28 March 2017

Breastfeeding a Biter!

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I know the title of this post sounds a bit scary and some people will be like "why are you breastfeeding your child when they have a set of teeth like jaws", however lots of babies get their teeth young and I wanted to share some tips and my experiences on breastfeeding a biter.

Let me start by saying that most babies won't bite whilst breastfeeding but there is a number of reasons why they can and do. I'm still feeding my daughter, who has recently turned two, and it's only been in the last year I've had issues with her biting and only a couple of incidents were her being cheeky.

If I remember correctly the first time she decided to have a nibble was when she was just over 1 year old and was more curious and alert when feeding. It wasn't too sore when she bit but it did of course hurt and when I took her off the breast and sternly said no she immediately had a cry because she didn't like the reaction I gave her. I'm sure she was just being curious but didn't expect me to get cross. After that I popped her back on the breast and she didn't bite me again.

The second time she had a bite, again she was being cheeky and I think she did it because I wasn't looking into her eyes lovingly whilst she was feeding. She basically nipped me, smiled and giggled then went back to feeding the wee monkey. I did stop to give her a telling off again and remind her that mummy's boobs are not for biting.

The older she got though and the more teeth she got sometimes lead to accidental biting and this leads me on nicely as to why sometimes babies do bite whilst breastfeeding.

Who's Bad
One of the most common reasons is a bad latch. If your baby isn't latched on properly and they have a set of teeth in their mouth that could rival jaws from 007 then you're going to feel a nip or two. It's obviously a little accident and easy to sort hopefully by popping your baby off the breast, getting comfy and in position then popping them back on.

Sweet Dreams
For Harlow right now the worst thing she does whilst breastfeeding is fall asleep and this is when her mouth starts to close gradually and basically clamps my nipple in her teeth. It's blooming sore but I know she doesn't mean it so I put my little finger into the corner of her mouth quickly to free my nipple so there's no damage.

Nosy Parker
Some babies are so nosy and whilst breastfeeding they never get a good look at what's going on. Naturally their nosy nature means that any movement/ noise must be investigated and of course they forget that mum's boob is in their mouth when they turn their heads quickly. Ouchie but hopefully it doesn't happen too often!

Cheeky Monkey
As I explained above, when Harlow first had a bite it was because she was probably curious as to what would happen and generally being a bit cheeky. Some babies can't help themselves.

Poorly Chops
If your baby has a cold or a stuffy nose then this won't do them any favours when feeding. It often means they find it hard to breath so frantically pull on your nipple to get the milk then take a quick breath then clamp back down to catch the milk. You can purchase baby nose aspirators to help remove the mucus before a feed so it's easier for them to breathe.

New Teeth
Teething can be another cause of biting in breastfed babies. If their gums are sore and they're in pain or feeling irritated, then they may bite to get relief. You can always rub their gums gentle with a clean finger before a feed or provide a cool teething toy that you can keep in the fridge.

That's some of the experiences I've had so far and what I've done to try and help. Have you had any experiences of your little one biting whilst breastfeeding?

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21 March 2017

Review: Orchard Toys Cheeky Monkeys Game

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If you didn't already know the kids and I are official toy testers for Orchard Toys and it's a delight to be able to work with such a lovely company. Recently Orchard Toys have launched 5 fab new games for 2017 and I was lucky enough to receive one of them for Logan and Harlow to try out.

Cheeky Monkeys is a brilliant new game with a 3D element to make it more exciting for the kiddos. So what do you get in the box? Well there's a 1 two-parts 3D tree, 32 monkey cards, 1 pool board, 1 spinner board, 1 two-part plastic spinner arrow and 1 instruction leaflet. The game is really easy to set up taking us all at most 5 minutes to get ready. The plastic spinner arrow pops into the spinner board, the monkeys are popped out of their cardboard sheet, the 3D tree slots together nicely then all the monkey cards are spread out and turned upside down ready to start.


As well as being easy to set up the game is very simple to understand so play can start immediately. It’s basically a game of chance to see which player can collect the most bananas which are on the monkey cards. So some monkeys will have no bananas or 1 banana but some might have 6 bananas! Since the cards are all facing down no one knows which is which, this makes it quite exciting for the little ones. The thrill of anticipation is brilliant to watch on their little faces.

The game is aimed at 4-8 year olds and can be played by 2-4 players. You’ll see that the 3D Tree has 4 different coloured sections, you pick a colour before you start and that’s your section where you can hang your cheeky monkeys that you’ve collected. The youngest player can have the first go and the game starts with a twirl of the spinner.


