I soon learnt that we would not have any trouble with Leo not drinking from the MAM bottle...



Silk Teat: MAM’s patented Silk Teat® is silicone with a difference: it’s silky soft. No other silicone feels softer.
- Innovation: The vented base is a unique invention for ideal milk flow
Scientifically Proven: MAM products have been developed with health care professionals.
Functional Design: Wide openings for easy filling and cleaning; stands up securely.
Easy to use: The leak-proof cap is ideal for the dynamics of everyday baby life.
- Self Sterilising - The bottle can be sterlised within it's self taking away the need for a separate device.

The package was received very quickly and upon opening we were presented with a lovely Green bottle with Four Leaf Clover images dotted around the measuring line. It is a nice looking bottle as far as bottles go. 

I chose to try Leo with the new bottle for a day feed, as he only has around 5-6oz during the day now, but for his night time bottle he still has a 8oz bottle of milk, so this new bottle would not accommodate our last bottle before bed. You can however purchase this bottle in the 9oz size for those hungrier babies, this 5oz size is perfect for babies who are being weaned and no longer require such a large bottle of milk, or newborns who are not drinking as much just yet.

I took the bottle apart and gave it a thorough look over and then began washing it up. I was very impressed that you could take everything apart and clean all the nooks and cranny's. The base comes off the bottom giving you clear access to the bottle it's self, and the teat and lid are all equally accessible to clean.

This clever little bottle has a self sterilising function. You simply fill the base with 20ml of water and place the contents of the bottle on top of the base, before finally putting the lid on top and zapping it in the microwave for 3 minutes. This makes this bottle a great choice for those of us who are brave enough to go abroad with our little people. 

In November 2011 when Leo was just 5 months old, we took him abroad and along with all the usual things we had to take, we found we were also carting the kitchen sink with us as we had to take a microwaveable steriliser to do Leo's bottles. Had I known about this clever little bottle back then, it would have saved me lot's of space for all those shoes I had planned to take with me...

Leo latched on beautifully with the MAM bottle and even took it off me so he could hold it himself. We experienced no leaks, which I admit I did worry about when I realised that the bottom of the bottle also un-screwed. In fact we have found it great and the fact Leo took to it is also a big bonus.
So how does this clever bottle help with Colic?

On the base of the bottle their are ventilation holes, it is these clever little beauties that ensure a smooth flow of milk, making sure that babies do not swallow any air. In research carried out by MAM it has been confirmed by us: the parents that 80% fewer babies using these bottles suffer from colic. (Research carried out in the USA in November 2009). Now I cannot confirm nor deny this research as Leo is past that stage, but it is food for thought for any parent's who may be dealing with Colic.

All of the MAM bottles are BPA free (free from Bisphenol A - which is a industrial chemical that has been used to make plastic and resins since the 1960's.) making them completely safe for babies and giving Mummy piece of mind.

These bottles come in three sizes (130ml, 160ml and 260ml) all in various colours and designs. They are available to buy from Boots, Mothercare, Toys R Us, Independent Nursery & Pharmacy Outlets as well as MAM UK shop. Prices start at £4.29.

I highly recommend these bottles to anyone who is looking for a possible solution to Colic and of course if you are travelling abroad with an infant. 
 



This is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are my own.




Thursday, 19 July 2012

Huggies Little Swimmers Giveaway!


Back in June I introduced you to the Swim Savvy Campaign and how we as parent's can make the swimming experience less stressful, and more enjoyable by simply following the 9 Swim Savvy Guidelines! 

Let me refresh your memory as to what those guidelines are...

1.    Always put a swim nappy on your little one before going into the pool Huggies® Little Swimmers® have unique leak guards to avoid little accidents escaping as well as easy open sides to make change time as hassle free as possible
2.    Avoid swimming if you or your little one has had a tummy upset in the past 24 hours
3.    If you are going on holiday, it’s a good idea to get your little one water-ready first – even if it’s just splashing a little water over them in the bath
4.    Stay by your little one at all times – not only is it safe, but it also helps form a close bond
5.    Maintain eye contact with your little one, smile, relax and drop down to the same level – your baby will love seeing you splashing too!
6.    You may want to have your partner or a friend with you when you first start swimming, just whilst you get used to handling a wet baby
7.    One of the best ways to get into the pool is to lay your baby safely on the poolside, enter the water and then lift him in
8.    To help baby relax, keep your baby's face close to your own and maintain eye contact
9.    If you are new to baby swimming go during off-peak times or earlier in the morning if you are on holiday - it makes the entire experience less stressful and enjoyable

To continue the Swim Savvy theme for the Summer that is apparently just around the corner...I am pleased to be able to offer you the chance to win a very special Huggies Swimming Kit.



What is in the Huggies Swimming Kit?

- One pack of Huggies Little Swimmers
- One set of Disney Nemo armbands
- One pack of Huggies Everyday wipes
One set of Water Babies swimming hints and tips cards
- A selection of swimming toys

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. If you have not yet signed in to the new Rafflecopter forms, use either your Facebook account or your name/email address to sign in (you don’t need a Rafflecopter account, and you don’t HAVE to log in using Facebook–you can simply use your name/email address). Then click “Do It” and complete the mandatory entry. Then, if you want to, submit any or all of the extra entries. The more entries you submit, the better odds you have of winning!

To enter the competition you can do all of the below entry methods or just pick One or Two!


- Follow my blog Via Google Friend Connect (Right hand Tab)

- Leave a blog post comment below, telling me all about your little one's very first swimming experience!

- Follow Lovelyleosmummy on Twitter

- Like The Life and Times of The Working Mum on Facebook

- Tweet about the giveaway "I want to win a Huggies Swimming Kit with @lovelyleosmummy at www.thelifeandtimesoftheworkingmum.com'

Make a splash, not a plop with Huggies® Little Swimmers® this summer!










a Rafflecopter giveaway
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