Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My First Thomas Toy.

Every now and again we receive something baby related and I think that would be perfect for one of our baby friends. We were recently sent a My First Thomas Activity Plush from Tesco* and although it is a little young for Violet, it is ideal for one of her soon-to-be baby friends. 

The toy is lovely and soft and perfect for tiny hands to explore. Thomas is really well made, with lots of small details and a really gorgeous finish, perfect for any train lovers out there. It comes with a mirror, hidden by that really friendly, well known face. Above his little face, the chimney sets off a variety of train sounds which is great for that new born stage, as a little sensory experience. 

The train has lots of different textures and materials - a smooth panel and a crinkle panel, as well as a rattle inside to create lots of interest for little ones. He even doubles up as a teething toy with a cute little mini-Thomas teether to ease those little gums. 

I can't wait to give this Violet's new friend when he's born and let him explore it!

Katie xx

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Baby Led Weaning Update.

We are somehow into month three of baby led weaning and I think this has to have been our most successful month yet. Violet is consuming more and more every day and really enjoying lots of new tastes. We realised once she was taking in more, rather than just sucking and playing with the food, that she prefers much more exciting flavours. We had been playing it quite safe with fairly bland foods to start, but she has definitely experienced a whole variety of things over the past month or so. 

If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen that we were away earlier this month, which meant we really needed to get our thinking caps on when it came to meal times. Thankfully we sensibly booked a lodge with a well equipped kitchen, to ensure we could prep some food and save some money whilst we were there. I think Violet quite enjoyed the novelty of eating away from home and really came into her own BLW wise. It has definitely helped having the hubby off for the past two weeks, he's far better and more creative than I am in the kitchen!
Violet is still enjoying some of her faves. Anything with peanut butter, bananas, toast and pesto topped food. I have been trying to mix up her bread choices, and we've tried pitta breads, mini-flat bread and tortillas too, alongside the regular loaf. I know if we had a bread maker we would definitely be trying some of the homemade bread machine recipes by Panasonic. It would definitely be more economical and healthy for us to make our own with the amount of bread we go through!
We've also discovered V has some new faves too. Rice with egg, peas, onions and sweet corn - a baby version of egg fried rice goes down a storm. She is also quite the fan of sweet potato curry, red Thai curry and green Thai curry, all homemade by Daddy of course! 

We also made an exciting BLW purchase at the beginning of the month. We picked up a booster seat, we went with the Summer Infant Booster, for using when we're out and about, which has been a godsend. I dread heading to anywhere to eat out in case they have those huge wooden highchairs (why don't people use the IKEA cheap chairs?!). Violet is far too small for the wooden highchairs and constantly slips and doesn't enjoy her meals. So the booster seat has really revolutionised her eating out experience. Plus she can sit right at the table with us and tends to sit for longer and eat more - win win. 

I think you're pretty much up to date before another month or so of baby led weaning commences. I can't rave about how much we all enjoy BLW and it's so amazing watching her try new things and feeding herself throughout the day. 

Katie xx

*In collaboration with Panasonic.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Magical Cloth Bum Leggings.

A few months back I got chatting with the owner of Clayton's Cloth, a baby and children's wear brand. We chatted back and forth on Instagram and we were kindly sent some leggings* to review.    

Clayton's Cloth was a brand set up to help those wearing cloth nappies have clothes that fit well, particularly around the bum. If you use reusable nappies, you'll know the most bottoms don't fit well and you tend to have to size up. Which then means the waist is too big or the legs are too long, especially on my little dot. 

The leggings were designed with our likes and dislikes in mind and made especially to fit Violet. We chose a unicorn fabric (of course!), which is just incredible. They're so well made and fit V like a glove. She has so many plain leggings, I'm glad that we finally have some more exciting bottoms for her. Plus I'm helping to promote a working at home mum too, hooray for small businesses!

You can find Clayton's Cloth on Instagram (@claytonscloth) and on Facebook. 

Katie xx

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Manchester Gin Festival.

Last week I had a very rare baby-free afternoon. Daddy and Violet were spending some time together, while I got on with a very important task - reviewing the Manchester Gin Festival. Of course I took along a friend, and headed to the Victoria Baths in the city centre. Which FYI are stunning and it was a pretty amazing venue for the festival. 
Once inside, we collected our tickets along with some complementary tokens to try our gins of choice. If you've never been to a Gin Festival, it's a pretty great way to try out new brands and some unique flavours. We were given a booklet of all the gin available and which bar they were stocked at. The main hall consisted of four bars, each with different types and styles of gin. Every gin was labelled up with the garnish and which tonic matched best with the flavours. We tried one from each bar obviously! 