Landing on one of the banana sections means that you pick a monkey card and turn it over to see how many bananas it has. Some don't have any! You take the card and put it in front of you as it is now yours. The fun thing about this game is that now you can either stop and pass to the next player or you can risk another spin. If you pass then you simply hook your monkey onto your section of the tree. If you want to spin again then you keep your monkey card in front of you then see what the spinner arrow lands on. If it lands on the banana section then you do the same again and can keep doing so for as long as you like unless the spinner arrow lands on a different part.


If you land on the monkey in the pool then you take any monkeys you’ve collected on your turn, sitting in front of you, and put them on the pool board. Play then passes to the next player. If you land on the monkey with his cheeky tongue sticking out you can select one monkey card from another players section of the tree and hang it on your own section. Play then passes to the next player. Last but not least if you spin and the arrow lands on the question mark (?) you have to take all of the monkeys that you’ve collected on that turn and any that are on the pool board and hook them onto your section of the tree. Then play passes to the next player. The game stops when all the monkey cards have been used and there are none left on the floor to turn over.


All three of us, Logan, Harlow and I, really enjoyed this game. Logan understood the rules straight away and was buzzing with excitement to see how many bananas he could collect. Harlow being only 2, didn't quite get the rules but we managed to guide her. She did love helping us put the monkeys on the tree though. That was definitely her favourite part.


I personally like this game because it encourages your child's counting skills but it also prompts them to think of a strategy for their next move. Will they take a risk and spin again or will they play it safe with the card they've got. Life can be a bit risky at times, as we all know, so it was good to explain to Logan about the risks he would take when spinning the spinner.

Overall a fantastic game and very easy to play for all the family. I don't know how they do it but Orchard Toys just keep on producing the best educational games. At £9.50 it's a brilliant price too and I'd definitely recommend to family and friends.

We received this game free of charge in return for an honest review.

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18 March 2017

Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic

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You really can't beat a bit of Disney. It has everything the kids love from a good story, interesting characters and plenty of imagination. Throw into the mix some ice skating and you've got a recipe for super fun times. Last year we were invited along to the Disney on Ice Frozen performance and this year we've just been to watch a spectacular show featuring 100 Years of Magic!


Like the last show I left Harlow with her Granny and Grandad as she's just a little bit of a diva, terrible twos, and doesn't sit still much. Logan however couldn't wait to attend the show and was raring to go as soon as he got in from school. The show started at 6.30pm so it was a quick change of clothes, snack and then we were off through to Glasgow's Braehead Arena.


The Braehead Arena is within the Braehead shopping centre so everything was very well sign posted plus there was free parking which is a bonus. The 3 of us walked through the shopping centre to reach the arena which took minutes and when we got there Logan was really excited with the buzz of the atmosphere. There were lots of Disney stalls selling all sorts of different goodies from soft toys, slushies in flashy cups, spinning toys, wands, popcorn etc. Plenty for your Disney crazy little ones.


After purchasing a few obligatory goodies for Logan we headed to our seats ready for the show to start. The seats we had were amazing, Block H Row F, where you could literally see everything. There were a few crew members preparing the ice before the show began which kept Logan entertained then before long Mickey and Minnie were out on the ice.


Instead of a full story this time it was little snippets of some really popular Disney tales. There was Pinocchio, Nemo, Beauty and The Beast, Frozen, Toy Story, Mulan, The Lion King and Aladdin. All were really well done and since Logan hadn't seen some of the films he was eager for us to get them for him so he could watch the whole thing.


In the middle of the show they had a sort of princess piece where Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, the Princess and the Frog, Aladdin, Rapunzel and Snow White came out with their prince charming's. I thought this was brilliant and so different to see all the princesses together.


Logan's favourite part of the show had to be The Lion King story as the skaters who played Simba and Nala did some pretty amazing stunts and lifts. He was very impressed as was his Daddy and I. I really liked it when Aladdin came out and rubbed the lamp. It followed with a very energetic routine from about 20 genies which was pretty amazing.


The show is currently touring the UK with Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic tickets still available for the Braehead Arena Glasgow show so if you've got a spare couple of hours then definitely purchase some tickets online and get yourself to Glasgow.

We were sent three tickets to the show in return for an honest review.

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13 March 2017

What I Would Love for Mother’s Day

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I do love a good gift guide, especially around the different celebrated holidays such as Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas etc but I’m starting to tailor my gift guides more towards things that I would like for myself. It makes it more exciting and fun to write plus it gives the hubby plenty of ideas for what to purchase in case his mind has drawn a blank. No excuse for him now really. So here’s some of the lovely things that I wouldn’t mind receiving for Mother’s Day.


At the moment my life is all about family and what better way to say it than with this fab FMLY top from Selfish Mother. I really like a good tee and I really need a few new ones for my wardrobe. I’ve had quite a lot of my casual clothes for years now and it’s about time I did a refresh. FYI this tee can be purchased from John Lewis so you can always visit a store and try before you buy, very handy that.

