New Dads Do’s & Don’ts Guide

Following a conversation in our house over the weekend, about never buying ourselves anything anymore & how Amelia could probably open a clothes & toy shop with all her stuff, (I was in the middle of looking at winter clothes online), I thought I’d put together a list of Parent tips for men/new dads.

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•From the very moment your partner announces her pregnancy, she’ll be the center of attention — not you. Get used to it.
•Listen Up- everything about this pregnancy is exciting for your partner,especially if it’s the first.So just listen!
•When the baby comes, they’ll both be the center of attention — not you. Aren’t you glad you had nine months to practice going unnoticed?
•She will want to use a birthing center. She will want a midwife. She will want a doctor. She will not want an epidural. She will scream for an epidural.Agree with her always.
•You will be short on cash. You will not buy clothes for yourself for a year. You will consider cancelling health insurance, sky,your phone etc. The pram/buggy costs the same as a small car.
•During the first few weeks home from the hospital, you will learn to love premade meals & takeaways.
•Don’t ask “what’s for dinner?”
•You are always holding the baby wrong.
•Get over the fear, whatever the fear is.Feeding,making bottles, nappy changes…..after 3 days you will literally be doing it with your eyes closed.

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•Things you thought would make you sick but won’t: baby poo, baby pee, baby puke — and having all of them on your shirt.
•If she wants drugs during childbirth, go get the doctor. Don’t ask, “Are you sure?”
•Is it still Ok to Go out with friends? Certainly not without permission!
•The Tears: Pregnant women cry, new mums cry more.
•Don’t EVER say you are babysitting your own baby/child.
•There is Absolutely a need for 100 Baby-gros,bibs,20 bottles,a top ‘n’ tail bowl,changing unit,baby wardrobe and everything else on the John Lewis Nursery List.
•Will I be a good dad??Answer is simple: if you want to,you will.
•Bring change to the hospital
•Tiredness kicks in pretty soon after baby is born,new mums can’t get mad at babies,so be prepared to be blamed for EVERYTHING!
•If you’re wondering when you’re going to have sex again, it’s probably best not to make jokes about it in the early days – they will be met by silence.
•The first few months are torture
•The Backseat of your car will become a mess,you will never see the floor again
•When you are finished work come STRAIGHT home, no chatting to neighbours etc,your partner is counting down the seconds for the front door to open.
•Don’t go on about how hard your day was.
•Tell your partner she looks great….no matter what you really think!
•Something you love will inevitably get ruined.
•Your entire adult life will now be crammed between babies bed time & yours
•It’s all worth it!

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T & A xxxxx

Dress Review * FiFi Le Rue

Amelia was very kindly sent a dress recently from FiFi Le Rue to try & test.A quirky company,specialising in  handmade  children’s dresses & skirts, including bespoke items.Each dress & skirt come with a beautiful pocket sewn onto the dress/skirt. Using unique fabrics, some with a twist of fun, such as this Russian Doll design on our dress.

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Love The Little Things #7

It’s Friday again, I love taking part in this linky Love The Little Things over at Butwhymummywhy, but it scares me how quickly each Friday comes around,every week is another closer to my return to work!I had a dream this week that woke me in a bag of sweat, I had gone into work and had a “panic attack” I wanted to be at home with my little girl. I’m sure this is all normal, after 16 months off with her, it’s inevitably going to be difficult leaving her two days a week,for 14 hours per day.Anyone else have horrible dreams like this before going back to work?

Onto this weeks Little Loves, we had a lovely week,with friends visiting at the weekend,and Amelia’s Granny & Aunt arrived last night for babysitting duties while we go away over night for a wedding.

READ

Not much reading this week as we have been so busy, I’ve been keeping up with life on Instagram,Facebook & my usual blogs.

WATCHED

As always, One Born Every Minute,the soaps & catching up on some of my favourite Vloggers.

WORE

Casual Saturday: We went on a train ride through a fairy wood.You can read all about that here.

•Grey Cardigan ~ Uniqlo •Boyfriend Jeans~ H&M  •Espadrilles~H&M

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20 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

I have a daughter, finding out I was going to have a little girl when I was 20 weeks pregnant, left me beyond happy as I walked out of the sonographers room. I always suspected I was having a girl, even buying a pink baby blanket when I was about 12 weeks pregnant and hiding it in the wardrobe with the receipt tucked into it….just in case!

I would honestly have been happy with either sex, once my baby was healthy, that’s all that mattered,but secretly I did hope it was a girl!

Now she is almost a toddler (still not walking so technically still my baby), I’m looking at her as a little girl. I keep a little diary that I write in,it’s just four pages a year, on what we have done together and what I hope for her for the following year. So it got me thinking what would I like to teach Amelia to take her through her teens and adulthood, when she won’t need/rely on me as much. Here is my list, feel free to share yours xx

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Cherubs Couscous

Couscous is a really quick meal, it’s soft, perfect for weaning, toothless gums & a family favourite. If your baby likes moist textures,mix this with a little Tomato & Basil Sauce or Passata. As always I made double the quantities, and we had some for dinner.The recipe below is taken from my Annabel Karmel Weaning Book.Apologies for the dark pictures,a bulb went in the kitchen. •Makes 3-4 portions •Suitable from 10 months •Prep time 10 minutes •Cooking time 15 minutes •Suitable for freezing INGREDIENTS image image (more…)

Waterford & Suir Valley Railway

Over the weekend we had friends come to stay. They have two girls ages 3 & 8 months, perfect company for Amelia. On Saturday we decided to head towards Kilmeadan in Co.Waterford. A friend had mentioned the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway a while back and that it passed through a fairy wood with “real fairies living in the trees”. I thought this was the perfect activity for the two mummy’s & 3 girls to do!

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The narrow gauge railway follows 8.5 km of the abandoned Waterford – Cork  railway route,using a beautifully restored Diesel Locomotive. The journey takes approx an hour in total. A large car park provides ample parking and facilities are wheelchair accessible, with toilets based at the station. (more…)

Love The Little Things #6

Another Friday,another week of Love The Little Things hosted by Butwhymummywhy. This has been a bit of a funny week for me, something happened that almost put me off blogging and the community of bloggers, but I’ve moved on from it, and removed myself from the situation.

Onto this weeks Little Loves. Don’t forget to check out all the other great posts on this link from some fabulous mummy bloggers.

 

READ

I mentioned a really great book last week “Only Ever Yours”, by Louise O’ Neill, with one thing and another I have not had a chance to read much of it yet, but I’m hoping next week I’ll be able to really get stuck into it.

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The Blonde Salad – fashion, fashion and more fabulous fashion

Nurse Fancy Pants – a whole lot of great book reviews,beauty products & much more. (more…)

Is it Ever OK to Slap a Child?

When I was pregnant,we were forever discussing “the baby”, who she would look like,what traits of our personalities she would have,what would we be like as parents, and what we wished for her. Within these conversations the topic of who the disciplinarian would be cropped up. That role was appointed to me from the offset,even though he (the husband) will say I’m a walk-over in certain aspects of my life, he felt I would be the better one. So within the topic of discipline evidently the subject of slapping/spanking children came up.

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Chickpea & Coriander Stew

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Chickpeas are so handy and are a great source of iron for your baby.Its always good to have a few tins of chickpeas in the cupboard. This recipe below can be adjusted, adding the vegetables of your choice.I have made double the amount of ingredients listed below,I froze Amelia’s portions in her babypotz and used the remaining for our dinner & served with grilled chicken.

INGREDIENTS

 

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Books 0-3 yrs My Top Picks

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A friend recently asked me what books I would recommend for her 7 month old, it got me thinking back to when I started buying books for Amelia. So I have complied a list of my top picks of books. We have started to build a big collection of books over the last 15 months, mostly gifts from family & friends,some we bought ourselves.Books and reading are so important, start from a young age. We love reading to Amelia, and though most of the time she doesn’t have a clue what we are saying, it’s the practise of reading that is important.I have always said,no matter how much or little money we have, there will always be money for books, and  we will be utilising our public library as she gets older.“A book is a gift, that you can open again and again”

So here are my top picks, please feel free to add to the list in the comments below if you have books to recommend.

1. imageLamaze Cloth Books from 0 +. Features eight fun pages to explore, soft textures, bright colours and intriguing crinkle sounds.

 

2. imageBlack on White by Tana Hoban.Black illustrations on a white background provide high contrast for infants’ underdeveloped eyes.

 

3.image The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle full of colourful pictures that accompany the counting game story. Children will delight in turning the flaps and poking their fingers through the caterpillar holes.

 

4.image Baby Faces by DK publishing Soft-to-Touch Full of crisp color photographs, these books capture the expressions and moods of babies throughout their busy days. (more…)

Imaginarium Developmental Toys *Review*

A few months ago, Amelia was kindly sent two exciting packages from Imaginarium of garden/outdoor toys, books,developmental toys and a balance bike. At the time the weather wasn’t great, but now we have had a long spell of sunny weather,we have tried & tested the lot. image Imaginarium help children develop through play, their education experts and educators carry out a rigorous selection each season to ensure that all the products sold in their shops contribute to children’s education and development.Imaginarium shops are spaces with their own music, shapes, colour, vocabulary and scent, designed to please children; a magical place to feel and live a totally unique and special experience. (more…)

Love The Little Things #5

Welcome to another week of ” Love The Little Things” hosted by the lovely Morgana over at Butwhymummywhy. Looking back at the #littleloves of the week gone by.Another week has just whizzed by for me.Another Monday of unpacking a suitcase from the weekend, the last few months we seem to be away every weekend for something or other. Amelia is teething, so we are back to being rather sleep deprived in our house, and I have been busy with courses for returning to work. Onto this weeks Little Loves, don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous blogs

 READ

I’ve not had a chance to read any books this week, but today I’m buying a book that I’ve looked forward to reading for ages, Only Ever Yours by Irish author Louise O’ Neill, which Marion Keyes (author) has quoted as “Utterly  Magnificent”. I will follow up on this next week.

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Would You Leave Your Child in A Hotel Room Alone?

When it comes to parenting, I like to think I am the responsible one. My husband is of course responsible, but he is also the fun parent, the second child and our financial advisor. I am more serious anal and verge on the side of caution when it comes to Amelia.
So last weekend while staying in a hotel (we were at a family party), as I shut the door of our hotel room, I started to have images of Madeline McCann and the guilt started. (more…)

Baby/Family Friendly Mild Chicken & Apricot Curry

Last week I made a curry for the first time. I don’t really like curry, so I had not made it for us or Amelia before. You will be amazed at some of the flavours that will appeal to your baby, so be sure to introduce mild spices to add variety to their diet.
After reading this recipe I figured it would be pretty mild and tasty for us all. I made this for four adults & enough to make 8 portions for Amelia (with rice). Now I’m hooked,it was a hit with everyone,it’s more of a korma than a spicy curry.

This recipe has been taken from one of my Annabel Karmel recipe books, ‘Weaning‘.

•Suitable from 6 months
•Servings:Makes 3-4 Portions
•Prep Time:10 Minutes
•Cook Time:17 Minutes

Mild Chicken and Apricot Curry

INGREDIENTS

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Love The Little Things #4

Welcome to week 4 of Love The Little Things, a fabulous linky hosted by butwhymummywhy, featuring the little things that have made up my week. This week has been one of highs and lows. I’m exhausted. I was asked to write a piece on ‘My NCT Experience” for the autumn/winter edition of the NCT (National Childcare Trust) magazine, which I’m thrilled about.I attended the funeral of a close friends father and had pretty stressful day on Wednesday with a job interview, you can read all about that here. I felt very overwhelmed, and didn’t know if I could continue with my blog and fit everything around it! Then my mum came to the rescue, and I’m almost sorted, after a 10 hour study marathon yesterday.In the grand scale of things, my problems are only minor ones. While at the funeral it made me reflect on things, and what I take for granted.

Onto this weeks loves, don’t forget to check out all the other great blogs taking part in this linky. (more…)

Can I do it All…… Mummy,Wife,Nurse & Blogger

To say that my day yesterday was overwhelming, would be an understatement. I had my interview to return to work in Ireland. I am joining a Nursing Agency, to suit our home life, so I thought, bring in my forms & certs, show my face, they would see I am the nurse I say I am and not some crazy lady pretending to be a nurse (this has happened and is still happening!!!) and bobs your uncle, Id be working in a week or so!
Ah no…..it didn’t exactly work like that.Armed with my shit load of documents, the interviewer scanned through them, nodded, smiled and told me she was impressed, I had everything she needed and that most people either forget half the needed documents required or do not fill out the forms correctly. I nodded back, thrilled, I had been running around like a blue arsed fly the last few weeks getting all my bits together.  Then she dropped the bombshell, as she looked closer, most of my training courses are not up to date after being off for the last 17 months (most need updating every 2-3 years), so €500 later, my courses are booked, and its looks like I now will not be starting work until at least the end of August. Yes, the end of August…oh well, more sunny days to spend on the beach with my little girl (just wish my husband shared my enthusiasm about this).

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Amelia at 15 months Update

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Amelia has turned 15 months, and there have been a few developments since her last update.We had our first “accident”, she fell off the bed (my fault), and has a bump on her forehead and a graze on her nose.We thankfully have carpet on our bedroom floor. I think I was more upset than she was! She knows if she is doing something naughty,and will just smirk at us if we tell her off. She has learned how to use a straw in the last few days, it’s already embedded into a beaker that I have given her. I was impressed she could use it, I’m not sure when you are meant to give toddlers straws, maybe she is a bit late!

TEETH: 8, she has two new teeth since her last update- her upper First Molars. So in total, two bottom front teeth, upper front & incisors.

WALKING: No, see my post on that here. However, she is defitnetly making a move towards it, she is pulling herself up, and can move from lying on her front to sitting herself up.

CRAWLING: She is still bum shuffling everywhere at speeds of lightening.

WORDS:No new words this month, but she is starting to sing along to The Baby Jake theme tune. She recognises mummy & daddy in pictures & will point & say our names.

LOVES: Still Cherry Tomatoes, new foods that she has just started to like – Bananas. Swimming,Playing in her sand pit,the swings and going to the beach. Her new thing this month is a joint cuddle & kiss from mummy & daddy,she pulls the three of us together.

NAPPIES: SIZE 4+ pampers

CLOTHES: 12-18 months, some are getting a bit short & tight, as she has stretched a lot in the last few weeks.

SLEEPING: I thought she was dropping her morning nap, as she was not sleeping. However the last two days I have put her down half an hour later than usual and she will sleep for 45 mins- 1 hour.

6:30pm: Bath,Brush Teeth, Story & Bottle

7pm: Sleep

5:30am: She has been waking at this time for the last few weeks. I have a blackout blind in her room, but maybe it’s the birds singing! I get up and get her a bottle & bring her into bed (I know a bad habit,but it means we all get a bit of eshe will sleep again until 7/7:30am

8:00am: Breakfast

10:30am: Nap for 45 mins- 1hr

11:00am:Snack

1:00pm: Lunch

2:00pm:Long nap,1.5-2hr

3:30pm:Snack

5:00pm:Dinner

(And we start all over again)

T & A xxxx

 

 

*GIVEAWAY * Frame-A-Name

We were recently sent this beautiful frame from Frame-A-Name, a company that has found a niche in the market for a personalised gift with a difference. This is something I would have loved to have received as a gift. Included in the frame is
•Baby’s Name
•Day of Birth
•Date of Birth
•Time of a Birth
•Weight
•Parents name
•Baby’s Star sign
•Letters spelling your child’s name hanging from mini pegs
•Inscription of your child’s full name on a silver plated plague
This is not something I had seen before and absolutely love it. It’s the perfect unique gift for new parents or as a Christening,Naming Day,Birthday or Memory Gift. Fast delivery & shipping worldwide, packaged to a high standard the frames come in two different sizes, and  there is also a frame for twins. With prices starting from €35, you also have the option to have the print in Gaelige (Irish Language), which makes Frame-A-Name unique to the Irish Market.

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The company was set up in 2012, by Declan Brett,who is based in Kilkenny,Ireland. He came up with the concept for the frames when he was looking for gifts for his niece and nephew.  He wanted something that was both affordable and a timeless keepsake, hence Frame-A-Name was born. Finding that he got  a great reaction from the parents of his niece and nephew and others who saw the frames, he decided to start taking orders for them.
Initially he made the frames for collection locally but as the business grew he started to offer a postal service. Frame A Name products are now shipped worldwide, with recent orders to South Korea, Australia, New York and South Africa.
All the materials used are purchased in Ireland and every frame is handcrafted.

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Frame-A-Name have very kindly offered TWO of my readers the chance to win your own Frame-A-Name unique frame. To be in with a chance of winning this prize, click the Rafflecopter below. You can enter as many times as you like,increasing your chances of wining by using all of the options below via the rafflecopter.

•Ensure you like A Little Londoner here on Facebook (rafflecopter will NOT do this automatically)
•Like Frame-A-Name on Facebook here
•Follow A Little Londoner on Twitter @alittlelondoner
•Follow Frame-A-Name on twitter @frameaname
•Retweet about competition
•Share Post on Facebook
•Share a Little Londoners FaceBook Page
•Share Frame-A-Name Facebook Page
•Leave a comment under post

Competition will run from 23rd-30th June. Winners will be contacted directly for further information.

Best of luck,
T & A xxxxx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love The Little Things #3

Welcome back to Love The little Things, this is my 3rd post for LTLT. I can’t believe it’s Friday already,the start of this week was relatively slow for me, my husband was in London from Sunday morning until Tuesday night, and to say the days were long is an understatement.

Anywhoo….onto this weeks Love The little things. Ours has mostly been all about the sunshine, isn’t it just fab, it puts everyone in a good mood,we have been at the beach most days or enjoying the paddling pool in the garden. This time 3 years ago I was on my hen at Royal Ascot,and pulled out the album yesterday to take a look at the pictures….oh how care free I was then!
Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous bloggers that contribute to this linky and thank you as always Morgana over at Butwhymummywhy for hosting.

READ

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This week I have actually got back into reading. This book, Girls of Riyadh, I borrowed from a work friend about 2 years ago and had yet to read it! My cousin grew up in Saudi Arabia and it has always fascinated me. This book gives an insight into life behind the veil. Imagine Sex and the City,if the city in question were Riyadh.Four women, singles scene,their travels outside the country & trying to live a life somewhere between contemporary Western Society and their Islamic home.

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On top of my usual blog reads, I am loving these two right now. (more…)

Baby – Adult Fish Cakes

We are very lucky to have a variety of fresh fish on our door step, we live in a fishing town,so get the best & freshest fish available. Amelia likes fish (wish I could say the same about my husband), and I introduced it early on when I started weaning. These fish cakes are perfect as finger food or for those with babies going through baby led weaning, just chop them up into small pieces. Suitable from 9 months on.

This recipe serves 8-10, but as always I have made double the quantities. Taken from my The First 1000 Days recipe book, they are delicious. I’m trying to coax my husband into eating more fish (I wonder whom I’m weaning sometimes!), so I have made his with whiting, he says if he has to eat it,them it’s got to be white!!!! Please!

INGRIEDIENTS:

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•300g Salmon (whiting can also be used)
•4 medium potatoes
•2 eggs
•2 slices brown bread
•1 lemon
•1 sprig of chopped parsley
•1-2 tbsp of veg oil
•Flour  (more…)

From Making Like a Ballerina to Doing the Bum Shuffle

imageIs she walking yet?? I reckon I get asked this on a daily basis. Just like when I was breastfeeding, I wish I had a £1 for every time I was asked “are you still feeding her?”. The answer is no, she is not walking, yes she is 14.5 months, but she is a damn good bum shuffler.

Amelia never rolled as such and never front crawled. She was given loads of tummy time, but never liked it. She was most happiest when sitting upright, I’d prop my feeding pillow and a few more pillows behind her.

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Once she started to sit upright unaided, I thought she may go down on all fours and start crawling,but this never happened. When she was about 10 months, she started to bum shuffle. She isn’t any “aul” bum shuffler. Carpet, tiles,wooden floors, water, paths and sand,she has mastered them all. The bum of her clothes are destroyed,she has permanent bruises on her ankles & her legs are grazed,but what am I to do!.
I am not in any rush for her to walk,nor am I  worried,she will do it when she is good and ready, just like everything else Amelia has done in the last 14 months, she will not be rushed into anything and does it in her own good time. So why other people are in such a rush to see her walk, I’ll never know! It’s widely known that bum shufflers walk later,they can get around while carrying things in their hands, whereas a crawler can’t do both, so there’s less incentive for the bum shuffler to actually get up on their feet. She will stand if placed against the sofa, but refuses point blank to even try to walking aided by us.She kicks her legs in the air into a sitting position. (more…)

Baby Friendly Icy Strawberry Cream

This “ice -cream” is perfect for soothing painful teething gums, and the rest of the family. No added sugar, but sweet,it’s the perfect summer treat. With the hot weather we are having, it’s the perfect snack for cooling down everyone.

I have made double the quantities of the recipe below, which has been taken from my  The First 1000 Days recipe book. I’ve used strawberries as per recipe, however you can use any type of fruit.

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INGREDIENTS

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•2 x 50g pots of Strawberry Fromage Frais
•50g Mascarpone Cheese
•50g Strawberries
•1 drop of Vanilla Essence (more…)

Pink Cream & Cotton Wool

Confused by the title?Read on,I’ll explain. I thought I would write a little post on what products I use on Amelia for bathing & washing.
We have a little morning routine after her first nap & I actually still use my “top and tail bowl”, I thought I’d never use it,most people don’t,but it’s handy for her morning wash. Bath time is at 6:30pm. So I will start with morning:

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Brush Teeth- Boots own brand children’s toothpaste & Toothbrush
Face – warm water & cotton wool,dry,& then I use “Pink Cream and Cotton Wool” and wipe over her face. This infamous pink cream is Johnson’s Lotion,my husband started calling it “pink cream”, I’ve used this on her face since she was born,my mum used it on all of us.
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Hands & Bum water with a tiny but of Johnson’s Lavender Bath Wash. If she has a dirty nappy,I use these Water Wipes, I have been using these since I started using wipes on Amelia when she was about 2 weeks, they are the worlds purest baby wipe containing 99% water & 1 % fruit extract,perfect for newborn baby skin. I think they are brilliant,and I defiantly think they are part of the reason she does not get nappy rash as other wipes on the market contain alcohol.
Bepanthen Nappy Ointment on her bum

Throughout the day I use Water Wipes for bum cleaning,face cleaning, hand cleaning and any other body part Amelia manages to get food into. These are available from all supermarkets & chemists.

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BATHTIME:

•Brush Teeth as above
•Burts Bees Hair & Body for washing her hair
•Johnson’s Lavender Bath & Johnsons Baby Oil
•Once dry, I use Burts Bees Lavender Moisturiser
•If she has a cold or sniffles. I apply some SnuffleBabe on her chest & soles of her feet to enable her to breath easier.

Do you have a “washing/bathing routine”? Have you tried Water Wipes?

