The first studio portrait of my two girls together taken at Little E's nursery. Love Little I's rabbit in the headlights expression!
Quite possibly my favourite presents from Santa
Our happy baby is back! After over three weeks of severe bronchitis a second round of antibiotics cleared up Little I's chest infection within days. The change is unbelievable. She is sleeping through the night and her appetite has returned. But I must admit I missing my poorly snuggles just a little!
The clever monkey has learnt how to pull herself up. She climbs up at any opportunity and has even worked out how to slip out of her sleepy bag and stand up in her cot. At first she couldn't work out how to get herself back down but just today she has learnt to bump back down on her bum. She can't quite sofa surf yet but she is working really hard to figure it out.
Of course standing up means she can reach higher on the Christmas tree! We already had to take all the decorations off the lower branches but now after a stand and grab attack we have had to remove all the baubles on the left hand side too. So now the tree is rather lopsided!
She is very vocal and has found her squeal voice which she finds hilarious. 'Mama' and 'Dada' are clearly recognisable and she calls for me constantly when I leave the room. She waves at everyone from her pram or the shopping trolley which gets lots of attention. She has got the hang of clapping and tends to do it when she is excited and she uses her 'pointy finger' to show us what she wants or when she is confused!
We can't wait for the next few magical days as we spend our first Christmas as a family of four together. It is going to be chaos but that'll just make it more fun! Here's the obligatory cute Christmas photo, she is so scrummy!
It is Christmas week and we have been ramping up the festive fun over the past few days. Santa has featured highly on the agenda.
Little E and her Bestie Little B met a very impressive Santa at Hobbledown's lunch with Santa. This was the first year they weren't scared and to my astonishment they walked confidently into grotto without even a hint of unease. Look! an actual photo of them next to Santa!
Little I was a little unsure when she met the big man and cling firmly to the Elf who was bouncing her about.
The the Rotary Club float passed by our house at bedtime blasting out Christmas tunes. The timing could not have been more perfect as I had just told Little E she was about to be transferred to the naughty list for younger sibling bullying when the doorbell rang. Her face was a picture when she saw Santa standing there. She now believes I have the power to summon him at will. Genius!
Our final encounter with Santa was at the nursery Christmas party. A very friendly Santa he was too, if a little less authentically dressed than the Hobbledown Santa! (Note: it was completely accidental that Little E was wearing the same clothes to meet both Santas. She does have more than out outfit, promise...)
There a few days left between now and Christmas Eve so we may meet Santa again on our travels but of we don't we have been given out instructions; we have been nominated to feed Cupid this year (he likes carrots and apples apparently) and Santa requested a traditional mince pie and a glass of milk. Yum!
The transition from breast to bottle feeding was stressful with both my babies. Most recently Little I refused to take anything from a bottle. We spent weeks offering her every kind of teat and bottle combination under the sun until one day at around 7mths old she relented for no obvious reason. There are lots of positives about moving onto bottles (being able to leave baby with Husband for an evening is top of the list) but feeding when out and about is not one of them. Trying to cajole a screaming baby to drink a cold bottle or find a coffee shop who will inevitably over heat the bottle so you have to wait for it to cool down (with baby still screaming) is enough to make you stay at home!
If you are one of those lucky people whose baby will drink room temperature milk straight from the pre-mixed carton I am super jealous but we all know how expensive those ready to drink pouches are. You can of course mix the powdered bottle up before you go and keep it in an insulated pouch but the longer mixed formula is kept warm the risk of bacteria build-up increases. I know you are all shaking your heads in despair now but do not fear! There is a NEW product which just may save our sanity...
The Myyfeed is a very clever invention which stores hot water and formula separately in a thermos ready for you to mix just before baby needs a feed reducing the bacteria worries. Hurrah! And to make life even easier it cleverly mixes the formula for you reducing the risk of accidents and spillages.
This is how it works...
You measure your milk powder into the dispenser (It can hold up to 9 scoops). Then you measure the correct amount of boiling water into the bottle and screw the dispenser tightly onto the top...
You then store the bottle with dispenser attached and the bottle top/teat inside the thermos and pop the lid on tightly.
When you need to feed baby you simply remove the bottle and attached dispenser from the thermos and press the button on top to release the powder. The plunger then acts as a mixer to help disperse the powder.
The recommended temperature to mix milk to kill any bacteria in the milk powder is 70degreesC. The boiled water in the thermos drops to this temperature after approximately 1.5hrs. But remember this is far too hot for baby to drink so you need to mix about 10mins before feed time to allow it to cool down to a safe temperature.
And it is that simple! I am very impressed how well designed the unit is. I shook the bottle pretty vigorously for the test and it did not leak at all.
