How? How did my Littlest get to 6 whole months already?
This little boy (though currently suffering through his first proper cold) brings so much happiness to our lives. We tell him every day how much we love him, how he is our little joy. He laughs, we laugh and then I smother him in kisses. A beautiful baby can never be kissed too much you know.
Happy half birthday little man. You are very much loved by everyone who knows you.
Vital statistics: approx. 21lbs, clothes aged 9-12 months. Eats: everything. 4 bottles plus 3 actual meals with desserts. Loves: bananas, being tickled (he is the most ticklish baby I’ve ever known!), his walker, chewing things, his brother. Hates: spinach, not having anything to chew on, waiting for food.
There’s nothing better than a baby fresh out of a bath, clean and smelling incredible. Look at this chunky body! Couldn’t you just squeeze him? I get to every day! Love it!
We moisturise Finn after his baths. His skin has a tendency to be a little dry and we learnt the hard way with Sam that prevention is better than cure when it comes to scaly skin. Being all new and adorable I tend to stick to hypoallergenic, unscented moisturisers rather than have him smelling like a tart’s handbag. I have been surprised at how strong some of the ‘baby’ moisturisers are!
I recently received Sudocrem’s new moisturising mousse to review. I had tried their sun protection mousse a couple of years ago and liked it very much. The cold weather has been pretty hard on Finn’s skin. His dribbling is like a running tap and when you add in the wind chill, his cheeks have been getting chapped and sore.
I was really impressed with this. What seemed initially like a lot of mousse on my hand soaked easily into Finn’s skin with no greasy residue (I do worry about dropping him and a greasy slick of cream on his skin only adds to this!).
Unlike normal Sudocrem, there was no scent to it so I could still smell Finn’s lovely, clean baby smell. I also put it on his cheeks to see if it would make any difference and it did. Within a couple of days his face was back to peachy pink without the angry red patches that had been around his cheeks, mouth and chin. The packaging does say that it protects the skin as well as moisturises which was evident here.
Plus points: Easily absorbed. Not strongly scented. No slippery skin (!). Effective. Easily dispensed. Not cold on application (like creams can be) so no startled baby. Doesn’t spill. Reasonable price (currently £3.99 on Amazon).
Negatives: none found after a month of use.
Thumbs up from Finnbo!
Sudocrem Moisturising Mousse comes in this spray bottle, like hair mousse (keep away from the older kids, folks!) and doesn’t contain any perfumes, colours, parabens or other preservatives. We like it a lot.
*Disclaimer – we were sent this for review but were not obligated to give a positive review. All opinions are ours.)s
I’ve written before about how much I enjoyed breast feeding Sam and I was really looking forward to starting that journey again with Finn. It hasn’t been easy. To begin with Finn refused to eat and we were readmitted to hospital the day after being discharged because we’d had to resort to feeding him via teaspoon. Within a few hours though he had taken some formula then been established on the breast and we were away! We’ve had various issues (a blog post on their own) but one thing which has made things easier is this breast feeding vest, kindly given to me by the lovely Karen from BoobieMilk.
This is a fantastic online store for all breast feeding needs, from bras and night wear to nursing necklaces and maternity support bands. They also sell gift vouchers which would be an ideal gift for any pregnant woman.
I received the Emma Jane long maternity and nursing vest in black. Throughout my pregnancy it was my go-to top as it was the only one which truly covered my huge bump! I wore it under tops when I was worried about flashing my belly, under shirts so I could keep them unbuttoned over said huge bump and during that horrendously hot summer (distant memory now!) when I had literally nothing else cool to wear.
After having Finn though, it really came into its own. There is an additional built in bra shelf which means you don’t need to wear a bra with it and it keeps in any breast pads you may need. The shoulder straps are adjustable so you can make it as comfortable as you like. The top part (on top of the bra shelf) unclips from the straps and pulls down so you can easily and discreetly nurse your baby. I personally found that wearing it under another top made it most comfortable for me, as I could pull up the top one, lower this one and I wasn’t exposing anything I didn’t want to when I fed Finn in public.
