Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Win a Family Ticket to The Croods Screening!



WIN TICKETS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO A PREVIEW SCREENING OF THE CROODS

To celebrate the release of this year’s biggest family spectacle THE CROODS, opening in cinemas on 22nd March 2013 and featuring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone, we have a great ‘clue in the clip’ competition for you! We’re giving one lucky winner the chance to attend a glitzy preview screening of this adventure-packed animation with loads of fun-filled family entertainment in the cinema foyer before-hand!

The screening takes place on Sunday 10th March and the winner will receive four tickets so they can take their very own prehistoric brood with them!

From Twentieth Century Fox comes DreamWorks Animation's THE CROODS, a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Travelling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures -- and their outlook is changed forever.

THE CROODS is released in cinemas March 22nd 2013.

Check out the trailer here.

To win this amazing prize for you and your family simply watch the trailer and answer the
following question:

What is dad Grug’s one rule in THE CROODS?

•“Never retreat, never surrender.”

•“Never look back in anger…”

•“New is always bad, never not be afraid.”

You can also find THE CROODS on Facebook


T&C’s

Travel & accommodation is not included.

Winners must be able to attend the screening on the morning of 10th March 2013 in
London and may need to be available to collect their tickets on the same day.

Winners must be 18 yrs and over or accompanied by an adult.

No alternative prize will be offered if the winner is unavailable to attend.

The Editor's decision is final and binding on the entrants. No correspondence will be entered
into.

Winners will be notified by email or phone.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/family-ticket-london-screening-croods#sthash.LHZBx2RB.dpuf

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

20 Months Has Past...


Leo has spent the last 20 months growing. 

He has grown from a tiny newborn baby into a big bouncing boy. 

A toddler who knows no limit, who runs, leaps and bounds his way through everything life puts in his way.

I love comparing how far he has come against where he was ‘this time last year’ because although you can see that it is clearly Leo in the photographs, the difference in him is incredible.

Month by month he has learnt something new, a new milestone has been achieved and mastered.

Even in those early days when he was just starting to be more wakeful in the day to that magical moment he took those very first steps.

Leo is now turning 20 months old. 
87 weeks or 611 days.

The baby days are far, far behind us and everything now is his toddler hood. 

I guess this is one of the reasons I love to reminisce, to catch glimpses of those magical moments all over again. 

To watch my boy grow up, again and again.

These photos capture every stage of my little man, 

week by week. Month by month.

Those fleeting moments that mean the world, but are gone in the blink of an eye.

Memories that are forever imprinted upon your heart, a familiar whisper in your ear.

This is 20 months together with my beautiful boy. 





Monday, 25 February 2013

My Favourite Time of The Day...


As soon as the clock shows 16:59 I begin to shut down my computer. It signals the end of the working day.

It’s the start of my favourite time of the day. 

Special time with Leo.

I pick him up from Granny’s and make sure we have blankie in our midst, as there will be no peace without it.

We cook up some food and eat our dinner with Daddy, and then it is bath time before getting ready for bed.

This is the time I love, the time I crave all day every day.

Hair freshly washed all tussled back in a towel dried hair ball. The baby smell rising from his now clean locks, looking almost angelic. But then I realise that the next mission, the biggest of all is upon us. Getting one wriggly, fidgety, arm flailing, leg kicking monster into his nappy and ready for bed.

Suddenly this angelic little boy looks cheeky, and I notice the halo upon his head beginning to slip. He begins to run, he knows Mummy’s plan and he will not be going into the nappy without a fight. 

I lay him down, the nappy already open and I’m ready to work quickly. But he is just too fast, with one swift roll to the left he is up and on his feet. I catch him and try again but this time he rolls to the right, laughing at me as he runs away. I retrieve him and try again only this time he pulls himself forward giving me a loving embrace. He seems to have relented, and allows me to lay him back on the floor. The new found co-operation gives me the time to get him into his pajamas and ready for bed.

With the mission completed and Leo’s halo restored to full brilliance I get his bottle of milk ready, and sit myself down on the sofa. Finally.

Leo lets me know that he want’s blankie, he always has it with his bottle of milk. 

Blankie in one hand and milk in the other.

He snuggles in and gets into his special nook that he always does during this special time together. He lies still and contented as we quieten down for bedtime. 

After the mayhem of working, preparing dinner and finally getting Leo ready for bed, we have our time. Our special time.

A time where it is just Leo and I, where we have nothing to do but sit in the glow of each other and snuggle tight. That is our only job at this time of night.

It is this time I look forward to each and everyday, not because it signals bedtime but because of the quality time we spend together, that he cuddles in unlike any other time of the day.

When bedtime comes at 7pm, he goes off to bed closing his eyes tightly knowing how much he is loved and dreams soundly.



