Monday 28 April 2014

Worlds First Virtual Clinic!

I wasn't aware that colic affected up to one in four babies, were you?
Friends of ours have had babies who have suffered with colic, giving accounts of constant crying for four hours every night to being inconsolable. Awful for baby to be in pain and stressful for parents trying their best to treat and console their baby.
 I can't imagine Eliot screaming for hours and not being able to console him. It would be horrendous. We are thankful that colic is something he hasn't suffered with.
Infacol is Britain's first choice when it comes to treating infant colic. It is suitable to use from birth and is free from sugar, colour and alcohol.
Recently Infacol have launched the Worlds First Virtual Clinic introduced to help give parents some reassurance  about colic. This virtual clinic can be accessed at anytime of the day, which is ideal for parents who find themselves fretting during the night and can't call their GP.
For those parents who are worried that their baby is suffering from colic, you can now get support through your computer, tablet and smartphone. Infacol's new web app gives you assistance through video response answers to questions about colic. You can choose from 50 of the most common questions that are asked about colic or you can ask your own.
As a parent I have turned to the internet many times to investigate various symptoms and have been met by all sorts of responses. I think it's fantastic that Infacol have launched their new site, solely related to colic with answers in a video response.
If you think your baby could be suffering with colic head over to Infacol's virtual clinic for support. 
* I received some sweet treats as a thank you for writing about Infacol's new site.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Review-Shnuggle Baby Bath

Over the past few weeks we have been putting the Shnuggle Baby Bath through its paces. We are massive fans and have no doubts in declaring this is the best baby bath you will ever come across! What fills me with more confidence about the products by Shunggle, is that they are designed by parents. Who better to design baby products than parents themselves?!
We popped down to the Baby and Toddler Show at BlueWater today and were lucky enough to meet the lovely Shnuggle team and their newest edition to the family. Lovely people, fantastic products!!! If your heading down to the show tomorrow be sure to visit them!
To find out more watch my review.

Here it is...
* I was sent the product in exchange for a review.  All views are entirely my own

Here's your 10 month update Eliot!

Wow Eliot J you're 10 months old today, 10 months! I cannot believe in two months we will be celebrating your first birthday, it's ludicrous!

This month you do seem more grown up,  much more like a toddler than a baby! You continue to love being on your feet and taking steps holding on to someone's hand. I think you're a bit of lazybones when it comes to crawling as it still hasn't happened! But you have started the 'bum shuffle' move and can navigate yourself around on your tummy. In fact rolling onto your tummy in your cot the other day got you into a spot of bother. Your legs got caught inbetween the bars and of course you were very upset. I think as long as we put you in your sleeping bag this won't happen again.
You are still talking, lots of dadas, nanas, mamas and plenty of other noises!
When it comes to playing you seem to be more interested in your toys, particularly those with wheels, you adore spinning the wheels! At bath time you have started dropping your toys out of your bath and wait for us to put them back in the water so you can do the same thing again!
Excitingly you made your first ever Television Appearance on ITV. Mummy was asked to give her thoughts on using Skype to talk to doctors.
After filming. You did get a bit cranky but I'm sure most TV stars do! ;D
 We also celebrated your First Easter. You were spolit with not only chocolate but lots of other goodies too!

We had our first family holiday this month in rural Worcestershire, which you seemed to thoroughly enjoy. We did lots of things, country walks, safari park and Cadbury world visits to name a few.
  There are some videos of what we got up to over on You Tube but here's a few photos...
You loved going walks on daddy's back!

At Cadbury World

Trying to get a photo of all of us...You broke these sunglasses a couple of days later!

You still love your food but can still be a bit crafty when it comes to what you eat. You seem to like things such as pepper and courgette if they are in a pasta sauce but are not so keen on them if they're not!
You still have a 7oz bottle when you wake up and before going to sleep and have a 4 or 5oz one in the morning or afternoon.
We haven't had you weighed again but I have no doubts you are putting on weight!         

You are still on 9-12 months clothes mostly but it won't be long before you are in some 12-18 month clothes!


When we were away you slept in bed with me as you weren't too happy in your travel cot. It did get cold in the caravan so I think that had something to do with it. Otherwise you continue to sleep through the majority of nights. 

Your Likes/Dislikes

  • You still love all the same things as last month
  • Music is one of you're absolute favourite things You would rather watch and listen to nursery rhymes and programme intros than any program!
  • I think your dislikes are the same too, I don't think there are any new ones.

