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Bedside cribs: a ‘safe’ co-sleeping solution?

At just six weeks old Little B has outgrown the moses basket. Not that he slept in it much anyway, preferring to sleep in our bed spread-eagled between us. But while this would send him into a deep, peaceful sleep, it of course meant I slept terribly, worried one of us would roll onto him, accidently pull the duvet over him or that he would shimmy himself against one of the pillows in his sleep. The health visitor advised putting him on my side of the bed rather than between us because as his mum I naturally sleep more lightly, but that’s hardly a long-term solution for the next few months when he’s too small to go into a cot in his own bedroom. So, after a bit of research, I think I’ve come up with the answer: a bedside crib (pictured). There are lots on the market, some as much as a couple of hundred pounds, but we went for the cheapest, Chicco’s Next2Me (£149.99), given he will have outgrown it by six months old. Even Misery Guts, who was predictably sceptical about buying yet more paraphernalia, admits it’s a nifty bit of kit. (You can hire other brands through the NCT, but the waiting list was until the middle of January, so not much help). […]

Stretch mark creams review: Bepanthen, Palmer’s & Bio Oil

They say there’s nothing you can really do about stretch marks: it’s in the genes and you'll either get them, [...]

Playmobil crane review: beats Cayla and Frozen hands down

Forget Cayla the talking doll or anything Frozen related this Christmas: a Playmobil crane beats both hands down. The remote controlled crane has been the top toy in our house ever since it arrived a few weeks ago, and not just for the little kids: the big kids love it too. While BB and her friends have been using it to hoist Polly Pocket up and down (pictured), visitors including BB’s uncle and granddad haven’t been able to resist seeing what they can pick up with its moving plastic hook either. At £59.99 it’s not exactly a stocking filler, but I think it definitely makes the grade in terms of longevity. It’s got a little Playmobil man in a top box ‘operating’ the crane (pictured) and a hand held remote control (also pictured) which can make the crane itself move in a 360 degree circle and the pulley go up and down, left and right. […]

By |December 12th, 2014|Family life, Money, Parenting, Reviews, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Phil & Ted’s Dot double buggy review: walking is getting rather tricky

I thought the three year age gap between BB and Little B would eliminate the need for a double buggy. I was wrong. Although BB will quite happily walk the couple of miles to Tesco and back, anything further and she (quite rightly) starts complaining, which given that we don’t have the car during the week and go everywhere on foot is making life rather tricky. So when MadeForMums asked me to review Phil & Ted’s latest Dot double buggy (pictured), I jumped at the chance. The double-decker style forward-facing Dot is designed to hold two children from birth to five years old, with the younger on the bottom and the older on the top. Marketed as Phil & Ted’s ‘most compact’ double pushchair to date, its 59cm wide slimline design makes it no wider than a standard stroller. And with a seat height of 65cms the Dot boasts one of the tallest seats on the market, although the main seat is rather snug and I would say there’s only limited growing room left. I’d be surprised if BB would fit into it when she’s five. […]

Paddington: there’s going to be a run on marmalade, duffle coats and Cornishware

There’s much excitement in the crummy mummy household: Paddington the movie has finally been released and we can’t wait to go and see it. Admittedly most of this excitement is from me: even though I’ve promised BB there are no Scary Bits she’s slightly dubious after our last trip to the cinema, when I took her to see Book of Life without researching the plot (ghosts + lost souls + Land of the Forgotten = lots of Scary Bits) Mostly I’m excited because there’s nothing like a good old British film at Christmas – acting greats including Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters, famous London landmarks such as Paddington Station and icons of Britishness like stripy Cornishware pottery (pictured) all brought together – what more could you want? Of course there’s no doubt there’s going to be a run on marmalade, duffle coats, Cornishware and everything else Paddington-related as a result, and good on them: I like it when everyday, honest things nobody usually notices get their 15 minutes of fame. […]

If someone had told me this is what lunchtimes would involve, I wouldn’t have believed them