The Chicco Liteway Review & Giveaway


WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT!

Congratulations to @Maci234 on winning the Chicco Liteway! You have an email flying over to you right now! 

Back in November I was invited along to the Chicco 2013 launch where the extensive new product range was being unveiled. 

This season Chicco have added lots of colour to their ranges from their baby swings and toys through to their pushchair collection. 

There is a pushchair to suit every budget from modest to the more flamboyant, which opens Chicco up to many parent's and parent's to be. 

Following on from the Chicco Launch I have been sent the Liteway Stroller to trial out with Leo. Leo is at an age where he still needs stroller as although he is a pro at walking, he can’t keep up with me, he gets tired and there is also the issue of him running off whenever he gets the chance.

The Liteway is a clever play on words, a light and easy to manouever stroller that gets baby around comfortably and safely. I have been sent the Liteway in Passion Red, a very visually pleasing colour that makes it look really smart.

What’s in the box?


In the box you will find:

- Chassis
- Rain Cover
- Foot Muff
- Hood

Putting the Liteway together is a walk in the park, it is such a simple assembly process and took mere minutes. All that you need to do with this stroller is add the wheels by clicking them into place, attach the hood to the frame with the appropriate grips and viola, a complete Chicco Liteway is ready to go!

My first impressions are just how light the stroller is, it’s easy to navigate and that makes all the difference while nipping to the shops. Especially with my pushchair driving ability. Even now after almost 20 months experience pushing Leo around, I am informed that I need ‘L’ plates…

We have been testing the Liteway out over the past few months now and it is incredibly handy to just pull out as and when you need it. When folded it takes up minimal space so even if you don't have much room to store it, you will be able to sneak it away somewhere or even just leave it in the boot of your car. 

Having a growing toddler in the driving seat it is important to me to find a pushchair that is easy to navigate with this additional weight, and I have found pushing this stroller just that. Easy. It steers well and is great at going up and down curbs.

The brakes are easy to kick on and off with your foot and have been great when I have taken Leo to feed the ducks, obviously I don't want him to spontaneously take a splash! 

Being a light weight stroller it is not the most sturdy pushchair I have ever come across, but to keep it light certain aspects do need to be taken into consideration and allowances need to be made in account for this. So if you are going to be wanting to pile bags of shopping onto the handle bars, you will most likely tip the stroller...But on a brighter note there is a reasonably sized basket that will allow you to pick up bits and pieces on your travels. 

There is a very simple recline feature on the back of the stroller tucked away behind the hood cape, it reclines nice and flat giving your little one the chance for a proper cat nap. The mechanism that induces the recline and incline is a lever that you grip and push either backwards or forwards into the position you desire.

The seat chassis has a foot rest that you can alter with two buttons on either side, should you want more of a seat for an older child or a more flat surface for a younger baby. 

The Liteway comes with it's very own footmuff which is always a bonus, I love it when a company thinks of everything and provides it in the one package. Buying a bundle saves you money in the long run and saves you the time and effort hunting down the correct accessories. 

The footmuff is fleecy on the inside and covered in a outer waterproof layer. With the cold weather we have been making use of the footmuff and honestly I have struggled with it. I have to take into account that Leo is a growing boy, he is not the little baby that he once was, but he does not fit inside the footmuff. The zip will only come up so far and does not do up enough for me to keep him out of the cold. 

I think for a younger child then the footmuff will be great, it is thick and cosy and if Leo was that little bit smaller then I would be able to tuck him up.

The rain cover is great to store away in the basket of this stroller and just whip out at the first sign of rain. Which of course happens rather a lot here in the sunny UK! 

Over all I think this is a handy little stroller for the money and the accessories that come included are a real bonus. It would make a great pushchair for a holiday abroad or even an extra to keep at Nanny's house, but as I have already said, it is perfect to keep in the boot of your car for when you are running about the town. 

The Liteway retails at £139.94 currently at Tesco.


COMPETITION TIME!

Now who would like to win this Chicco Liteway!?

It has only been used for the purpose of this review and is in perfect condition, Leo and I like to look after our test subjects!

Who ever wins this stroller, I will be personally sending this Chicco Liteway in Passion Red out to with absolutely everything that comes with it! Exactly as it is described above. The only thing I no longer have is the box it came in, so I will be getting another box suitable for shipment!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this stroller is to follow the Rafflecopter form below.

Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is only open to residents of the United Kingdom. Once the giveaway has ended a winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly. If no response has been provided within 48 hours another winner will be chosen at random and the previous winner will be void.

Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclaimer: I was sent the Chicco Liteway for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.







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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Who Said Being a Mummy Isn't Glamorous!?


Who said being a Mummy wasn't glamorous? 

I often find myself neck deep in pooey nappies and on the receiving end of an explosive sneeze.