The Myyfeed is compatible with Myyfeed bottles or widely available Tommee Tippee bottles. Unfortunately Little I refuses to drink from anything other than 80p standard neck bottles which don't fit in the Myyfeed or either of our sterilisers... So I am back to square one banging my head against a wall! But I throughly recommend the clever Myyfeed to mums of less fussy babies for a hassle free, budget friendly on the go bottle warming solution.
Myyfeed retails at £19.99 and is available from Amazon, Tesco and Argos. Find out more at myyfeed.com
I was sent a Myyfeed to review but all opinions are my own.
Whether I have braved the supermarket hoards or am sitting in comfort at home virtual shopping, one item that always makes it into my trolley is cooked meat. A fridge staple, I use it for sandwiches, salads and snacks. I was intrigued to hear of a brand new range of cooked meats launching to help make busy parent's lives even easier.
The Cherry Tree Farm range consists of seven different cooked meat products. They have challenged me to cook 7 meals in 7 days (ideally in 7 minutes) using the range. It was a pretty fun challenge and the products are so versatile it was easy to whip up lots of quick, yummy lunches and dinners. I admit some took me more than seven minutes to cook but all took less than seven minutes to prepare.
Day 1: British Roast Chicken
Chicken and broccoli risotto
Perfect for a cold winter night this risotto was super easy to make. Simply fry off shone chopped onions and garlic. Add the risotto rice. Toast the rice for a few minutes stirring continually then add chicken stock gradually. Just before the rice is ready throw in some cooked broccoli and shredded Cherry Tree Farm British Roast Chicken. Serve with some grated cheese.
Day 2: British Roast Turkey
Very quick and full of protein to fill kids up. My daughter and the baby loved this tasty 2 egg omelette which I served with some chopped tomato and cucumber.
Day 3: British Turkey Ham (Wafer thin)
Turkey ham and cheese crackers
This was a super quick pre-nursery lunch for Little E. The wafer thin turkey ham is so tasty it is perfect on a cracker. We chose seeded multigrain crackers which are super healthy and topped with some grated cheese and pickle.
Day 4: British Roast Chicken Chunks
Chicken Napolitana pasta
My kids love pasta. To balance the carbohydrate these generous chicken chunks can be tossed into any pasta dish. For this recipe I made a homemade tomato and garlic pasta sauce with a splash of balsamic vinegar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. You can top with cheese to help with their dairy intake.
Day 5: British Chicken Tikka Chunks
Chicken Tikka pimped pizza
This one is a bit of a cheat! Husband is not a fan of plain cheese and tomato pizza so I popped the chunky chicken tikka pieces on top, drizzled a little olive oil and popped it in the oven. It transformed a boring pizza into a gourmet dinner. Delicious and mega easy.
Day 6: British 'Hicory Smoked' Turkey
Turkey and cucumber submarine rolls
Little E is going through a funny phase where she won't eat sandwiches but she will eat rolls... These Hicory Smoked Turkey slices are perfect for folding up and popping in a roll. Great for lunch boxes too.
Day 7: British 'American Fried' Chicken (Wafer thin)
Cheese and chicken topped jacket potatoes.
This was my favourite dish of the week. I cooked the jacket potatoes in the oven then spilt them open and filled with grated cheese and the American Fried Chicken. Then I popped them in an oven proof dish, put them back in the oven for 10minutes to melt the cheese. The water thin chicken crisped up and tasted amazing. It was easy to mash up for the baby and Little E loved the filling and crispy jacket skin.
So there you have it. Seven easy meals in seven days. You can find 100% British Cherry Tree Farm meats in your local supermarket priced from just £1. Find out more online at cherrytreefarm.co.uk
We were sent a selection of Cherry Tree Farm cooked meats for review but all opinions are our own.
This year Little I's arrival has made us a family of four. We haven't been away this year and we need to start thinking about taking the girls away for a proper family holiday. We've only been out of the country as a family once. The reality of a holiday with a toddler in tow versus a child free getaway was a shock at first. I thought Husband was going to jump on a plane and leave me to it! But we got the hang of it after a few days realising you just have to keep really busy all the time! It was more like an assault course than a holiday and we were exhausted by the end. No surprise then that Husband has refused to discuss going away since.
Mark Warner Holidays are searching for ambassadors for their 2015 blogger programme #MarkWarnerMums. They want us to describe our perfect holiday to enter. Husband says it it easily summed up in two words: Kid's Club. He's right, we do need to go somewhere with entertainment for the girls now or we'll come home looking 5yrs older, but what else would make our perfect holiday?
Husband is happy if he can sleep most of the day on a sun lounger.I'm all set if I'm close to an ice cream cart with a book in my hand and Little E absolutely loves the beach. Basically we like to chill out and the 4yr old likes to run circles round us. But Little I has never been on holiday so we don't know what she likes. I asked Little E what she thought her little sister would like to do and she decided she'd love the beach too. So we tested it out in our front room today...