Until 11 months Eliot J

Binky Linky

Thursday 24 April 2014

Review-The Lobster House Restaurant

Last week Eliot's Nana M was kind enough to babysit one evening so we could steal a rare few hours of 'us time'! We headed down to The Lobster House,  a 'seafood, steak & champagne pontoon bar', nicely situated on The River Thames in Wandsworth. A perfect setting for dinner.
When we arrived we were greeted by the pleasant staff who showed us to a table in the window, overlooking the Thames.

We ordered some drinks and began browsing the menu. I opted for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which was served chilled to perfection! A bug bear I've inherited from my parents is serving wine at the wrong temperature, so I'm happy to report there were no issues in the 'vino' area here!
On the menu there were a selection of starters, predominantly seafood based with a vegetarian option. We didn't order any starters, instead we went for a couple of side dishes with our main courses instead.
No prizes for guessing that lobster is at the top of the menu in this restaurant, however it wasn't the dish I selected. I'm not keen on lobster, the taste,  having it served in its full form before having to break and crack it open. Not for me. However it was what the other half ordered and what the other diners went for.
I had a struggle choosing between a fish or meat dish. I do love a good steak but I  was also drawn to the Atlantic cod in a tempura batter. In the end I went for the cod.

Dinner was served and we got stuck in! The fish was cooked perfectly and 'fell away' as it should. The batter was light and crispy, certainly not heavy or greasy like some batters can be. It was served with fries, peas and tarter sauce.
For our extra sides we ordered sautéed spinach and onion rings. Like the fish, the onion ring batter was not greasy and they tasted great. I loved the sautéed spinach but couldn't eat too much as it was a little salty for me.
The OH was impressed with his lobster, he described as 'succulent and fresh'. Apart from it being, as expected a bit fiddly, the OH thoroughly enjoyed his meal choice!

We had just enough space to share a dessert which again was a tricky decision as there were a couple that caught my eye. The OH managed to narrow it down for us and I singled out the chocolate fondant. I was more than happy with that choice, it was delicious! All in all melt in the middle chocolate goodness beautifully presented!

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here and a few hours off from parent duties for some 'us time'. Definitely worth checking out particularly if you're a lobster or seafood fan! This would be an ideal venue for date nights, celebrations or simply catching up with friends. On first impressions I assumed the restaurant wasn't particularly family friendly but I soon discovered they have changing facilities and highchairs available.

* We were given £40 off our bill in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are entirely my own. 

Monday 21 April 2014

Final First Family Hol Vlog - Birthday Safari

Our final first family holiday vlog is live. It was the OH's birthday and we visited The West Midlands Safari Park. A great day out for all! See what we got up to :)

Sunday 20 April 2014

Eliot's First Easter

 Happy Easter all, hope you've had an enjoyable day overindulging in eggs galore! I thought I'd do  a quick post of what we've been up to during Eliot's first Easter.
We had a nice lie in which came a surprise, I couldn't believe it when the OH said it was 9:20am when we could hear Eliot babbling in his cot. Once he'd had a nappy change and bottle we took him into the living room where the 'Easter Bunny' had left some surprises, also on behalf of  other family members. Eliot wasn't quite sure what to make of it all and was more interested in the basket! The photos are actually from a bit later on as I captured the earlier ones on my phone.
Before brekkie Eliot enjoyed a couple of special edition 'Animal biscuits' in the form of bunnies, of course he was very keen!

The OH and Eliot popped out while I got a roast dinner on! When they returned Eliot did a bit more investigating in the sea of Easter goodies (not all the choccie is for him!). It's fair to say I think our home has enough chocolate to last a good few months!

 The basket behind Eliot in this photo was from us. Here's what was inside:
  • Rabbits Don't Lay Eggs book
  • Old MacDonald Had A Farm sound book
  • Mickey Mouse Breakfast Set with beaker, bowl, spoon and chocolate egg
  • Mr Tumble Egg
  • Cuddly Easter chick
I'd also bought him an Easter touch and feel book but the OH accidently threw it away.

We enjoyed an Easter Sunday lunch, well Eliot was being a bit funny with his food today but was more than happy to chomp on chocolate!
 We let him attempt to chomp into an egg but he couldn't and ended up getting frustrated because he could taste it but couldn't get the full benefits.
 We broke a few pieces up, needless to say he loved it!
 Chocolate chops!
 Happy chappy!
 We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling, playing and catching up with Britain's Got Talent. One of our cats Mimi clearly thought she was an Easter Gift herself and made herself cosy in the basket Eliot's gifts from us had been in.
Mimi cat
Eliot had a lovely first Easter and was totally spoilt by his family with not only chocolate but other lovely presents too.
What did you get up to?