There are 3 set meals each day, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

3 separate occasions for Leo to get food EVERYWHERE. 

That's 3 potential opportunities for a wardrobe change, for both of us. 

That's one big washing mountain.

When toddler's get sick it's messy. Duvets, pillows, absolutely everything needs to go in the wash.

The cuddles the toddler needs during his sickness means that I too have needed a good scrub, not to mention the bathroom floor.

Just the other night as I was cleaning up after another sickness explosion, I pushed the glamorous Mummy act to a whole new level. You could say that I completely waved goodbye to any hold on it at all...

There I was cleaning away, double checking to make sure I had sourced every last bit until I could get the mop upstairs the next day. I was satisfied that I had successfully removed any evidence of the massacre that had taken place and decided to head back downstairs. 

As I was leaving, placing one foot in front of another. I slipped. 

Yes I slipped in the sick that I had completely and utterly missed. 

My feet going from under me, my arms flailing above my head as I took the tumble to the floor, I landed in the sick that I had SOMEHOW missed.

A pile that seemed to be lying in wait for me to slip. 

Waiting for me to think sickness duty was over.

Waiting to get me.

I  quite honestly don't know what hurt more, my pride or my bum.

I sat there with a little black rain cloud dripping on my head, before I somehow saw the humor in what had happened.

It is times like these that you need Irwin Mitchell on your side...

The moral of this sorry tale? 

Always double, double, triple check. 

You never know, it could have been you!

 Who said being a Mummy is not glamorous?


Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post

Monday, 18 February 2013

Chitter Chatter

Leo is a real little character. 

Although he is not yet talking in full sentences and only say's things when he feels like it, he has an understanding. Even if he does sound like he's chatting away in another language half of the time.

This is a little clip I took of him the other evening while we were waiting for Daddy to come home from work. Leo is head over heels in love with his Daddy, and if Daddy isn't here he is one of the only things that we talk about. Constantly and very persistently on Leo's part...

I have to admit, I do love this video clip of him. 

Beautiful x


The Dyson Hot Review


I am a big fan of Dyson, in fact I love them. 

We swear by our Two Dyson Vacuum Cleaners and with the extensive range ever growing, and the technology always improving it is great to see how the products develop. 

Not only do Dyson have the fabulous vacuum technology such as the Animal and the Digital Slim. They also have the Air Multiplier Fan and the Dyson Hot Heater. 

 Over the last couple of months I have had the pleasure of using the Dyson Hot, a heater like no other that I have ever come across. It stands in length just up to my knee and is smaller and more compact than I first expected. The Dyson Hot is finished off in a bright metallic Blue/Purple and iron Grey looking incredibly modern and stylish. 

 Looking at it you may wonder where all of the visible heating elements are, or where the blades are hiding? 

Quite simply there are no blades, and the heating elements are cleverly hidden away! 

Instead the Dyson Hot uses Air Multiplier technology in order to amplify the air in the room to generate long range heat protection, this in turn allows the heater to evenly heat the entirety of the room up to an even temperature. 

Dyson, how does it work? 

Air is accelerated through an aperture. This creates a jet of hot air that passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp, channelling its direction. Surrounding air is drawn into the airflow, amplifying it 6 times through processes known as inducement and entrainment.

Over the past couple of months what with the arctic temperatures that brought many a icy blizzards along in it's wake, it is safe to say that this clever heater has been given a real work through. Our dining room can be a pretty cold place even with the heating on, and being Leo's play room we need to keep it nice and warm so that he can play in there. I have taken to putting the fan on the table out of the way of Leo's play time and warming the room up to a much more desirable temperature. 

I have been so put off about going into the dining room to watch Leo play or have our dinner when the temperature gets so chilly in there, but with the Dyson Hot it is so much more comfortable and I don't object about going in to watch Leo run around with his many toys any more.


So what is in the box?

Operations manual
Loop amplifier
Remote control
Base

Everything you need to get started is in the box, even the 2 year guarantee which you can register for using the form, going online or even giving Dyson a call.


Assembling the Dyson is a doddle, and literally involves placing the base on the bottom of the fan. With the base in place you are ready to plug in, set your desired temperature either using the digital display on the bottom of the fan, or by using your compact remote control. The remote is a great touch and means that you can quickly and easily change the temperature to match your comfort at the flick of a button without moving an inch.


When you aren't using the handy little remote there is a great storage option. The top of the heater is magnetic so you can actually just place it on top and it won't be going anywhere!

There are 10 different speed settings in all, and you can set the temperature from as little as 1°C right up to the dizzy heights of 37°C with complete precision and control. 

When the fan is on you can certainly hear it but I would not say it was loud, no louder than any other fan or heater anyway. I currently have the fan on 10, the highest speed setting and I would not say it was a distraction or loud at all. I could very easily sleep with the heater on without it causing any issue, but I am highlighting this as I have read some reviews who have specified the heater as loud. 