Next door to the main hall was the brands room, where we got lots of free tasters and learnt all about the new gins on the market. It was a really cool way to try some of the drinks on offer before committing to an entire glass. I particularly took to the Parma Violet gin from Zymurgorium, and of course had to have a full glass from the bar. I also tried an incredible coconut flavoured gin from a brand called Hoxton, that would just be perfect for sipping by the pool on holiday. 
The other side of the main bar area, was food and entertainment. There were live bands on all afternoon, which created the perfect atmosphere for sipping drinks and catching up with friends. 
The festival is running up and down the country over the next few months and unfortunately has finished in Manchester for this year. Tickets are allocated to time slots, meaning the event doesn't get unbearably busy and you have the perfect amount of gin-drinking time! So check out the for dates for upcoming events near you. 

I will certainly be attending again next year, it was such a fab afternoon, especially if you like a good G&T!

Katie xx

*I received complimentary tickets for this event, though all my opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Our Montessori Shelves.

When you have a baby the entire parenting world becomes unbelievably overwhelming. There is so much advice and conflicting ideas that's it's hard to decide which path to take. And although we've made some mistakes along the way, I'm really happy with the choices we've made when it comes to bringing up Violet. 

Now she is on the move and interacting with us, other babies and her toys more, I'd been doing a whole tonne of reading into learning styles and ideas. I've read into Waldorf education, which is great but some aspects are definitely not for us. But after further reading (lots and lots of reading) we both felt that the Montessori approach really fit well with mine and Jonathan's ideas and values. We're both keen to help Violet become an independent and confident young lady and following Montessori ideas, we're pretty sure we can help contribute to that. 

So I put some things into place this week to help with Violet's learning and imagination, starting with her shelves. Luckily a lot of V's toys were already appropriate for Montessori. She has lots of open ended toys, wooden toys and spends a lot of time playing with her "realistic" animals. I've also introduced a Tuff Tray for sensory or themed activities, which I'm hoping to do a few posts on soon! I've really been trying to link up books to play too (which you may have seen on my Insta story). For example, using her animals when reading her farm book, then having some play time with them afterwards. It works well for us as she's not overwhelmed by everything out all at once. 
I've tried to organise the shelves in a way that similar toys are stored together. They're a really great height for Violet to be able to choose which toys she wants to play with and surprisingly she has chosen a few at a time - I half expected all of the toys to be pulled off immediately! I'm hoping to create a little reading nook next to the shelves too, with some lovely comfy cushions and a low book shelf she she can pick her story books. 

I'm really pleased with our new little baby-friendly corner of our house. It's lovely and light and leads straight to the garden where I know we will be spending a lot of time in the warmer months. Let's face it, messy sensory play is so much better when you don't need to worry about it being plastered all over your rug! 

We're still learning about Montessori and are by no means experts or following a strict Montessori approach, but it will certainly have some influence on the way V is brought up. 

For anyone wondering where we pick up Violet's toys, I'm more than happy to do a full post. Now let me get back to reading about bringing up little people. 

Katie xx

Saturday, 1 April 2017

The New Bag on the Block.

Violet has been wearing baby sleeping bags since she was heavy enough for the first size and to be honest we wouldn't use anything else. Before Violet used the bags, she was a monkey for kicking off the blankets and I was forever worrying that they would come loose and cover her face. Thankfully the sleeping bags give me peace of mind and allow Violet to wriggle as much as she needs to, but still keep warm during the night. 

We do have a few go-to sleeping bag brands, but we were recently asked if we'd like to try a sleeping bag from ergoPouch*. Of course, we jumped at the chance to try out something a little bit different for bedtime. I picked the ergoPouch Winter Sleepsuit Bag with Dandelion print, in a 2.5 tog which covers 18-23 degrees Celsius. The bag comes with a really handy room thermometer too.

The Sleepsuit differs from a regular sleeping bag as it can be converted from the regular 'bag' shape to a suit style all-in-one with separate legs. This is great for babies and toddlers that are crawling or walking around as it makes things a little safer when they inevitably try and stand up whilst wearing the bag. I know Violet is always trying to move around in her cot and pull herself up on the bars, I know it will be a little easier for her to do this when she's not tripping over excess material. The separate 'feet' have grips on the underside for those that are walking, to prevent any slips or trips when they're moving about in their nightwear.
The ergoPouch comes with long sleeves too, which is a huge benefit in the colder months. I'm constantly worried that V is getting cold arms, as most of the original sleeping bags are sleeveless and despite wearing a baby grow, it can still get pretty chilly. The jersey style sleeves make this a great option for the winter months and could be used with just a short sleeved vest when it does get a little milder. The rest of the suit is made from organic cotton, making it incredibly soft and durable. It's even filled with organic cotton fibres, making it super breathable and giving it a anti-bacterial properties too.

I love the fact that this sleepsuit can carry Violet through to the toddlers stage as the sizing is from 8-24 months. It certainly is roomy and Violet has tonnes of room to grow into it. As she is only small, this is still a little big for V, but nothing a bit of sleeve rolling can't fix! 

Do you use sleeping bags with your little ones?

Katie xx