T & A xxx

*Sponsored Post

Happy Fathers Day

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Happy Fathers Day to all the great Daddy’s out there,and to the mums who are doing both roles….ye are amazing! Big thank you to my husband & Amelia’s daddy for being such a great dad & working so hard to look after us (and keeping Amelia in pretty dresses :-) ) xxx

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Bento Box #3

Amelia’s new food in her Bento Box this week is Chrorizo Salami Style. I didn’t make a conscious decision to give her this, but while on holiday she did not want any hot meals,chorizo was in the fridge,so I tried her with some,and some more!She loved it, I know,I know,the salt content is high and it isn’t the best of meat to be giving a child, but she needed to eat something.I will give it to her now and again.

So here is our latest Bento Box, she has these at tea time once or twice a week.They are a fantastic way of introducing new foods and incorporating Fruit & Vegetables into a toddlers diet in a fun way.

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Have you tried Bento Boxes yet? Please feel free to share your ideas.

T & A xxxx

Love The Little Things Week #2

This is my second week taking part in this linky. This is such a lovely linky, taking a look back at the week,every Friday. I’m writing this in the garden,the sun is finally out,and Amelia is napping,hooray!! Thank you, Morgana at butwhymummywhy for hosting, such a lovely idea.Don’t forget to take a look at all the other fantastic posts also.

READ

This week I haven’t touched a book, but have being reading loads of blogs,mummy blogs & beauty blogs.

Lily Pebbles
www.lilypebbles.co.uk This has been one of my favourite beauty blogs since I started reading blogs. A London blogger,where you are likely to find the best beauty reviews, style tips, beauty videos and random shenanigans in London. My favourite post this week – Budget Skincare Favourites all products available in Ireland & the UK, being a one salary family I like the word “Budget”.

The Airing Cupboard www.theairingcupboard.me This week I’ve been laughing my way through this Dublin mummy’s witty,no hold barred style of writing. It is what it says on the tin. For any mums with two year olds or children that are at the climbing stage, have a read of this blog post about her two year old daughter Amelie, pulling acrobatic moves in an attempt to get out of her cot – she succeeded – Acrobat

WATCHED

• One Born Every Minute, Im so happy a new series has started, I love this programme. I know a lot of mums can’t watch it after giving birth, but for me it just makes me broody!

HEARD

A new nursery Rhyme CD for the car, the other one we had was starting to do our heads in! 35 nursery rhymes,all sound the same.

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World Blood Donor Day June 14th 2014

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June 14th is World Blood Donor Day. The focus of this year’s World Blood Donor Day campaign is “Safe blood for saving mothers”. Every day, about 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth is a major cause of mortality, morbidity and long-term disability. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential for all countries as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths (WHO)

When I was lived in London, I worked in a Level 1 Major Trauma A&E Dept. Giving blood and blood products to patients was an everyday occurrence, I was doing my job,and to be honest didn’t think too much about it. I was aware that there was a severe shortage of O Negative blood, as I had heard a campaign on the radio requesting donors. This did not surprise me in the slightest,Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. With an increase in knife crime in the UK & Ireland,the increased use of O-Negative blood has put a huge pressure on blood banks to keep up with the demand & supply.

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Last year post delivery, I found myself on the receiving end of a blood transfusion,actually I had two,and only that I promised to take my iron supplements (so I could go home),they wanted to give me a third. So in the space of 8 hours I had used two units (2 bags/pints) of blood.Prior to my transfusions I felt horrendous. My blood pressure was in my boots & I was very short of breath.My sister who came to visit thought I looked dead I was so pale.I’ll admit, I have only given blood once as a student nurse,and it wasn’t until I needed it myself I realised the importance of it. Unfortunately because I have now had a blood transfusion, I cannot donate, but I’m bullying my husband into doing it!

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So please donate blood, no matter what your blood type,you never know when you or someone close to you may need it. Without donors the supply will run dry. On twitter? After giving blood tweet #gaveblood to increase awareness of World Blood Donor Day.

To find your nearest clinic to Give Blood click the links below:
Ireland – www.giveblood.ie
UK – www.blooduk.co.uk

T & A xxxx

Fast Rhubarb Tart with Mascarpone Cream

Last weekend, my father in law gave me rhubarb from his garden.Ive always loved rhubarb, preferring it over apple. I wanted to try this rhubarb tart, and with rhubarb in season, it was the perfect time to try it. I wanted to try a technique I has seen on an instagram picture over on myfussyeater.com, where the rhubarb was laid out to look striped.

 

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Aesthetically it looks lovely, but it will taste just as good if you just chop the rhubarb and throw it in that way. I love puff pastry, I prefer the lighter texture. I used premade puff pastry (tut tut). I like to keep my rhubarb tart, so add just a little sugar, using the mascarpone cream to add sweetness to the dish. This was delicious, I will defiantly be making it again. With my remaining rhubarb, im going to try this Rhubarb & Ginger Cordial, which I saw on the blog wonderfulwagon, click on the link to see the recipe, it makes my mouth water just looking at it. I showed it to my husband, who wanted me to make it there and then, this will be my “project” tomorrow. (more…)

Why It Is Time To Return To Work

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I have always worked,starting at aged 14, much to my parents dismay, I took a job in a local chipper over the summer, this was the start of my independence with money. Next job was in a hotel as a chambermaid, aged 15, I was busy one day hoovering the stairs when the manager asked me for my PRSI (NI) number. I didn’t have one. I wasn’t 16, and they didn’t ask at the interview. I had to leave,and return 4 months later when I was 16, and that I did. The day after my 16th birthday,my Christmas school holidays started,and I started working. I stayed working in this hotel all through school,at the weekends and holiday,even when I went to University in Edinburgh,I still came back to work on the holidays.

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I loved and hated that job,but I was making my own money, and when it came to being assessed making beds as a student nurse- I was an expert! I made up to 20 + beds a day in this job. It was hard work, rooms were left in a state sometimes, this is why when I now leave a hotel room I tidy,and always leave a few €/£ for the chambermaid. While in University I worked as a Health Care assistant, my parents paid my rent and fees,but I always made sure to have my own money. I would sometimes work a Friday & Saturday night, this wasn’t easy when on practice placement,as I was already working x 3 12.5 hr shifts and trying to study at the same time.

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Pan Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

With Asparagus still in season,the season for asparagus is short. In Britain & Ireland it is from late April until late June so enjoy it while you can. Of course asparagus is available imported all year round, but it’s nice to use home grown local produce.

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I made this pan grilled Aspargus for dinner last night, and served it with a balsamic glaze. I love it also with Olive oil & grated Parmesan.

Ingredients

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•1 lemon, zested and juiced
•Salt
•Bunch of Asparagus
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•Freshly ground black pepper
•Balsamic Vinegar 60 mls

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Sólás Na Mara | Helbhic Seaweed Baths

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Growing up by the sea in  Co.Kerry on the West Coast of Ireland, I was always aware of the benefits of seaweed, unfortunately it has taken me 32 years and moving back to Ireland,this time the East Coast of Ireland, to fully appreciate it. I can still hear my mum telling us to rub the seaweed over our bodies as we waded into the sea every summer…..ya right! All we (my brother,sister & I) did was try and find a spot in the sea to swim in that was free of the “disgusting weed”.

I used to love when the “Peri-Winkle Man” was around the beach,selling bags of peri-winkles with a needle attached, to pluck the horrid things from their shell.He also sold dry seaweed,which  I loved, but have not had for years. I recently purchased this bread mix which is made locally,among other products using seaweed as a substitute for salt.Genius!

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Recently I was invited along to Solas na Mara | Helibhic Seaweed Baths,in the beautiful Gaeltact (Irish speaking area) of An Rinn,Co.Waterford. A short drive from Dungarvan,Co.Waterford and Yoghal,Co.Cork.  Sólás Na Mara, Heilbhic a seaweed bathhouse, have a new purpose-built, modern facility designed to ensure a relaxing and invigorating experience. The bathhouse was opened 1 year ago. Operated by two established practitioners Caroline Gordon & Cian Ó Conchúir, the clinic offers a range of treatments including Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Massage and much more, see here. The clinic also boasts a rehab gym to facilitate and aid a speedy recovery.It is well known that seaweed baths have beneficial effects for a vast range of maladies including rheumatism, arthritis and many skin conditions. This is something they have brought to the East Coast. It is an entirely natural product, making it a desirable treatment for the health conscious.

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Fathers Day Gift Ideas 2014

With Fathers Day looming, I thought I would put together a list of gift ideas that won’t break the bank, something to suit all daddies,and the things I like. Last year was my husbands first Fathers Day, his birthday is also in June, so I got him something small from Amelia, this cup, featured below, and we went out for dinner in our favourite “child-friendly” restaurant in London Zizzi’s in Chiswick.

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1.Defintion Mug Personalised Defintion Mug: notonthehighstreet £12

2. Personalised Wooden Chopping Board : notonthehighstreet £25

3.Personalised Copper Wallet Insert : notonthehighstreet £18

4.Dune Paps Canvas Holdall Navy : House of Fraser £59

5..Personalised “The Day You Became My….” Key Ring  : notonthehighstreet £13

6.Smooth Operator, Organic Skincare : Neals Yard Remedies £23

7.Personalised Dad Keyring : Etsy €13

8.Irish Craft Beer/Cider Hamper : McCambridge’s of Galway €32

9.Cheese & Chutney Selection : Marks & Spencer £25

10. Rustic Cast Iron Bottle Opener : Etsy €5.27

 

What will you buy your partner/father for Fathers Day? I’ve picked my husband’s gift out,but he surprisingly reads this blog,so will have to keep it a secret!

Don’t Forget to like & share

T & A xxxxx (more…)

Love The Little Things

This is such a lovely linky, looking back at the week, and appreciating the little things. Thank you, Morgana at butwhymummywhy for hosting, such a lovely idea.Don’t forget to take a look at all the other fantastic posts also.

Read

image I have had this book on the bookshelf for so long, and only picked it up the other night,to have a look at it, when there was nothing on the TV. I picked this book up in a bookshop in Soho a few years ago, I loved the look of the book. It basically documents their life In pictures, a lot of the pictures have not been previously published. Easy reading, and you got to love Jackie O! Life at the Little Wood, this is one of my favourite blogs to read at the moment, check out their posts on their beautiful house, we are hooked, they are living “our dream”, such a great read.

Watched

24 hrs in A&E. I don’t know why I watch this, it only makes me miss  work more and more. Caught up with all the soaps we missed while on holiday last week.

Wore

image This picture is from our holiday last Saturday. Everything I took on holiday was old. Mostly clothes from my honeymoon 3 years go! Black Maxi Dress- H&M, Black Havaianas, Straw Trilby  - Primark, Straw Beach Bag – H&M, (buggy & baby – they are my forever accessories!!)

Listened

Mr. Probz WAVES, love this song, brilliant summer tune, I played it on repeat yesterday in the garden, until even Amelia gave me a look!!

Made

image Another Bento Box for Amelia,new foods this week- Olives & Salami (just a little). Spaghetti Bolognese is the only meal I’ve made this week, salads have been on the menu since we returned from holiday, feeling very lazy!

And Lastly……

 We had an amazing holiday in Portugal, I would highly recommend it to families with young children, the flight time was only 2hrs 20mins. T & A xxx

butwhymummywhy

Don’t forget to like & share

T & A xxxx

Lessons I have Learned from Blogging

I have only been blogging for a mere 4 months, feels far longer eh!Well to me it does, 85 post in 15 weeks and a brand new website on the way in the next few days, it has been a whirlwind. Blogging is exactly what I needed when we moved back to Ireland, as I needed something to occupy myself with & to keep my mind working somewhat while I was not working. Yes, being a stay at home mum is more than a full time job, however when we moved to a new place, I did not know anyone, and while Amelia was napping, I felt I needed something to fill the void that was left after London life. This time use to be filled with baby groups, coffees, lunches and meeting up with friends.

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I have always read beauty blogs, and when I was pregnant I started to read parent blogs and forums. Here is what I have learned from writing my own blog and from reading the blogs I love to follow:

1. Content Is King

You can have the most flashy,pretty and “techie” blog around, but if the content is not worth reading, then it will not do well. The blogs I like to read have great posts, day after day.In fact, I rather blogs that do not post everyday,as the writer can become repetitive, but that is a personal choice. Fresh posts, with enthusiasm and passion for what is being written, must in my eyes come across in your post, to keep your readers coming back for more.

2. Sometimes Blogging is Overwhelming

When I’m not blogging, I feel I should be, or reading and commenting on other blogs. When I am blogging I feel guilty that I should be doing something else (housework, spending time with my husband etc). I never blog when Amelia is awake, unless her daddy is here. I promised myself from the very beginning that it would not interfere with my time with her. Some days I panic as I have complete “Bloggers Block”, and cannot think if a single thing to write about. I read on a blog once, when you cannot think about anything to write about, take your camera out and picture your day, something will “pop out” in the pictures that will help you along the way.

3. Blogging Bullies

Yes, they are out there!!I have been lucky up to now, not to my knowledge, have had any negative feedback, but I have seen this in blogging forums, groups and other blogs. Haters are always going to be there, my advice…keep going, they are only jealous and ignore them.

4.Blogging Lovers image The people I love the most. My regular readers, commenters and always there with a thumbs up! Remember when blogging or reading a blog, leave a comment, whether it is good or indifferent, feedback is always appreciated, and gives the writer a better insight into who is reading their posts and what is working or not.

5. Say Cheese – Pictures Please

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When I first started blogging, I did not realise the significance of pictures. Firstly, I know now, that I’m more likely to keep reading a blog post with pictures. It keeps the blog post flowing, ensuring it does not come across like an essay. We like to visualise what we are reading, and this helps the reader to stay focused on your post.

6.Social Media

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I have always loved dipping into social media sites,be it  (showing age) Bebo, Facebook & recently Instagram. However since I have started blogging, I have had to dive into social media,learning how to keep up by adding, Twitter, Bloglovin and Pininterest into my mental list of things to keep interacting with while blogging.

7. Reaping the Awards for Hard Work

You get back what you put into your blog posts. the days you don’t try as hard, or write a post half heartedly (would I ever!!),  you will see it in your blog post responses and views. When you give your blog posts 100% you reap the rewards! with positive feedback.

8. Nothing in This Life is Free

We often get sent some beautiful things to review, however, do not mistake these for being free. The time it takes to review and write on these products, plus the other posts that are written in my free time, I have paid for them in time. We are always grateful for what we are sent, however I would advise, only ever accept a product that is suited to your blog, and that you would buy and use regardless of it being sent for review.

What have your learned from blogging? If you are not a blogger,but read them,what keeps you reading a certain blog?

T & A xxxx

Our Holiday & Keeping a Routine

We have arrived home after 10 days in beautiful Vilamoura in The Algarve. This was our first “proper” holiday away since Amelia was born.Last summer we drove from London to Padstow in Cornwall,that holiday was very different,as she was only 14 weeks.

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I have previously written a post on travelling with a baby, see here, as we are used to travelling back and forth to London with Amelia. I’m a terrible packer,I bring too much,always have and always will I think. I packed two outfits per day for Amelia,toys,nappies and all the other baby paraphernalia  needed. My saving grace is my Buggy Transport Bag,we have the Bugaboo Transport Bag,there are also some great Universal Travel Bags for strollers  on the market. It’s great for hiding bits in, as the cases are not weighed. Buggys & strollers are free to check in the hold with all airlines.  I just use my baby sling, from Olives & Applesauce around the airport.This time round however,the check in staff did weigh it when tagging, and there was raised eyebrows when the scales tipped 28kgs, “is it only a buggy in there ?” She asked,cheeks burning I nodded and said it wasn’t a stroller,it’s a heavy buggy! She wasn’t buying it,but let us off,phew! With each extra KG costing an obscene amount of money with Ryanair,we would be eating beans on toast for the 10 days if we had to pay.

 

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The 6:30 am flight was perfect,Amelia slept most of the journey,after we woke her at 4am to drive to the airport. 2hrs 20mins later,we stepped off the plane to glorious sunshine and heat,this was the moment I looked forward to the most,that blast of warm air when you step off the plane.

A 20 min taxi ride took us to our apartment,I unpacked straight away,I hate living out of suitcases. We took a walk around the marina,hoping Amelia would go for her nap- this didn’t happen,we had to deal with one very cranky,sleep deprived little girl for the rest of the day. Amelia slept in a travel cot in our room,and we did worry how she would sleep alongside us,but she was great. With regards naps & keeping her home routine,we made a few mistakes for the first few days. We tried to take her out in the buggy for her naps,but she just would not sleep,this was the same for bedtime. I had these great ideas (notions!), of giving Amelia her evening meal,play,bath,we get ready and then walk to a restaurant while she fell asleep and we have our meal in peace…..this happened ONCE and once only.

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We gave up walking around and around trying to get her to sleep in her buggy,we decided we would just let her nap in the cot in the apartment,this worked out so well. She woke at 6:30 every morning,had a bottle,played,then had breakfast at 8am. We would have breakfast at this time too after Amelia’s daddy went to the local bakery for some yummy croissants and pastries (I regret this now,post holiday tummy). Nap time was at 9am, I would go to the pool at this time while Amelia’s daddy would sit on the  balcony. Once she woke at 11am,she had a snack and then down to the pool for an hour or so. Lunch at 1am, I had made some chicken, potato and carrot on the two ring hob in the apartment,but she just did not want to eat hot food while we were away,so she ate a lot of tomatoes,banana,chorizo,olives (this was a new food), cheese,bread and fruits. I know that chorizo is high in salt,but it was the only meat she would eat while we were away.She drank a lot of water (swimming pool water included !!), and ate plenty of watery fruits such as watermelon,pears and grapes,so she was kept hydrated.

 

 

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After lunch,she would play for a bit,then back down for her afternoon nap….cue mummy time again,my husband doesn’t like to sunbathe for very long,so he would have a nap too or sit on the balcony,while I wandered back to the pool. It was so lovely to have this time to myself and to have help for the 10 days.

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Amelia would wake around 3pm,small snack,suncream and off we would go to the beach,with half the apartment in tow.Picnic blanket,”UV Family Tent” bucket, spade, toys, towels, changing bag etc. We stayed on the beach for an hour or two, it was a 5 min walk from our apartment,and then pack up and go for a walk around the beautiful Marina in Vilamoura, always stopping by the Häagen-Dazs  ice – cream shop (I think we tried every flavour!). Some days if Amelia was in good form,we would stop at one of the beautiful outdoor restaurants and have a drink.

 

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Back to the apartment after our afternoon out,and we would all just chill on the balcony and have another drink (or two), give Amelia dinner,weetabix,yogurt and tomatoes, she decided she did not like scrambled egg anymore while we were there,this was disappointing,as it is one of my “go to” foods when she doesn’t feel like anything else.It was lovely to eat outside on the balcony every day.

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Once we we all showered,and ready we headed out to dinner. We would get out around 6:30, always praying she would fall asleep on the way,but of no…she was never going to do what we planned. We eventually realised it was less stressful and easier to just let her stay awake for dinner. We brought the iPad,but Amelia was so busy watching people passing by as we sat outside,I didn’t need it. If she wanted bits off our plate, we would give it to her,but she was generally happy with breadsticks. Once we had finished dinner,we gave Amelia her night time bottle,and walked around and headed home,she generally was asleep by the time we got to the apartment. I would just put her to sleep in the clothes she was wearing, she is a non – transferable baby,so if I woke to change her,there is not a hope in hell she would have gone straight back to sleep.

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The rest of the evening was my favourite part of the day,with little to no wifi access,and the TV was crap,unless you like BBC World News all day long,we sat out on the balcony and just talked!Drank lovely wine,ate some more and talked again. We even said we should have an hour every evening of no TV or internet/phones when we got back,this was a great idea in theory,but it’s not going to happen.

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We really had an amazing holiday,this has just touched on it briefly.Amelia has come home whiter than when she left,I think I was a little bit OTT with keeping her in the shade and using copious amounts of SPF 50, which seems to be “bullet proof” in keeping my fair skinned lady protected.We used Bepanthen SPF 50 & La Roche – Posay Anthelios SPF 50, she had so much fun swimming and playing with other children her age. Here is hoping to a nice warm summer spent on the beach.We will be back without doubt next year.A 2hr 20min flight is just perfect when flying with children,and at this time of the year you are more or less guaranteed good weather.

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Where will you holiday this year?Do you try and keep your children in the same routine when on holiday?

T & A xxx

Olives & Applesauce Baby Carier Review

The benefits of using baby carriers, aka babywearing, has been scientifically documented since the late ‘80s. Carrying babies, whether in your arms or in a carrier, reduces crying, provides comfort and convenience at the same time (baby is happy to be held and you can continue being a pro at multi-tasking with both hands), and there are health benefits for babywearing. Studies show that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster than babies who are not . It’s still the norm for many cultures around the world. I have been on the lookout for a new baby carrier/sling recently, as my “BABYBJÖRN  carrier which I have used since Amelia was born ,was getting uncomfortable, her weight was starting to hurt my back when I carried her for long periods of time, as there is no back support. I loved the “BABYBJÖRN when she was smaller.   image   This time round, I wanted to find a sling that would work from Birth to Toddler and that I could carry Amelia on the front,back and on my hip. I came across this beautiful carrier, Free Bird Garden by Olives & Applesauce, on Koalacubs website,  Ireland’s largest specialist baby sling shop.They are dedicated to providing a wide range of baby slings, carriers and accessories to suit Irish families. From the versatile wraparound sling to the convenient soft structured carrier.They have a carrier to suit everyone, whatever your choice. I chose Olives and Applesauce because the straps can cross over your back offering extra support, the body is larger and wider than other slings on the market, which is great as Amelia is getting bigger and heavier, and I use the carrier a lot. I loved the print, bright and something different from the usual black or grey of traditional carriers. image A unique feature about this carrier which I loved, was the adjustable length side straps. When you’re wearing baby on the front, you want the side straps short. When you’re wearing baby on the back, you need them long. I don’t think I would use this for a newborn baby, as I feel they would be lost inside it, as the body is so large. The Olives and Applesauce has an interior pocket, that you can clip baby into, for extra support and it also makes it easier for transfer from adult to adult. I used this initially, but Amelia got too hot, so now I use it without the extra pocket. image image   image I have worn this with Amelia on front, and on my back, I have still to try it on my hip, she loves it on both positions. Pros of this carrier is the wide and tall body, making it suitable for the bigger and taller baby/toddler, the buckles are big and strong, making it easier to use the carrier on your own.The only negative thing I have to add is that you cannot have your baby front facing, this is one position Amelia loved in the Baby Bjorn Original.The Olives and Applesauce carrier has an attached hood. This is great for a younger child,however it is too short to cover Amelia’s head, and I doubt she would leave it on. I have my eye on another few carrier on the website, there are so many beautiful prints and designs to choose from. To see more information on the Olives and Applesauce range, visit www.koalacubs.ie

Cod with Butternut Squash and Cheese Sauce

Last week I did a marathon run of cooking,trying to use up all the food in the fridge before we went away. Amelia loves fish,and I had a cod fillet in the freezer,this recipe always goes down well. Recipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel 100 purées. This can be left as it is cooked or purée for smaller babies.

Cheese sauce is a good complement to butternut squash and, depending on your baby’s tastes, you can use any cheese you like, provided it is pasteurized. Sole or haddock make a great alternative to cod, and are equally nutritious and baby friendly. Add a little less milk for older babies.