Please see the video at the bottom of this review to hear just how loud the heater is going through the settings.

Having Leo I know just how important safety is, and obviously a heater is not something that I will be leaving around for Leo to stumble upon but Dyson have built in a great safety feature. Just in case. If the heater is knocked over the heater turns off. Simple, effective and above all else, safe.

The heater does exactly what it says on the tin and efficiently heats the room very quickly. I would highly recommend this heater for people who are lucky enough to have a conservatory that they would still like to make use of during the winter months. This really would be perfect and would demonstrate the air multiplier technology to it's full capability.

At £299.99 it is at the pricier end of the market, but for the stylish looks and Air Multiplier technology it is hands down a winning product. 

Overall I am really impressed with the Dyson Hot Heater, I do think it works better as a heater than it does as a fan but it is of course primarily advertised as a heater with cooling capability. It really is a great bit of kit and Dyson deserve a big thumbs up! 

Well done Dyson!


Disclaimer: I was sent the Dyson Hot for the purpose of this review however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.




Sunday, 17 February 2013

No Vomiting Here!


In the 19 months Leo has been in our lives we have experienced viral infections, colds, ear infections diarrhoea, and more colds. Each of these illnesses and bugs have brought with it their own special joys of sleepless nights and a not so happy little boy, but we have been relatively lucky in the sense that we hadn't yet come across any nasty sickness bugs. 

No vomiting here!

Our luck ran out on Friday night when around 11pm Leo awoke crying. I made my way to him thinking he just needed a cuddle and tucking back into bed, but as soon as I opened his bedroom door I knew he was poorly. I could smell the sick as I entered his room, so I instantly flicked the light on and I was met with one poorly little man completely covered in sick.

He was lay there and my first worry was how long had he been laying in his sick? What if I hadn't heard? What if he had choked? I hadn't heard anything until he started crying so I can only think that it had immanently happened. He looked so sorry for himself, so confused.

Now I had always wondered how I would react when it came to dealing with proper child sick, the lumpy kind that actually smells like sick. Not the milky possit type...the REAL stomach turning kind. But seeing my little man crying and just wanting a cuddle, I didn't even think twice about reaching in and picking him up out of the cot. I didn't care that I too was now covered in the less than desirable substance...

I called to Luke over the baby monitor to come up and give me a hand, so as he stripped off Leo's bed I began running Leo's first bath of the night. All Leo wanted was a cuddle and I literally had to prise him off me to get him into the bath. 

I got him ready for bed again in a fresh pair of pyjama's and snuggled him in for a cuddle, I wondered whether we were in for more sickness...and I didn't have to wait long to find out that we were indeed in for more sick. Lot's more.

Luckily I managed to run with him from the lounge into the comfort of the laminated kitchen floor, an easy to mop zone where cleaning was going to be much more pleasant.

When Leo was being sick he looked so scared and he clung to me like he was never going to let me go.  So in the process I was getting covered, my hair, my back and my front all depending on how Leo decided to hold himself while he was in the throws of it all. And you know what, I did not mind one little bit. I just wanted to get Leo through each bout of sickness and I wanted him to know that I was there for him. 

Of course this meant that Leo and I both got through quite a few pairs of pyjama's and we defiantly had the distinct smell of sick oozing off us and floating around the house. From 11pm through to 7am Leo had 4 baths and our bed had 2 changes after he decided he wanted his milk. Surprisingly I actually got a little bit of sleep after preparing myself for an all nighter. 

Of course getting Leo to bed meant that I had to get blankie in the wash. Blankie is Leo's pride and joy, and had been one of the many casualties in Leo's exorcist impersonation. Blankie was the first thing in the wash and in the dryer and took around 2 hours for us to get back to him, and any other blanket I tried to coax him with resulted in failure. He knew that it wasn't blankie. 

So when we finally got Leo down to sleep with his blankie from about 3am and we got 4 hours of sleep I was very happy. Only at about 7am we were awoken by another bout of sickness from little man who had been sleeping in our bed...Blankie took the brunt of it and again ended up back in the wash...It is safe to say that I took to eBay and found Leo a spare yesterday. We need two for when this happens again!

Leo's blankie is part of a cot set that I bought back in 2011 and I really did wonder if I would be able to get hold of one, but someone must be looking out for me as I have tracked one down and it should be here next week! 


We won't be caught out again! 


Yesterday was spent cuddled up with Leo on the sofa, where he did lot's of sleeping and refused to eat.  He seems to be well on the mend now but my poor little bubba really has been under the weather.