She might have just turned 3, but BB is itching to start school. She asks me daily what colour her uniform will be (I don’t know because it depends which over-subscribed school we actually manage to get her into), who will collect her and pick her up (again I don’t know because it depends how far away said school is) and can she go to the school in Time For School on Cbeebies (at last a question I can actually answer – no.) Being an August baby by this time next year she will be in reception class, but until then I’ve got to come up with ways to satisfy her school curiosity or suffer death by questioning. So when aplaceforeverything.co.uk asked me to review LEGO’s latest lunch box set, launched to celebrate the release of the LEGO movie, I had an idea: we could start, like school, having ‘packed lunch’ at home (pictured). This is a brilliant idea, even if I do say so myself. I realise it’s a total waste of cling film, but the look on her face as she unwraps each item and says ‘wow’ is worth it (also pictured). […]

By |September 15th, 2014|Family life, Food, Money, Parenting, Reviews, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Aldi maternity clothes: you could get more than you bargained for

As a forces child I spent several years living in Germany, where our local supermarket was Aldi. I used to like going there because of the bins of totally non-supermarket and often pointless items, like watering cans in the shape of gnomes and solar sunflowers for the garden we didn’t have, which ran up the middle of the shop. As of next week those UK bins are now going to contain a ‘capsule’ collection of maternity and baby clothes, and I’ve been sent a few by way of sneak preview. There are dresses (£11.99, pictured), leggings (£6), tops (£9.99) and even a nappy changing bag (£14.99). The range is part of Aldi’s ‘specialbuys’ collection, which go in store every Thursday and Sunday and are only available while stocks last. It will be interesting to see how long these stocks last. […]

By |September 12th, 2014|Beauty, Breast feeding, Family life, Fashion, Parenting, Pregnancy, Reviews|0 Comments

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: it’s no surprise my waist has expanded this week

Week: 32 Waist: 38.5 inches (+0.5 inches) Feeling: Crampy legged I’m pleased to be able to report my craving for chicken soup now appears to have passed. In fact I don’t think I’ll be eating any for a very long time. Instead I’m eating and drinking other things it would never occur to me to consume normally, like squash (the liquid kind). I’ve been ridiculously thirsty throughout the entire pregnancy, and lately I’ve really been fancying squash, which I haven’t drunk for years. So when the nice people at Vimto kindly sent me some samples of their new no added sugar Squeezy water enhancer they came at the perfect time. […]

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: hello third trimester

Week: 28 Waist: 37 inches (-0.5 inches…again!) Feeling: Coming down with a cold, worst luck The quest for decent maternity clothes continues. When I was expecting BB in 2011 there was a plethora of inspiring ranges to choose from, and I remember having to rein myself in to curb the spending. What’s changed? Last month I ordered four tops from H&M – nothing fancy, several vests and a ‘smart’ top – but the fabric was so thin it was virtually transparent so I sent them straight back again. Instead I’ve spent the last few weeks in a (non-maternity) maxi dress from Peacocks, which is just the ticket in this hot weather. Sadly this isn’t going to see me into autumn though, and it was while pondering this that I stumbled upon what actually appears to be a nice selection of affordable outfits to house my growing bump. And you’ll never guess where from: Asda. That’s right, you did read correctly. […]

What’s wrong with a big pot yoghurt poured into a bowl and eaten with a spoon?

It’s been almost 10 years since Ella’s Kitchen pioneered the squeezable ‘pouch puree’ baby food concept and despite claims the format is no match for real fruit/veg and is no substitute for a ‘proper meal’ blah blah blah it’s fair to say the market is now awash with copycat brands. Which is why I was surprised to discover that gourmet yoghurt brand The Collective’s new Suckies are the first fresh branded yoghurt pouches on the market for kids. You’d think Petits Filous or someone would have thought of it before – why has it taken so long? Needless to say BB’s eyes lit up when a polystyrene box full of samples landed on our mat for the purposes of review this week. Like Ella’s Kitchen, Suckies come in brightly coloured pouches which became instantly referred to by BB – and no doubt countless toddlers – as ‘the red one’ and the ‘green one’ as opposed to their proper names. […]

By |July 23rd, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Money, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews, Weaning|0 Comments

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: I’ve gone over to the elastic side