 

Suitable for Freezing
Suitable from 6 months
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

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30g onion, finely chopped
15g butter
85g peeled and cubed butternut squash
15g plain flour
150 ml milk
50 ml vegetable stock
100g fillet of cod, skinned cut into small cubes
30g fresh grated parmesan

Method

1.Melt the butter and sauté the onion and butternut squash for 5 minutes until soft.Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat.
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The First 1000 Days Recipe Book

  Last week I was kindly sent this recipe  book “The First 1000 Days”. My Irish readers may have seen the adds on television for this recently, promoting healthy eating from Pregnancy to Toddler.     image The First 1,000 Days covers four key stages; pregnancy, breastfeeding, weaning and toddler. Danone Baby Nutrition is seeking to create a movement of support for the First 1,000 Days. It is calling on parents, parent to be and health care professionals to support the movement in order to drive awareness of the importance of nutrition in the First 1,000 Days so that behaviour can be changed for the benefit of future generations. I love this booklet, by now you will know I love cooking,and have an ever growing collection of cookbooks and childrens cookbooks.This book covers everything,as well as the website.There is no need to buy separate Pregnancy,Weaning or Toddler Cookbooks,it is all on the website. I think the only negative thing I would add is that I wish the book was bigger,so that it would include more recipes, however their are plenty more on the website,where you can download the book for free. image Launched by  Danone Baby Nutrition in partnership with the Irish Nutrition and Dietitic Institution they collaborated with nutritionists and celebrity chef Nevin Maguire to create a website full of tools and recipes for Mums and Mums-to-be. It offers tips and advice for during your pregnancy and also the first two years of your child’s life. “Everyone wants to do the best for their child, to maximise their happiness and success in life. Imagine if you had the power to influence their good health, their school performance, their physical stamina and even their musical ability before they even learn to read? Hard to believe? Well in fact, all of this is within your grasp. We know that the right nutrition in the First 1000 Days of your child’s life can positively impact on every aspect of their lives, now and forever.”   Log on today to view and download a copy of the recipe book at www.first1000days.ie You can also check out the blog posts from Nevin and Amelda Maguire, who will be regularly updating the site with seasonal top tips and healthy recipe ideas for busy mums and dads like themselves. I wanted to share a really quick and easy recipe from the book that I made last week for my husband and I. It was a great way to use up the contents of the fridge before we went in holiday.

Meatballs & Spaghetti

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•500g beef

•2 shallots, finely chopped

•1tbsp oregano

•50g cheese

•1 egg, beaten

•1tbsp olive oil

•200g spaghetti

•Pepper to taste

Sauce

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Method

•Mix meat, oregano, cheese and egg in a bowl.

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•Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add in the spaghetti. •Shape into meat balls.

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•Heat oil in pan, fry the meatballs on a low heat until golden brown. •To make the sauce simply mix all the ingredients together and heat on a low heat for 5 minutes.

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•Add the sauce to the meatballs and serve on a bed of spaghetti. •Garnish with chopped parsley.

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Enjoy! T & A xxxxx

Amelia’s Routine at 14 Months

imageAmelia turned 14 months last Friday and here is her up to date routine and how she is developing.

Teeth:6

Walking:Nope,no where even near

Crawling: Bum shuffling everywhere at speeds we find hard to keep up with

Standing:With help, she is starting to pull herself up as far as her knees off the sofa

Words: Mama,Dada,Babeeee,Bye,Hi,and she says boo to every animal she sees.

Loves: Us of course,birds,Cherry Tomatoes,Strawberries,Baby Jake,Swimming ,having her back rubbed and being around other children.

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Nappies: Size 4+ Pampers

Clothes: 12-18 months (some 9-12 mths still fit)

Sleep & Daily Routine:

Amelia wakes any time from 6:00-7:00 am. We take it in turns every second day to get her morning bottle. She gets 7oz of Cows milk in her cot,and we lie in bed hoping she will go back to sleep, we rarely ever nod back off.

7am:I bring her into bed with me after a nappy change and she watches nursery rhymes on the iPad or Baby Jake.

8am: We get up and Amelia has either a Weetabx or Ready Brek, 2 oz of orange juice and half a slice of toast.

9am: Back upstairs for a nap,with a 2 oz bottle of milk.Im finding it very hard to stop this bottle,she does not have a soother,so uses this to nod off.This nap is generally 1.5hrs. Sometimes more or less. last week she slept for 3.5hrs at this nap.

11am: Body wash, I always wash Amelia’s face with water and cotton wool and apply Johnsons pink Lotion after with a piece of cotton wool. I have done this since she was born and she has lovely skin. Brush teeth (she loves having her teeth brushed),get dressed and have a snack.Usually water and a yogurt/fruit or crackers. We play in her playroom until lunchtime,or more recently in the garden. Wednesdays we have swimming at 11, and Thursday we go to a Mummy & Baby group.Amelia loves this group, she loves being around other kids.

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1pm:Lunch,this varies, she will always have a yogurt after lunch and a few grapes and water. I eat lunch after while she plays or watches Baby Jake.

2pm:Nap time, we go out for a walk in the buggy if it’s dry outside,this nap is approx 1.5-2 hrs. This nap requires a bottle also,just a few oz’s to help her drift off. I really need to break this habit!If she wakes before we get home we go to the park,she can only go on the swings and use the slide,but she loves it.

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4:30/5pm:Tea, this is usually scrambelled egg,a bento box or some other finger food, with water.

5pm: Daddy gets home from work (thank god), they play for an hour in the playroom while I prepare dinner.

6pm:Get prepared for Bathtime,Amelia’s daddy does this, Bath,Get Dressed,7 oz bottle with a story.  “Who is London’s Prettiest Princess” is the favourite book at the moment.

7pm: Sleep. Amelia sleeps with White Noise playing and her Sheep teddy “Sean”. She is still in a GroBag and I put a blanket over her on cold nights.

 

of course some days differ. We may go out for lunch or tea, be out visiting friends or have a bad night. This is generally our routine, I try to stick to it as best I can. After writing this I now have to put a plan into action and try and wean her off those two comfort bottles during the day time naps!Any suggestions?

What is your babies daily routine? Please share xx

Chicken with Summer Vegtables

I recently made this for Amelia,and she loved it. I think it was her first time having courgette, it’s so well hidden she would not have noticed it. I did not have any peas in the house or apple juice,so I chopped up an apple and popped this in with the vegtables.The sweet potato, apple juice and peas add a natural sweetness that babies like. The garlic and basil adds flavour which is important since you can’t add salt before 1 year of age.

This has been taken from my first Annabel Karmel Book “Weaning

           Chicken with Summer Vegetables

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Prep 6 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Best for
Baby 9 months +
Makes 5 portions
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

•1 small onion, chopped
•½ small sweet red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
•1 clove garlic, crushed
•1 ½ tbsp olive oil
•1 chicken breast (approx 125g), cut into pieces
•2 tbsp apple juice
•175 ml chicken stock
•1 medium courgette, chopped (100g)
•200g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
•50g frozen peas
•1 tbsp fresh basil, torn

Method

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1.Sauté the onion and sweet pepper in the olive oil until softened.
2.Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
3.Stir in the chicken and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
4.Pour over the apple juice and stock and stir in the courgette and sweet potato.
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5.Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 8 minutes.
7.Stir in the peas and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
8.Stir in the basil.
9.Chop or puree to the desired consistency.

I puréed part of this as it’s quite lumpy and I know Amelia would not eat all of it like this.

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Happy cooking! T & A xxxx

Slip-Slop-Slap Sunsafe for Children

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With the beautiful weather we had across Ireland and the UK last week, and our upcoming holiday to Portugal this week, keeping Amelia safe in the sun has been the hot topic in our house at the moment .She has typical Irish pale skin, and though she spent last summer in the hot London sun, she was always shaded. She was not on the move last year, so keeping her under the shade was far easier. Now she is bum shuffling everywhere and will take her sunhat off when she realises it is on her head, keeping her protected from the sun has become a little harder. Slip-Slop-Slap is the iconic and internationally recognised sun protection campaign prominent in Australia during the 1980s. Slip on a t-shirt, Slop on the 30+ suncream, Slap on a hat. Launched to encourage people to reduce sun exposure and protect themselves against an increased risk of skin cancer. A highly successful programme, that is taught in schools, I think it is something that should be brought into schools across the UK and Ireland. Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer in Ireland and the 5th most common cancer in the UK. 86% of malignant melanomas in the UK in 2010 were linked to the sun and sun – beds. Sunburn — the skin reddening caused by overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation— may seem like just a temporary irritation, but sunburns can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Children are especially at risk: One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. Do not let your children get burnt. image Last year, I tried a number of different sun creams, though Amelia does not have sensitive skin, the daily application of heavy sun cream to her face led to her developing little bumps and spots on her face. When choosing a baby sun-cream you should look for one which is specially designed for babies’ skin. Don’t just use an adult sunscreen, because even though the sun protection will be just as effective, an adult sunscreen could contain chemicals that irritate your baby’s skin or even cause an allergic reaction. . We have always used Bepanthen Nappy Ointment on her bum after every nappy change, and 14 months later I can honestly say she has never developed a nappy rash, even when teething. So this year when chosing sun cream for her, I decided to try Bepanthen Sun Cream SPF 50 as I had such great results with the nappy cream and had read positive reviews on how good it was for sensitive skin. Bepanthen Baby Sun cream has been specially developed for babies’ sensitive skin by the experts in baby skin care. It’s free from parabens colour, fragrance, and preservatives offers very high protection against the sun. After 1 week of use, her skin is effect, no blemishes and most importantly, it has protected her from the sun in the garden and on a breezy beach. I also have decided to use Bepanthen’s Extra Sensitive Moisturizer Cream on Amelia, as an after sun care while we are on holiday.   image image image Ideally, babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. This is because their skin hasn’t built up enough natural melanin to protect them from UV light yet. As baby gets older, she can go out in the sunshine, but she will still need sun protection .Apply sunscreen liberally to any parts of baby’s body not covered up by clothes, remembering baby’s face, ears, feet and the backs of the hands. When you’re looking for the right sunscreen to protect your baby, opt for one that gives UVA as well as UVB protection. If the worst happens and baby does get burnt, apply after-sun cream to help relieve the pain.

Keep Cool and Carry On

Keep your baby cool in hot weather and try to keep baby covered up as much as possible. It’s not just sunburn that can affect babies and young children when the weather is very warm, you also need to protect them from heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration, too.

Heat exhaustion happens because the body overheats and can’t cool down. It can lead to heat stroke if not picked up.

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • hot, flushed skin
  • heavy  sweating
  • vomiting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • weeing less than normal

If you notice any of the symptoms, take baby somewhere cool immediately, loosen clothing and give hime/her lots to drink. If you can, try and cool baby down with a cool flannel or cloth. The symptoms should ease in around 30 minutes. If there’s no improvement after this time, call an ambulance. Top Tips for Keeping Baby Cool Keep babies and young children out of the sun when it’s at its strongest, between 11am to 3pm.  If you have to take your baby out on a hot day, keep her in the shade by attaching a parasol to her pushchair. Apply a high factor sunscreen such as Bepanthen Baby Sun Cream frequently. Look for a total sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50, and remember to apply it again if baby has been playing in the sea or a paddling pool. When baby or children are exposed to the sun while at the beach or outdoor pool, protect your baby additionally by dressing them in a UV protected swimsuit, such as this Splash About Baby Snug Mini Wetsuit,we use this one for swimming classes, and we will use this on the beach while on holiday.It also has a double lined swim nappy built in. 91iepBpDfrL._SL1500_ (2) Protect baby’s head and neck with a sun hat; find one with a wide brim or that has a long flap at the back to cover her neck.

We invested in these items last year,and will continue to use them :

A Sun and Sleep UV Shade for a stroller/buggy,this is great for sleeping babies and children,while protecting them from the sun. See “here” for more details.

Beaba Sun Tent this was perfect when Amelia was small,  it has a soft mattress and it is a pop up tent.See “here

Family UV Tent and beach shelter.We will take this on  holiday with us, as it is larger, but packs away neatly.See “here

 

Hope this helps with keeping your little ones safe in the sun.     T & A xxxxx

*Contains a sponsored link  

New Food: Bento Box

This week I introduced Amelia to avocado.I tried to give it to her previously a few months ago,and she spat it out. This time was a bit better.She found it too hard to pick up as it was so slippery, but I put a few pieces in her mouth and she seemed to like it.

In a previous post I introduced Bento Boxes, see here. I have decided for each new finger food I’ll make it up in a fun way such as this. The “Fish Crackers” are just fish shaped,plain crackers,she loves these as a snack. They are an American brand that I got in Donnybrook Fair in Dublin.

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Have you tried Bento Boxes or something similar for introducing new foods?Please share.

T & A xxx

The Mummy Tag

I’ve been tagged by a few other blogs in the last few weeks to take part in The Mummy Tag. So, here you go. I tag all the mummy bloggers reading this:

1.Are you a Stay at Home mum, or a Working Mum?

Right now, I’m a stay at home mum. I’ve been off for 16 months (Went on 2 weeks holiday at 34 weeks,then started maternity leave at 36 weeks & Amelia was 10 days late). I’m really missing work, I’m an A&E Nurse,and I plan on returning to work after the summer.

2.Would you have it any other way?

I was planning on returning to work when Amelia was 9 months. We then ended up moving back to Ireland,and there was no rush to return to work financially,unlike when living in London. I feel very lucky to have had the last  14 months with Amelia.This is something I could have only dreamed of when we were living in London. However, I am now more than ready to return on a part-time basis,and Amelia’s grandparents will look after her these two days.

3.Do you co-sleep?

No. There have been some nights where Amelia will not settle and I’ll go into the spare room with her,but it’s not something we do regularly.

4. What is your one must have item for your baby?

Jumperoo by Fisherprice. This became one of the items we still say was the best money we spent. It was like having a permanent babysitter at times.I could leave the room,and she would not come to any harm. We only recently put it away in storage.

5. How many kids do you plan on having?

This is hard to answer,because you don’t know what lies ahead. We would love 4, but will have to see.

6.Date night, how many nights per month?

That would be zero! We have moved to an area that is quite far from our family & friends. We don’t know anyone where we live,so have not managed any nights out. We are moving again soon,and will be near Paul’s family,so hoping the answer to this then, will be at least once or twice a month.

7.Your child’s favourite TV show?

Amelia does not seem to take any notice of TV. On the iPad she will watch Baby Jake, but that’s it.

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8. Name one thing you bought before you had your baby and never ended up using?

Changing Table. We never used it,not even once. I changed her on the bed and then had another changing mat,basket of nappies,wipes etc on the kitchen table.Baby shoes,I bought a few pairs in Zara, and she still has not worn shoes at 14 months.She has worn her Uggs as slippers a few times. Until she is walking there is no need for shoes.They do more harm than good to their feet.

9.Your child’s favourite food?

Cherry Tomatoes

10.How many cars does your family have?

One. We only needed one in London,but now we are in Ireland we really need a second car.Thats next on the list of purchases.

11.Weight before,during and after pregnancy?

I’m not sure pre – pregnancy what I weighed,but I wore size 8 clothes generally,I put on approx 2.5 stone in pregnancy and now I have no idea what I weigh,as I refuse to weigh myself. I fit into size 10.Some pre pregnancy clothes fit,but are not very flattering.

12.Dream holiday with your family?

We would love to take 6 months off and take Amelia around the world.

13.Dream holiday without your kids?

We love Dubai,we have been a few times,and would love to go back for a week,baby free.

14.How has your life changed since having your baby?

I have had to learn to cope with not being in control of everything,patience,and we have moved country for her.Im also a happier person.

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15.Finish this sentence.”It makes my heart melt to see”…. Amelia’s face when her daddy comes in the door after work.

16.Where do you shop for your kids?

Zara,Gap,Boden,Du Pareil Au Meme,Mothercare,Next,John Lewis

17.Favourite make-up and skin care products?

This changes all the time. Make up at the moment is Estée Lauder Double wear or Benefit Oxygen Wow Foundation. Skincare is La Roche Posay.

18.Huggies or Pampers?

Pampers

19.Have you always wanted kids?

Yes,absolutely.

20.Best part of being a mum?

Unconditional love.

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T & A xxxxx

Please feel free to join the Mummy Tag,whether you are a blogger or not. Leave your answers in the comments.

Developmental Activities for a 1 Year Old

Hi everyone, hope ye have all been enjoying this lovely weather we have had this week. We have spent most of the week either in the garden or on the beach, which has been lovely.
Long may this weather last,but if it doesn’t,here are a few “rainy day” indoor activities that we have done over the last few weeks. They will keep your child engaged as well as helping develop some key skills.
Babies love to play and interact with the world around them. Developmentally age-appropriate art activities can stimulate a 1-year-old and let them enjoy all the new things they are able to do.

Dry Pasta,Bucket & Spoon

*Easy Clean Up Mums/Dads!
Sensory play is an important part of early childhood development. It lets children explore and learn about their world through what they do best – play.
Fine motor skills are used in this activity including precise motions using fingertips and hand-wrist coordination. Improve your toddler’s fine motor skills by encouraging her/him to use a spoon to scoop up the pasta & pick it up.

Water,Cups & Suds

It’s no secret that babies and toddlers love to play with water.Yes it can end up messy,wet and you mopping up the floor,but it passes away an hour,it’s something they can do on their own under supervision,while you have a cup of tea!Get a large bowl,warm soapy water and some plastic cups/beakers.
Water play will help teach your child about why and how things happen. For example, given sinking and floating objects, a child will soon discover that just because something is large in size does not mean it will sink.Development. Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting. It is one of the most relaxing activities children can experience (maybe not for the parents), and encourages children to use their imagination.

Home-made Playdough

Depending on your child’s age,they could help you make the playdough. Easy to make,using what you have in your cupboards.

Recipe
1/4 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/4 cup water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl then add water. Knead and squeeze the dough to make a clay consistency. You may need to add more water. Note: This dough doesn’t last as long as the cooked recipes.

Ideas: Divide into sections, then knead in food coloring (liquid or paste). Kids love making the white play dough change colours.. Use food colouring for colour and glitter for sparkly play dough.

Amelia loved playing with the dough, we just rolled ours and made a caterpillar (or something that may resemble a caterpillar). Other ideas are use shape cutters or dough cutters.This recipe is safe,should she have tried to eat some. Playdough is a great way to exercise the muscles of the hands to develop fine motor skills, and you can also develop your child’s bilateral coordination skills at the same time!

Gymboree : Music & Development

Amelia loves music,as many other children do too. We are unable to get to Gymboree where we live,as it is on at the same time as her swimming classes on Wednesdays. See blog post on that here. So, we improvise. Amelia was given some children’s musical instruments for her birthday, and prior to that she used “Rice in a Bottle” and her mini maraca’s.
Gymboree: Music & Play.Gymboree uses a unique and impressive combination of music, movement, props,and imaginary play, all to create a fun and magical world where children learn, thrive and most importantly have fun. While it will never be as good as going to classes,we still try it at home. I put some Gymboree Videos on the iPad and try and copy them as best we can.

Blowing Bubbles

Newborns and babies: Blow bubbles for your baby while he is sitting in front of you in an infant seat or snuggled in your lap, facing out. (Make sure you aim away from your child’s face.) You might want to put on some music to set the mood. Toddlers and preschoolers: Show your child how to pop bubbles with his hands and stomp them with his feet. Blow bubbles for your child indoors (try doing it just before washing the kitchen floor!), at bath time, or outdoors (breezy days are best). Let your child blow his own bubbles and see how far they travel. On cold days, see if you can blow frozen bubbles!

Colander and Straws

Toddlers are developing their fine motor skills at super speed, and the cool part is they love any activity that involves fine motor skills practice. Simple fine motor skills practice games are pretty much the only time you will see a toddler sitting still and concentrating! All you need is a few straws and a colander. We had a few left over from Amelia’s party,however plastic bendy straws work better for this activity.Your child will take the straws and just shove them into the holes of the colander. Just show them a couple of times, and they will get the hang of it quickly.

Scribbling/Crayons

Scribbling is a satisfying activity for babies because they can see the fruits of their efforts on a piece of paper. You could tape a large piece of paper to the floor and give your 1-year-old crayons to colour with. Floor art lets them experience scribbling with his whole body instead of just with his arm. Extend the activity by cutting the paper into shapes such as circles, triangles or squares.
*Amelia eats the crayons,grant it she spits them out again,and they are non-toxic….close eye needs to be kept on them for this activity.

Why Babies are like a Good Book- Unputdownable

Pre baby,you could go where you wanted,do what you wanted,eat when you wanted and most importantly,go to the toilet when you needed to. You can plan weekends away and dream of just heading off without any planning.Today while out walking,I was thinking,wouldn’t it be nice to go to a music festival,you know,such as Glastonbury,Isle of Wight or Electric Picnic where we could camp,drink,listen to the bands and chill out.Funny enough pre baby I could not have thought of anything worse, but I could have gone if I wanted to! Baby comes along,then this all changes. You are never alone!

It can be claustrophobic,baby in your arms,baby on your hip,sleeping on your side of the bed, sitting with baby for every meal,heck even when on the toilet you have two beady eyes staring back at you. If you have issues with going to the toilet, in front of someone,you may quickly find a way of dealing with this.There is no getting away!

 

 

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In the early days of this claustrophobia it is more mental that physical. Baby is sleeping, you jump in the shower, only to think you can hear baby crying. Out you get,silence, are you going insane?, it was your imagination. This still happens me 13 months later. You pop around the corner to the shops while husband minds baby,I mean literally around the corner,and within seconds, phone to make sure baby is not crying,missing you or hungry.You go and get your nails done in the salon as a treat, only to be met with a delay in your appointment, panic sets in, you have timed this impeccably so that baby will not wake/need feeding for an hour.What will your partner do if the baby wakes?? You think about leaving,but know you won’t get another appointment for ages.Finally get to have your nails done and therapist starts chatting,you just want to scream,while legs are tapping under the table “just hurry up,stop gabbing,I need to get home to my baby”. Well that’s your “me time” ruined. You may as well just stay at home, because though out of sight,they are never out of your mind.

 

 

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We went to a wedding for two days when Amelia was 7 weeks old. I had expressed milk for the two nights we were away, I had no idea if she would take it from the bottle or not and this just added to the stress. I rang home (my parents were looking after her), I reckon every hour,until my mum threatened to plug out the house phone and switch off her mobile. I needed that stern talking to,it worked.I realised she was fine.She was too small to realise we were not there.She was warm,being fed and had 100% undivided attention from everyone around her. They will be fine without you,but this takes time,weeks or months for you to realise.

 

Now things have changed, enjoy when your baby doesn’t even notice you are there or not. Now, if I go upstairs for a minute to collect the laundry,there are tears. Leave one room to another, I have a bum shuffling baby follow my EVERY move!Put clothes out on the line,I have the chorus of “whimpering,mama and banging on the window of the door”. Now, when my husband rings to ask if we need anything from the shops, I stop him dead in his tracks and say “just come home,I need to get out”, never have I enjoyed so much the short drive to the supermarket,radio blaring (non nursery rhyme tunes),and wandering around for half an hour, just to get some bread.

I am now looking forward to some upcoming weddings over the summer,just for this time away. It’s healthy. I should have done it more in the beginning.I blame it on being a “First Time Mum”. Maybe I’ll know better next time round, or maybe not.

It’s lovely to feel wanted and needed,and equally I love and need her now,but sometimes we just want to be left alone.