I am currently in desperate need of somewhere to store and display my jewellery easily. At the moment it’s all hidden away in original boxes and although this keeps it all nice and clean it’s a pain in the butt when I’m trying to hunt down the earrings, necklace or ring I want to wear with a certain outfit. It would be so much easier if I had something which I could display my jewellery in but also keep it clean and safe so I didn’t lose it. This is why I think these stacking boxes from John Lewis are amazing. You can buy different styles of trays, all the same size, so you can then stack on top of one another and save so much space. Amazing! I definitely want some of these.

Because I love a good cuppa I also love a good mug to go along with it and there’s nothing better than your child showing their appreciation by purchasing you a totally awesome mug. Like this one from Filthy Sentiments. Need I say more!?

Since the family and I have travels on our mind again this year I fancy a little travel wallet of some sort to help me keep all of our papers, passports and tickets handy. I usually throw them all in my handbag but trying to pull along a Trunki, push a buggy, load the suitcases and grab blindly for travel documents isn’t always great. Think of how much easier it would be if I had this beautiful personalised leather travel wallet. Here’s hoping, hint hint.

The hubby and I are right into lovely scents at the moment and I’ve been on the look out for something relaxing to have in our bedroom. What more could I ask for then than this luxury scented spa relax candle from The White Company. I bet it smells amazing and I’m sure a friend recently said it actually does smell like a spa. Fab.

So that's what I'd really love for Mother's Day, but what about you? I'd love to know what you'd like.
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12 March 2017

My Sunday Photo - 12.03.17

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Photalife

Sunday Snap

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11 March 2017

Review & Giveaway: Chalkola Chalk Markers

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It seems to be really trendy these days to have a chalkboard or some kind of marker board in your kitchen and throughout the house. I think it’s all to do with the shabby chic movement and I can imagine it could be really handy to have something like this to write notes on or compile a meal plan for the week. Obviously you’ll need some kind of chalk or pen to write with and I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about chalk markers recently and was quite keen to see what all the fuss is about. Luckily Chalkola got in touch and asked me to review some of their chalk markers. I was of course more than delighted to accept so read on to see what I thought.


Here’s a quick word from Chalkola themselves: “Here at Chalkola, our philosophy is pretty simple: live a vibrant life. And we think the best way to accomplish that is through pure, joyful, freedom of expression. That's the idea behind our chalk markers: Unlimited bright, rich, vivacious colour. 21 incredible choices at your fingertips. Freedom to choose the perfect surface. Anytime creativity strikes. Ultimate flexibility to wipe and start again. Life changes. So can your design. All the ingredients for an incredible creative experience (we know, our customers told us).”

I was sent a lovely pack of Chalkola’s new 21 Markers which include a beautiful set of 6 metallic markers within the pack. I also received the chunky 15mm Markers which come as a pack of 8 bright neon colours. Both sets looked very exciting and when the kids spotted them that was it, we had to get them open straight away and try them out.


The kids have an early learning centre easel that has a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other. This was the perfect starter to our Chalkola investigating so I set that up ready to go. I then opened the pens and read the instructions on how to get them started. For the 15mm chalk markers it was advised to shake the pen well before pumping the nib a few times to get the ink flowing. True to form it took about 3 minutes or so per marker to get the ink to fill into the nib completely so that the kids could use them to write and draw. Make sure when shaking the marker that you keep the lid firmly on as the toddler shook it with the lid off and it splattered a bit. Luckily it’s easily cleaned with a wet wipe thankfully.


Once the 15mm markers were ready to go the kids were delighted to draw and write on the chalkboard side of the easel. The colours were so vibrant and definitely neon. Logan was thrilled with the results and wanted to make sure and try out every marker he could get his hands on. Harlow too was just as excited by all the gorgeous colours and proceeded to copy her brother with some scribbles. After this I turned the easel around and let the kids have a go on the whiteboard side. The markers worked just as well and the colours didn’t run or drip like I thought they might. I did find that the bigger markers took a wee while to dry, not long, but that's only if you were using a lot of ink to colour something in. You’re not going to really be touching the ink hopefully so shouldn’t be a problem.


The 15mm markers come with a few benefits which I thought was really good. They have a 3 in 1 nib so you can write thick, medium or thin and they have a massive 28g of ink so won’t be running out any time soon. The fantastic thing about these chalk markers is that not only do they write on chalkboards and whiteboards but they write on most non-porous surfaces like your windows or cars windows and mirrors! It’s brilliant and perfect for business as well as for family use.