Thursday 17 April 2014

Review-Ozeri Green Earth Pan

 I have been lucky enough to review a couple of the Ozeri Products in the past and have been impressed. So when I had the opportunity to review the Green Earth Pan , I of course said yes!

The first thing I noticed was the quality, a sturdy well made pan that also comes with a lifetime warrenty (as long as it hasn't been misused).

With an eight inch diameter this pan is perfect for cooking food such as mini omelettes and pancakes. I've also found it useful for cooking small/baby portions of vegetables or meat.
Its 'scratch resistant100 ceramic coating' makes cooking and cleaning a doddle! And an easy clean pan is always a bonus in my books! It also 'Boasts a comfortable heat resistant Bakelight handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer'.
What makes this pan different from many others is the fact it has a 'natural ceramic' coating and is free from harmful chemicals such as PTFE which can release harmful toxic chemicals at a high temperature and PFOA which pollutes the environment.
'With the Green Pan's Ceramic coating, even under high temperatures, no harmful toxic fumes will ever be released into the environment'.

The colour of the pan, like its name is green. It may not be to everyone's tastes but I love the 'freshness' it brings to my kitchen. 
We've found it fantastic and even took it on holiday with us for when we did cook in our accommodation.
We took it away with us to use!

The Ozeri Green Earth Pan is currently on offer for £24.95 on  Amazon

* I was sent the product in exchange for a review.  All views are entirely my own

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Review-The Exante Diet

Recently I have been putting The Exante Diet to the test, I was sent seven days worth of meal replacement products. I'm no stranger to 'shakes' when it comes to diets in the form of 'meal replacements' but I haven't really tried 'hot' replacements, so it was great to be able to sample some!
The Exante range offers soups, shakes, bars, ready meals and porridge which all provide the 'recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals'.
There are three different 'solutions' you can choose to follow based on your BMI. I followed the 'Total Solution' which was consuming 3x Exante products. I drank plenty of water (at least 2 litres a day is recommended) and could drink coffee and any green leaf tea without milk. If you prefer your hot drinks sweetened you can use tablet sweetners.
With the 'Working Solution' you have 3x Exante products plus a 400 calorie meal and with the 'Simple Solution' you have the 3x Exante products and a 600 calorie meal.
If you're wondering about the 'science' behind how this diet works, here's Exante's explanation...

'The diet creates a daily calorie deficit, which after 3-4 days puts the dieter in a metabolic state called ketosis where the body uses fat stores to produce energy. When fat is burned rapidly a by-product called ketones is produced and the person is said to be in ketosis'.

All of the meal replacement products were easy to prepare. The shakes were simply prepared with water and Exante supplied a 'shaker' which meant I didn't have to 'faff' around with a whisk! Inside is a metal ball which does the 'whisking' job nicely, smoothing out any lumps of powder. The variety of pleasant tasting flavours is great too, I had vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana and toffee caramel (which was my fave!)
The hot meals were made up similarly by adding water then simply popping in the microwave. I was able to sample apple and cinnamon porridge, vegetable, mushroom and thai chicken soups, spaghetti Bolognese and shepherds pie. It was great to be able to have these as an alternative to the shakes and I enjoyed them all.
There was no doubt I was going to lose weight on such a low calorie diet but I was pleasantly surprised by a loss of 7lbs in one week! I highly recommend it to anyone looking to shift some weight quickly! Prices start from £3.87 a day so this diet won't break the budget!
*I was sent The Exante products in exchange for a review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Part 2 Of Our Family Holiday Vlog-Countryside Goodness!

In my last vlog I mentioned where we stayed, Stoke Bliss, Tenbury Wells if you didn't catch part 1 click here. However I failed to mention exactly where we were staying, which was a holiday park called Wigley Orchard. A fantastic setting if you're looking for a tranquil break as you really are in the back and beyond. It's probably not suitable for older children as there are no activities available but was perfect for us and great as a base. Definitely worth checking out!

We did a couple of country walks whilst away, one near Wigley Orchard and another in Great Malvern. Here's the vlog...

Monday 14 April 2014

Eliot's Daybreak TV Debut - Would you be happy with GP Skype consultatations?