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T & A xxxxxx

Hello Canvas Print Review with 20% discount

When you walk into my home, it is easy to see that I love pictures. I have loved taking pictures since a young age,long before picture phones were around. I was always the one with a camera on a night out,holiday or weekend away. Yes my friends would roll their eyes, and say “not another one T”, (actually they still do!),but they always came looking for the pictures after. They even gave me a nick-name after a local newspaper photographer at home!Pictures are by far my favorite way to personalise my home.They are my memories.

 

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So with this in mind, I was delighted to review a canvas print when offered. Of course it had to be a picture of Amelia,and I chose my favourite picture, that I took of her on her first birthday.

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When picking my canvas,I chose a print, that wrapped the image around the sides,so that if I choose not to frame it,it will still look good.The ordering process was quick and easy,upload from your computer, or if you are not sure about doing it this way,there is also the option to post in your picture,which they will transfer on to a canvas, with prices starting from €18.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. Our beautiful canvas picture, has been printed using the most advanced printing techniques that exist today and the inks used are UV resistant therefore never fade in the sun.Our canvas print arrived within days of ordering,wrapped in a protective foil and packed in a sturdy custom cardboard shipping box. This reduces the risk of damage during transportation.

I have previously had pictures put onto canvas prints,and the end product has not been great,with blurring of the images even when standing away from the print. This print looks exactly how the original picture did.I have my new print mounted on the wall at the top of the stairs.I love it,and I am proud to add it to my ever growing collection of pictures around our home.

Hello Canvas have kindly offered all my readers 20% off all orders until 14.06.14. To claim your 20% discount enter “LittleLondoner” at checkout.

T & A xxxx

Disclaimer: We were kindly sent our canvas print free of charge, for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Butternut Squash Risotto

My delightful daughter decided to wake at 5am this morning,and then at 8am went back to sleep!We are exhausted,but with the early start I made some dinners for her for the week.

This recipe is actually taken from my “Annabel Karmel Top 100 Baby Purees“, though not a purée. I need to add here: I detest butternut squash!Love the taste,but peeling and chopping it makes me feel like I’ve been cutting down a tree!If anyone knows a quicker and easier way please let me know!

 

Butternut Squash Risotto

 

Ingredients

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Prep 2 minutes (this could be slightly debated!!!)
Cook 25 minutes
Best for 9 months plus
Serves 4

50g onion, chopped
25g unsalted butter
110g basmati rice
450ml boiling water
150g butternut squash, peeled and chopped
225g ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
50g Cheddar cheese, grated (I forgot this!)

 

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Method

1.Saute the onion in half the butter until softened.
2.Stir in the rice until well coated.
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3.Pour over the boiling water, cover pan with a lid and cook for 8 minutes over a high heat.
4.Stir in the butternut squash, reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until or the water had been absorbed.
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5.Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, add the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes,
6.Stir in the cheese until melted, then stir the tomato and cheese mixture into the cooked rice.

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I then divide it out into potions and freeze.
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T & A xxxx

Bento Box – Our First

Recently I have noticed Amelia is far more interested in her finger food than what I feed her (except for scrambled egg,she loves that). I always feed her breakfast and lunch,so I know she has eaten at least one full meal. Tea time varies,sometimes I feed her something small and then give her fruit,vegetables or bread sticks etc to pick on,or just let her graze. This time of the day is perfect for finger food,as she will inevitably make a mess of her clothes,hair and anywhere else she can manage to toss her food. She generally smells the food,puts it to her lips (I’m presuming to sense the texture), and then will eat a small bit. It could be then tossed over her shoulder or thrown on the ground,and this goes on and on and on!

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Anyway, getting on to the title of my post.”BENTO BOXES”, I have being looking at ways to make Amelia’s food more fun, and after seeing a lot of posts recently from other bloggers,I thought I would jump on the Bento Box bandwagon, and see what I could come up with,and would Amelia even take any notice of my masterpiece!

 

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

So, what is a Bento Box? Here is a little explanation…….For most Japanese mothers, lunch is not just simple food preparation and packing meals for their love ones, they spend their time arranging the meal in aesthetically pleasing way. These lunch boxes are known as “Bento.” Bento is a Japanese word for a meal served in a box. In history, bento is a packed Japanese lunch box, same idea to, the Korean dosirak, Filipino baon, or the Indian tiffin lunch. Today, they are a vibrant art form admired around the world. Far beyond anything I could ever make for Amelia.

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Photo Credit

If you’re interested in creating one for yourself or kids, there are plenty of garnishes and interesting side dishes for your bento. A basic Bento is only divided into 2 parts: half of the lunch box is filled with rice, the other half is filled with a range of complementary foods, such as eggs, vegetables, meat or fish.

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Photo credit

Yes, it takes a bit of time,I categorically will NOT,be making one of these for Amelia every day,and I’m only too well aware that everyone may not have the time to make these up.However, I will make them when introducing new foods and if she is just have snack foods for lunch or tea.If you have a fussy eater on your hands,or want to make introducing new foods fun,this is a really cool idea! Even try it at the weekends for a “special lunch or tea”. They can be as simple or intricate as you like, and obviously the younger the kids the less work involved.

All you need is a lunch/bento box. Some shape cutters,,a couple of containers,some fun sticks and imagination!

Here is our very first Bento Box, I plan on doing a post every week of the new foods Amelia tries, and how to incorporate it into her bento box. This week her new food was Kiwi Fruit.She ate about half of this,daddy ate the rest!

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I found this great book on Amazon with brilliant ideas Yum! Healthy Bento Box Lunches for Kids

T & A xxxx

*Review* Little Bowtique Nenagh

This post is for all you mummies of little girls & for those looking for “the perfect gift” for a little girl.

A few months ago we were very kindly sent a selection of bows and bands from Little Bowtique Nenagh. I have fallen in love with them and now want one in every colour. Packaged in pink net bags,with fast delivery, we were thrilled when they arrived.Below is pictures of Amelia wearing the bows and bands that we selected.

Michelle Sherlock, who owns Little Bowtique Nenagh, came up with the concept of making and selling her own bows,bands & ties after her daughter was born in 2012. She always had a love of making her own bits and pieces,and after months of buying similar bands from a girl in Dublin,she figured she could probably make them herself. She started off with simple bands with flowers attached or a small bow and has progressed from there.While she works full time, she makes all her bows,bands and ties in her spare time when her daughter has gone to bed. I like that you deal personally with Michelle, when ordering, so you can talk about exactly what you want.Message her on Facebook and she will talk you through what you want.

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Little Bowtique stocks a wide range of headbands (elastic & metal),clips,ponytail elastics,flowers and bows, which can be all made to order. Future plans are to design flower brooches for kids cardigans and shoe clips.

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I love the concept of the Interchangeable Headbands with Bows or you can choose flowers. See picture 1. It is designed to give you a band to match every outfit.I had previously seen these on US websites,but not in Ireland or the UK. Each bow can be swapped around and put on a different coloured band. Or wear the bow alone. The bows and flowers are set on alligator clips which are covered with the fabric used to create the bow. Finished to a high standard,the material is high quality and durable.We have loved putting bows in Amelia’s hair for a while now &amp, she has a lot of thick hair and these are perfect, you also feel you are getting far more than what you paid for,as two bow/bands can make up four when interchanged.

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Little Bowtique also stocks and designs clips,bows, flowers, headbands and ties with One Direction, Peppa Pig,Sofia The First and many more.See here for more details.

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Photo Credit: Little Bowtique

Little Bowtique has kindly offered my readers 10% discount by quoting A Little Londoner on ordering.

Bows and bands are €5.00, buy 4 or more €4.00 each plus (10 % discount)
Bows – €3.50 each
Bands- €1.50 each

Customised Bands will be quoted on ordering.

For further information on prices and more from Little Bowtique Nenagh,contact Michelle Sherlock here.

*Disclaimer: These products were sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.All opinions are my own.

The Mummy Tag!

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1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum, or a Working Mum?
Right now I’m on maternity leave (Ethan’s 10 months), but the plan is to return to work for a couple of days and I suppose you could say I work quite a good few hours running my blog :)

2. Would you have it any other way?
When I started my maternity leave I was sure I wouldn’t want to return to work, but I now think it might do some good for both Ethan and I. I’d get some ‘me’ time and Ethan would spend a whole day with his Grandma (Adams Mum) and a whole day with his Dad. I’m going to see how it goes. :)

3. Do you co-sleep?
Not intentionally – Ethan usually worms his way into our bed every night somehow! haha.

4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
I’d say a grow-bag. They take all the worry of blankets and suffocation etc away!

5. How many kids do you plan on having?
Right now, 2.

Pregnancy : The No Bullshit Guide

So, by now ye will all know I was delighted to find out I was expecting Amelia,and I have to say that the start of my pregnancy was non eventful. Pregnancy is a lot of things,some are lovely, but your family,friends and all the books will tell you about them,and while I don’t dispute some people have dream pregnancies, and don’t go through any of the mentioned below,most people do go through some,and just don’t mention it EVER. So here is the truth,no bullshit account of mine & many other mum’s experience.

*I did not have any kind of sickness and tiredness, other than feeling tired after a 12.5 hr shift at work. I only know too well how lucky I was and that I was really in the minority here.

*Speaking to other mum’s, it’s clear that sickness can be not just morning/evening, but all day every day,sometimes well past 12 weeks right through to the end of pregnancy. I can only imagine how hard and debilitating that can be, you mum’s have my sympathy.

*So, I waited for the “glow” like many other mums to be,it never came,instead I developed spots on my back. I’ve been lucky to have generally had good skin,albeit a spot on my face now & again,but I’ve never had spots anywhere else.This was hormone related, some will say it’s because I was having a girl, but I don’t buy into the “old wives tales”.

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*Few people talk about the insomnia that develops,going to bed exhausted & not dropping off to sleep. Or eventually when you do, you wake up to pee for the 5th time, and you are back to square one,counting sheep and counting the hours on your clock,knowing you have to get up for work shortly.

*Shooting Pains or cramps in your legs waking you up in the middle of the night,having you howling and screeching in pain,while you beg your other half to rub/massage your leg, anything to get some relief. Then you turn over and try in vain to go back to sleep.

*Sciatica, yes that literally pain in the ass shooting pain, tingling, or numbness that starts in the back or buttocks and radiates down the backs of your legs,caused by your expanding uterus putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. This started for me on my left side around 9/40 into the pregnancy. It got worse,physiotherapy didn’t work,working in a busy/heavy environment made it worse.I would get stuck on the sofa some nights or in the bed,unable or too scared to move with the pain.I remember going to the salon for a facial at some point in my pregnancy and getting stuck on her bed,because I lay too flat.i was biting my lip,trying not to roar in pain while trying to find a way to get upright.She just wanted to sit me up,but anyone who has gone through this knows how painful it is. Unfortunately, I still have the sciatica,it’s not so bad,but if I lay flat,I worry about getting back up.

*Lightening Crotch….or whatever you like to call it.Your baby is moving and kicking about and everything is all lovely, until one day you are walking around Ikea and think “Oh Holy SHIT”, what the hell was that, and it happens again,leaving you (me), up on my tipee toes thinking,that’s it she is on the way. I use to describe it like an electric shock running through “down below”.My husband used to think I was crazy when it happened.So what is it? It was my lovely little baby kicking me in the cervix as hard as she could. This continued.

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*Having to wee all the time,and even when you do,there always seems to be a little remaining, do when you cough,sneeze or laugh you always leak!Word of advice pregnant ladies…I didn’t listen to the advice, do your “Pelvic Floor Exercise”, you will be glad you did once baby is born. I regretted not doing this when I attempted Zumba & skipping at Buggy Fit after Amelia was born. I didn’t experience this until after the birth.Enough said.Ye get the picture.

*Heartburn, some ladies have this from the get go,and I know so many ladies who have been swigging out of bottles of Gaviscon or other antacids, for the 10 months of pregnancy. And yes, it’s 10 months,not 9.40 weeks,I counted every one of them.I got heartburn intermittently, but the last 10 days that she was overdue were really bad,it would make me physically sick some nights.

*Swelling,everything swells, we all know about feet,hands/fingers,face, but no one tells you about the nose,lips & genital swelling.Here is where haemorrhoids/piles come into play.If you avoided it through pregnancy,like me,just remember there is a lot of pressure about to be placed down there,so it may happen post pregnancy.

*This leads me on to bum Acne….that’s right,bum
Acne.I can guarantee so many of you reading this right now experienced this – bet you didn’t share this with your friend’s!It is a mixture of hormones,and increased sweating pre and post delivery. It clears up don’t worry.

*Cellulite, yes ladies, pregnancy has a lovely way of depositing lumps of fat all over your body,and while you may or may not have had cellulite before, the increased weight of your baby seems to highlight this more evidently. I have a friend, who is pregnant at the moment,with an amazing body, ask me “what the f&@k is with all the cellulite?”

* This is more for when you have had your baby,but I wanted to add it in. Whether you are breastfeeding,expressing or both, no one tells you that when you have breasts full of milk and feed on one side,the other side shoots or drips out milk. Now you make be thinking, how embarrassing….oh no,you will be thinking,crap what a waste of milk!Especially if you are like me and never had much milk to express.Not being able to express much milk is no reflection of how much your baby is getting,a babies suck reflex is far stronger than even the most powerful hospital Breast Pumps.

*Pooing, you will poo during childbirth,you are pushing,using the same muscles as you would when pooing.Of course the midwife and your birthing partner will deny this ever happened. Then you will be told many months later.

*It will sting when you try to wee after giving birth,use a jug of warm water while doing so and it will ease the pain. Also, you will never in your life be so scared to do a poo.

*Alcohol, yes we all know we shouldn’t. One week research says it’s fine to have the odd glass,the next its a no,no. This is completely up to you, I loved my glass or two of red wine at the weekend or when I had a day off. Some weeks I didn’t feel like it,others I did!Here I am, Valentines Day,having a glass of champagne,4 weeks before Amelia was due.

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*Stretch Marks,you may breeze through pregnancy with a big or small bump,massage every oil/cream into your belly and boobs that you have seen in magazines or recommended by friends,and be quite smug about not having one single stretch mark.Here’s the reality for some people,whether you get stretch marks it not can be hereditary,ask your mum. Also, nobody tells you that after your baby is born, when you uterus contracts,and sometimes this can happen quickly,especially if you are breastfeeding,your lovely smooth tummy,that you spent hours massaging oils and creams into can be left looking like a 4 x 4 has run over it.

*Having to roll onto your side,or be pulled to get out of bed or off the couch.Same for shoes and socks,mission impossible.Find a good salon that do pedicures and waxes,as you will see neither from 6 months on!

*Not being able to breath, because there is a knee,bum or elbow stuck under your ribs. It’s ok to give baby a nudge, so that it will change position. This plus a car journey is pretty horrendous,I used to push the parts under my ribs down,until she eventually moved.

* Weight Gain: I used to be skinny,size 8 skinny,without excersise. I gained 3 stone in pregnancy,yes I didn’t stop eating etc. The weight will fall off you they said,breastfeeding will have you back in your size 8′s they said (I didn’t do it for this reason), well I’m not. Yes some jeans fit,but I still have a belly,that will never go away. My shape has changed my hips are wider,and I will never have a flat tummy again. I envy my friends who bounce back into shape within weeks/months of giving birth.* Excercise during your pregnancy,you will be glad you did afterwards.Even just a short walk every day.

*Depending where you are in your pregnancy,you may not be thinking about the actual birth too much. You think about it every day, but wait until you hit the week before you are due, this is when the panic sets in. In order to meet this baby,you will have to go through the labour. It’s called labour for a reason.

*You will be terrified to have sex again.

I think I’ll leave it here. I may have scared too many pregnant mummies.I have experienced some of the above,others have experienced the rest,we have all survived and forgotten about some of it. Have you anything to add? Would love to hear your comments.

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T & A xxxx

Apple & Sultana Muffins

I made these buns/muffins (I had to use a bun tray & muffin tray), last weekend for us all, it was Amelia’s first time having “a bun”, and she seemed to like it,although most of Amelia’s finger food ends up on the floor.She doesn’t just dump food on the floor,she flings it over her shoulder,I’m forever washing strawberries off the cream walls! This was also Amelia’s first time having sultanas,I was a bit worried,so just say in front of her for a bit to make sure she could manage them. I’ve since bought those small cartons of raisins and she has eaten a couple a day. Recipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel Toddler Recipe book.

These are fun to make together with your little one. The grated apple keeps the muffins lovely and moist. To freeze interleave with greaseproof paper and store in a plastic freezer box.

                     

                 Apple & Raisin Muffins

Prep 25 minutes
Cook 20-22 minutes
From Age 1 +
Makes 12 muffins
Suitable for freezing

                            Ingredients

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125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
1 egg
200 ml milk
Quarter tsp salt
225g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Half tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
150g dessert apples, peeled and grated
75g sultanas
A little Demerara sugar

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                             METHOD

*Preheat the oven to 180 C Fan / 200 C / Gas 6. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
*Measure all of the ingredients into a free standing mixer and whisk until combined. Spoon into the cases.
*Sprinkle evenly with Demerara sugar.
*Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes until well risen and lightly golden.

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Bake & Enjoy, and as always let me know of you have tried these.

T & A xxxxx

*COMPETITION* GAGABIBS

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Would you like to win some funky bibs? We have been sent these bibs from Gaga Bibs. Made from 100% cotton, with funky logos,they can be personalised or add your own design.

Gaga Bibs, whose slogan is “Rock The Highchair” was set up recently by couple Yvette and Sean, a nurse & administrator. They had seen a gap in the market for a product that could be edgy and a bit different from the 100′s of bibs that say “I love mummy’. Sean has the creative skills and the graphic design background,setting up the business and website.Recently they had a large amount of friends and family have new babies and when looking for gifts,they were unable to find a company who made silly,funny and sometimes un-PC slogans or picstures to print on clothing.

AMELIA'S PERSONALISED BIB BY GAGA BIBS

AMELIA’S PERSONALISED BIB BY GAGA BIBS

“We bring to life funny, silly, funky, and modern designs and print them onto babies’ bibs. What we bring is a breath of fresh designs into a market that doesn’t seem to have enough of them. Our bibs stand out from the rest, and there’s a reason why: we make unique products, and customers appreciate that.”

I love the idea that it’s something very different,and being able to have whatever you like on your bib.Add another cool accessory to your baby’s wardrobe.

Enter this GAGABIBS-PROMO at checkout to receive 15% discount off your first order. One per customer. Valid until 30/06/14.

Shipping is free on all UK orders over £10.

Check out their website for a wide range of their products. www.gagabibs.com

I have 6 Bibs from Gaga Bibs to give away.

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Click Here To Enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck

T & A xxxxx

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta

Last weekend I did a bulk batch of cooking for Amelia as it was our first free weekend in a long time. I took this recipe from my Annabel Karmel Book, Quick & Easy Toddler Recipes.
We love tomato based sauces for pasta,and Amelia loves tomatoes or anything with tomatoes in it, so needless to say we all loved this dinner. I divided out portions for Amelia, and put them in the freezer. This is a sweet sauce, so when adding your sugar,taste as you are adding, I used less than the recipe stated.

Ingredients

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1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or 1 tsp garlic purée
75g (3oz) roasted skinned peppers from a jar, chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp sundries tomato paste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
175g (6oz) spaghetti or mafaldine
2 tbsp chopped basil,plus a few whole leaves to garnish
Grated Parmesan, to serve

I didn’t have sundried tomato paste, just regular tomato paste, and I had some sweet peppers in the fridge that needed to be used, so I put them in the oven for 20 mins on a medium heat, and drizzled with some olive oil. When cooked I sliced the skin off, it came away pretty easily.

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Method

* Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds,then add the peppers,tomatoes,tomato paste,balsamic vinegar and sugar and some seasoning. ( I tend to season with salt after for the adult portions.Pepper is ok for the smaller people).
*Bring all your ingredients to the boil and simmer for a minute or so,then blend using a hand blender.

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* While you are making the sauce, cook the pasta in a pan of water according to the pack instructions. Drain, then tip the pasta into the sauce adding your basil also. Toss to coat then serve scattered with basil leaves and Parmesan.

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If you make this, please share & let me know what you think!!

Enjoy

T & A xxxxx

My First Year As a Mum……The Truth

When Amelia was a few weeks old her godfather (childless), our really good friend said ” You signed up for this shit”, in response to my husband moaning about being tired due the sleepless nights (bless him, the 6 months of breastfeeding was draining him!). This is partly true, we did sign up for this, however, no one goes into parenthood for the first time, knowing what lies ahead. No preparation, classes or chats with friends can teach you what the reality is like.

Whether you are a child minder, from a large family, have nieces/nephews or are a healthcare professional, until you have your own baby and are responsible for this little soul, you know very little about the sleepless nights, tears (mum,dad & baby), not showering, not eating, and having arguments at 3 am about who is more tired.

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I am a nurse, and remember thinking when I was pregnant, that I would be fine with the sleepless night, sure I had being doing 12.5 hour nightshifts for the last 13 years between being a student nurse and on qualifying. The big thing I forgot here is pre baby, when I did an all nighter, be it work or out with friends drinking in London, I got to have uninterrupted sleep for at least 10 hour the next day. Although for my whole pregnancy, we had builders next door, needless to say that we were NOT friends. Many mornings after a busy night shift in a central London A&E Department, the builders got the wrath of my tongue.

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I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant, and wished away the next 9 months, because lets face it, pregnancy, as exciting as it is, it can also be pretty boring, so you have a lot of time on your hands to think about the baby (this time use to be devoted on my nights off to my friends Pinot Grigio,Vodka and Corona). Once Amelia arrived,the first month was a whirlwind of getting to know her, figure out what the hell I was doing (I’m still figuring this out), visitors and introducing her to all our family and friends. She was born on a Saturday & did not have her first bath until Thursday, they did not bath the babies in the hospital, and I was so nervous, so I waited for my mum to come. She did the first bath, and to be honest, the second and third one too,until eventually picked up the courage to do it myself. Looking back, I was so tired, that everything seemed like such a mission.Paul went back to work, and then it was just Amelia and I, left in the house.

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Some days I got dressed, other days I didn’t bother. What was the point, if I was not going anywhere I’d change out of one milk stained PJ’s into a clean one. The bed sheet would have to be changed daily, after being soaked in leaking milk from the night before, oh how glamorous. Some nights, if I thought of it, I would put an Inco Sheet down and sleep on that. I used the breast pads, but they just slipped out every night, so I gave up. They don’t stick. There were many days of tears, where Amelia would feed all day long, I was hungry, thirsty, needed the toilet, afraid to leave her for a second. In the early weeks, I would wait until the evening for my husband to come home, and then have a shower. When Amelia was about 3 weeks, I attempted to have a shower while she was sleeping in her mosses basket, only to come out to hear her choking (she wasn’t, she was coughing), that was the end of me showering in the daytime for a while.

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Crying…why? Was she hungry, thirsty, cold, too hot, need a nappy change? Where was the app to tell me this. I regret not giving her a soother/dummy, as I think it would have made my life a whole lot easier. She could have fed all day long if I let her, so we never had the routine of feed every 2 hours and sleep for 2 or whatever babies are meant to do, we just winged it. She has never been a good sleeper, though we are going through a good patch with sleep at the moment, but I know only too well that having a baby gets easier, then harder, then easier, then harder and so on. At 4 months she started to sleep 7-7 and we thought great, this hasn’t been too bad, it lasted a week! Now she sleeps 7-7 with two naps in the day, 2 hours and 1 hour, but this can vary.

