Thursday, 19 July 2012

Our little absence

Hello loyal followers!
I'm so sorry that we havent been around, lifes a bit buisier since J turned 1 and has started to get about, so i though i'd bob on for a little update.

the biggy..J is now walking! and talking!

well, almost walking and almost talking. shes got some everso sweet words coming out out and she's very nearly got that cute toddler waddling gait going.
Anyway, shes a whole lot more work now, but shes worth every minute of it.
we've seen and tried to eat the olympic torch, been out and about, been a little visit to see J's Auntie, found some baby friendly and not so friendly cafes and shops, and lots of other fun things. But they are whole new posts.

so hopefully i'll get on to do some more blog posts soon, until then,

video

Friday, 3 February 2012

Using a baby sling

Jessica has been a little clingy of late, I think its a combination of teething, her age and the fact that she is just a real mummy's girl. I don't practise CC (controlled crying) and i don't believe in letting a baby 'cry it out'. And while Jessica and i were quite happy to sit and cuddle all day long, the housework just started to mount up...as it does.

The only solution i could think of was to try baby wearing. Jessica could have all the cuddles she wanted and i was free to get my washing done.It was also recommended to baby wear if practising EC (see earlier post)
I decided to delve into the dreaded world of the Internet again (this thing just keeps coming to haunt me!!!!!) and again was faced with another whole new world of confuddlement. As if learning about cloth nappies wasn't confusing enough, the world of baby wearing (or using slings and wraps) was even more so. With terms and makes such as 'Mei Tai, Moby, S.P.O.C, Ringslings etc, I had no idea what i was doing. and a lot of the makes seemed very expensive for what (to me) comes across as a bit of cloth, and the different types just seemed very confusing.

After a bit of research and trawling the Internet and facebook, I found a company called Snugiwraps, Run by Stephanie Dack. 

Stephanie is a work at home mum, who set up her company Snugiwraps when she saw a place in the market for low priced high quality wraps. She sells a type of wrap that is known as a S.P.O.C - simple piece of cloth. Its essentially a large piece of cotton fabric that's 5 metres long and 20 inches wide, with tapered ends that tie easily. They come in a variety of colours and patterns and are dyed using safe reactive dyes which are considered to be child friendly and colourfast.

I ordered a stage 2 wrap in jet black. Which is suitable from a newborn baby until approximately 18 months old, and costs £17 including delivery from http://www.snugiwraps.co.uk/. The package came through very quickly with excellent customer service from Stephanie.

The Package itself seemed quite small, and came with full printed instructions, which were quite easy to follow. After practising a few times with a teddy (as suggested), and looking at the video Stephanie provides on her selling pages, I started to use it with Jessica using the classic hug hold detailed in the instructions. It was a little tricky to get her in, but this became a lot easier after doing it a few times.

The Wrap itself is very easy to use, the material feels very nice and it washes nicely as well.  
The weight of Jessica (about 18lbs) was distributed nicely and she didn't feel heavy at all.

We used the wrap both indoors and out, and found it easy to tie, and to get Jessica in and out of it after a bit of practise. Jessica seemed very content and happy, even falling asleep at one point, and i felt very safe and secure using it, and i wore it very comfortably for a few hours on end.

Jessica having a little snooze while taking a quick trip to the shops


pros: 
versatile - its suitable for breastfeeding, comfortable for baby to sleep in and it can be used in several different holds
Price - one of the cheapest on the market
Fabric - lovely soft fabric in a variety of colours and patterns
Baby feels snug and secure
No buckles or straps to dig in
Is suitable to fit wearers size up to a 22 (aprox)

cons: 
can take a while to get used to it
can be a little tricky to tie, but Stephanie provides clear instructions
Can be a bit tricky to get baby in and out, but this gets easier with practice

Edit 06.06.13
I feel It nessisary to add, that while I recommend snugiwraps stretch wrap. I cannot endorse other products in this range. I strongly advice to research and look at other reviews etc before buying. 

You can get snugiwraps from the following places

Facebook: Stephanies very informative and friendly facebook Snugiwraps selling page
Ebay: Stephanie also has an official Ebay page
Online: visit Stephanies official page here


I received no payment or free product for this review and all all opinions are my own

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Weaning and Baby lead weaning

Want to see a baby covered in food?

you do? ok.

Breadsticks and hummous



 OK so Baby Lead Weaning (BLW) was again, something I never set out to do, i ended up doing a combination of both BLW and Traditional weaning. Jessica showed signs of wanting food just after 4 months old, so I started to introduce purees.
A lot of people will not agree with this, but it was the best desicion for us, and we were supported by our health visitor.