Yesterday afternoon after a start on 'holiday washing' and some frantic tidying/cleaning, I opened the door to a couple of the Daybreak crew. If you were watching Daybreak just after 7am you probably caught us!
I was briefed over the phone on Friday on what would be happening, Eliot and I would be having a mock consultation with a GP over Skype to trial the 50 million pound pilot scheme which is being rolled out in certain areas.

 During the conversation I was asked what I thought about these new plans. My response was along the lines of, 'I'd probably be happy to use it if I assumed it wasn't something too serious'.

This in itself opens a can of worms, how many patients will just 'assume' their symptoms aren't serious? The GP won't be able to physically examine their patient. Of course they will ask them to come in to surgery if there is more concern but I can't help thinking errors will occur, important visual symptoms will be missed. From personal experiences I know GP's don't always get it right in a face to face consultation, but will this increase using the new method?

From the debate one of the biggest concerns is how older patients will be able to utilise this. My parents don't have the internet, never mind being able to use Skype!

Of course there are positives to this pilot scheme too. only time will tell if it is successful!

You can watch the discussion between the health secretary Jeremy Hunt and the presenters here

Here are a couple of pics post filming...
Post filming break

What are your thoughts on having Skype consultations with a GP?

Binky Linky

Sunday 13 April 2014

Holiday Blues & Vlog

Hello everyone, hope you've had a good week and enjoyed the lovely guest posts on my blog.

Late last night we arrived home from our first family holiday. Now I'm feeling 'bummed out' that it's over. We stayed in Stoke Bliss, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire right in the middle of beautiful British countryside. It was so lovely to be away from crazy city life and to enjoy the serenity of the countryside. So much so we're thinking about moving to a rural area. It was bliss waking up to birds singing rather than sirens. I've vlogged some of the things we got up to so here's part one...not very 'countryside-ish'!

Thursday 10 April 2014

Guest Post - Teething by The Blissful Baby Expert

My guest post today is by The Blissful Baby Expert

Teething is one of the most widely discussed topics if you have a baby, as at some stage in your babies first 2 years it is going to cause some sort of issue. In total, by the age of 3 years old the majority of children will have all of their 20 milk teeth. Some babies cut teeth with relatively no signs or symptoms at all and the first a parent knows about it is to see the little white dot in their babies mouth.

Other babies seem to suffer with every single one. The molars are particularly painful for all babies in my experience, as they are so big-they take weeks of rumbling before they begin to cut. The canines are also not a very nice experience for everyone either.

 One of the most asked questions is:

 When does teething start?

A: In my experience teething symptoms can start anytime from around 8 weeks of age, although some babies have been known to be born with 1 or 2 teeth that have already come through.

Pain and crying are just one symptom of teething. There are various other signs that your baby is suffering from sore gums:

*More loose poos than normal

*A red, sore bottom

*Pulling at the ears (a sign of pain on one side of the mouth)

*Decreased appetite-refusing to drink her milk or eat solids (mouth may be too sore)


*Wanting to chew everything

*One or both cheeks being very red and hot to touch

*Generally whingy or unhappy (if teeth are just having a rumble and causing a small amount of pain)

*Unexplained bouts of screaming hysterically which nothing you do seems to help relieve it (Due to very bad teething pain)

*Not sleeping well. Whinging or moaning in her sleep or waking up screaming

 If your baby is showing at least three of the above signs then you can say with a fair amount of certainty that it is likely to be teething pain that is the problem. Many parents will notice a few more unusual signs every time their baby is about to cut a tooth, i.e, they always develop a cold. However I have tried to stick to the more common signs that are normal for the majority of babies.

 NOTE: If your baby seems in pain but doesn't show any of the above symptoms as well, then I would recommend that you talk to your GP for more advice.

 Most adults will have experienced toothache or pain at some point in their lives, even if only when their wisdom teeth are having a 'rumble' for a few days and trying to push through the gums. It can even put us off eating because your whole mouth feels so sore- but at least we understand and can self medicate accordingly!

A baby has no idea and the only way to let their parent know is to cry. For the majority of babies, teeth can take a long time to appear. They rumble in the gums, gradually pushing their way up before "erupting" (aptly named by dentists) and 'cutting' through the gums so that you can finally see and feel the sharp tip

 Q: How can you help soothe the pain of teething?

Giving your baby things to chew on will help. You can keep teething rings in the fridge or even freezer and just get them out when needed and offer to your baby. Even giving her a cold, damp flannel to chew on will give relief as the cold numbs the pain and the fabric gives a soothing massage as she chews it.