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What I have learned in the last 13 months of having Amelia is that :

*Its ok to leave your baby with someone and have some time to yourself, they wont kill them (I’m referring to my husband here).

* No one tells you that you will be arguing at stupid o’ clock about nappy changes or who did it last.

* It’s ok to reminisce and talk about what life was like pre baby (no need to feel guilty), we all do it.

*  It’s  ok to feel like punching someone in the face (sorry how very un PC of me),every time you are told to “enjoy her while she is small, they grow up so quick”, when you are so delirious with tiredness, that you feel there is nothing to enjoy,

*Don’t  stress when your baby is crying in public, it’s not half as loud as you think.

*Don’t worry about your house being dirty or untidy, you can guarantee someone else’s is far worse.

* Don’t be stressing about getting back into your pre pregnancy clothes, half mine still don’t fit. Your body shape changes after pregnancy, my hips are defiantly wider.

* It’s ok to stay in your PJ’s and watch crap TV, box sets or whatever you fancy all day in the first few weeks. However, you need to get out and about and meet friends, go to mummy and baby groups or just take a walk, it is good for your mental health.

 

So, has this been the best year of my life? No, that would have been the first year of marriage, loads of holidays and going out with friends. It has been the most stressful and tiring year I have every had.We had our first baby, in a country without family support, moved house and country, but have survived.  There have been some really crap days, which I still have sometimes, and the really good days. However, it has been the start of the best THING in my life. I love every bone in her body,every day she makes me laugh (and cry sometimes), and I look forward to eventually doing it all over again.

 

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How was your first year as a mum? Would love to hear your thoughts & experience.

Don’t forget to Follow me on Facebook, Instagram,Bloglovin & Twitter

T & A xxxx

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name – Book Review



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A few weeks ago Amelia was kindly sent a book from the Lost My Name team. A beautiful illustrated book depicting the story of  a child who has lost his or her name, and bravely sets off to track down the missing letters. Your child’s name is not just in the book, it is what the story is made of, which makes this book stand out from the rest. It’s written as a rhyme, which helps keep your child’s attention.Well as a family, we love an adventure & exploring, so it was right down our street.Fun, surprising, occasionally scary, mostly marvellous and intensely personal. In fact I would say more personal than any book I have seen yet.

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Along the way the child meets lots of weird and wonderful characters, who each give the first letter of their name. This is a brilliant way of teaching your child how to spell their own name, without it being boring and mundane. The books target age range I would say is two plus,but you are never too young to start reading & learning how to spell.

 

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The book is written by three dads (David, Pedro & Asi) and an uncle (Tal). They went about writing the best personalised book ever, and I have to say, it’s fantastic. Well done Dads. They found out when first writing the book that there are  over 14,000 childrens names. So in order to make sure they have a story to suit each name, they have written 30 different stories with illustrations.

 

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In our book the little girl wakes up to find her name missing from her door & did not know what her name was.She set off on a trail to find her name, on the way meeting loads of different creatures & people who help her find her name, such as an Aardvark, Mermaid, Elephant, Lion,Inuit,Angel, who all give her a letter to make up her name.

 

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Books and reading are so important, start from a young age. We love reading to Amelia, and though she has not a clue what we are saying, it’s the practise of reading that is important. “A book is a gift, that you can open again and again” and nothing could be more true for this book. We loved reading it to Amelia & seeing what adventure the next page led to.   I have always said,no matter how much or little money we have, there will always be money for books, and for those who don’t, then utilise your public library.

 

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To create your own book go to www.lostmy.name for £18.99 & Free P&P worldwide,I think it’s a steal & would make a beautiful gift.It is so easy to order,what are you waiting for?

 

I have x 2 15% discount codes.Please like ,share & leave a comment under this post on Facebook,like & share my page A Little Londoner or retweet @alittlelondoner.Winner will be chosen at random on Friday.

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to is for the purpose of this review. All opinions are all my own.

Quick & Tasty Rice Pudding

Saturday I made a batch of this Rice Pudding for Amelia. I’d never thought of giving her Rice Pudding before, I think selfishly because I don’t like it. Saturday I spent most of the afternoon cooking Amelia new foods to try, while her Daddy took her to the park. I know this is meant to be time for me to sit down & rest, but  I just can’t.I have always been like that, even in my pregnancy I would never nap or sit and rest.

Rice pudding is a good baby food recipe if you add some cooked fruit like stewed plums or stir in a little strawberry jam or golden syrup. Alternatively add some chopped dried fruits instead like dried apricots or semi-dried mango, which can be cooked together with the rice. This is a quicker version of making rice pudding, cooking it on the stove rather than in an oven. I made some stewed apple to go with my Rice Pudding, and added some apple to her porridge this morning & she loved it.

This recipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel book Quick & Easy Toddler Recipes. See   here  for the book.

 

                  Quick Rice Pudding

 

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Prep 2 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Best for baby 9-12 months plus
Makes 6 portions
Suitable for freezing

 

INGREDIENTS

50g (2 oz) pudding rice
600 ml (1 pint) milk
1 – 2 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

1. Put the rice, milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Split the vanilla pod, if usng, and scrape the seeds into the pan, or add the vanilla essence.

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3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Mix with fruit or a topping of your choice such as strawberry jam or fruit puree

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Amelia loved her first taste of Rice Pudding, and my husband wanted me to make more for him. I tasted it,it’s nice,but I’m yet to be converted into liking this dessert.
I freeze Amelia’s food in pots from BabyPotz. The smaller green ones are from Tesco. I used these when I first started weaning,they come with a tray. They were fine for storage at the beginning, however the lids kept falling off. I was glad when a friend introduced me to BabyPotz.

T & A xx

Leahys Open Farm Co.Cork Ireland

Yesterday I took Amelia, her cousin Sean & his mummy to Leahy’s Open Farm in Co.Cork. This farm is so well worth a visit. Situated in East Cork, just 3 miles From the lovely village of Dungourney, bordering Cnoc a Ceo Woods, this family run farm is open to visitors of all ages for the Summer and Christmas seasons. They have a large selection of animals on display – Camel, Monkeys, Rheas, Llama, Alpacas, Snakes, Sheep, Goats, Horses and lots more…. While we were there yesterday,a goat gave birth to twin Kids, and the previous day one of the Alpacas had given birth to a baby boy.

 

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There is so much for the children to do, from feeding the lambs to holding the snake to catching mice and they especially love to cuddle the fluffy rabbits. There is Go Karting and Boat Rides and Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds, Tunnels & be transported by in time, by seeing the old shops,schools, houses & clothes as well as old machinery of bygone years.

The working farm is run by 3 generations of farmers. We met Jack (7) feeding the calves yesterday morning. He had been up working in the farm since 7:30 that morning, by choice.He told us he was on his Easter holidays, and would miss working with his Grandad and Dad when he returned to school, I’ve no doubt they will also miss this hard working boy.A true farmer, witty, clever and a real boy, he showed us all around the farm, introducing us to his own two calves “Johnny & Tommy”, named after his uncles, and that he bought with “his own money”.

I asked him what his plans were for his calves, and straight to the point, Jack looked at me as if to say “obviously”, sell them at the mart. Our day was made by meeting Jack, we spent far longer than we had planned on the farm, as Jack brought us to each individual animal, telling us stories about the breed & the animal itself.  We were even invited by him to Mass on the Farm that night. I asked Jack why there was a mass, “well my nan is into God and all that”, was the swift reply I got.

The Open Farm was originally set up by Jacks Grandparents. Eddie and Eileen Leahy married at a young age. They had 7 children and lived in the little old cottage in the centre of the yard which is now known as Farmer Eddies Cottage. The old cottage dates back over 200 years, Eddie and Eileen’s first four children were born into the cottage.

Eddie and Eileen started off their farming life in very humble beginnings with 4 cows. 3 cows were milked in the summer and in the winter, as the stall in the yard could only hold 4 cows. The land was of poor quality and a lot of hard labour had to be endured to reclaim it. As Eddie and Eileen had very little animal housing to begin with every effort was made to expand and very slowly but surely, over the years the farm turned into a very successful Dairy and Pig Farm. While being very busy running the farm, Eddie had a love for vintage farm machinery and he and Eileen often went off to vintage festivals and over the years they picked up a massive collection of vintage machinery.

In 1996 they took a massive leap of faith and opened the farm to the public showing off what they had collected, with family support behind Eddie and Eileen and the huge interest shown by the public, the next step was to build a coffee shop to cater for the visitors, this proved to be a huge success over the years because of Eileen’s absolute love of home-baking. There are no cakes bought in for the coffee shop. Everything is freshly home made every day by Eileen and other family members.s, this proved to be a huge success over the years because of Eileen’s absolute love of home-baking.

Over the years, the farm has grown from strength to strength attracting thousands of visitors and is now a well known tourist attraction in East Cork, because of Eddie and Eileen’s initial idea to diversify into agri-tourism it has enabled some members of the family to work full time in the business. For Eddie and Eileen, this is a great achievement in keeping their family together. All the members of Eddie and Eileen’s family are so proud of the success of the open farm because if it were not for Eddie and Eileen’s commitment and bravery to diversify from farming, the traditional farming enterprise would not have sustained the employment needed to keep the family working together.

We loved every second of our day yesterday & will be back again over the summer. Amelia fell in love with the lambs, calling the, “Baby”. Perfect for all age groups. Also there is so much to see & do indoors that the weather should not tamper your plans. Buggy Friendly, I took the sling as well,so Amelia could see everything. We had tea & a scone after we had finished, clean, reasonably priced, and beautiful homemade produce. Of course Jack joined us for tea. Clean toilets, with baby changing unit.

I would highly recommend a stop at Leahy’s Open Pet Farm as a Family Friendly Activity around Ireland. You might even be lucky enough to meet Jack & get a free guided tour from an expert.

T & A xx

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To Give The Measels,Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine or Not

Amelia had her Measels,Mumps & Rubella (also called German Measels) (MMR) Vaccine last week. She was 12 months + 3 weeks & will get a second dose before school 4-5 years.

The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to build up protection against these diseases.It is a live vaccine which means it contains weakened forms of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses.

It was an easy decision for me to give it to her,I had read the research papers, spoken to other mums,and to be fair, I knew prior to all this I was going to give it to anyway. I know so many mums who are unsure whether they are going to give the vaccine or not.

 

MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine (3 in 1),that protects against three separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses.
Measles, mumps and rubella are very common, highly infectious, conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal, complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness.
They can also lead to complications in pregnancy that affect the unborn baby and can lead to miscarriage.

 

 

The MMR vaccine has gone through the rings of the press in the last few years.Health experts have criticized media reporting of the MMR-autism controversy for triggering a decline in vaccination rate in the UK. The MMR vaccine was the subject of controversy after publication of a 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield et al. reporting a study of twelve children who had bowel symptoms along with autism or other disorders, including cases where onset was believed by the parents to be soon after administration of MMR vaccine.In 2010, Wakefield’s research was found by the General Medical Council to have been “dishonest”, and The Lancet fully retracted the original paper.The research was declared fraudulent in 2011 by the British Medical Journal. Several subsequent peer-reviewed studies have failed to show any association between the vaccine and autism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences,the UK National Health Service and the Cochrane Library review have all concluded that there is no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In Japan, the MMR vaccination has been discontinued, with single vaccines being used for each disease. Rates of autism diagnosis have continued to increase, showing no correlation with the change.

Side Effects

1 in 10 will have discomfort, redness or swelling where the injection was given, or will have a fever;
1 in 20 will get a rash six to 12 days later(this is not contagious);
1 in 20 get swollen glands, a stiff neck, or joint pains;
1 in 100 may develop swelling of the salivary glands under the jaw; and
1 in 1000 will have a convulsion (fit);
1 in 22,000 will get a temporary blood clotting problem / bruising or bleeding
1 in 1,000,000 may get encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

 

We are now 10 days post vaccination. Amelia has been off form in the last 3 days, and I noticed a Measel like rash over her torso tonight in the bath. This could all be a coincidence or maybe she is the 1 in 20 children who develop the rash. Either way, I’m still happy with my decision to have given her the vaccine, and will just have to ride the waves with her over the next few days, until she gets better. Calpol & Neurofen will be our friends.

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Have you given your child the MMR Vaccine or decided against?

Please share your views below

 

T & A x

Family Friendly Tomato & Basil Omlette

On Monday I made this Omlette for Amelia’s  tea, it was her first time having an Omlette & it went down well, she ate about half of it. The texture was new to her, so I will make it again next week for her to get use to it. Did you know a baby/toddler needs to taste something at least 10 times to actually decide whether they like it or not. I ended up making another one for myself & my husband after as we love the flavours, I just added some cooked ham to ours.

This receipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel Quick & Easy Toddler Recipes.

Ingredients

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Serves: 1
Perfect to serve from age 6 months onwards.

A knob of butter
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
1 medium egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp parmesan, finely grated (try another hard cheese if you prefer)
2 tsp chopped basil (optional)

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Method

Preparation time: 4 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

1. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, then add the tomatoes and fry for one minute.

2. Mix the egg, milk, cheese and basil (if using) together in a small bowl.

3. Pour the mixture into the pan and swirl around to cover the base.

4. Once the omelette is set, which should take around 2 minutes, turn over and fry for a further 2 minutes.

5. Once cooked through flip the omelette onto a plate and slice into child-friendly pieces.

* When my mum was teaching me as a child how to cook an Omlette, she let me in on a secret. Instead of flipping your Omlette, place it under the grill,it will be really fluffy & light on top.

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Enjoy T & A xxxx

Baby Proofing

Bank Holiday Mondays have changed for us, two years ago we would have been lying in bed nursing our hangovers from the weekend or getting ready to fly back to London after being at home in Ireland for the weekend.

Today was the perfect chance for us to start baby proofing the house,as Amelia has discovered the love for opening and slamming shut the lower kitchen drawers,and 9 times out of 10 catching her fingers. I’ve already tied ribbon around the TV cabinet,as she slams that shut & there is glass panelling.

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We need to get plug socket covers (she has not yet gone near the plugs) and two stair gates at some point this week.She hasn’t started to climb yet,and she doesn’t crawl,she bum shuffles everywhere,and she can go fast!Upstairs she goes straight for the stairs,so have to keep the doors closed when we are upstairs together. The stair gate I think we are going to go for is this wooden one from Lindman. I like traditional wooden gates.

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Last week we were kindly sent a range of safety products from Hey Mama, HeyMama.ie is an Irish online shop providing a full range of Mother & Baby goods.
Safety, Reliability and Value For Money are the cornerstones of their business. They focus on the products that are Award Winners and Best Sellers. The products that are really, *really* good. The products that you would buy again in a heartbeat.

The online shop provides such a great range of products from gifts,Grobags, Safety Products,pushchairs,changing bags & much more.
They offer Free Delivery within Ireland on orders over €50 and a courier charge of just €4.99 on orders below. Orders placed before 1:30pm are normally delivered next-day.

We were sent a range of products to try out.They couldn’t have come at a better time,as we really needed to start baby proofing.

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I used the cabinet lock by Baby Elegence,on my cupboard with plates.

The Multi Purpose Latch by Baby Elegence, I used in the inside of the cleaning cupboard.Dont make the mistake I did,I placed this on the inside of the cupboard,and can’t open or close it! To be honest this is quite awkward & hard to unhook.It is meant to sit outside corner cupboards,like pictured below.Suitable for lockers or free-standing units.

Lastly we used the Cupboard & Drawer Locks ,by Clipsafe that we were sent, these for us are great, a little hard to get used to as you have to pinch both top & bottom prong to open,almost both adult and baby proof!

We were also sent these Safety Cord Wind Ups,by Baby Elegence, however we are lucky that the house we are currently in has safety cord clasps attached to all the blinds in the house. These are so important as the rate of children accidentally hanging themselves off blind cords is tragically increasing.

Check out www.heymama.ie for more products.

*Disclaimer: These products were sent free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Changing From Breastmilk/Formula to Cows Milk

Amelia turned 1 three weeks ago,and it was time to say goodbye to her formula and introduce cows milk in her bottles. She had been having cows milk in her cereal & food I have made her since she was about 9 months, and eating cheese & yogurts,so I was not worried about allergies as she had been ok so far with cows milk.

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I had already had the experience of changing from Breastmilk to Formula at 6.5 months.I just started by expressing milk & adding an oz of Formula at a time. The transition was pretty uneventful, other than Amelia not taking to the powdered formula.She would cry with her knees bent in her cot,I’m presuming she was having tummy cramps from it.
After speaking to our Health Visitor (Public Health Nurse), she had advised me that some breastfed babies tolerate “pre-made formula” better after the change over from breastmilk,as it tastes more like BM.This is because it is UHT treated,making it sweeter & thicker in consistency in comparison to “powdered formula”. An expensive few months followed,we were spending about £140 a month on formula,but look,we had free milk from me for 6 months,so couldn’t complain very much.

Three weeks ago I started giving Amelia cows milk in her bottle,the day after her birthday.I gave her 3/4 formula & 1/4 cows milk.I increased it every day, maybe a little too quickly mind, as on day 4 she was screaming in pain trying to go for a poo. I even cried with her one day, I felt so sorry for her. She was so constipated.

I stopped the cows milk, gave her brown sugar and cooled boiled water until she was able to go to the toilet normally. Last week I reintroduced the cows milk,(I should add here,always use Whole Full Fat milk), slowly this time. 1 oz at a time,increasing it daily. So far so good. She is still having 1 oz of formula in her bottles for her morning & night time bottle. This will be the last few days of that.Then we can say goodbye to mini Aptamil bottles filling up our cupboards,and searching every shop in our town to find them!!

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I would stay clear of “Follow-on Milks”, as a nurse & on advise from my sister who is a dietician, I know that these are a marketing ploy,encouraging you to spend more money.Your child should be getting all their nutrition from their solid food & cows milk by the time they are 1. The World Health Organisation (WHO), has reiterated its position that follow-on-milks are unnecessary for 6-24 month infants and said they are nutritionally dubious.

How was your experience with the transition from BM to Formula & from Formula to Cows Milk?Would love to hear other peoples experience.

T & A xxxx

Easter Egg Painting

This morning Amelia & I painted some eggs & her egg cup from
her Easter Basket.Its the first time she used paint and held a paintbrush. Most of the paint on the brush ended up in her mouth,hands, underneath her nails & hair. It was lovely to see her messing with the paint.

I boiled my eggs first until they were hard.

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Then dyed them using food colouring (wear gloves, my hands are all stained from the food colouring). I had pink & yellow food colouring at home. Coat your eggs in the dye & leave to dry until you the achieve the colour you desire.

We used poster paint, but another great idea which I’ll use in future is separate skittles into same colours, add skittles to pots of water,just enough to cover the skittles,and use the coloured water for painting.Perfect for little minxes like Amelia, who like to eat the paint!!
I got this idea from Gemma at www.expatfamilyq8.com who does amazing arts & crafts with her little ones.

I covered part of the kitchen table & Amelia’s highchair in cling film,so I would not be scrubbing for days,as this was our first time painting I didn’t know what she would do!She was only interested in eating it….I just let her make a mess and knew it could be washed off in the bath!

Happy Easter everyone,hope ye have fun & eat loads of chocolate eggs
T & A xxx

Fairy Door Review

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This week we were kindly sent a Fairy Door from The Irish Fairy Door Company. We received the purple door, a high quality handmade wooden door. Retailing at €24.95 plus P&P, there are also some lovely accessories, such as stepping stones,wooden door plagues,decals and fairy dust.Presented in a beautiful box, sitting underneath a toadstool. Inside is a little poem about fairies.It has found its home under a tree in Amelia’s playroom. The door can be moved from room to room.Place it by your child’s bed,by their bedroom window,or anywhere you choose.

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You choose your door, and when you receive it, you register your door online. Here you will choose your Fairy’s name. We chose “Rose”, then you will receive a ‘Fairy Lease Agreement’.

Picture Credit: The Irish Fairy Door Company

Picture Credit: The Irish Fairy Door Company

The Irish Fairy Door Company, was specially selected by the Fairy Council to provide handcrafted fairy doors for all locations – be it your home, your garden, the office, school or care centre. Actually made by their carpenter in the workshop of a 200 year old cottage in the heart of Ireland, each fairy door is given a portion of magic so that your new fairy can come and go between our world and Fairyland.

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They help fairies relocate into homes and gardens all over the world by producing high quality handmade Irish fairy doors; “our aim is to create memorable family moments and a little magic all year round – all YOU need to do is believe!”

The Irish Fairy Door Company,also host Fairy Parties,bringing magic to your little boy or girls birthday party. Parties can be held in English & Gaeilge. See here for more information.

Amelia is still a little small for the door,which comes with a little key. I think from age 2 + is the appropriate age for this Fairy Door, the key is small, so this needs to be kept away from small people that may potentially swallowed. Suitable for little boys & girls.! The Fairy Doors would make a beautiful Birthday,Christmas or Easter Basket present.
When she is a little older, I will place the key in the door to let the fairies out,sprinkle some fairy dust (glitter) & leave a little note at the door from the fairies. We are looking forward to reading stories about the fairies coming out to play.Perfect for keeping your child disciplined (fairies are watching you), a treat before a birthday,Christmas or other holidays. The fairies like to leave little notes after visiting.


The Irish Fairy Door Company have kindly offered a 10% discount to my readers, by entering ” Lon10″ at checkout on your order.

We believe in fairies do you ?? xxx

For more information on Fairy Doors from The Irish Fairy Door Company and stockists, click here.
www.theirishfairydoorcompany.com

Disclaimer: We were sent a fairy door free of charge,from The Irish Fairy Door Company for the purpose of this review. Opinions are all my own.

Amelia’s Latest Purchases

All this lovely weather has got me so excited for summer,although now we live in Ireland,I’m not going to hold my breath on getting nice sunny, warm weather, though it was lovely here last year. We are going to Portugal in a few weeks, so I’ve started to pick up some summer clothes for Amelia. I bought a lot in the Zara summer sale last year,to fit her for this year,so I don’t need loads.

These are a few of the bits I’ve picked up over the last few weeks. I need to get her a swimsuit, she has a full UV protection swimsuit that I’ll use at the beach, but in the evening it will be nice to have a bathing suit for the pool.


All from Mothercare www.mothercare.com


All from Zara www.zara.com

 

 


Both from Boden www.boden.co.uk

These sunglasses, “Larchmount Plum”, are by Paxley $39.99, use ‘ilmondodiingrid’ discount code to get 25% off . I wanted a pair of sunglasses that were good,not spend a fortune on & that Amelia could not break. These are perfect.Soft, flexible yet durable SafeBend™ temple technology.Ergo-designed rubber bridge pads for developing noses
100% UV protection lenses compliant with US, European, Australian and New Zealand standards.Family Choice Award winner for product excellence.These are available sizes 0-18 mths and 1-3 years.
Handcrafted in Italy.

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www.paxleyshop.com

When Can My Baby Have Bottled Water

With the lovely warm weather we are having recently & our upcoming holiday, I’ve been increasing the amount of water Amelia drinks. Like the sterilising, I was still giving her cooled boiled water up to today (very slow to get out of our “baby routine”).