I had the size 18-20 which fitted fine over my bump and also when I wasn’t pregnant. I like to think this is due to the incredible elasticity of it, rather than I.m just as big as when I was pregnant! The top is also available in white.
If you are local to Karen, she also does home fittings for bras which is an invaluable service, as I know, having tried on a ridiculous number before actually finding one that fits!
If you have any other breast feeding ‘must haves’ please let me know!
(Disclaimer: I was sent a vest for the purpose of a review but was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.)
I am the least crafty person in the world. Trust me. When an email from cartridgesave.co.uk dropped in my inbox about Christmas crafting I laughed and left it. A few days later, after a few glasses of wine, I thought ‘How hard could it be?!’ and accepted the challenge. There is a prize to win £500 for the best cracker but as we had no loo rolls in the house (we forgot and threw then out!) we’re out of that. I did want to share what we made as we’re so proud of ourselves!
cartridgesave.co.uk have created 6 downloadable (free) guides suitable for children to make various decorations, including the ill fated crackers. We went for the 3D tree decoration.
We had so much fun making this that after Sam put his jim jams on, he played some more. He sat ever so quietly, cutting, sticking and creating until almost 9pm. We didn’t have the heart to stop him when he was enjoying himself so much!
Thank you for sending the craft pack through – you may have just made a very uncrafty family, crafty!
I promise I’m not sponsored by the Whitby Tourist Board but with my parents owning a caravan there you can expect quite a few posts about our adventures!
We were at the caravan for half term a couple of weeks ago. Being partly responsible for inspiring Bram Stoker to write Dracula, it’s not surprising that Whitby does a lot over Halloween.
We visited the Abbey a couple of days before Halloween to see what was on. I can’t say I was overly impressed at the price – almost £18 for the 3 of us (Finn was free) but I hadn’t been before and wanted to explore.
The actual Abbey is pretty spectacular but apart from that there usually isn’t much to do. As it was Halloween week though there was a ghost hunt for children! Well, more of a wooden cutout of scary things using rhyming clues but we enjoyed it!
The weather was cold but sunny. It was glorious! We had an awful lot of fun…
When I was pregnant with Finn I had a big ol’ list of things to buy. At the top of it was a baby monitor with video. We had one given to us when Sam was born and I loved it! Before we had it we were running upstairs at every little murmur and snuffle he made and, as any parents will know, that’s an awful lot of running! Having the video monitor meant we could just look to see if he was ok and not disturb him by rushing into the bedroom every half an hour.
Video monitors vary an awful lot. The picture can be grainy and the sounds great, the sound can be poor but the video fantastic. It’s a bit of a minefield, and unless you read a lot of reviews you’re not going to know how good it is until you try it.
Well, I think I can help you out! A month or so ago I was sent a new monitor (it went on sale 1st November) from Tomy to review and it is fantastic!
‘Tomy’s Digital TFV600 Video Monitor has been developed to give you constant video monitoring of your baby, even in the dark, with it’s built in nightvision.’
This was so easy to set up. We literally plugged it in, angled the camera to Finn’s cot and away we were. We were surprised by how clear the picture was. We had bought a video monitor before he was born (I’m not naming the brand!) and weren’t impressed with the fuzzy pictures. Even at night you can make out Finn’s face easily and tell which baby grow he’s wearing. There is an adjustable zoom which we found useful as we don’t have anywhere particularly close to his crib which we could put the camera. The sound quality is excellent. So much so that I have to turn it down when Finn isn’t in bed so I can’t hear everything going on upstairs during play time and bath time! There is also a sound sensor which visually shows you if there is any noise being made. I like this because I have been known to leave the sound off! At least this was I can see if Finn’s awake and needs me.
Other features I particularly like are the temperature display (at this time of year I find it invaluable) so I can adjust Finn’s sleep wear as needed; the remote control lullabies (I put these on when I put Finn down and he now knows it’s his cue for sleep), the two way talkback (I’ve not needed this for Finn yet but it’s come in very handy to scare the bejesus out of Sam when he’s naughtily jumping on our bed!), the nightlight (I don’t have to turn the big light on when I’m fumbling for my pyjamas!)