If your baby is already on solids then offering cold foods like yoghurt or cool fruit purée will soothe sore gums

Sometimes rubbing her gums with a clean finger can also help

There are various gels,liquids,powders and teething products on the market, as well as necklaces all containing particular ingredients, all claiming to be the best to help with teething pain.

In my experience, after trying a number of different products with my own three children,babies I've worked with and chatting to other mums, I have found the most helpful and soothing product to be a teething liquid called ANBESOL

It is also sold in gel form too, but I've found that like other gels, it slips off the gums and around the mouth as you are attempting to apply it. This means that you don't really get enough of it around the gums to relieve the pain

The liquid is much more effective because you can apply it directly along your baby's top and bottom gums using a clean fingertip. It contains an antiseptic ingredient as well as an anaesthetic so it brings instant relief.

If you use this and your baby still seems upset and in pain, then you can give infant paracetamol or ibruprofen once they are over 12 weeks old.

In my experience Ibruprofen based medicines are much more effective on teething or any other type of pain, than paracetamol based products

 A baby who is teething will not self soothe or calm herself down until the pain has stopped. During the day, sometimes teething is easier for your baby to cope with as there are lots of distractions in her environment.

At night, lying in a quiet dark room, all alone, she has nothing else to think about apart from the rumbling in her gums, so she will wake up crying repeatedly. She may settle initially with a cuddle if it is just mild teething pain, but will likely be unsettled and wake on and off all night. With more severe pain she will be almost hysterical and crying even when comforted.

This is the time to try the teething remedies you prefer. I find Anbesol liquid and ibruprofen based medicine are best at dealing with teething pain.

They will both take a good 20-30 minutes to take effect, during which time you should sit and cuddle her to keep her calm. Once you know she is no longer in any pain,  then you can encourage her to go back to sleep for a bit longer until the morning-but be prepared to be in for quite a few unsettled nights when new teeth are cutting-particularly the Molars and Canines, which cause very bad pain and can affect eating habits too.

Unfortunately teething is one of those things that goes on for months, sometimes without a tooth even cutting to begin with. Symptoms can begin from the age of 8-10 weeks and it is normal for a baby to suffer with teething pain or symptoms for 2-3 days and then be fine again for a few weeks. For most babies it does tend to come in spurts of a few days here and there.

All children are very different as to the age at which they get teeth-some begin getting them by 6 months, others are still toothless at 12 months-despite showing lots of teething symptoms. My middle son was actively teething every now and again from the age of 10 weeks but his first tooth didn't appear until he was 14 months!! I thought he would be gummy forever!
Q:Should you start cleaning the tooth once it's come through? How and with what?

A: You can start getting your baby used to teeth brushing as soon as their first tooth comes through. Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste recommended for your babies age and to begin with just let her chew on the brush and get used to having it in her mouth. If she's teething then she will enjoy the feel of it in her mouth. Getting her used to having her teeth brushed from a very young age will prevent any reluctance against doing it as she gets older.

 Q: Why do some babies get diarrhoea and sore bottoms when teething?

Many experts say there is no connection, but mums often say that they notice a connection.

A: As a mother of three children who have gone through the teething stages

and having spoken to many of the hundreds of parents I work with, I would say there is most definitely a connection between a baby having more loose stools when teething.

The reasoning behind the loose stools is due to the extra saliva that your baby produces and then swallows more of. This saliva aggravates the tummy and makes a baby produce more acidic poos.

The acidic poos in turn can cause a very red, sore rash on a baby's bottom

 I hope you have found this post helpful and I'm honoured that Lucinda asked me to guest post on her blog. If you would like other helpful baby related tips feel free to come and have a look at my blog and follow me on twitter @blissfulbabyexp for FREE parenting advice anytime

Thank you very much for this informative post! Lots of questions answered for those of us worrying about teething!
Be sure to visit for more great tips!


Wednesday 9 April 2014

I'm a DEMON...When Driving That Is!

Today my post is different from my usual, I hope you see the humorous side! 

My beloved Mini...pre baby of course!
In general I like to think that I am a calm, placid and patient individual. As a teacher I have to incorporate all those things! Those that know me well (very well) may say slightly different things but overall I believe I'm pretty chilled.

That is until I sit behind the wheel of my car. All starts off well but the smallest thing can trigger rage, fury and bad language. Living in London, a city you have to be an 'assertive' driver.
So here's a few examples of what provokes my anger...