I ended up with a mountain of washing that looked like it may take days to wash...But somehow I tackled it. Duvets, pillows, clothes, towels. You name it, I washed it. Then I cleaned the entirety of the kitchen and mopped the floor, it really did need it. I then put all the bed's back together again and collapsed on the sofa and was completely ready for bed by 8:30!

I have to say though that I was shocked at how well I dealt with the whole sickness thing, I guess when your baby is ill you really do whatever you can to get them through it and out the other side. I didn't care that I looked and smelt so awful, I didn't care that the house was a pig sty. I knew my only mission that night was to be there for my beautiful boy. 

But my oh my, I need another weekend in order to get over this one!




Friday, 15 February 2013

19 Months


19 months old is an amazing age, in fact I am loving everything that comes along with toddlerhood. I love that Leo is comprehending the ways of the world and that look that he gives me if I say something foreign to him, a look that says ‘what the hell is she on about!?’

But when Leo is not giving me that one particular look, he is absorbing everything like a little sponge. Taking in everything I tell him and everything I try to teach him.

Recently we have become really good at our animal noises, we can ‘Baa’, ‘Moo’, ‘Oink’, ‘Quack’, ‘Squeak’, ‘Meow’ and of course ‘Woof’. We have been practicing when we go out and about, when we see the animal on the television and it has clicked with my little man. If we so much as see a Dog passing us by he has to say ‘Woof, Woof’ just to let me know, I had never noticed that there were so many dogs down our road!

One subject I have been speaking very passionately about to little Leo recently is cleanliness, and telling him how important it is for him not to play around with the bin because it is ‘dirty’. Dirty is now another word that he tells me whenever he gets into the kitchen and pops the button on the bin to have a little peak inside while telling me ‘bin’ all the while.

With Leo’s understanding of the bin housing rubbish, he will now take any rubbish that he finds around the house (usually ones he has taken and hidden…) and puts it in the bin. He seems to spy it with his curious eyes and then takes it directly into the kitchen and disposes of it in the correct manner. Each time he does it he gets a standing innovation of applause, because he is just too clever for his own good. If I pass him an item of rubbish now and ask him to take it to the bin, he does exactly that!

Although for Leo to get to the bin his has to pass the oven and suffice to say he does get distracted. He opens up my grill and tells me ‘sausages’ like that is the only item of food we ever eat! I can reassure you all now that this is not the case…At this moment in time Leo is just loving the word and he knows that the grill is where we do cook them, if and when we have them. It just demonstrates to me that his memory is coming on in leaps and bounds, expect for when he is supposed to be throwing rubbish in the bin of course!

What’s fascinating is that Leo is still taking everything in even when the conversation is not directed at him, I can be talking away to Luke when Leo will repeat a single word from our conversation back to us, and it really does get me thinking about just how careful I have to be. There have been a few occasions now where Leo has tried to put two words together or repeat longer words back to me, and over the last few weeks his talking has really come on!

Just yesterday I mentioned that I had a message, and my little parrot repeated ‘message’ back to me clear as day. I can’t help feeling really proud of him, and this whole talking lark is one very exciting journey that I am so happy to be a part of.

2013 is already seeing Leo become more vocal with new words coming around daily, his understanding about the things I talk to him about is becoming more apparent and I know that he is going to be a right little chatter box before long!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Spring/summer 2013 Trends

Spring/summer 2013 Trends


There may still be a chill in the air, but the highstreet is full of lighter spring and summer clothes. Now is the perfect time to re-stock your wardrobe with key pieces for the biggest fashion trends of the year. The odd sunny day we’re experiencing right now will soon give way to warmer temperatures and brighter skies as spring approaches, so head to the shops and snap up some top trendy buys!

Usually considered a masculine item, Bermuda shorts are set to be a big hit in womenswear collections this spring/summer. A great option when the weather is fine, Bermuda shorts sit low on the hips and are cut just above, or on the knee. Laid-back slouchy shorts look fab when teamed with a fitted top and are flattering on most body shapes. To elongate legs make sure you pair your shorts with a pair of peep-toe heels.

Step aside from casual cool and invest in a collared dress: peter pan and ruffle styles appeared on last year’s fashion show catwalks and have already filtered down onto the highstreet. Collars add a touch of sophistication to plain pieces, taking a dress from an everyday item to a work wardrobe staple. If a ruffle collar is too girly for your style, choose a dress in a darker colour rather than a feminine pale palette. New Look has a great selection of collared dresses, including a ruffle neck purple dress with a cute waist belt.

Those who tuned into the recent Grammy and BAFTA awards could not have failed to notice the monochrome dresses sported on the red carpets. Many celebs opted for black and white gowns and separates as these classic tones are universally flattering. Celebs are always fashion-forward, so it will come as no surprise that monochrome is a huge trend this spring/summer. Black and white pieces are ever-wearable, and can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. An investment monochrome piece transcends the seasons and can be brightened up with accessories for spring, and toned down as winter approaches.