 

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Last summer was very hot in London &  we went on holiday to Padstow in Cornwall. I didn’t have to worry about water last year as I was still breastfeeding,and Amelia was getting her water supply from my milk, I just had to be careful to drink plenty of water,which I’m generally ok with.The NHS guidines are as follows.Fully breastfed babies don’t need any water until they’ve started eating solid food. Bottle-fed babies may need some extra water in hot weather. For babies under six months, use water from the mains tap in the kitchen that’s been boiled then cooled. Water for babies over six months doesn’t need to be boiled.

 

 

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Babies,especially under 6 months,  have immature kidneys, gut etc so aren’t as good as us at maintaining correct levels of salts (electrolytes) in their blood and cells. So if you give water – especially if they’re dehydrated – you’re giving them the water you need but not the salts. In extreme cases this can cause fits, brain swelling and death. Seizures can also occur if you give too much salt (too concentrated formula is the classic) or if a baby is very dehydrated. The odd bottle of water is unlikely to cause any problems but is still dangerous for the above reasons, but also because a baby can’t tell the difference between feeling full of calorie-empty water and calorie and nutrient filled milk. So they can end up failing to thrive if they have too many feeds replaced with water.

 

 

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The water where we live at the moment has a high lime content,so that is why I have continued to boil the water. I’m not even sure if it makes a difference. I bought a water filter today,and while we are on holiday I will give Amelia bottled water. Bottled water is ok to give a baby over 1, provided it has low salt content.Bottled water is not recommended for making up infant formula feeds as it is not sterile and may contain too much salt (sodium) or sulphate. If you have to use bottled water to make up a feed, check the label to make sure the sodium (also written as Na) level is less than 200 milligrams (mg) per litre, and the sulphate (also written as SO or SO4) content is not higher than 250mg per litre. Bottled water is not sterile, so it will need to be boiled and cooled like tap water before you use it to prepare a feed.

 

 

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Family Friendly Chicken & Vegetable Soup From Weaning to Adults

I’ve been using my new Annabel Karmel book over the last few weeks,Quick & Easy Toddler Receipes.

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See here for more details.

This is my third book in the Annabel Karmel cook book range.I was a bit disappointed when looking through it,as a lot of the receipes are very simple,such as boiling an egg,and many are really for children age 2/3 plus.

Last night I made the Chicken & Vegetable Soup for us all. I made double of all the quantities in the recipe,and added large pasta shells for us. For Amelia’s portion of soup I pureed half,poured it back into the pot & blended it together. I got roughly 10 portions for Amelia,which I put in the freezer, and a bowl for my husband and I. Really delicious with some crusty bread.
Chop & dice finely,your children will be more likely then to eat the vegetables rather than chunks.
I did not have celery,so substituted with a leek.

Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

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30g (1oz) butter
1 Large Onion finely chopped
100g (3 1/2 oz) carrots, diced
30g (1oz) plain flour
1 Litre (1 3/4 pints) chicken stock
50g (2oz) small pasta shells
75g (3oz) cooked chicken breast, diced
3 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp snipped chives

Finely  chop your vegetables to get  smaller kids to eat them.

Finely chop your vegetables to get smaller kids to eat them.

Method

* Heat the butter in a saucepan,fry the onion for 2 minutes.Add the carrots and celery (or leeks in my case), and fry for 5 minutes.

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*Stir in the flour,mix in the stock,and then bring the soup to the boil. Cover and summer for 10 minutes until the vegtables are tender. If making larger quantities,cooking time may vary.

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*Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of water,according to instructions & drain.

*Add your cooked shredded chicken,double cream,pasta and chives to the soup and summer for 3 minutes.
Season to taste, hold back in the salt for children.

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*Suitable for freezing

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What’s in Amelia’s Easter Basket

Amelia’s “Easter Basket”, is more of an “Easter Bucket”, but she is still so small,has no idea what Easter is,has never had chocolate or sweeties, (and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible),and she has has just got a playroom full of toys for her birthday recently. So,I’m keeping her Easter treats small this year.

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I got her some lovely Burt’s Bees Bath products.Burts Bees Baby Bee Calming Lotion,blend of lavender and vanilla surround baby with a scent that soothes and relaxes.Perfect for babies bedtime. Burts Bees Tear Free Shampoo & Wash,made from 96 % natural ingredients. See here for more Burts Bees Products.
A jumping chick & Paint Your Own Egg Cup,will paint this during the week with her, both from 99p Store,bucket is also from here. I am also going to dye & paint some eggs with Amelia,watch out for blogpost.
Some little chocolate eggs (mummy & daddy will eat them)
Lastly a book.I looked around our local book shops for an Easter themed book,but could not find one.Instead, I chose this lovely book,written in Irish (Gaelige), our national language.I thought it would be a lovely introduction to the language for Amelia.
Is Geal Liom Sibh go Leir (You’re. All My Favourites),by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram. This is a
gorgeous, reassuring story about three little bear siblings, who one day begin to wonder how they can ALL be the “most wonderful bears in the whole wide world” to their parents? Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear must set about reassuring their three little bears – who are all different – that each one of them is equally special and equally loved. A winning combination of irresistibly soothing storytelling and warm, playful watercolour art makes this a quintessential picture book for families who wish to read and learn Irish together.
See here to purchase.

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Will you or have you an Easter Basket for your child?What will you put in it?

T xxx

Fresh Fruit Salad with Homemade Lime & Mint Dressing

We are on a bit of a health kick in our house at the moment,we are going on holiday in 6 weeks,and trying to get the bodies “beach ready”. Although after putting on 3.5 stone when I was pregnant,my body will never again be ready for the beach! But I can try & hope!

Anyway,this dressing is a lovely addition to a fruit salad.It couldn’t be simpler, really. Fresh mint leaves and lime rind are steeped in a simply syrup and strained so only the herbal notes of the mint and the zesty lime flavor remain. Pour the syrup over the fruit right before serving. The subtle lime mint flavor is extremely complementary to almost any fruit.

We love this dressing,I find the original recipe can be quite sweet,so I add less sugar,and substitute some of the water with freshly squeezed lime juice.I love limes,the smell & taste always remind me of summer.Use whatever fruit you have at home for your salad.Amelia has a small bowl of fruit,without the dressing.

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Ingredients

80 mls water
75g sugar (caster)
⅓ cup packed mint leaves
Zest of 1 lime

Instructions

1.Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Make sure all of the sugar has dissolved.
2.Remove from heat and add mint leaves and lime zest.
3.Let steep for 15 minutes and strain.
4. Chill.
5.Add fruit to a large bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently stir to combine.

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* The lime mint dressing will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

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Varicella Vaccine/ChickenPox Vaccine

It’s been on my mind for a while whether I should give the “ChickenPox Vaccine” or in medical terms “Varicella Vaccine”, to Amelia.
I have done a lot of research,and spoken to our new GP regarding it,and have decided to go ahead. Amelia had her MMR vaccine today,so I need to wait a minimum of 4 weeks before she can have it,as both are “live vaccines”, and cannot be had together. She is due her Hib Booster in 4 weeks (13 month immunisation), so I will hold off until a few weeks after that.I just hope she doesn’t get Chicken Pox between now and then.
The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine provides protection against the varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox.

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The chickenpox vaccine is not part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule. The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine provides protection against the varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox and shingles.The vaccine is available to children from 12 months plus. The vaccine is currently only offered to people who are particularly vulnerable to chickenpox.Chickenpox is a common childhood infection. In most cases the symptoms are mild and complications are rare. Almost all children develop immunity to chickenpox after infection, so only catch it once. The disease can be more severe in adults.
Chickenpox can be very serious for an unborn baby when a pregnant woman catches the infection. It can cause a range of serious birth defects as well as severe disease in the baby when it is born.
The chickenpox vaccine contains a small amount of the live weakened varicella zoster virus.

The vaccine causes your immune system to produce antibodies that will help protect against chickenpox & shingles.It has been shown that 9 out of 10 children vaccinated with a single dose will develop immunity against chickenpox. A two-dose schedule is now recommended for all, as it gives a better immune response.(HSE).Two doses are given with four to eight weeks between the doses.
The most common side effect of the chickenpox vaccine is soreness and redness around the site of the injection.

This side effect develops in around one in five children and one in four teenagers and adults.

A mild rash may occur in 1 in 10 children and 1 in 20 adults.

Serious side effects, such as anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction), are rare. They occur in less than 1 in 100,000 vaccination cases.

Though the varicella vaccine is not part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule in Ireland & the UK,it is in other countries, such as the US and Germany.

Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given and there is no evidence of any increased risk of developing a long-term health condition as a result of the vaccination.

My reason of wanting to give Amelia the vaccine is that if I can prevent her from bring sick then I will,and also to prevent any potential scaring to her face.

From speaking to my GP & researching,by speaking to other mums,the prescription for the vaccine will need to be obtained from your GP,you will need to take it to the local pharmacy & get it ordered,of big in stock,and them bring back to GP’s. It’s a bit of a joke,I can not understand why the vaccine is not advertised more,and why GPs/practice nurses do not tell you about it. I did a bit of reading,and found my answer – it’s not cost effective for Practices to stock it, however some may stock it. The vaccine is approx €160 in total. However this may vary.

Also,something interesting I learned today, is that children should not be given Calpol/Paracetemol routinely post vaccinations/immunisations, unless they are spiking temperatures,as it can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.See here for more information.

Have you vaccinated your child against Chicken Pox? Did you know about it?
T xx

Our Favourite Things To Do In London

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Our Tube Station

Last weekend,we returned to London for the weekend,our first time back since leaving in December. We went back for a birthday party for all the babies from my NCT group (antenatal), 7 babies & 12 Adults.It was so lovely to see everyone again.
After many years of living in London, and taking full advantage of all the wonderful things to do,I’d like to share our favourite things. Beyond the usual tourists spots,there are plenty of hidden,and unknown gems,that don’t always have to cost money. Take the tube, don’t be afraid, it is so easy to use,get yourself an Oyster card the day you arrive £5, and top up as needed.

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Camden Town & Market

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Quirky,busy,fun,punks,wild ones,anything goes here.Take a stroll through the highstreet,there are so many quirky shops & of course the usual tacky tourists shops. Bypass these and head straight for The Stables,hidden at the back on of the main market on the left,here is the real gem. It’s quieter,and full of “real” vintage shops and all the food from around the world that you can think of.

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Before Amelia came along,I would head up to Camden a lot on my days off and wander around. If you are bringing children,try and avoid at the weekends,or go early morning. Take your baby sling,it’s much easier than a buggy.
To get to Camden Town, take the Northern Line (black line).Well worth a visit, it’s one you will never forget.

Primrose Hill

From Camden Town, walk along the river, listening to the buskers under the bridges on the way,a 20 minute walk will lead you to Primrose Hill.

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Once the “it” place to live amongst the “celebs” of London. Take a walk through the park,grab a nice cream,or if the weather is nice,take a picnic and rug. Walk to the top of the hill in the park and enjoy beautiful views of the London skyline.Picking out buildings you know .Its one of our favourite Parks in London. Directly across from the Park is London Zoo.

 

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If you are interested in the zoo- my tip is buy a train ticket from where you are staying,if it is not Central London, and get yourself a 2 for 1 on entry to the zoo, by filling out this form,print it and present on the day with your valid train tickets.

If the Zoo is not your thing,directly across from Primrose Hill is another favourite park of ours, Regents Park.Its a beautiful park,with loads going on.

 

 

 

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Anything goes in London,last Sunday,two women were practising their yoga on the Bandstand in Regents Park.This is what I love about London.

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South Bank
An eclectic area,walks along the South Bank bank whether in winter or summer are always lovely.Our favourite things to do along the Southbank are visit The Tate Modern museum and Borough Market,more amazing worldwide foods.

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With a birds eye view of the sights along the river, wine festivals,Christmas markets, and of course for the tourist, you have The a London Eye,Florence Nightingale Museum (any nurses like me,would find this really interesting),Thames Clippers (here you can take boat rides along the Thames & on to Greenwich),London Dungeons & the London Aquarium.

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For a romantic night out,with beautiful food and amazing cocktails- try The Oxo Tower.

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If it’s a child free weekend,then hire some “Borris Bikes”,click here to see how to hire, and take them through the streets and of London,ride into Hyde Park via Marble Arch,and wander around. Hyde Park has the huge Winter Wonderland theme park over the month of December, with its German market.

Greenwich
We would generally drive to Greenwich,however there are plenty of ways to get here. take a Clipper Boat along the Thames to Greenwich,while having your own riverside view of London Town.

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Greenwich is home to a World Heritage Site, Europe’s most successful entertainment arena, The O2,Bitains first urban cable car,The Emirates,London’s oldest Royal Park and the place where hemispheres meet.
Greenwich Royal Observatory (Home of meantime) This line is marked by a metal strip running through the courtyard. By standing over this line, you can be in both the eastern and western hemispheres at the same time.The Observatory is on top of the hill. The pathway up can be a little steep, especially if you are pushing a stroller. If you’d prefer a longer but easier way, follow the signs for the accessible path, which winds around the back of the hill up a more gentle slope.

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The views once on top are amazing. Below you is Inigo Jones’s Queen’s House and Wren’s Hospital (later the Naval College); to the right, the Dome. Opposite are the towers of Canary Wharf and upstream the West End. As you stand on the zero-degree meridian beneath Wren’s Royal Observatory the whole city seems to stretch out in time and space.

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Shopping
We all know London is a Mecca for shopping, but if you want something different from Oxford Street,Regents Street,Westfields (huge shopping centre) one in West London & one in East London,and of course Harrods is worth a “look”.Then my top places for a different shopping experience is Convent Garden,Carnaby Street,take a walk through Kingly Court off Carnaby street to my favourite restaurant/wine bar Shampers.

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I also love Liberty department store,known for its floral & graphic prints,it’s just that little bit different from all the other department stores.

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London offers so many brilliant,different & eclectic restaurants.Take a chance and walk away from the high streets,down the cobbled streets and find the best of the unknown.

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The list could really be endless with regards things to do in London. These are my favourite.
For kids,London Dungeons,The Tower
Of London, London Zoo,London Aquarium, Hamleys Toy Store,Piccadilly Circus are just about 1/4 of things to go. LegoLand is a short drive outside of London,worth taking a visit,and in to the towns of Windsor & Eton.

Bright Lights of Piccadilly Circus!

Bright Lights of Piccadilly Circus!

Returning to Where She was Born.

Returning to Where She was Born.

Saying Goodbye to London,see you again in a few months

Saying Goodbye to London,see you again in a few months

What Amelia Wore

Saturday was the day of the birthday party, Amelia wore a blue ditsy print dress from Next.See here, & a pink cardigan from Dunnes Store,see here.

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Sunday,she wore her Boden Duck Print Dress.See here.

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Monday, Amelia wore her Cath Kidston, out of stock now,but similar in store.

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Layered Cottage Pie/Shepards Pie

This yummy Annabel Karmel cottage pie will go down a treat to every age group in your family. Purée to the preferred consistency for smaller babies.I still purée meat to a lumpy consistency,as Amelia finds it hard to chew.

Original recipe below can be altered to suit your preferable taste.We are not lovers of Mushrooms or Turnip/Swede in our house,so have left out the Mushrooms and added Parsnip instead of Turnip/Swede.

You could make one big pot or smaller pots for the smaller ones and freeze. Layering is optional, you can also mix it all up like a traditional cottage pie.

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Serves 6, Prep Time 10 mins, Cooking time 77 minutes.

250g swede, peeled and chopped
200g carrots, peeled and chopped
A generous knob of butter
2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
450g minced beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
100g leek, finely chopped
100g red pepper, finely chopped
150g button mushrooms, diced
4 medium tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dried mixed herbs
1 beef stock cube dissolved in 350ml boiling water
675g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
50g unsalted butter
6 tbsp milk
Salt and a little white pepper
225g frozen peas, cooked
1 beaten egg.

METHOD
1. Cook the carrots and swede in boiling lightly salted water for 20 minutes or until tender and then mash with the knob of butter until smooth.
2. Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the minced beef for 7 or 8 minutes or until the liquid has been evaporated. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a fairly large casserole and sauté the onion and leek for 3 minutes.
4. Add the red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes.
6. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and beef stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season to taste.
7. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, then drain. Return the cooked potatoes to the empty saucepan and mash together with butter, milk salt and pepper until smooth.

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8. Place the mashed carrots and swede in the base of a glass ovenproof dish (approximately 18cm diameter / 7.5 cm deep) or use mini dishes to make individual portions.
9. Arrange the meat on top, then cover with a layer of cooked peas and top with a layer of potato.

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10. Brush the potato with the beaten egg and cook under a preheated grill for 6 to 7 minutes or until the top is browned.

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Enjoy, we love this! T xx

Flying With a Baby

This is an old post that I said I would reblog, as we are half way through our holiday in Portugal. Flying this time round was pretty similar, other than earlier flight time,longer flight & Amelia refused to sleep. This time round I downloaded a load of free apps on the iPad, and did not make the mistake I made last time- some of the apps did not work without internet access. So, I made sure to ask the lovely ladies at Irish Parent Bloggers and find apps that worked while flying- here is the list I downloaded:

-Toca boca
-I hear ewe
-Peekaboo barn
-Sesame Street what’s in Berts bag
-Tozzle

I also figured a way out of locking the screen on the iPad,as Amelia was forever swiping the screen and coming out of the app she was watching.
1.Go to Settings
2.General
3.Accessibility
4.Learning
5.Guided Access (turn it on), it will take you through the next steps.

We returned from London last night,after a brilliant weekend with our friends (and Amelia’s). I’d like to share my top tips for travelling with a baby.

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Amelia is used to travelling long journeys at this stage,especially in the car,as we used to drive from London to Ireland,so in the last 12 months I have learned how to prepare and minimise the stress,as much as I can (I still get stressed mind).

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We bought Amelia these headphones when she was about 6 months,she loves watching Baby Jake,but somehow I knew that our fellow passengers on Irish Ferries,Stena Line,Ryanair & Aer Lingus, would not share her love for listening to it on repeat for 4 hrs.I know after 12 years of travelling whether it’s on planes,trains or ferries,that children get bored,whine,scream and cry. I generally never minded it too much,but it can annoy other people. I’d like to say I’m a mum who can just think “if they can’t listen to my baby crying,then they can move”,but I’m absolutely not,I do care that Amelia crying would upset other passengers,so, I keep Amelia entertained as much as I can.
These headphones will keep your little one quite,while not disturbing anyone else.They are highly padded,and very soft.Ideal also for the back of the car.
Click here for similar product.

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We checked in our buggy in our Bugaboo Travel Case (I also hid some extra bits in here,toys,nappies etc),free with all airlines (even Ryanair).We took our Bugaboo,we did think about buying a lightweight stroller for travelling,as we are going away in a few weeks on holiday,but decided against it,as Amelia always sleeps really well in her own buggy.I used my Baby Bjorn Sling for around the airport,and for boarding the plane. We didn’t have a long wait before boarding,so minimum hanging around.I have got so much use out of my sling and would highly recommend them.There are so many baby slings on the market,I will do a review soon on them.
See here for our Baby Bjorn Original Sling.

We gave Amelia her breakfast at the airport. You can take milk and medicines through security,without it effecting your own liquid allowance. I took 3 bottles of Aptamil milk,Neurofen,Calpol (with a syringe) & some teething gel. I packed two bottles for the flight,her water,snacks,small books and a few quite toys.
Bring a blanket,cardigan/jumper (planes can get cool). Enough nappies,wet wipes and a change of clothes (just in case).
Our flight was delayed by 1 hour,we were stuck on the plane for the time of the delay,but thank god for the iPad,headphones and an early morning flight.Amelia slept for most of the time,she sucked on her bottle for take off,give your baby/child,a bottle,sippy cup or something to suck on for take off and landing to help their ears pop. The hum of the planes engine,and the movement kept her asleep.We were even able to have breakfast a d coffee while she slept on my lap.Another tip here is, fly early or late,you have a greater chance of your baby sleeping.
Our return journey was not as easy,Amelia was awake for the whole flight,despite it being 2 hours past her bedtime. She was kept entertained by the lovely passengers behind us,Thank You to them!

We generally wait until most people are off the flight until we attempt to disembark. It’s easier,you are not under pressure to rush,and the queues at passport control will have died down.

While my husband put our buggy together,I went to change Amelia out of her baby gro and into her clothes.Let your baby fly in a baby gro,it’s comfortable,lightweight and much easier for changing nappies.

Click here for link to buggy bags.

There are many universal Buggy Travel Cases also on the market. click here to see more.

What are your top tips for travelling with a baby or child?

Love T xxx

When to Stop Sterilising?

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Amelia turned 1, two weeks ago,and I’m finding it very hard to put away the steriliser! Yes I know this is crazy,as she is picking everything she can find off the floor and putting it in her mouth,and has been going to play groups & soft play since she was about 3 months,putting all the toys in her mouth for a good chew.
So why can’t I stop my daily ritual, of after breakfast,rinsing her bottles,pouring washing up liquid on the bottle brush,scrubbing the bottles,teeth and lids and popping them into the steriliser……I think it’s out of habit and knowing that if I missed any milk,that sterilising will kill off any potential bacteria.

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A report published in 2007 from The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that sterilisation was no longer considered necessary and in fact was no longer recommended. The reason being that people weren’t sterilising properly in the first place and it was often leading to worse bacterial problems. Also, breasts and breast milk aren’t sterile – so it was a strange concept that we should be doing this with bottles, dummies. The recommendation for babies now is that a good wash with hot soapy water and a clean scrubbing brush and to then dry thoroughly. They also said that a rolling three min boil of items once a week followed by a proper dry was more than sufficient for those that wanted to be ‘extra vigiliant’.

Now while it all makes sense I wouldn’t 100% agree.While I do not think it is necessary to sterilise water cups spoons and feeding bowls when the weaning process starts (I’ll admit I did this for a few weeks!Crazy first time mum), I do believe that bottles,teeth and caps should be sterilised up to a year, or until you switch over to cows milk. I also sterilised all medicine syringes up to 6 months.

My reason for this continued sterilisation up to a year is because during the first year of your baby’s life, he/she is at their most vulnerable to illnesses. If you don’t sterilise your baby’s bottles, viruses, bacteria and parasites can gather on his/her bottle and in his milk and make your baby ill. Your baby could develop anything from mild thrush to a more serious bout of vomiting and diarrhoea.The problem is with milk,especially formula.
It’s not possible or practical to create a totally germ-free environment for your baby. But by sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment, you can reduce the risks while your baby is at its most vulnerable.

We are off to London this weekend,so it is time for my steriliser and I to say good bye,as we don’t need it anymore, this has been the excuse I need to break free.Warm soapy water,my trustee bottle brush and that will be it.
I will add, that even though I’m giving up on sterilising this weekend, we are away on holiday the end of May, and I will use these sterilising bags, just because I’m not sure how safe the countries water is.These Munchkin Steriliser Bags are ideal for nights/weekend and Holidays away,instead of lugging a steriliser with you. each bag can be used 20 times.Available from Amazon & Boots.

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Click here for more details.

I think with sterilising,defiantly do it up to 6 months and them decide what is right for you. Another problem we face is that children now have more allergies and adverse reactions to food than ever before,and the question has to be put- are we over sanitising and not allowing our children to be open to the odd bug or two,which in turn will build their immune system.