Yes you are wonderful for doing your bit for the environment and helping yourself stay healthy on your commute or general jaunt. BUT why is it ok for you to cycle through red lights, chat on your phone and ride next to your pal side by side?
Of course I'm not referring to every single cyclist but I have seen MANY do the above.
Aside from the above you always seem to be in front of me when I'm in a hurry!

I'm sure all you van drivers think that us in our smaller cars should/will give way when squeezing down tight roads. Nope not me, I'm not bothered by your larger, white (usually) monstrosity. So next time don't attempt to intimidate me and look on in disbelief when I drive towards/past you. Oh and give me some lip or the finger, don't expect a pretty response!

Ah the iconic black cab of London so well known to the world. Taxi drivers share similar traits (in my opinion) to van drivers. You appear to believe you own the road. You pull over abruptly, sometimes without indicating to pick up a fare, causing those behind you to stop unnecessarily/brake hard/swerve. You literally force yourself into busy traffic as soon as you arrive at a junction, and will cut the rest of us up in various road situations.

Need I remind some of you that the safest place to be is on the pavement? Why oh why do you look so confused/annoyed when you step in to the road and then have to step back because cars are approaching? The road is for cars, don't attempt to cross when you see one approaching (if you're at a crossing that's a different story of course). The worst thing that you do is cross the road without looking, in particular I'm talking about not looking behind you when cars may be taking a left turn (Ok, I admit I've done this myself as a pedestrian). Keep yourselves safe, remember the green cross code? STOP, LOOK & LISTEN.

Drivers in the wrong
Nobody is perfect and I'm certainly not a perfect driver but I don't like being verbally abused by other drivers who made an error. When I was pregnant I remember one incident vividly. I was on the way home from work, queuing at a mini roundabout. I could see a car trying to edge it's way out of the position where they were required to give way. The car in front of me drove on, I began to follow when the driver who had been edging out pulled out right in front of me. Needless to say my horn was blasted and I uttered a few unpleasant words. When the male driver had the audacity to grind to a halt and mouth back at me I was probably the most infuriated I have ever been whilst driving. Some more.
I don't condone this sort of reaction whatsoever. Behind the wheel its almost like I have no control over it.

Breaking The Speed Limit
Ok it's something that the majority of drivers have done at some point but when it's five, ten, fifteen miles an hour or more over the speed limit, it's just not cool. Speed limits are there to keep us all safe!
 To the drivers that do this, no I won't speed up because you are up my backside. Remember if you bump in to the back of my car it will be YOUR fault. We all have somewhere to get to, it's your fault you're running late, not mine!

There we are, a few examples of what gets my goat when driving. It's funny how I wouldn't dream of being confrontational in any other situation, it must be because I'm behind metal and glass! I have become calmer since having Eliot as having an irate mummy shouting when your enjoying the scenery wouldn't be nice!

Do you change in to a different person when driving? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Guest Post, A rod for my own back? By Toby Goes Bananas

My guest post today is by the lovely Sarah who blogs over at Toby Goes Bananas

Now, before we start, I’m really not being ungrateful and I know just how lucky we are to have a baby who sleeps but I wanted to write this post to show that there are downsides to every up.

Toby has been a good sleeper since he was about 10 weeks old (which also coincided with us getting his reflux properly medicated and under control). When he was a newborn getting him to sleep was quite an effort and involved a lot of going out for walks in the pram, or sitting with him sleeping on either me or my husband because if we dared to put him down, or even move, then he would be wide awake and crying again. Anyway, from about six weeks old we started putting him upstairs in bed at about 6pm. Quite often he would wake up again several times during the evening but we would usually try and settle him in his cot rather than bring him back downstairs. We also didn’t use a mobile or any comforters in the hope that Toby would learn how to settle himself. He soon started sleeping longer at night and by about 12 weeks he was regularly sleeping from 6pm to 8am without waking up at all! After his four month immunisations (which he got at 18 weeks) he caught a cold and we had a bit of a regression where he went back to waking up a couple of times a night, and now I would say Toby sleeps through about 75% of the time and if he does wake up it’s only once for a quick feed and back to sleep.