Beef in tomato sauce

After 2 months of cooking, puréeing, and freezing down foods, struggling to think of new combo's of food, and persuading Jessica that no, she really didn't want mamma's and daddy's meal. I gave in and started her on proper solid food and she LOVED it.

Enjoying a cake at a christmas party
sharing mama and daddys fish and chips


we started of slowly, just a rusk to start with, then we moved on to toast, sticks of vegetable and so on, and very soon Jessica was having the same food Matthew and i were having. She even had a full Christmas dinner complete with Yorkshire puds (her favourite) roast potatoes, roast meat and all the trimmings.

I cant honestly say if one way of weaning is better than the other as Jessica naturally progressed from one to the other seamlessly. But i will say that weaning is LOTS of fun, and the BLW is very easy to do, even if it is a bit messy at times. Be Prepared for more food on the floor, on your babies face and hands, and most likely in places that your never though food could get to.



Organix carrot sticks
christmas dinner with all the trimmings

Monday, 23 January 2012

The cost of nappies

I've had a few people asking me if cloth nappies really are cheaper than disposables. What about the cost of running a washing machine? what about the cost of water? the cost of extra washing powder?


I found lots of information on green fluffy bottoms - facebook group about all aspects of cloth nappies, and i found an absolute gem of a document detailing the actual cost of both cloth and disposable so here it is:



ok, you need to bear with me on this one...theres a lot of detailed information on here and I have tried to make it a little clearer than the original document, if you want to skip it (and i dont blame you if you do) skip down to the bottom of this post for the end totals...you'll be a little shocked at the costs. I know I was

I'm basing all the information on the following

An Average child potty trains about 2.5 years old = 912 days in nappies
with 7 nappy changes a day x 912 days.. That equals to 6384 disposable nappies (thats a lot of nappies)



The cost of cheap disposable nappies:
Store own brand nappy = between 10.7p and 19.9p each so thats an average 15.3p per nappy x 6384 = £976.75 over 2.5 years
own brand wipes = 1 pack per week £1 each x 130 weeks = £130
TOTAL cheap Disposable version = £1106.75

The cost of cheap cloth nappies
20 cheap eBay pocket birth to potty nappies = aprox £2.50 each so £50 in total
Fleece reusable wipes pack of 15 = £5
TOTAL cheap cloth £55

thats quite a price difference.

But what about those expensive custom nappies, and what about branded disposables?

ok

Branded nappies are between 15.4p and 22.4p each with an average of 18.9p per nappy x 6384 = £1206.57
Branded Wipes are aprox £1.50 pack per week  x 130 weeks = £195
TOTAL branded disposable version = £1402.57

20x branded custom made pocket nappy with embroidery.
At about £25 per nappy with inserts = £500
Branded cloth wipes kit = £35
TOTAL branded cloth £535




ahhh,  hear you cry, what about the cost of water and electricity to power the extra washing?

here you go..this is based on 1 extra wash load, every other day for 2.5 years and without boring you with the specifics (i can add them on request)

water : £56.22
electricity: £51.51

Branded cloth nappy detergent costs approx £14 for 90 washes. You will do 456 washes washing every other day x 15p per wash = £68.40 detergent cost..bear in mind, that there are also cheaper washing powders available that are also suitable for cloth



so in simple terms

Cheap nappies:
Disposables  £1106.75 
Cloth £231.13 
 a saving of £875.62

branded nappies:
Disposables  £1402.57
Cloth £711.13
 a saving of £699.44


And if you swapped from expensive branded nappies, to unbranded cloth you could save a MASSIVE £1171.44!!!!!

WOW! thats quite a difference eh?

and look how pretty cloth is


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Date night

Now i firmly believe that every so often, a couple must take time to be just that...a couple. Its hard work being a parent, and sometimes, you neglect each other because all your time and energy is going on the baby. So every so often, Matthew and I have 'Date night'

You dont have to go out for Date night, you dont even have to be child free, but just spend a bit of time, when the children are in bed, to spend time with each other.

our simple rule for date night however is: BABY IS NOT TALKED ABOUT!

Dont get me wrong, i love my gorgeous daughter, and i would physically talk the back legs of a sprightly donkey talking about her, but sometimes, you really need to talk about something else...anything else, talk about the weather (windy out aint it), what the neighbours are doing (so-and-so 6 doors down was doing such and such with so-and-so), the price of things (stupid expensive) ANYTHING AT ALL.

Its harder than it sounds

So anyway, back to 'date night'.

Jessica went to 'Grammies' for the evening and Myself and Matthew decided to go to our favourite restaurant Little Tokyo in Leeds city centre.

Little Tokyo looks a bit grungy from the outside. You could easily walk past it and not give it a second thought.