What are your thoughts on sterilising?would love to hear what you have done?
T xx

Pregnancy & Baby Books

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When I was pregnant I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of baby books on the market.I bought some books,pictured above, that I thought I would be interested in,rather than “the best reviewed”.To be honest I read about two of them in full,the rest I dipped in and out of over the 10 months I was pregnant and after Amelia was born.

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The first book I wanted to share with you is my favourite, Your Baby Week by Week,by Simone Cave & Dr.Caroline Fertleman. I actually bought after Amelia was born,on recommendation from one of my NCT girls.
This is such a fantastic book,that I now also give it as part of a gift to friends when they have new babies. I forgot to put it in my “Gifts Ideas” post. This is a handbook that I just loved. It is the only book on the market giving a week by week guide of your baby’s development from birth to 6 months.It covers the basics – sleep, feeding, crying, washing, play and development – as well as being packed full of vital information and handy tips for checking a baby’s progress.It is written by two mums,Dr Caroline Fertleman is Consultant Paediatrician at the Whittington Hospital, London, and Simone Cave health editor at the Daily Mirror.I can high recommend this book, and for £9.99, it was probably the cheapest book and most useful one I bought.
For more information click here

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The next thing is actually a Baby App, called “The Wonder Weeks”,also recommended by a friend.This app picks up from the a best selling book. Written by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans X. Plooij Both have studied in Educational Psychology, Physical Anthropology and Behavioral Biology. This app is a great quick oh to,when your baby is going through a fussy period.It
Shows when your baby makes a leap in his/her mental development
What your baby can understand & learn after this mental leap. What your baby can do after this leap.What you can do to help your baby.
Highly recommended again,the book is a more in-dept form of the app.

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So we have all heard of the “Gina Babies”, that sleep,eat and develop as per the book,with persistent training. The Contented Baby, by Gina Ford., former maternity Nurse and bestselling author.All I’ll say is I admire the parents who have stuck to this book. I bought this book early in my pregnancy and started reading it chapter by chapter, I soon realised that this style of parenting was not for me. I have no will power, and if you start the “Gina way”, you need to continue. Maybe this is why I still have a one year old that wakes at night sometimes.
This book is all about routine,I breastfed on demand for 6.5 months,so really did not have much of a routine.I felt I would be forever clock watching if I went by the rules of this book,and was uncomfortable with letting Amelia cry for long periods of time.
In saying that,I would still recommend this book as you can take snippets and adapt it to your life. Maybe review online before purchasing to see if it is the style of parenting you would like to use.
For more information see here

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I liked the look of this book The Yummy Mummy Survival Guide by Liz Fraser, however this was one of those books I dipped in and out of.Some good tips, not as glamorous as the title may lead you to believe. I think one thing I did take from this book is to take care of yourself after the birth.
See here for more information.

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Most people will have heard of or seen this book What to Expect When
You’re Expecting by Eisenberg, Murkoff and Hathaway
, this book was turned into a hilarious movie, I’ve read a couple of chapters of this book. I think I was a bit overloaded with books,ante natal classes and advice by the time I got this book,but I still dipped into it from time to time. It is an in-dept month to month guide through pregnancy.Its pretty full on, so I would think that of you are to buy the book,it’s the only pregnancy book you will need.
To read more click here</a

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What To Eat When You’re Pregnant by Dr Rana Conway
, I bought this not for so much so I’d know what to eat when “eating for two”, (pure myth by the way!), but for what foods to avoid. I’m a big coffee drinker and love diet coke,when I was working 12.5 hour shifts while pregnant,I really needed these- don’t judge!
This book was great for explaining things like explaining 200mg is the highest amount of caffeine I should be ingesting while pregnant- this equates to 2 filter coffees,2 instant or one Starbucks/Costa Americanos (these are what I drink). Cola diet or regular has 40mg per 330ml can,so I could have 1 or two with 1 coffee per day,as I said, don’t judge,I was also working nightshifts in a busy Major Trauma Emergency Department.
Anyway, would defiantly recommend this book as a go to, as a reference guide.
See here for more information.

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Pregnancy For Modern Girls by Hollie Smith, I was really looking forward to reading this book,mainly because of the title, I was quickly disappointed.Yes, it is informative,but nothing that isn’t in all the other books. I couldn’t see what is so different to make it the “book for the modern girl”.

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100,000 plus Baby Names by Bruce Lanksy, well this is what it says. I don’t think there is a name on this planet that isn’t in this book,except for mine! I had an idea of what names I liked when I was pregnant,but really enjoyed flicking through this for other ideas. I know choosing a name can be really stressful for some couples, this book gives you all the options,including what second names to put with first names.

That’s my book lot, what books did you read,enjoy,not enjoy through your pregnancy and after?
Please share. T xxx

FAMILY FRIENDLY PESTO PASTA

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I have been making this pasta salad dish for years,and thought it would be nice to share it, as it’s so quick,easy and really tasty. It’s not from a receipe, I kind of got the idea from a pasta lunch (in a plastic tub) I used to buy in M&S when I was working. I generally make it for BBQ’s and parties (this is the pasta salad dish we had for Amelia’s party), and only add the chicken if we are having it for dinner like tonight,served with a side salad.It’s delicious both hot and cold. Pesto can generally have a high salt content,but seeing as Amelia is now 1, she can have a little.If you are really worried about the salt,then you could make your own pesto,which is also pretty simple.It is also lovely with some spinach and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top.

  INGREDIENTS

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Fusilli Pasta
Cream Cheese
Pesto
Vine Tomatoes or Cherry
Olive Oil
Chicken (optional)
Pine nuts toasted (optional)
Spinach (optional)

Method

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Boil Pasta as per instructions to al Dente
Pan fry or grill chicken if using
Drain pasta and using warm pan, add pesto and cream cheese until soft.
Mix together with pasta & chopped tomatoes
Add chicken,spinach and sprinkle toasted pine nuts in top if using.
Serve with side salad.

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Happy Mothers Day

ImageThis is a very short and sweet post,as I have had a week of broken sleep,with a sick little girl for the last week,and my husband has been away.

This is my first Mothers Day,and the only thing I would love is 2 nights full sleep.

Hope everyone has a lovely day,and gets a break xxx

Door cushion hanger from http://www.maddiescrafts.co.uk/embroidered-fleece-door-pillow-ssh-new-mummy-is-sleeping-16994-p.asp

 

WHAT TO BUY…BABY GIFTS

Yesterday my sister in law sent me a message, wondering what she should buy her friend,who has just had a baby. Before Amelia,I always generally gave friends gifts of clothing when they had a new baby. When Amelia was born,we were showered with gifts,I knew I was having a little girl from about 18 weeks,so had bought loads already.We very generously were given nearly a whole wardrobe of more clothes as gifts for Amelia.She didn’t have time to wear half the stuff,which was such a shame.People have different taste, what one person loves,another may not like at all, and unless you know exactly what style they like,I’d stay clear of clothes.We appreciated everything everyone gave us,along with the beautiful cards,with lovely messages inside.

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My Top Gifts given to me on the birth of Amelia and along the way, and what I will continue to give people from now on are as follows,hope this helps people when thinking of gift ideas,they are only ideas,shop locally where you can.Spend what you can afford,

1)Vouchers- Mothercare/Mamas & Papas, these can be put towards clothes,nappies,furniture,toys etc.

Tesco/Dunnes/Supervalue/Boots/Superdrug-these are great,buying formula,nappies,wipes and food adds up.These are just as good,if not better than clothes shop vouchers,especially if it’s not the first baby.

Marks & Spencers, Next (Clothes,especially their vests wash really well)

Zara,Debenhams,The Little White Company,Gap

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2) A nice baby blanket,trust me,you can never have enough.I have a friend that buys gifts, of beautiful Lambswool Foxford Blankets. Avoca also do beautiful blankets. I still love my Foxford Blanket. www.foxfordwoolenmills.com

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3)Muslins,you can never have enough.Extra LArge ones are great for swaddling & breast feeding. From my experience Bamboo Muslins are great,extra soft and wash really well.There are plenty on the market,here are just some examples:

aden + Anais www.adenandanais.co.uk

Earth Mother www.earthmother.ie

Amazon www.amazon.com

Precious Little Ones www.preciouslittleone.com image

 

4)Fleece lined Bibs. Funky Giraffe are my choice for Baby Bibs.

www.funkygiraffebibs.co.uk image

 

 

5)Sophie the Giraffe,or any other soft teether. http://www.sophielagirafe.co.uk image

6)Sleeping Bags www.gro.co.uk (also stocked in TKMaxx plus many more places)

 

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7)Hand Cream,between washing hands and bottles,those hands dry out quickly,and it’s a nice present for the new mum.

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8)Nice Candle for the new mum,such as Jo Malone (I love her candles) www.jomalone.com

 

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9)Voucher towards Baby’s First Shoes

I love these as a first shoe, will go with anything.Click here for more details.

 

www.clarks.ie

www.russelandbromley.co.uk

 

www.johnlewis.com image

 

10)Supply of nappies (find out which brand she is using) image

 

What were your favourite or more useful baby gifts? Or what do you buy for friends that have had babies? Please share and comment xx

Amelia’s 1st Birthday Party

We held a party in our home last Saturday for family and close friends.In total we had 17 adults and 4 kids including Amelia.The house was full,and it was lovely to be able to have the party in our house. Although,Sunday I was so tired I swore never again,that next year we would go to a “Soft Play Centre”,someone else can cook and clean,but I’d still decorate.

I bought Amelia some pink and white stripe curtains when she moved into her room,and loved the look of them,so decided to buy all things pink and white stripe for her birthday decorations.
See my post on DIY party decorations.I made some of the decorations,such as the pink and white pom poms,the paper doily cones,and added a 12 month picture Gallery on the wall behind the party table,some string,Woden clothes pegs and add your pictures.I bought the rest over the last few months on eBay and Etsy.
www.ebay.co.uk
www.etsy.com

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My husband and I, got up at 7 to start the food prep.We had loads of sandwiches,smoked salmon and brown bread,pasta salad (I will post a recipe for this soon),fruit,sausages,chicken nuggets,jelly,ice-cream,popcorn,sweeties,rice crispy buns,came pops and her birthday cake (made by Cupcakes by Dee).
Sounds like a lot,but it all disappeared pretty quickly.

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Amelia had very little sleep throughout the day,which was expected.People started to arrive around her afternoon nap. She didn’t seem to mind,and was thrilled to have her cousins and friends in the house,playing in her playroom,while she was bum shuffling around after them all day.

 

We also had a great day,when most people left we sat down to a few glasses of wine and proccesco,to toast and celebrate our daughter turning ONE.
She got loads of beautiful cards and gifts,will post on them shortly.

Amelia wore a baby pink dress from Zara (still in stock),White Knit Cardigan (still in stock) from Dunnes Stores,White Tights from H&M,pink hair bow (was a gift).

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http://www.zara.com/ie/en/kids/baby-girl-%283-months-3-years%29/dresses/dress-with-appliqué-c358108p1712538.html

http://m.dunnesstores.com/knitted-cardigan//dunnesstores/fcp-product/5133482?colour=white

 

And when the party was over,the next day it was time to sit back and watch nursery rhymes with her best friend. xxxx

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What did you do for your child’s 1st Birthday?

Buggy Reviews

For most first time mums,the biggest and probably most expensive purchase you will make is the pram/buggy/stroller you choose. So you need to be well informed,set your budget,check out all the baby stores in your area,check online and read reviews from real mums.I’ve only bought one buggy (Bugaboo Cameleon 3 All Black Edition,bought in Mothercare,London),  I sent around a message to some friends,all with different types of buggies.I asked them,which buggy they chose,why they chose it,what they like and anything they dislike or would change.This is what they had to say- Starting with me:

Triona: Mum to Amelia age 12 months I chose the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, all Black Special Edition. image image My husband and I loved the look of the Bugaboo,how versatile it was in that you could change the colours from base,apron and hood and the footmuff when changed into a stroller.We changed the hood and apron to sand colour,and when we changed it into the stroller,we put back in the black hood and bought an off white footmuff.I have my eye on the Teal coloured Liner We liked its black frame. The Basinette can be use as a travel cot,which we used twice at 7 weeks and 16 weeks. The Bassinette is big,and bugaboo recommend leaving babies in this lying position until 6 months,which we did. It’s so easy to manoeuvre ,and put together. Easy to clean,covers can be washed at 30 degrees and footmuff is coated in Teflon,so if like me,I spilled coffee on my off white footmuff the first day I had it,nearly had a heart attack while pulling out the baby wipes,and it ended up wiping clean,no stain. Great on all terrains,can remove two wheels and use on snow and sand. The stroller part (after 6 months), reclines back flat for sleeping,and has two upright positions.Can be used facing out or towards you, I’ve yet to turn Amelia around.
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Things I would change- Be able to add on another seat,if we have another baby.I think Bugaboo are really missing out on a market of women here. The Raincover does not fit properly when changed from pram to stroller. The basket is small,and when using it with the basinette for the first 6 months it was near to impossible to get anything in or out without first lifting the basinette off. Extras are expensive,such as the parasol £30,I really wouldn’t bother.Last summer I spent most of time running after mine in busy London roads.The adapters that attach to buggy and car seat are expensive,so be sure you will use before you purchase.I used mine about 3 times.Bugaboo is compatible with most car seats. It’s two pieces,we have a large boot,and it just about fits.That all said,I love my buggy. In Ireland Mothercare do not stock Bugaboo,for best value,I have been told that Tralee Nursery Supplies in Co.Kerry are one of the best in Ireland,supplying a wide range of buggys from Bugaboo,a Upababy and many more.Also available from Mamas & Papas and Bellababy.

www.traleenurserysupplies.com

www.bugaboo.com www.mothercare.com

www.mamasandpapas.com

www.bellababy.ie

 

Amanda:Mum to Emily 16 months expecting baby no.2

We have the bugaboo donkey and purchased it in Peppermint, Chiswick. Have had it for over a month now and so far so good. We had the cameleon for 14 months and absolutely loved it so when we were started to look for a double it seemed best to stick to what you know and all the accessories are universal so we didn’t have to buy these again. The donkey (mono) is surprising close in size to the cameleon so no problems with doors or pavements so far. I can’t say just yet what it’s like in duo mode as I only have it in mono for now. Pros: Side by side Lovely to push and manoeuvre even with one hand which is great when you need to open doors Option to face both seats In and out Easy to switch seat positions Don’t need to buy rough terrain wheels for donkey as the wheels can be adjusted Large basket for storage Cons: Both take up alot of booth space Am finding it tricky to unfold All bugaboo accessories are separate and expensive so cost rises Will be very wide when maxi cosi car seat is attached.

www.peppermint.co.uk

www.mothercare.com

www.traleenurserysupplies.com

www.mamasandpapas.com

www.bellababy.ie

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Amy:expecting first baby in July

Just bought the icandy peach. Was torn between Bugaboo Cameleon and Icandy but decided on Icandy as it can have a second seat. Couldn’t tell you if it’s good…..come back to me in July.

www.traleenurserysupplies.com

www.all4baby.ie

www.mothercare.com

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Suzanne:Mum to 3 year old Roisin & 4 month old Ailbhe.

I bought the Phil and teds vibe…Tralee Nursery Supplies,only thing I didn’t like was the appearance of the new baby “pram” part but it’s excellent and the double kit on it is fantastic. www.traleenurserysupplies.com

www.philandteds.com image image

 

Hannah: Mum to Issabella 15 months.

I have the Uppababy Vista, it’s been my best friend! Absolutely love it!!! I bought it because it came top of the Which? report and very glad I did. The basket is the biggest of all the prams on the market and the wheels lock if you want to use it for running/exercise (which I have and it’s been fine). The built in UV sun shade is invaluable as a shade all year round for nap times and the vent in the hood was great for keeping Issabella cool in the summer. The bassinet is nice and deep with lovely soft padding. The seat moves into 6 different angles facing both forwards and backwards. Another great thing about the seat is it will last the child until they’re 4 so if you need to pop out and they’re ill you can still go out and about. It’s the best buggy around in my opinion!

www.johnlewis.com

www.upababy.co.uk

www.traleenurserysupplies.com image

 

Fiona:Mum to Kate 3 & Emma 4 weeks.

Uppababy vista, absolutely love it. Tralee gas supplies! Loads of extras , pull out sunshade SPF 50), insect net, & rain shield for both bassinet & pushchair . Huge basket underneath which is a major plus for me! Rumble seat attachment available for second child, plus a piggyback skateboard, all very simple to attach ! The only thing is that it takes up so much space in the boot of the car as the frame itself is quite big ! I couldn’t recommend this buggy enough ! image

 

Shauna:Mum to Dawson 6 months

I have the Jane Trider 3 wheeler with great suspension good for running and off road.Its a travel system with car sear, buggy, and the best part; a hard shell pram/carrycot that can be put in the back of the car. Weve used it to drive from Uk to ireland twice. Baby slept most of the way. www.pramworld.co.uk

www.preciouslittleone.com image

 

Lisa:Mum to Lilly 7 months

We bought the purple version of Baby Elegence Beep Twist It comes with pram,carrycot, & stroller very reasonably priced also included is rain cover for pram! The carrycot can be used in any car without the isofix, the wheels are easy put together it just pops up & is quiet compact & light! We purchased ours in The Pram Centre, Kilkenny & the manager put it all together for us, Overall it’s easy get around narrow cobbles in Kilkenny and nice & tidy going in & out of shops even the granny’s can manage putting it together! The only problem I find with it is attaching the carrycot to d wheels as lily gets bigger it’s harder to lock it with balance that would be my only issue with it. www.pramworld.co.uk

www.argos.com

www.preciouslittleone.com image

 

Therese:Mum to Ethan 13 months

Bugaboo Bee Review: purchased online at Pramworld. Positives The Bee can be folded quickly and easily and with the seat in place. It is small, light and compact to the extent it will fit into a small car boot. It’s so easy to push and manoeuvre. It has an adjustable handle which is good for posture. The Bee is designed for the urban lifestyle. The seat is forward and rear facing and reclines in both positions. The seat also extends forward and upward so grows with the child. It can take a child up to 17kg. All covers are removable and can be put in the washing machine. Negatives: Attaching and removing the main seat to the chaise can be difficult.The seat is forward and rear facing and reclines in both positions. The seat also extends forward and upward so grows with the child. It can take a child up to 17kg. All covers are removable and can be put in the washing machine. Negatives: Attaching and removing the main seat to the chaise can be difficult. Access to the basket is difficult when the child I’d forward facing. When the seat is forward facing in the reclined position with shopping /baby bag on the handle bar the Weight is not distributed equally which can cause the front wheels to lift. The rain cover attachments poor- one snapped after 2 months.

www.pramworld.co.uk

www.mothercare.com

wwww.traleenurserysupplies.com

www.bugaboo.com image

 

Kirsten:   Mum to Sonny & Alfie,both 13 months

 

Bugaboo Donkey in Duo.

Pros: it is so easy to manoeuvre and incredibly light to turn – I can turn it with one hand. It is great off road too, you can go into two wheel mode and pull it over sand / pebbles, which is brilliant when living by the sea. It is extremely versatile with its seating arrangements – more than any other double, I believe. I wanted the boys to be side-by-side and facing me when they were tiny, and even now most of the time. Lots of doubles don’t offer that. I don’t like pushchairs where one baby is above the other, and so wanted a side-by-side. I probably would have accidentally kicked the one on the bottom, oops. It folds many ways, although I have had problems with the folding mechanism – see cons. You can make it a single seater – I love this. I used to have one twin in a sling and one in the pram. It’s great when out with just one of the boys. I also love the shopper. The adjustable height handle bar. The colours are nice and it is a smart, relatively sleek design (for something so big). Okay, so it’s not the bee. It is not ridiculously long. Seriously, I saw some doubles that were as long as a bus (well it seemed that way to me at the time). One even had a steering wheel type mechanism. I nearly cried when I thought this was my twin future. It is a bugaboo and beautifully made. It fits in our Golf.

Cons: It is expensive. It cost more than my first car. (That was a while ago though.) As with everything Bugaboo all the extras cost a lot extra. I had problems with the folding mechanism sticking; it used to really annoy me as I couldn’t fold it quickly. However, Bugaboo / Mothercare aftercare was great and they replaced my frame, no problem. I still find it a bit awkward though. I have heard other people say the same, so I think there is probably a general problem with this. I bought a 2nd hand City Jogger to leave at my Mum’s and it folds in one simple, brilliantly clever motion – a lot, lot easier than the Donkey. It is wide. But then I have twins, there will always be challenges. I just find a shop door I can fit through

www.bugaboo.com

www.mothercare.com

wwww.mammasandpappas.com

www.traleenurserysupplies.com image  What travel mode do you use for your little one?Why did you choose it?What do you like and dislike/would change about it?

Please share xx

Chicken & Apple Balls,Family Friendly & Fun Food Ideas

Today I was going to write a post on Amelia’s party, however my husband has gone away with work,and all the pictures are on his tablet.So will do it once he gets back in a few days.

Taken from Annabel Karmel website

Taken from Annabel Karmel website

This morning I have made Amelia Chicken & Apple Balls,which I’ll serve with some carrot sticks and cucumber. This is the first time we have tried these.Recipe taken from Annabel Karmel. I’m waiting on arrival of her Toddler Cook Book,so will have some new recipes to try soon.

Ingredients

2 tsp light olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
½ tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme or sage, chopped, or a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled (from 1 year)
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper (from 1 year)
Plain flour for coating
Vegetable oil for frying

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Method

Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté half the onion for about 3 minutes.
Using your hands, squeeze out a little excess liquid from the grated apple.
Mix the apple with the chicken, then add the cooked and remaining raw onion, herbs stock cube (from 1 year) and breadcrumbs and roughly chop in a food processor for a few seconds. Season with a little salt and pepper (from 1 year).
With your hands, form into about 20 little balls, roll in flour and fry in shallow oil for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and cooked through.

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Hope ye enjoy,let me know if you make it and if your little ones enjoy them. I’m having a cup of coffee now,and finishing off the remaining party food xx

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First Birthday Cake

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Yesterday we celebrated Amelia’s 1st Birthday,with a party for family and close friends. Today is her actual birthday,but held the party yesterday to suit everyone travelling.It was a great day,we are exhausted today,so will do a “Party Post” in the next few days.

I really wanted to do a post on her cake,made by Cupcakes by Dee,https://m.facebook.com/Cupcakesbydee?id=110988952265750&refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCupcakesbydee

Based in Tralee,Co.Kerry, Cupcakes by Dee never fails to provide cupcakes and Cakes with style and great taste. She also made Amelia’s Christening cake,we were so happy with it,that I knew we would get her to make her birthday cake,and we like to support small businesses.

Here is the cake,I asked for a one tier cake based on the cake and cushion pictured.Amelias birthday cake was a lemon sponge,with a homemade lemon curd,it was amazing.

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For her Christening we had a Chocolate Biscuit cake,which was also amazing,and again Cupcakes by Dee,delivered exactly what I had asked for.