So that was night time sleeping which we got sorted fairly early on. Naps were a different matter. I didn’t worry about daytime naps until Toby was sleeping through the night. He used to fight sleep during the day – he would clearly be tired but cry as soon as we tried to put him to bed. He would sleep in the car or in the pram but that wasn’t really convenient - sometimes you just want to stay in the house! So, we started trying to introduce a routine during the day too, doing the same things at the same time every day…and it started to work! From about five months Toby would have a morning nap for between an hour and a half and two hours, another nap from around 1pm to 3pm and then sometimes a short nap in the car when we went to pick his dad up from the train station at 5pm and then it was still bed time at 6pm.
At some point Toby started staying up a bit longer in the morning before going back to bed, he also stays up for a bit longer between his naps, so his afternoon nap is later and he dropped the very late cat nap altogether. So now, on a normal day Toby sleeps for up to two hours in the morning (occasionally longer) and the same in the afternoon. He naps in his cot upstairs. We have a blackout blind so I put the night light on, offer him a bottle, put him in his sleeping bag, say ‘na’night Toby, sleepy time now’ and leave the room. And that’s it. Almost without fail he will go to sleep on his own. Sometimes it takes ten minutes of him bumping around and chatting to himself, sometimes it’s within seconds.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is fantastic and I love that we have a baby who sleeps but we have trained him so well that he will now only sleep in his cot (or occasionally in the car) and if he misses his naps he gets grumpy and whiney, he goes off his food and he often then wakes up in the night. So, with a baby who, at nine months, sleeps for 14 hours a night and then between three and five hours during the day, and is also in the process of weaning so spends another two to three hours eating, it doesn’t leave us an awful lot of time to do anything else! We do manage to do some activities during the week but they have to fit in with our routine. There are so many mother and baby groups, meetings with friends and weekend days out that we have to turn down because they don’t fit in with Toby’s naps. We are trying to do things at the weekends which mean missed or delayed naps to try and get Toby to be a bit more adaptable but sometimes it’s just easier to stick to the routine to have a quiet life.

So what do you think? Have we made a rod for our own backs by having such a strict routine or should we just be thankful that we have a baby who sleeps so well? Do you follow a routine with your baby or do you just go with the flow? I would love to hear your thoughts!

And lastly big thanks to Lucinda for letting me post this on her blog!
I've previously expressed my envy at how long Toby sleeps on Twitter! It does sound tricky that he's not sleeping elsewhere. I have a routine but sometimes I go with the flow. Luckily Eliot sleeps pretty much anywhere, although he fights it if we're out and about, which can lead to him being cranky.
Thank you Sarah for being a guest on my blog! If you haven't already be sure to pop over to Toby Goes Bananas for more fantastic posts.

Monday 7 April 2014

Guest Post by Ickle Pickle

First up in my guest posts this week is Ickle Pickle...

I would like to share with you where I live, and what I see virtually every day. I live in a pretty little town in West Wales, which has a castle and a mill pond with lots of swans and other birds. I love going for walks here with mummy, and my sister, and we feed the birds. We usually go for a walk on a Saturday afternoon. The water is brown here because the photos were taken just after we had terrible storms and so much rain, then the water flows into the pond from the fields.

I also live near the sea, my Nana and Grandad live in Saundersfoot, which is a little village about twenty minutes from home. I go for lots of walks here with my family, and sit looking over the harbour watching the birds and the boats. Mummy meets Nana in the afternoons before we pick up the others. Nana looks after me on a Tuesday and she takes me for a walk too.

This is Tenby, where my brother and sister go to school. I go for walks here with my Granny Jane and mummy, it is so beautiful. Granny Jane isn't my real granny, she is mummy's good friend, who looks after me when mummy needs help. Tenby Harbour is probably the most photographed and well known in Wales. Thousands of people visit on holiday every year. How lucky am I to live in such a beautiful area?

Do these photos look like they have been taken in the summer? They were taken in February and March! 
A big thank you to Ickle Pickle for being a guest on my blog. What a beautiful part of the UK you live in! With those blue skies it certainly doesn't look like February & March!
If you haven't already be sure to pop over to  for more wonderful posts!

Saturday 5 April 2014

Teacher 2 Mummy is on HOLIDAY

We are off on our first family holiday today which we have been looking forward to since we booked it in January. We're off to Worcestershire, staying not too far from The Cotswolds.

I will be quiet on the social media front but I have some fab guest posts from other lovely bloggers scheduled for next week, including some great tips and a bit of a ranty post from me. So don't forget to stop by!


Word Of The Week - TYPICAL!