The 21 markers (with 6 metallic markers included) have a much smaller nib at 6mm but this is perfect for writing on things like labels, small signs or maybe even toy storage boxes? Harlow has a nice storage unit in her bedroom with little chalkboard plaques on the front and these pens are perfect for writing and decorating them. The 6 metallic markers which are included with this pack look amazing when writing with them. They’re so fancy and some would definitely be great for Christmas time. We have a big mirror in our hall and I can see myself writing Merry Christmas or something on it over the festive period.


Both sets of pens were super easy to wipe off both the chalkboard and whiteboard. One of the blue pens seemed to leave a bit of a ghosting mark on the whiteboard but it looks to have died down now. No other colours did this, only the blue pen but apart from that the kids and I have really enjoyed using these chalkboard markers. Once prepped the ink flows smoothly and easily which allows for some beautiful drawings or scribbles in Harlow’s case. The 15mm markers cost £14.95 per pack and the 21 markers cost £16.90 per pack.

For my lovely readers there’s a brilliant 15% off code you can use to get your own set of chalk pens. Just enter 15OFFSTR at the checkout. Or you can simply enter my giveaway below via the rafflecopter widget to win a Pack of 21 Chalkola Markers.


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1 March 2017

5 Fun Books for Toddlers

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It’s World Book Day tomorrow so I thought I’d share some of the really fun books Harlow and I have been enjoying recently. She hasn’t long turned 2 and is getting more into books by the week. I try my hardest to read a story or two before bedtime but if this doesn’t happen then we incorporate some books into our play time.

A lot of children miss out on story time which is such a shame as I really believe it helps to bring on their vocabulary then the all important reading and writing skills when they start school. My son has a fascination for books, as do I, and I’m very keen to keep this going with Harlow as well.

So without further ado here’s some of the books my toddler loves.

The Bedtime Bear – by Ian Whybrow
This book has a fab little rhyming story about Bear who’s trying to make it back to his owner, Tom, before bedtime. As lets be honest, bedtime isn’t complete without your favourite snuggly teddy bear. Harlow particularly likes this book because it has lots of little lip-the-flaps on each page which you can open along with reading the story. Whilst reading Harlow will normally sit on my lap and wait for her queue to open the correct flap. The illustrations, by Axel Scheffler, are really good and there’s lots of little extras added in so when we’ve finished the story we go back through the book to point out all the animals.


The Wheels on the Bus – by Kate Toms
What toddler doesn’t like singing and doing the actions of wheels on the bus! Harlow is no different and usually serenades her Dad and I to regular wheels on the bus renditions. That’s why when I spotted this lovely book in Aldi’s for a couple of pound I couldn’t resist. The illustrations are quite funny with it being animals instead of people. They’ve also been done in some sort of fuzzy felt which is really cool. You basically can’t read this book, you really have to sing it to your child but it makes it that bit more exciting for them. It does have quite a few pages but Harlow will sit all the way through to watch me sing and point at what the babies, bus driving and horn are doing.


Wiggly Fingers Incy Wincy Spider –by Igloo Books
This book isn’t so much about the story and more about the interaction between parent and child. It’s not the classic incy wincy tale but there’s wiggly fingers attached to the book which are meant to be incy wincy spiders legs. It’s easy to slot your fingers into and perfect for making the littles ones laugh out loud. You’ve got to make incy wincy spider do all sorts of exciting things withy his legs and Harlow thinks it’s brilliant. We never really manage to read the whole story but have a good chuckle never the less.


First Words – by Thomas Nelson
First words are so important and nothing teaches them better than a good book. Harlow absolutely loves animals and when on holiday recently she couldn’t get enough of the pussy cats around the resort or the little ants, spiders and ladybugs that were crawling around. This book is fab in that it has pages dedicated to different genres like animals, food, colours, shapes etc and the illustrations are brilliant. We’ve had this first words book for quite a while now and it’s always one Harlow turns to for some quiet time after a busy day of play. She’ll often run over to the sofa and sit waiting for you to bring the book over. With the animals being her favourite she’ll point to them and say some of their names but will wait for me to say what they’re called too. It really is a lovely book.


Peppa Pig Pirate Island Sound Book
It wouldn’t be a proper toddler book collection without Peppa Pig now would it. I have no idea what it is that makes this little pig so interesting to our toddlers but here she is bringing joy, and naughtiness, into the lives of millions. This particular sound book is quite big but it’s great to watch Harlow looking at the pictures and pressing all the corresponding buttons when I tell her too. There’s 18 different sound buttons to choose from so your toddler won’t get bored quickly. Maybe a chance for you to get a quick hot cuppa when they’re distracted.


I’d love to know what books your toddler is loving at the moment as we’re always looking for more to add to our collection.


Laura's Lovely Blog

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