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Birthday Party DIY IDEAS

We are having a small birthday party for Amelia this weekend.When I bought her new pink and white candy stripe curtains for her room I thought of this idea for her birthday.Pink and White Stripe,very girly.
I’m going to do the food,and a friend will make her cake. Cupcakes by Dee (find her on Facebook,Cupcakes by Dee). She made Amelia’s Christening cake,and I loved it. These are the pictures I sent of ideas for the cake.Really looking forward to seeing it.
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Amelia’s Christening Cake
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I’ve made some decorations myself,and bought everything else from eBay or Etsy,I’ll set up a table.and people can just take what they want. We will only have approx 4 children under 2 coming,so it’s more of am adults party.
I made these pom poms yesterday,cheap and easy to make.The cheaper the tissue paper the better,so get some in a £/€ store.

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1.To make the pom poms,roll 8-10 sheets of paper back and forth to make a fan.
2.Use a piece of wire or string to tie in the middle.
3.Cut to round edges.
4.Place a piece of string into the in the centre to hang.
5.Pull out each piece of tissue paper individually to create your pom pom.

I’ve also made these cones (so cheap),from paper doilies. Just roll and stick with a piece of tape. I’ve used pink ones here. I’ll use them for popcorn and sweeties.

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Here is a few other bits and pieces I’ve picked up over the last few months,will post after the party to see what it is all like together. What did you do for your child’s 1st Birthday?


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Family Friendly Dinner Ideas

Today I’ve made a one-pot dinner,that we can all eat. Whether you are cooking for a baby,toddler,older child or adults,this is suitable for all.I will purée Amelia’s a little,just to make it lumpy. You can change the receipe to suit you,I have halved the amount of sugar,and added two apples as an alternative.If cooking for children,try and use unsalted butter,and season after to taste.

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Slow Cooked Brown Sugar,Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
5 Tbs. butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar (4 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Put the chicken and sweet potatoes in a casserole dish.
Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter. Add salt and pepper.
Pour over chicken and sweet potatoes,and apples if using.
Cook on at 250 degrees for 1.5 hrs

Serve with Rice.

Recipe taken from www.eatathomecooks.com

St.Patricks Day,Farewell Trafalgar Square.

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This day last year I was sitting in our London flat,4 days overdue,afraid to go too far away from the house,and feeling terribly sorry for myself that I was missing all the Paddys Day craic (fun) in Trafalgar Square. This, was, I suppose the end of our all day drinking,requesting Paddys Day and the next off work.Myself and my husband went to Uni in Edinburgh and then down to London.Edinburgh was just as great fun,and being Irish away from home,we really did milk it.
London on Paddys day, before Amelia,started off with a big fry somewhere in town and then on to Trafaglar Square,meeting with friends,and ending up in some mess in Waxys or some other Irish bar,resulting in very sick heads.Oh how all that has changed.

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Today was Amelia’s first St.Patricks Day,and first parade. It’s the first time I’ve gone to watch a parade since I was about 12. It was far too uncool after that age. Today,there was no sight of beer or dancing around drunk with friends in a square,not caring about the rain or cold. Nope,today we were like any other family with a small child,standing in the rain,worrying about whether she was too cold,was she getting wet,was she tired or hungry,while we watched the local Irish Dancers,Scouts,Pipe Band and so many more groups walk up the Main Street of where we now live.Amelia had not a clue what was going on,and was far more interested in pulling glasses off a strangers face next to us. We stayed for an hour,and are home now drinking tea and coffee. Save last year,this has been my most sober Paddys Day in a long time. Yes, I would give my right arm to be heading up to Waxys right now,and drinking the night away,but not in exchange for Amelia.

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What did you do today for St.Patricks Day?

DIY HANDPRINTS

So last week I saw a picture online similar to what I have done.Handprints of my husband,Amelia and I stacked. I wanted to give it a try,and had no idea if it would even work out.First attempt was a success. It took a few days to complete,having to leave paint dry.I used an old picture frame,painted it cream and sanded the edges.Here is how we did it.

Cut some card to the size of your frame.
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We used poster paint,it washes off easily and dries quickly. I left each hand print for 12 hrs,before doing the next.Here is Daddy’s hand.
We used poster paint.First handprint is left dry for 12 hrs.

Choose a contrasting colour and let dry. Mummy’s hand.
Second hand print,choose a contrasting colour.

Take a lighter colour (I just mixed some white paint with a tiny bit of red),and do your child’s hand.Try and get someone to help you with this part.Once it was dry,I wrote Daddy,Mummy & Me on top and March 2014 below.
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Once dry,and your happy,pop into a frame. I’m thrilled with the final result.Its not perfect,but we made it together.Great memories.
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What’s in My Changing Bag

This has been written for OhSoAmelia Sunday Link Up www.ohsoamelia.com

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I bought my floral Cath Kidston changing bag,before I even knew I was having a girl.You are going to have your changing bag with you every day,so you have to like it! This has multiple pockets,waterproof and can be wiped clean inside and out,made with oil cloth and plastic.It also came with a wipe clean changing mat and bottle holder (I’ve never used this). After 12 months,I’ve used it every day,as my bag and Amelia’s,I’m getting tired of it,but it’s in perfect condition,so can’t justify buying a new one.

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I keep some hand gel hanging off the side of mine (inside the little elephant), hand hygiene with a teething baby is crucial,when rubbing their gums with your fingers.
These are a couple of toys we keep inside the bag,mostly to chew on, and her Baby Einstein music toy.

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Inside her bag I keep 3-4 nappies,wipes,nappy bags,bepanthen,Baby powder (for swimming),her hairbrush,teetha granules,calgel and a muslin,this is more out of habbit from when I was breastfeeding her.Although it comes in handy for shading her from the sun when she is in her buggy and for cleaning a dirty face.

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Lastly,I keep some Dettol Antibacterial wipes,for when we are out,I always give highchairs a quick wipe,and Tommy Tippee antibacterial wipes,can be used on bottle/toys etc when flung out of the buggy,like my little miss does.Her “Red Book”, medical records book.

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I keep her food separate, as there isn’t much room left.I bought a thermal lunch bag that keeps food hot or cool. Inside her bag today is some rice cakes,cucumber and tomatoe,milk,water and a yogurt.

A Morning on The Farm

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Today we were lucky to be invited along to Ardmore Open Farm,Ardmore,Co.Waterford.The sun was shining and the farm overlooks Ardmore Bay and the Irish Sea. Opened in June 2013,on the site of an old farm,it is a child’s playground.Both educational and entertaining,they have over 60 different species and 100 different animals.

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We had such a lovely morning,we saw some of the usual animals you would see on a farm,Ponies,(they had a beautiful white pony),Donkeys,Pigs,Goats,Sheep and Hens.To the more unusual,such as White Owls, Lammas,Deer,Hampshire Down Sheep and Chipmunks,to name but a few.

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Some parts of the fields were empty,however I was told that some animals are put inside for winter,and in the summer months are outside. Amelia loves birds,so when we stumbled across a big aviary I was thrilled.Her mouth was open the whole time we were in there,staring at the multicoloured birds,we also saw chipmunks, rabbits and guinea pigs.

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There is a playground outside,so Amelia had a go on the swings,soft play area inside for over 4′s and a smaller one for younger children.Here you can host Birthday parties,there is loads of space for kids to run around.At Christmas they have a Christmas Grotto,with Santa Clause,which has been very popular. Highly recommended for school tours.

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After all this,we sat down to give Amelia her lunch.We had some tea and a snack.Two things that have to be mentioned here,very reasonably priced for refreshments and extremely clean. We sat in front of a lovely log stove.Amelia wore her farm animal dress from Mothercare.

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Something that I was delighted to see,and mums & dads,you will understand this!A toilet in the baby changing room,it makes life so much easier.
All in all we had a wonderful time at Ardmore Open Farm,Amelia May have been a bit too young (almost 1), to fully understand it,but we will defiantly be back. We had great fun (crazy parents),singing Old MacDonald as we went around,so that Amelia would recognise the animals. I would recommend ages 2 +, for your child to really enjoy it.If you are passing it near beautiful Ardmore,this is one not to be missed.
Thank you to Bridget Collins and staff for having us,we had a great morning.
www.ardmoreopenfarm.ie

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OOTD Thursday & Friday

Yesterday we went to play group in the morning,Amelia enjoyed it so much, and I got to sit down and have coffee and chat to the other mums. Since leaving London 2 months ago, I’m really missing my “mummy friends”,so it was nice to sit back and chat with grown ups.
They had a lady with a guitar singing songs and dancing,all the kids & mums joined in. After,Amelia played with all the toys and with the other kids after.

Amelia’s Blouse is from the Paddington Bear Collection at Gap Kids (still in stock),I love this collection and have a few bits.Amelia was born in Paddington,London,so it has a bit of nostalgia for me.Her leggings are from H&M.Mini clip from Primark.

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www.gap.co.uk
www.hm.com

Today we are not going to do very much as we have a busy weekend ahead,we are off to Ardmore Open Farm tomorrow,which I plan on doing a review about.
Amelia is wearing a blouse & leggings from Du Pareil au Meme,I got these in their store in Kilkenny,Ireland. Mini clip from Primark.

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Do you go to play groups?What does your little one like to do?music,dance swimming?

Teething….Our Journey

My experience with teething or Tooth Eruption in medical terms,has been a learning curve,like any other first time mum!Amelia appeared to start teething at approximately 4 months,biting,chewing and irratable. Unfortunetly for my little girl, her first tooth did not appear until she was 10 months.

Chewing on my Toy

Chewing on my Toy

Needless to say we were all delighted to finally see a tooth.
Amelia has been different in her teething journey, in comparison to the average baby,or what the books tell you. She was a “dry teether”, little to no drool,which I have been told is incredibly painful.I have friends who could change up to 15 bibs per day, when their little ones were teething.I had bought a mountain of pretty bibs in advance,but they weren’t needed.

chewing Sophie the Giraffe.

chewing Sophie the Giraffe.

Another thing that was different for Amelia (in comparison to what the books tell you), is that her first tooth was her bottom front tooth,then her top front,bottom tooth again,top side teeth and then top tooth again (bit of a mind boggle!).
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Generally your babies teeth will develop in this order-
The bottom front teeth and then the top front teeth (or the bottom and top incisors) rear their pearly white heads first, followed by the teeth immediately to their side (the lateral incisors). The first molars are usually next, followed by the canine teeth (located between the lateral incisors and the first molars), and, finally, the second molars (around your baby’s second birthday).

At 11.5 months,she now has 6 teeth,they all just came together,which has resulted in a lot of sleepless nights,refusing food,stinky nappies and a cranky baby.

Main signs of Teething
1. Drooling,or in Amelia’s case,no drool.
2.Chin or face rash,red cheeks,spots in cheeks at site of tooth and dry cheeks.
3.Coughing,all that drool can make baby cough and gag.
4.Biting,pressure from the tooth emerging can be painful,so counter pressing (biting),is your baby’s way to relieve it.
5.Pain -this is pretty obvious
6.Low Grade Temperature
7.Diarrhoea-this has never been proven,but I know Amelia gets “bad” nappies when teething.
8.Irritable and not sleeping,this is due to pain.
9.Pulling at ears and cheeks,the nerve endings from the gums are all connected to these.
10.Refusal to feed,this again is generally due to pain. Give yogurts,baby rice,ice cream,custard and Amelia loves cool sliced cucumber.

My “go to” products for teething are-
Sophie the giraffe (I pop hers in the fridge),or any other type of teething ring/toy.
Nelson’s Teetha Granules (I rub the granules along her gums).Available from all leading pharmacies.
Calgel Teething Gel- it’s the only thing that worked for me in regards gels.Only available in the UK,so get friends to order you some.We moved home with a couple months supply,Amelia’s Aunty and friends send us some when needed.
Calpol and Neurofen every 4 hours or as recommended.Ensure to read instructions and give correct dose.

www.sophielagirafe.co.uk
www.nelsonsnaturalworld.com
www.boots.ie www.boots.co.uk

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When did your baby get his/her first teeth,how was it?Did they come in order?Wet or Dry teether?
Would love to hear other peoples experience x

BREAST IS BEST OR IS IT? An honest opinion

This was to date, has been my most popular blog,so will repost for new viewers x

Swim,Swim,Swim….Baby Swimming Class

Wednesday is our day for swimming classes. I started taking Amelia to swimming lessons when she was 6 weeks old in London.We have gone every week since.In the first few years of your baby’s life they experience a huge development as their brain grows much faster than in later years. Introducing your baby to water from an early age helps them avoid the traumatic experience that older children sometimes suffer when introduced to water later on. More importantly it is believed that babies who learn key life saving skills from an early age, many of whom can swim by as young as 2 years old, whilst not drown proof, have a much greater regard for water and are safer around it. It enables them to make new brain connections and strengthen their learning through exercise and stimulation.
Introducing babies to swimming,aids and improves babies and children’s development in many areas such as: physically, intellectually, language development, emotionally and socially.
In London we were lucky enough to go to a purpose built baby swimming pool,it was lovely and warm,and perfect for her first introduction to the water.
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Allowing Amelia to attend swimming classes from such a young age,for me has been about water safety,awareness and lastly learning to swim.She allows us to pour water over her face washing her hair,without a tear in sight.Amelia will kick and splash around the pool for half an hour,prompted by kick,kick,kick and swim,swim,swim. Jumping/falling into the pool with help from me,and is happy to be submersed a couple of times in our half hour lessons.What I want Amelia to gain from her classes is, confidence,respect and a love of water.

Many people are a bit cautious of bringing their babies into a pool prior to their full set of vaccinations,however the WHO (World Health Organisation), recommended they get used to water from an early age,and that having full set of vaccinations is not needed.Some leisure facilities may suggest that babies shouldn’t go swimming until they have had all of their jabs. However, this advice probably dates back to when polio was common and people were concerned it could spread in busy places like public swimming pools.

Amelia all ready to dive in!

Amelia all ready to dive in!

My Top 10 Tips for Taking Your Babies Swimming:

1)Ensure they have a sleep and food 40 mins prior to lesson.
2)Bring two towels for baby,1 for coming out of the pool and 1 to dry baby off. Don’t forget your towel and underwear!I go with my swimsuit on,makes it a lot easier.
3)I never use baby powder on Amelia (because of risk of respiratory problems,research studies have shown),however after swimming I use a little,it helps dry her quicker.
4)Invest in a “Happy Nappy”,from Splash About see here, a double lined reusable swimming nappy,can be used with or without a swimming nappy (I use a Huggies swimming nappy inside).In London I used a “Happy Nappy” bottoms,the pool we use in Ireland is cooler,so use their swimsuit,which is also great for UV protection.

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5)Ensure the facility has adequate changing facilities for babies and facilites for feeding post swim.
6)Bring a toy/something to distract them while you are getting changed.
7)Bring food/bottle or of breast feeding be prepared,babies generally can be hungry after their session and will avoid a crying baby in the car home.
8)Be disciplined and bring them regularly once you start,as it takes a while for them to get used to the water.
9)Don’t give up,most babies will love it after a few lessons.
10)Enjoy it,you may not have the next Dan Hope in the pool,but it will be a life experience your child will have forever.

We went to the park after swimming today as the sun is shining.Amelia is wearing a ditsy dress and tights from NEXT and coat from Zara.
www.next.co.uk
www.zara.com
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Apple and Pear,with a pinch of Cinnamon & What Amelia Wore

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This morning when Amelia was having her nap,I made her some stewed apple and pear,with a pinch of cinnamon.

Ingredients -
2 apples, peeled and chopped
2 ripe pears,peeled and chopped
Couple of tablespoons of water
Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg

Cook until fruit is soft.Puree to desired consistency.Ideal for freezing.

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Today Amelia wore a blouse from Du Pareil Au Meme,Leggings from H&M and her London bib from Francesca Baby.We are off to the park today,to enjoy the swings in the sunshine for a change.

http://en.dpam.com (top)
https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/FrancescaBaby (bib)
www.hm.com

Have a lovely day x

Cheesy Rice Balls and Spaghetti Bolognese

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I generally do my batch cooking for Amelia on a Monday. Today I tried something new,Cheesy Rice Balls (made with Risotto Rice),it was so easy to make.Amelia had 1 rice ball and some steamed carrot mashed for lunch,she loved it!Thank god,because I have 24 rice balls in the freezer!
I also made her favourite Spaghetti Bolognese,we also had this for dinner.Its so tasty.
About 90% of the food I cook for Amelia is from Annabel Karmel’s books,Weaning and 100 Top Purées (you can choose how much you need to purée).
Both the receipes above are from these books.I make about 3 times the quantity,so I can batch freeze.
I purée the mince a little and chop up the spaghetti.
Happy cooking x

My First Spaghetti Bolognese
from Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
3/4 cup wiped and sliced button mushrooms
5 ounces lean ground beef
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
a pinch of brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 ounces spaghetti

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic and onion for 2 minutes.
Add the grated carrot and saute for 2 minutes more.
Pour in the remaining oil and saute the mushrooms for about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the ground beef in a dry frying pan until browned.
Add ground beef to the vegetables together with the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and bay leaf.
Cover the saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes; remove bay leaf.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, but do not add salt.
Puree the cooked meat using a handheld electric blender for a smoother texture.
Chop up the spaghetti into short lengths and stir into the Bolognese

Cheesy Rice Balls

INGREDIENTS
100g (3 1/2oz)risotto rice
250ml (8floz)unsalted vegetable stock or water
55g (2oz) Cheddar cheese,grated
15g (1/2oz)Parmesan cheese
2 tsp finely chopped chives
pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS
1
Put the rice and stock or water in a small non-stick saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat as low as possible, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
2
Add 2 tbsp water, stir, re-cover, and cook for another 10 minutes until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
3
Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and leave for 10-15 minutes until cool enough to handle. Stir in the cheeses, chives, and season with pepper to taste.
4
Roll teaspoonfuls into balls using your hands. Serve right away, or place in a sealed container and chill immediately. The balls will keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours or can be frozen then thawed overnight in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.

What Amelia Wore Today

We are going to Soft Play today,so it’s easier for Amelia to be in leggings and a blouse,rather than a dress.
Today she is wearing a ditsy print top from the Little Bird range by Jools Oliver at Mothercare.Leggins from Next and as always a clip,this sparkle white one is from Primark.
Also Amelia’s romper and dress arrived from The Chunk Store,absolutely love them,quality is really good. Think it may be a while until the dress fits her. Thank you The Chunk Store,fast delivery and great quality clothes. www.thechunkstore.com

DIY Blackboard

DIY Blackboard.

Our Sleep Routine………What Routine????

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Baby Fruit Crumble, A Firm Favourite

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I try and give Amelia at least one piece of fruit every day. She is only now really taking finger food,so I give her part cooked,sliced apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon,Pear and sometimes Bananas (she has to be in the mood).
A firm favourite in our house at the moment is Annabel Karmel’s fruit crumble. Amelia would probably eat this for breakfast,lunch and dinner if I gave it to her!
Give it a try,I promise your baby/child/husband ;-), will love it! It’s such a simple, fool proof receipe,even the worst cooks won’t go wrong!

Ingredients

3 Strawberries,husk removed and quartered
1 ripe pear,pealed and chopped
1 Peach,peeled and chopped

Method

Put all the fruit into a pan,heat gently until all the fruit has softened.Puree the fruit,for older babies,leave some lumps.Crush the rusk in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.
Mix the crushed rusk into the fruit mixture,pop into some pots.Freeze once cooled.

This will make roughly 3-4 portions,I generally make four times the amount and freeze.

www.annabelkarmel.com

Clothes Haul,A Baby No Longer

With Amelia’s 1st birthday fast approaching, I’ve started to notice a lot of her clothes are suddenly getting too small for her (sad face), this means bye,bye baby sizes and hello toddler department. Some things still fit,but I’ve even notice a growth spurt this week,as her head is almost at the top of her Maxi Cosi Pebble car seat….I’m finding it hard to change over to her big car seat (Maxi Cosi Axsis in Confetti), because it’s the end of the baby stage,even though the new car seat is sitting looking pretty in her playroom!
So this week I took advantage of the Mothercare sale,and I had an extra 20% off on top,and bought Amelia some new “threads”, some for now and some for our holiday in May, I also picked up a coat for next winter from my favourite collection in Mothercare “Little Bird”, by Jools Oliver

http://www.mothercare.com/little-bird/clothing_little_bird,default,sc.html

Mothercare are doing 2 for £10 on loads of their items. http://www.mothercare.com
I came across a great website this week,The Chunk Store, picked up a beautiful summer dress and a romper.Check them out on www.thechunkstore.com
Have a lovely weekend,feel free to comment,follow on Bloglovin & Instagram (alittelondoner1).
We are off to party at a wedding xxx

MUMMY FRIENDS – Essential for new mums.Dedicated to my NCT group

June 2012, I found myself in London, pregnant with my first baby,with a great husband and lovely friends,but I did not have friends with children.I had fantastic work colleagues,who dished out advise,but as any Londoner knows,meeting up with people outside of work is very difficult unless you live in the same area. I had one friend at work who was pregnant at the same time,and lived roughly in the same area,she became a closer friend as our bumps grew,we were a constant shoulder to lean in for each other, I will always be so grateful to have had her around at that time, thank you H.C. Our babies were born 13 weeks apart,so at times,we were at completely different ends of motherhood,but she was my adviser and remains a great friend.
January 2013, I started my NCT (National Childbirth Trust) antenatal classes. The NCT is the UK’s largest and most respected independent provider of antenatal support.I had the option to take the free classes at the NHS hospital that I was having Amelia in, but after a lot of research,I decided to go to the NCT classes in my local area.
I sat next to a girl on the bus home one day when I was about 37 weeks pregnant,she asked me if I was doing NCT classes,and that they would be the most expensive friends I’ve ever made but would be invaluable -oh how right she was!
We (myself and my husband), arrived at the first class in early January and met 5 other couples,who were to become my lifeline,backbone and second family.We all hit it off immediately,and once the classes had finished after about 7 weeks,and we have commenced maternity leave,we started to meet up at least once a week.We would eat cake,drink tea and coffee (decaf of course!), moan about being fat,big babies,not sleeping,our husbands and of course,LABOUR!
The babies came one by one,Amelia was the last,they are all 1 now,and we are waiting to celebrate Amelia’s first birthday
When all the babies were born we had a lovely reunion in L.S. house,babies,mums,dads and our lovely NCT leader L.T.
We all joined baby massage,music classes,swimming classes and almost spent every weekday together.
Summer came with sunny sky’s for the summer in London we spent our days in the parks,trying out buggy fit first,and sitting down to picnics after,the babies were getting big so fast,but of course we didn’t notice this.
We supported each other through breastfeeding,bottle feeding,sleepless nights,weaning,teething and returning to work,with the anxieties of putting our little ones into child care.
One of the girls announced her second pregnancy in July,we were a just thrilled for her,there is now another mum expecting.We have had nights out,which ended in some very bad hangovers!
I have now moved away,as are three other couples soon,I miss them dearly,we speak every week,and we will all see each other again in a few weeks for a big First Birthday Party in London for our special babies.
This is why doing ante natal classes,joining mummy and baby groups is essential…it keeps you sane. Being a new mum can be isolating at the best of times. The first month will be filled with visitors and getting to know your new baby,then you will need something to fill your days with. Go and meet your forever mummy friends like I did.
T.B,L.S,K.E.,S.M and S.E.,husbands and babies,I will be eternally grateful for our friendship xx

www.nct.org.uk