All in all I don’t have a bad word to say about this monitor, genuinely. We are completely thrilled with it and have already recommended it to friends.
Craig is notoriously hard to please but when I asked him what he thought of it he said, ‘Picture quality amazing, sound is fantastic. If I had to send this back I’d go out and buy one, it’s that good.’
There we go then! Would we pay good money for it? Without hesitating. We’ve had three video monitors over the years and this is by far the best. If you are pregnant, or already have a baby, you need this in your life.
It’s currently available on Amazon here.
(Disclosure: I was sent the monitor for a review but was not paid for my time or told what to write. We love it. Simples.)
With a swathe of recent energy price hikes hitting households in the UK, it’s worth taking a look at the cities widely regarded as being the least energy efficient. With rising fuel costs and cheap energy seemingly a thing of the past, it’s time for these regions to take some positive action.
Various studies have been carried out since the year 2000 to determine the energy efficiency of the UK’s largest 20 cities. Independent reports published in 2007 and 2012 both cited the Northern Ireland capital, Belfast, as being the least energy efficient of all the major cities. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveys found that the average level of emissions in Belfast fell by just 4% over a prolonged period, compared with a UK average of 12% – perhaps more worryingly, emissions actually rose during one period! Approximately half of Belfast’s emissions came from domestic properties, indicating that a substantial amount of work needs to be done in implementing green initiatives in areas such as more efficient insulation, heating and lighting. The problem persists across Northern Ireland as a whole.
Understandably, the vast network of industrial and office complexes across London mean that the city has a huge amount of energy consumption. Studies have indicated that many office blocks and workspaces in cities across the UK are lit and heated overnight, when staff numbers are low; this contributes heavily to inefficiencies in energy usage. The Greater London area fares only marginally better than Belfast in studies of energy consumption and efficiency, meaning the nation’s capital has plenty of work to do to meet government targets for reduction of emissions by 2020. Whilst the enormous number of commuters and businesses across London means that the city is never going to be the most efficient in the UK, it can certainly look to European counterparts like Stockholm for ways to cut energy consumption and implement more efficient technologies and procedures in the future.
A 2012 British Gas study of domestic energy efficiency compared the housing stocks in 20 of the major UK cities and discovered that cities such as Nottingham languished near the bottom of the table: this is partly due to vast tranches of older housing but also a perceived lack of uptake of green initiatives. However the news is brighter, with a 2013 project set to boost cavity wall and loft insulation in 5000 homes in the Clifton area – a useful first step to combat rising fuel bills and improve efficiency. In the long term, an expansion of this would see cities such as Nottingham greatly improve their efficiency.
While their neighbours in Southampton have unveiled ambitious and revolutionary plans for renewable energy and efficiency improvements, Portsmouth residents live in some of the worst insulated properties in the UK. A recent report suggested that only around one in six homes in the city had full insulation – the average cost saving that can be achieved by fixing this runs into hundreds of pounds per year. Worryingly, a local survey suggested that around three quarters of residents were deterred from taking action over perceived costs – even though local councils have a range of cheap or free initiatives to help households improve their energy efficiency.
Unsurprisingly, the Scottish city of Falkirk features highly in reports about inefficiency, mainly because of the proximity of the huge former BP oil refinery and petrochemical plants in nearby Grangemouth. To its credit, the city council has undertaken a wide range of green initiatives to improve housing and educate residents about energy usage.
Disclosure: Sponsored post
Finn has started to sleep through now, bless him. I think he knew I was nearing breaking point with sleep deprivation and needed unbroken sleep! Sam was always a good sleeper (though he had his moments!) so I hope Finn has inherited that from him. They don’t get it from me, that’s for sure. I really struggle getting to sleep. Once I’m gone, it’s fine but getting there is always a struggle. I stay up way too late either reading, playing Candy Crush, doing some washing, playing Plants v Zombies, playing Minion Rush or a whole host of time sucking, mind energizing, silly games on the iPad. It’s not a good idea to play on electronic devices for at least an hour before going to bed and I’m going to have to learn that! When I go back to work in March I’ll need a good 8 hours to function well on so I’ll be taking heed of this.