Inside is a totally different kettle of fish (pardon the pun)
Upstairs has a little Japanese bridge going over a pond full of HUGE koi, chairs and tables that are made of big slabs of polished wood,  (didnt get a photo of them though...sorry)


And downstairs is like you have walked into a different world. Subdued lighting, seats that make you feel like your sat at a proper Japanese table, huge tanks of fish. Its great.


So anyway, after a short wait for a table and after getting a nice pint of Japanese lager, We ordered our food. Crystal prawn dumplings followed by Sashimi set bento box for me and Dim sum sui mai followed by special Ramen with a side order of yakitori for Matthew.

The speed that you receive your food at little Tokyo is astounding. The food is always cooked fresh to order, yet arrives very quickly.

The starters arrived and were just so tasty that i forgot to take a picture for you.


then we had our rather delicious mains


My Sahimi set bento box was divine. Yes its raw fish, but dont knock it till ya try it! its very fresh and has a great flavour. The bento box has sections of tempura vegetables, rice, fruit, salad and the main dish

Matthews Ramen ( a very filling noodle soup) also went down a treat, and he thoroughly enjoyed the yakitori, which is Chicken skewers with a teriaki sauce.


and as you can see, we also tried sake.

The only way i can describe Sake, is that its like Vodka without the burn...and its warm.


After the meal we decided to partake in some of little Tokyos rather special deserts. Crispy parcels (deep fried marshmallow) and Japanese style profiteroles (deep fried ice cream)


Feeling rather full and happy, we then toddled of home to our local to join some friends for a drink. another rarity. All in all we had a lovely date night followed by a lovely unbroken nights sleep...

Having date night is a great way of recharging your batteries, relearn how to talk about grown up stuff (yep, there really is another world beyond Waybaloo and Mr Bloom) and spend a bit of time being a couple again.

As i said before, you don't even need to go out. Just relax, put a film on, cook a nice dinner, have an early night. And if your a single parent, spend some time with good friends, have a long relaxing soak in the bath,

The whole idea of date night, is to have some quality, child free time, even just a few hours...it doesn't need to be a full night

You wont regret it.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A quick update

Sorry sorry sorry!! I know i said on my Facebook page, that I would update on Friday...and i didn't...baaaad Anna.
I've been trying to think of some witty, lighthearted subjects to chat to you about and i've had a slight case of bloggers block...eeep :/

But anyway, i'm here now and that's the main thing eh? and I've got a lovely update on the little munchkin.

Jessica has started to crawl!!! I'm very excited as she has also started to babble away to us as well.
In typical Jessica fashion, she's put her own spin on crawling. Its more of a spider/commando/traditional mix of things. She'll get her knees (or very occasionally her feet) under her, stick her bum up in the air and push her self forward using one arm to commando crawl. It probably not the easiest way of doing things, But it works for Jess.

Jessica will also wave byebye now as well. She'll wave byebye to everything. People, toys, her reflection, her sippy cup...but not me, i just get a hand in my face when i go to give her a kiss..such is the life of a mum.

Well thats pretty much it for just now.
I PROMISE to be back soon with some more things to chat to you about.

Byebye for now

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

something a little more lighthearted

Ok, after the last post, i felt i needed to put something a little more lighthearted on.
My attention was drawn to this. Ok so its the sun, but i thought it was great

The Potty List aka 36 things kids must try before they are 3

This made me laugh and as a parent, i subconsciously ticked of the things that Jessica has either done or I can really see her doing in the not so distant future. And the best thing, was that TV isn't mentioned once. I'm not against TV, in fact Cbeebies is on a fair amount in our house, not that Jessica is plonked in front of it...far from it, but its nice to have something age appropriate on in the background.

so on to the list, i'm not going to list all 36 things, i'll just pick out my favourites

number 3 - Finger paint: We love messy things in this house (me and Jessica more than my poor Hubby), I'll do a separate post about out painting experiences later. Needless to say it was a lot fun, and a bath was much needed by the end

number 12 - Feed the Ducks: We are very luck where we are to have a couple of lovely parks to visit and feed the ducks and a great bird sanctuary. It makes me a little sad that some kids out there don't have the opportunity to do this Very cheap (if not free) Fun activity.

number 24 - poo in the bath: Very gross, but its already happened...a few times. I'm telling ya, your life is not complete until you've played fish for the poo!

number 26 - Ride on daddys shoulders: Jessica totally loves this. I thinks its her Favourite thing to do at the moment. Her face lights up and the giggles begin. Its priceless.

have a look at the link, its sure to put a smile on your face

What do you think all children should do before they are 3? I'd love to hear from you x