Little E got really creative insisting everyone got into swimming costumes (thank god mine is hidden behind the camera lens!) and she even wore her goggles. For the 'sand' we used a blanket and the sea was created with Husband's tshirts. We laid out a towel and filled a beach bag with toys. A Peppa Pig umbrella made a handy parasol to keep the sun at bay and a book made the beach relaxation scene complete.
Result = Little I loves the beach.
Little I loved exploring the beach and her favourite game was emptying the beach bag, repeatedly. She also clonked us on the head with the umbrella a few times. She is such an inquisitive character she will love the new experiences, textures and sounds at the beach plus she can indulge in her favourite hobby; people watching. There are always a few sights on display at the beach! Don't even get me started on the nude kite flyer we were subjected to one holiday...
So lovely people at Mark Warner our perfect holiday is a relaxing, sunny beach holiday with lots of fun activies for the kids (and ice cream for me). Your holidays more than tick all our boxes. We'd love to be your ambassadors and experience our first holiday with Little I. Husband is even looking a bit excited at the prospect. Here is a little picture of us trying to get the children to both look at the camera at the same time. It took a while but we got there in the end.
This is my entry to be a Mark Warner blogger ambassador #MarkWarnerMums
Disgrace by J.M.Coetzee (our latest Book Club read)
This Booker Prize winning novel is beautifully written. The prose flows effortlessly making it very easy to read. The subject matter however is not an easy read. I disliked the main character intensely. The attack is horrific. The aftermath uncomfortable. The themes in this book are very unattractive and I did not enjoy reading it at all.
My Book Club friends had similar opinions, particularly regarding the quality of the writing and our dislike for the sexual predator David. We spent a long time discussing how the book reflected on post Apartheid South Africa and the struggle for both sides of the divide to adjust to their new social positions. No-one could understand Lucy's post attack decisions and felt we could not relate to her character, possibly because we only see the situation from David's point if view. Overall we were all pleased it was a short book!
2/5 (5/5 for the superb writing style)
I'll Be Watching You by Beverley Barton
Judge Ella Porter starts receiving disturbing letters hand delivered to her office. The main suspect is Reed Conway, imprisioned for 15yrs for a crime he claims he did not commit. Her father, Senator Porter, prosecuted the case and is adament he is a threat to her safety. But something about Reed's claims ring true with Ella. Is he dangerous? And if not who is sending the letters?
This book was very fast paced and I really enjoyed the suspense storyline and the surprising twist ending. But it was rather racy! I wasn't expecting it to be so hot under the collar but it worked well building tension in the relationship between Ella and Reed. I found the very end a little too sickly though and would have preferred it not to have been wrapped up with a bow.
I am currently reading:
Dead Man Walking by Paul Finch (God I am loving this book!)
Christmas competition alert! Chicco have given me an amazing toy bundle worth £95 to give away to one lucky reader on Christmas Eve. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win these amazing toys!
Chicco Fiat 500 radio controlled car
Brand new from Chicco this cute little car is based on the Fiat 500 sport. It is controlled using a steering wheel shaped remote which also features a great horn! It's friendly face will appeal to any little wannabe racing driver. Very easy to use and steer, the car will help your baby learn cause and effect and help develop their co-ordination skills. Suitable for 2yrs+. Worth £29.99.
Chicco Musical Tales Singing Bear
I have raved about this bear a lot of the blog! The soft, interactive bear shares stories in both English and French and comes with 5 story cards in his backpack, ready to take your child on a linguistic adventure. He helps them learn the alphabet, numbers, colours, animals and all about travelling. Available in Boots & Toys R Us this Christmas. Worth £40.
Chicco Baby Star Guitar
A great little toy for any budding musician. With three music styles, three mixer functions, a special orchestra function and over 30 tunes, your little rockstar can dance to their own music. This toy will help develop their fine motor skills, hand to eye co-ordination and will let your little one's musical creativity run wild! Worth £24.99.
WOW! What a prize! Enter now and one winner will be picked at random on Christmas Eve! Find out more about Chicco toys at chicco.co.uk
Following on from Little I's two weeks of illness, this week has been game of two halves; daytimes are great (if rather snotty) but night times are hell. Literally. The bronchitis cough hit a crescendo on Friday and at 4am I just gave up and brought her into bed with me so at least I attempt to sleep with her propped up on me. Husband was away overnight. Lucky bugger.
Out Christmas tree is up which she is rather bemused about. She spends a lot I time pointing at it (her new party trick) but she hasn't attacked it yet. She has also been waving a lot, especially at people in the supermarket, and trying to clap her hands.
Husband looked after her on Saturday and took her to his Mum's school fair. I was sent this picture of her looking very cheeky in her pram with her little fang like front teeth really prominent now. She has a big gap between then like her big sister.
At Little E's Whirly Wiggle storybook class she took a real interest for the first time. When the musical instruments came out she launched off my lap and speed crawled over to them. It was odd watching her play independently. I felt like I was watching someone else's giant baby playing!
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.