Ethnic and boho are classic fashion favourites for the summer months. A major factor in this look is now set to become a trend in its own right: beading. Brocade and baroque ruled winter fashion in 2012 and embellishments are continuing this year in the form of richly beaded scarfs, dresses, accessories and tops. India and the Middle East influence the beading fashion, with many traditional garments from these locations using intricate sequin and dazzling bead detail. Choose a floor-length dress in an eye-popping colour, either with beading detail or accessorised with a beaded scarf.

Cropped tops were the item for choice for girl bands and their fans in the 1990s, and baring your midriff is having a comeback in 2013! A rather daring look, many of the upcoming season’s cropped tops have full length sleeves and high necklines, keeping things classy and ensuring modesty for the wearer. The trend is more sophisticated than decades gone by, as cropped tops were seen on the catwalks teamed with high-waisted skirts and cute bolero jackets.

Brighten your day by heading online or to the highstreet and picking up some key pieces for this spring/summer.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Help! My Toddler is Punishing Me!


Ever since I went back to work after the Christmas break Leo has been acting out at his Granny. When I say acting out I guess I am putting it lightly.

I guess I should start at the beginning?

Leo goes to Granny’s house while I go to work. She looks after him. So when I leave Granny gets the brunt of me leaving Leo and it is usually in the form of him hitting her or even hitting himself.

It swings in roundabouts, he is happy there but he associates being there with me leaving him. As soon as he sees Granny he lifts his hand to his head and gives himself a smack, in fact we may only be visiting on a day that I don’t have work and if she dares speak to him then he will repeatedly hit himself.

If Granny dares to try and take him out of my arms to relieve me so I can leave in a morning, Leo will firstly lash out at Granny for trying to take him and then at me for letting her. 

I know this is all because I leave him. I leave him to go to work. Now we both tell him off for hitting, as he shouldn’t do it and of course he knows this really. But how do make him stop permanently…I just don’t know?

I know Leo doing this makes my Mum feel awful, as it is only her that he does this for. If his Granddad talks to him he is there reaching out to go for a cuddle. If my brother and sister are there he will play happily with them, but if my Mum dares to walk in and talk to him he will bop himself over the head again…. It is just when it comes to my Mum.

As for Leo hitting himself I just ignore it now, I don’t want to encourage the behaviour and I hope that he will soon forget and stop. It is horrid watching your child go about hitting themselves, but it is a behaviour that only comes about when he is with Granny or being told off.

Writing this makes Leo sound like a really volatile little boy, but this behaviour isn’t what defines him. Just last night he was sat giving me cuddles and trying to avoid bed time. He comes up and gives me kisses and then runs off to give Daddy one too. He plays affectionately with his baby doll and gives his Tigger Teddy big cuddles, and just this morning he went to Granny’s beautifully and I left them having cuddles with blankie together on the sofa.

So what else can I do?


Sunday, 10 February 2013

The MAD Blog Awards 2013

MAD Blog Awards

The MAD Blog Awards are upon us, the Mum and Dad Blog Awards to be precise and you can smell the excitement in the air. 

The MAD's are a chance for you to nominate your favourite blogs for a Award, and help celebrate everything that’s brilliant about blogging. This year their are 16 award categories, reflecting the growing diversity and amazing talent to be found among UK parent blogs.
  
Why would I love to attend?
The finalists will be invited to join the most glamorous and fun night in the blogging calendar – the MAD Blog Awards ceremony. Just to even be able to attend this event would put me on cloud 9. I would love to attend and meet the faces behind the blogs that have inspired me and also helped me on my blogging journey.

Nominations are in full swing and I am secretly hoping to make it to the ceremony, where the 2013 winners will be announced!


I have recently discovered that I have been nominated for Best Family Life Blog and Blog of The Year. Just to be nominated is absolutely amazing, and I thank you all for taking the time to put a big, big, BIG smile on my face.

Just being nominated and recognized among the many distinguished blogs that I have been following over the past 16 months is the biggest achievement in it's self.


Of course I am not asking....begging....and I am not down on my knees pleading...But... if you did fancy putting my little bit of cyber space forward for this amazing opportunity, you will see that I have slipped the link to the nomination page right here. All you need in order to vote is an email account, and it takes just a few seconds to cast your nomination.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this, and an even bigger thanks if you do take the few seconds to nominate us :-)

So if you are out to make my day, week and year I would be completely over the moon if you would back me in nominations for Best Family Life Blog or even Blog of The Year.

Thanks again and wish me luck!

Laura
xx

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Baker Days - Cakes For Special Occasions


Now I have to admit I am prone to a slice of cake, you could say I am on a special cake diet. I see it and I eat it…and worry about the consequences at a later date.