For a few years now I’ve either listened to music or Slimpods to help me relax and drift off. My personal favourite albums are Dido’s No Angel (I find her voice and melodies so relaxing), Cafe del Mar (Volume 7) and Morcheeba’s Big Calm. I started listening to Cafe del Mar albums at uni and this one is my absolute fail safe for relaxing and getting me ready for sleep. Obviously it’s not just me who rates them as a track from Cafe del Mar came 10th in a study to find the 10 most relaxing songs of all time.
Adele was in there as well which surprised me. I like the girl but she’s been so overplayed in the last few years that the opening bars of any of her tracks are like nails on a blackboard to me! The Manchester band, Marconi Union with Weightless has been voted the most relaxing song of all time and now having heard it, I definitely agree!
My tips (from experience) for getting to sleep and staying asleep:
1. Turn off any electronic devices an hour before bed. Read a book or a magazine. Just relax without the distractions of facebook, twitter and Instagram.
2. Use lavender oil. On a swatch under your pillow, some pot pourri in your bedroom, a spritz of lavender room spray – it all helps! I love the scent of lavender and often use Sam & Finn’s lavender bath bubbles to help me relax. If it works for them…
3, If you have anything on your mind, worries or things to do the next day, write them down. It’ll help to forget about them. Until you wake up that is!
4. Have a warm, caffeine free drink. Horlicks, hot chocolate. If you’re from the North, a nice hot Vimto!
5. Listen to relaxing music. Most of the chill out albums available are fantastic but you can easily pull a play list together yourself. The top 10 songs to relax to can start you off! Feel free to add my favourite: Morcheeba’s The Sea.
Finn is 14 weeks old now and our thoughts are turning to weaning. I can’t actually believe we’re at this stage already! And I haven’t even finished writing his birth story!
I saw a study yesterday by Ella’s Kitchen who, using a ‘Thrill O Meter’ measured the levels of thrills experience by babies when they tasted new flavours.
When I was weaning Sam I went down the traditional route of purees – starting off with apple, pear, carrot, butternut squash etc. It turns out that carrot was only 10th on the Thrill O Meter and the others weren’t featured at all! The top 10 foods were
7. Red pepper
9. Sweet potato
I wouldn’t have even thought about giving a baby cinnamon, lemon, coconut or red pepper so I’m going to revise what I’d planned to give Finn. I want food to be exciting and interesting for him rather than bland or boring. I made a lot of my own food with Sam and will be doing the same this time. I’ll be taking inspiration from this study and adding cinnamon to apple, making tropical fruit puree with mango, coconut and papaya and also throwing in a bit of baby led weaning with chunks of banana, red pepper and sweet potatoes. I have to admit though that I don’t make everything myself (and I certainly won’t have time once I go back to work) so I’ll also be turning to the Ella’s Kitchen pouches for help!
The sciencey bit about the study:
The results were calculated by analysing increased Galvanic Skin Response from certain foods, combined with facial expression and body language analysis from parents to determine how positive the response was.
When babies become excited in response to a food, or the anticipation of a food, their bodies and minds get ready for action. Their hearts beat faster, their eyes open wide, and their breathing quickens. One physiological effect of excitement and sensorial engagement that can’t be seen by parents is the micro-fluctuations in sweat levels, which the thrill-o-meter closely monitored through Galvanic Skin Response. A rise in Galvanic Skin Response, together with positive facial analysis from parents, expressed just how excited the baby was when tasting the food.
Brendan Walker, Thrill Laboratory comments: “Food can be really exciting for babies – whether it’s a first taste of cinnamon, juicy mango or exotic coconut. Different foods can stimulate different physiological responses and this innovative study is designed to reveal just how thrilling different foods are for babies and to help Ella’s Kitchen continue to explore and understand babies’ taste buds, both scientifically and creatively.”
And I couldn’t not include this video of the cute children!The little girl’s face when she tries lemon!
How did you wean your little ones? Any tips? It’s been 5 years!