Week: 25 Waist: 38 inches (+ 2 whole inches!!) Feeling: Properly pregnant owing to new ‘over the bump’ jeans My plan to make do with low-rise jeans for the duration of the pregnancy has been thwarted: the button on my Levi’s simply won’t stretch any further and, not wanting to ruin them, I’ve gone over to the elastic side. I’m talking full-on maternity jeans with an ‘over the bump’ elastic panel (below – I’ll spare you a picture of me actually in them – it’s not a pretty sight). Misery Guts laughed out loud when he saw them and I can’t say I blame him. They weren’t what I intended to buy at all. I intended to find a non-maternity pair that simply fitted, but when the sales assistant in JoJo Maman Bebe enthusiastically encouraged me to try them on I was too polite to refuse. Oh. Lordy. They are sooo comfortable I was instantly converted. I knew as soon as I pulled them up and before I looked in the mirror I had to have them – I didn’t care what they looked like. Like my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder maternity bra, which also isn’t a pretty sight. […]

Days out in East Sussex: Drusillas Park

With the weather hotting up we’ve been making a concerted effort to explore the often-overlooked attractions right on our doorstep [...]

By |June 18th, 2014|Family days out, Family life, Money, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|4 Comments

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: it’s time to dress the bump

Week: 20 Waist: 35 inches Feeling: Optimistic with spells of nausea There’s no getting away from it: at 20 weeks pregnant it’s time to dress the bump. So far, being superstitious and fearing that buying maternity clothes will make something go wrong, I’ve cautiously bought a three-pack of maternity vests from New Look (pictured), but that’s not going to cut it for much longer. I’m literally busting out of everything else that involves a waist. A trip to both Mothercare and New Look left me decidedly underwhelmed – think dull coloured tops (Mothercare) and poor quality fabric (New Look). And I’m simply not prepared to spend Isabella Oliver-level cash on clothes I’ll wear for less than six months. Where are the hot pink tees and empire-line linens of my imagination? So I’m going to do exactly what I did when I was expecting BB: cover my bump with a maternity vest, stick to low rise jeans and take to the internet to find non-maternity clothes that can fit over the top. And I’m particularly pleased with one little find: Joe Browns. […]

I’m in drastic need of some hair-spiration

There’s something about going on holiday that makes you come back and want to start again, with a new refreshed outlook on life. It’s been more than a week since we returned from Portugal and I’m still doing my best to maintain that post-holiday glow, mainly by slapping on the after sun twice a day. But having actually had time to peruse the fashion mags filled with summer trends while on said holiday, I’ve had my annual ‘it’s high time to change something about my appearance’ attack. The problem is, I might be creative with the written word but I’m pretty useless when it comes to being creative fashion-wise. The whole thing frightens me. Take my hair for example; it’s been the same for years. The only time in the last four years I have deviated from a centre parting and straightened sides was on my wedding day (pictured), when I enlisted the help of someone who actually knew what they were doing, and last summer when my (very creative) friend neatly plaited it for me (also pictured). Even though she painstakingly told and showed me exactly what to do, I still can’t recreate those plaits. And I’ve tried, I really have. […]

By |June 4th, 2014|Beauty, Family life, Fashion, Parenting, Reviews|0 Comments

Top Bananas! The best family recipes ever

At last. It may have taken two years but Mumsnet has finally compiled a cookbook featuring Mumsnetter’s best recipes, which means no more bookmarking pages from the website and balancing my laptop precariously next to the kitchen sink while attempting to recreate the concoctions. The compendium of wise is called Top Bananas! and features the tried and tested recipes of more than 300 mums with dishes ranging from basic Broccoli Balls to Luscious Lamb Shanks. As well as speedy suppers you can create while simultaneously emptying the washing machine and doing general mum things, there’s proper meals for the grown-ups even Misery Guts is game to try. My favourite bit is the chapter devoted to unashamedly unhealthy but rite-of-passage party treats such as Ice Cream Cone Cakes and Party Toffee Popcorn, which will surely send the anti-sugar brigade into overdrive. I can’t actually remember the last time I saw such naughty recipes in a family cookbook – probably my mum’s good old 1980s Jane Asher party cakes book. […]

By |May 30th, 2014|Books, Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews, Weaning|0 Comments