BakerDays have very recently given me the opportunity to personalise an entire cake from scratch, from the double chocolate chip sponge to the very icing on top! In the theme of Valentine’s day I chose a fitting design ‘Love & Kisses on Valentines Day Luke’.

The aspect that sets this cake aside from any other cake is that it comes through the post and fits through your letter box as would any of your other post. I have to admit that the thought of squeezing a cake through the letter box did sound a little strange to me at the start of my cake journey but the cake arrived well packaged and even survived it’s adventure through the door.

My worry was that the cake would arrive un-fit for consumption after being dropped by postal handlers along the way, but I have to admit that upon seeing the lovely presentation tin the cake was encased in I was very pleased and my mind lay to rest.

The cake looked great, and although it is not massive (it comes through the letter box remember) it is the perfect amount for 2 people. Or if you wanted to gift this to one person, you (I) could very easily eat it (I am not just talking personally am I?)

So I have told you all my shameful secret, you know…seeing cake and eating it and dealing with the consequences later? Well with Luke’s cake now within my grasp…I cut it and ate a slice! Completely shameful I know!

I did share a little with Leo however, so that should ease my conscience surely?



The cake tasted as I expected, yummy. Yes it was very tasty. I did manage to pull myself away though and put the rest of the cake back in the tin and hide it until Luke got home. That’s when the rest of the cake disappeared, while Luke exclaimed his appreciation by ‘umming’ delicious munching sounds throughout.

The Letter Box cake range is priced from £14.99 but dependent upon what recipe you select this price will alter. For the Double Chocolate Chip sponge it adds an additional £2.00 to the final bill, bringing the cake in at £16.99.

I do think that this is a expensive way of buying a cake but I do like the personalisation that goes into it and of course all of the different designs that are available.

So would I buy one?
The answer is yes I would. If there was a special occasion coming up I could justify the price then yes I would. The cake quality is great and it is a really personal little gift that you can eat! *Bonus*

I often give myself a budget like I am sure many of you do, and I would go out and spend this on a bottle of wine or something similar for someone, but I am sure I would get extra brownie points for a cake!

So with Valentines Day coming up why not have a look around the rest of the designs and see what you think?

Disclaimer: I was sent the Letter Box Cake for the purpose of this feature however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sleep Training


Leo woke up one night last week and no amount of cuddles or milk would settle him. So having work the next day and worrying about being up all night with him, I succumbed and allowed him to snuggle up in our bed.

First fail.

The next night Leo just would not go down in his cot, no matter what I did he just screamed. This for Leo is completely out of character as he usually goes down at 7pm with a bottle of milk and off to sleep he goes. He had even been sleeping through the night and I thought our sleep problems were well and truly behind us.

He stood there in his cot holding his blankie and milk bottle tightly, and it suddenly dawned on me where he wanted to go. Our bed. So I took him through just to see what he would do and sure enough he began sucking on his blankie and drifting off to sleep.

Second Fail.

He didn’t care if I was by his side or not, so I left him to it and went down stairs (by this time it was already 9pm and my evening was gone) but when I came up to bed I moved him back to his cot. I suddenly thought that he may be wanting a bed and the cot was the issue, in hind sight I can see that this was not the right time for such a big change but we gave it a try.

I got him a duvet and a new pillow with Mickey Mouse dotted all over it, and I had Luke take down the cot side and in it’s place put a bumper bar to keep him from rolling out. At bed time Leo refused to go in it and seemed really un-settled again. So I lay down with him on his big boy bed and we cuddled. I put on his Winnie the Pooh Light Show so that he could see it dancing around on the ceiling. But still nothing worked.

In fact he got so clingy that I couldn’t even leave the room and I was waving goodbye to yet another evening of things I needed to get done.

So I took him into our room – Third Fail.

I had already decided that the cot bar was going back up as he quite obviously was not ready for that change just yet and I was even ready to pull out the big guns of controlled crying.

I lay with my little man tickling his hand and holding him, and then I started to move away as I heard him starting to drift off to sleep. It was like he could detect when I got out of the door, with his alarm sounding making me come back in.

When I eventually got downstairs I was adamant that I was going to get him back into his own bed and to going off to sleep without me. It is amazing how 2 nights can make such a difference to a routine and what the child expects from you.

I moved Leo into his big boy bed around 11pm again just as I was going to bed, and he spent a matter of hours in there before he was awake and back in bed with Daddy and I.

After finishing work the next day I got the Allen Keys and asked Luke to put the cot back together for me. Of course he decided not to help, told me that I should battle it out with him as he would have to do it eventually. My argument on this front is that he has demonstrated that he is not ready, and for me to get him back in his cot I was going to have to make sure he couldn’t get out, so that he would eventually go back off to sleep.