Yesterday was my first day back at work. It was the last day of term so not a 'proper' day and I wasn't doing any teaching, thankfully. I just spent time in the class I will be taking over after the holidays.
The night before I'd been kept awake. Typical. Not by my baby boy but by my other baby the OH. First I was prodded a few times for snoring and then the OH said he felt unwell. I could hear his stomach gurgling and it wasn't long before he got up to be unwell. Suddenly my stomach began to gurgle. No, no, no' I said to myself I can't be ill when I'm due back in work for my first day. I didn't feel 100% and struggled to get back to sleep. When my alarm went off I got up, got ready and had some toast for breakfast. Just as I was about to leave I'd noticed one of the cats had made a mess just outside their litter box. Typical.
Driving into work I felt a bit queasy. On arrival I realised I had toothpaste all over my dress. Typical.
The best part of the day was assembly. Friday is always a class assembly and it happened to be most of the children I taught before going on maternity. There were lots of 'Miss Turner' and waves, which was lovely. I had taught a lot of those children for two years, as they were also my class when I was pregnant I have some very fond memories so it was lovely to see they were pleased I had returned. In my experience once a new teacher comes along, the old class forget you.
The rest of the morning was spent in the class I will be sharing with another teacher after Easter. At break I had a bit a cake but by the time lunchtime came round I couldn't face eating the sandwich I'd made and just drank some water. I began to feel slowly worse and it's a feeling a hate. Knowing that you're going to be sick but it biding its time.
School ended after lunch and I was having a meeting but continued to feel worse. On the way home I wondered if I would make it home in time, the car seemed to make me feel worse.
The OH had summoned his mum round so she had taken Eliot out. He said he was feeling better and popped out to the shop. I however wasn't. And before I knew it I was sick. Not quite getting to the loo quick enough. Typical. I felt horrendous for the rest of the day and was ill a couple more times and had a temperature.
I'm not certain if it was what we ate on Thursday or a bug. It was just TYPICAL it happened on my first day back at work and the day before we go on our first family holiday. Luckily I feel ok today but have not done any packing. Best get started!

The Reading Residence

Thursday 3 April 2014

Cue the's back to work tomorrow!

It's come round in a blink of an eye since going on maternity leave on 7th June last year. Tomorrow I go back to work. It shouldn't be too hectic (I hope). I'll spend time with the class I'll be taking over and hopefully get some planning done! It's only one day and then it's the Easter holidays so it will be fine. It's after the holidays that will be a bit more daunting but at least it's only a three days a week.I'll need to get my head round new things that have been put in place but you always do in teaching, there's always something new to put in practice! Tomorrow Eliot will be with his Daddy, after the holidays he will be with a childminder for one day and his Nana M for the other two days.

I have enjoyed all the time I've spent with Eliot so far. Part of me is sad it won't be as much as usual but part of me is also looking forward to being just 'me' again. I will get more done at school before midday than I do at home!

Will miss this little fella!

How did you feel about returning work after maternity leave?

Be Inspired 'MAIS' Be You...

Is quite simply my fashion tip! 'Mais' is the French word for 'but', if you were wondering :) 
For years (predominantly the teenage ones) I spent so much time trying to look like the peers that I admired, the celebs that were the latest craze or what was the current catwalk trend.
But in my endeavours I made many a fashion 'faux pas' and often felt quite low. For I've never been the size 6, 8, 10 (nor had their height!) of the catwalk models, therefore those looks were never going to be right for me, my look or my frame.
I've felt awkward and uncomfortable in certain fashion 'attempts' and that's not the way to roll for any occasion, be it shopping with the girls or for a wedding!
Over the years I've learnt to be 'inspired' by new trends and make them my own to suit me, my look, my frame, my personality.
Why be someone else in the style stakes when you can be you?! 
Take inspiration from the glossy mags, the catwalk, the friend, the colleague and anyone else that catches your eye! Just make it your own, feel comfortable in the skin you're in and the style that adorns it!
A few pics of me rocking it my way...(please excuse the quality, they are from a few years ago)
I 'J'ADORE' floral prints and have worn them in different ways from bags to scarves, to dresses. I love the 'girly floral look above. Ideal for laid back city sightseeing and schmoozing!

The LBD, an absolute staple for every females wardrobe! Versatile, sleek and chic! Perfect for celebrating a special occasion and so many options to find the right one for you.
Throwing on a statement hat to give an outfit a bit more edge. Simple yet adds to a look.
Don't forget to reach for trusty wardrobe staples! La Redoute share their '7 wardrobe essentials' in their  Secrets To French Style. I'm pleased to have many 'nestled' in my 'armoire', ready to create my very own look! 
Which of the essentials do you have in your wardrobe?
Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate comments and read all of them!