So without Luke’s help I attempted to put the side back on only to get so far before he comes in and tells me that I have blunted all of the screw heads. But eventually Luke had Leo’s cot back together and ready for Leo that evening.

That night Leo screamed for 1 hour and 45 minutes. He stood up screaming at me for what felt like forever. I wondered if he would give in and go to sleep as we hadn’t had to practice controlled crying for a very long time.  Eventually he sat down in his cot, and then lay down before he fell asleep and slept all night long.

The next night Leo cried for around an hour before falling asleep, I was anxious it would be longer as Luke and I had plans to go out. He was meant to be going to Granny’s house overnight but I decided that it would be best if she came to us so as not to disrupt his routine further. I knew if I didn’t have him fast asleep by the time Granny arrived she wouldn’t be able to leave him crying and would give into him. Luckily just before Granny arrived Leo was fast asleep and dreaming and didn’t even know we left. He slept all night long and was bright eyed and bushy tailed by morning.

Saturday night Leo cried for around 20 minutes before drifting off and sleeping ALL night.

Sunday night took less than 5 minutes before he was sleeping like a baby, all through the night!

Monday night he went down just like he usually would, he let me tuck him in and even hover by the cot like I always do. Before I walked out of the room telling him I loved him. There were no tears, no screaming and he went straight off to sleep. Sleeping all night long.

With each passing night there really was a difference in how long Leo was crying for until he was just back to normal. I have spoken on my views about controlledcrying before and how I felt about doing it. But now at 19 months old I have no problem in sleep training him. I feel he needs to know that bedtime is bedtime and he goes down to sleep in his cot (or bed…at some point in the future).


Family Getaway's



Before Leo was even a twinkle in my eye, Luke and I were always looking toward the next holiday we were going to book up. We lived for the next faraway adventure that we could jet off too and experience the different cultures and activities.

Our very first break together was to Disneyland, a place I had always longed to go and explore and a destination that I knew Luke would resist but soon enjoy. Our second break together was to the sunny skies of Egypt where we spent two weeks in the sun on one very busy two week break.

We had plans for everyday, different activities that we wanted to cram in, the Pyramids in Cairo, scuba diving in the red sea, quad biking in the desert and let’s not forget the paragliding trip on the back of a boat!

Our holidays have had to adapt somewhat for the little man who is now in our lives, and no longer do we have holidays booked up with daily activities to keep us busy, because Leo keeps us busy all on his own. Our holidays now have to be tailored to our family needs and we need a break that is suitable for a toddler.

Our time in Egypt was amazing and one day in the not so distant future we wish to take Leo along with us, but we are holding out for him to be a little bit older before then and exploring places a little closer to home. But that does not mean we have been staying in the UK for all of our breaks.

When Leo was just 5 months old we took him to Tenerife, armed with a steriliser and everything else you need for a little baby. It is safe to say that we weren’t travelling light! But luckily we were staying in a villa which had all of our home comforts and this made travelling with a baby easier.

We have taken Leo to France and many different parts of England. He is one well-travelled little boy and has been able to play along the sea front dipping his toes in and out of the sea before running away and getting sandy little feet. This was his favourite game whilst in Bournemouth last August.

For those of you who are still looking to go on breaks away but don’t want to take your little ones abroad just yet for one reason or another, there really are some great locations throughout England.

My family like to get together, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and even Great Grandparents. We try to do this once a year and are actually going away to Devon in May, so we are often on the lookout for feature properties that can sleep up to 16 people.

Regional-Cottages have properties that can sleep up to 16 people, or 26 people if the properties sit together! They offer family holidays for everyone, even that special pet in your lives, and they have a wide selection of accommodation from Scotland through to Wales.

Regional-Cottages have properties that can sleep up to 16 people, or 26 people if the properties sit together! They offer family holidays for everyone, even that special pet in your lives, and they have a wide selection of accommodation from Scotland through to Wales.

They have recently released their new 2013 brochures with their wide range of cottages for the impending holiday season. If you would like to have a look through, you can order your own catalogue here.

For those of you who are currently thinking about a break this year then you may want to direct your attention to their Facebook page for a chance to win a trip to the Lake District. The Lake District truly is a beautiful part of the world and a perfect setting for a family getaway nestled amongst the natural beauty and of course the famous lakes.


I find that getting a holiday booked up in January gives you something to look forward to after the magic and sparkle of Christmas fades away. So that is exactly what we have done, In May we are heading off on a big family trip to Devon and in August we are taking Leo on his second holiday abroad. We are off to Cyprus where I am looking forward to tasting the Greek cuisine and of course feeling the warm sun beat down, a welcome change from the chilly weather we have been experiencing of late!

Have you currently got any holiday plans for 2013?

Disclaimer: This is a Featured Post