27 October 2015

Tops Tips for Surviving The First 6 Months

You may think you’ve done the hard part, you’ve just given birth no less (or your partner has) but now comes the tougher bit – surviving the first 6 months! Babies definitely don’t come with instructions so here’s a few little tips to hopefully keep you going.

Stock Up on Nappies
Sounds simple enough but make sure you’ve got enough nappies stock piled up for the first few months, you’ll be surprised by how many you actually use. Babies grow quickly too so don’t get lots of newborn or you’ll find yourself with surplus nappies and a dangerously naked baby poo bomb waiting to go off.

Pre-prepare Meals
If you can I highly recommend pre-preparing healthy homemade meals before baby arrives. Make things like lasagne, cottage pie, fish pie, soups, beef stew etc. It really does help as one, you’re so exhausted you can’t be bothered cooking anything, and two, you’ll get fed up of eating ready meals and rubbish all the time. Plus is you eat healthily you’ll feel much better for it, think maximise that post pregnancy weight loss.

Have a Cuppa
I love my tea and have at least 4-5 cups a day, sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me going and keeps me sane. Try taking 5 minutes to yourself and having a cup of Tick Tock’s Original Rooibos Tea which is naturally caffeine free. You’ll thank yourself later for taking some time out.

Family & Friends
If you’re lucky enough to have family and friends close by then make sure and take advantage in the early days. Everyone loves a newborn baby and wants lots of cuddles so rope in your nearest and dearest to come over whilst you take a shower/ have a bath or even get some well needed sleep.

Feeding Frenzy
Whether your breastfeeding or bottle feeding be prepared for you baby to want to feed all the time! They’re like little machines who’ll stop at nothing to get their milk so make sure you have everything you need within reaching distance. Think TV remote, your mobile, healthy snacks, glass of water etc. Once you’ve started feeding your little one you’re usually stuck for a bit so don’t feel trapped and be prepared.

So that’s my top tips for surviving the first 6 months with baby and of course, Good Luck!

This is a collaborative post.

23 October 2015

Baby & Toddler Snack Inspiration

Trying to figure out what to feed your kids sometimes can be a little tricky. You've exhausted all your fail proof snack ideas and need some inspiration to make snack time a bit more exciting. Well fear not! I have some lovely tasty snack ideas right here thanks to Nairn's Oatcakes.

I was lucky enough to have been sent a little pack of goodies from Nairn's Oatcakes along with a handy 'healthy eating for healthy kids' booklet to kick start my old brains cells and get the snack ideas flowing. Since I've been doing baby led weaning with Harlow this has come in quite useful as I'm always looking for something different to give her. She's an eating machine and will happily try anything however the last thing I want is for her to get bored. Her big brother, Logan, can be a bit fussier but he usually does try the odd new thing so it's worth a go.

As you can see from the photo I was given a fab little selection of products which included; Nairn's Rough Oatcakes, Nairn's Oat Crackers, Nairn's Fine Milled Oatcakes and some new Nairn's Astro Bites. All of these products can be found in Asda and Sainsbury's so pretty easy to get your hands on.

First up I decided to try a sweet snack idea with Harlow to see what she would think. To be honest I'd never thought of oatcakes as being part of a sweet dish, to me they've always been savory but Harlow has a sweet tooth so I was hoping this would go down well. So I put together some Fine Milled Oatcakes with yogurt and strawberries and Harlow was delighted. The strawberries were the first to be scoffed, then the yogurt got licked before she finally decided to munch on the oatcake. She definitely gave it her best shot anyway. The recipe advises using Greek yogurt however I didn't have any at the time so just spooned on some fromage frais and we were good to go. All in all a great snack as the yogurt provides beneficial bacteria to support their digestive tract as well as protein and calcium. The strawberries provide vitamin C to keep their immune system healthy and the oatcakes will help to maintain energy levels throughout the day.

After the success of the sweet option I thought I'd go for a mix and try the kids with some cheese and grapes this time. It's an old classic but often forgotten about until I'm in a restaurant debating whether to have the sticky toffee pudding or cheese board! Any how this snack went down really well and Harlow happily scoffed hers. Again it's a great snack because it provides protein to balance blood sugar levels and of course the grapes are a great source of antioxidants including vitamin C.

There are a good few other recipes to try and in fact the most simple of all is basically dipping your oatcakes in your soup instead of bread for a change. The other half and I liked this idea so we tried it out for ourselves. It was actually pretty good and we both felt it kept us fuller for longer. It also has to be one of the quickest lunch options out there which is prefect when you're time strapped but want something healthy and nutritious. When I eventually return to work I'll be popping a packet or two of some rough oatcakes in my handbag to accompany my lunch time soup from the deli.

Last but not least lets not forgot the tasty Astro Bites now. I never let Harlow try them as thought she was just a bit too young at 9 months old so I've kept them aside for Logan (he's almost 6). He quite likes them and I tried some myself and thought they were super tasty. I'm sure I might have tried some previously at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival so to have some in the house was great. I think I'll be buying them for Logan's snack at school break time in future.

There are many more recipes and ideas for healthy children's snack time so please check out www.nairns-oatcakes.com for some inspiration.

This is a collaborative post.

6 October 2015


As most of you will know my son, Logan, is autistic and he often feels the need to chew. Whether it be his hands, fingers, clothing etc. He's always chewing or fiddling away with something. For this reason I've tried out a few different sensory chew aids, such as pendants, for him to wear and chew as he sees fit however none have ever lasted and he even chewed through one in a couple of days. The other half and I weren't sure what to try next and that's when I spotted Chewigem on Dragon's Den of all places! Of course I got in touch with them straight away to see if Logan could try out some of their products.

A little bit about Chewigem first: "Whilst on maternity leave, Jenny McLaughlan and husband Stuart, came up with the idea for a necklace that would be safe for babies to chew on whilst teething. As a result GUMIGEM ® was born. However, it became apparent that there was another market interested in these necklaces. They began to receive a lot of emails from thrilled parents of Autistic children or parents of children with other sensory disorders that found the necklaces a godsend. These emails touched a nerve with the couple and they investigated the market further. It filled them with such joy to be providing a product that was benefiting these children so much, that they set out to launch a site dedicated to these customers who have the need to chew."

So Chewigem was born from the idea of Gumigem. It's brilliant really as there's so many fab teething necklaces out there on the market but I always find it hard to track down a good sensory chew necklace or pendant for Logan. He's such a heavy chewer that everything gets chomped into tiny pieces! This in turn costs me a lot of pennies as you can imagine as I'd rather he chewed the pendants than his hands.

Normally when you visit a shop/ website which sells sensory aids they only have a handful of chew items so I was really surprised to see that Chewigem have quite the collection on their site. There's at least 20 different types of products to choose from which is fantastic. Chewigem is UK based and provide a range of chewable jewellery designed to meet the needs of children and adults who basically need to chew. The products available are non toxic, stylish, come in a wide range of colours and are also quite discreet compared to other products on the market. They are made from a similar material to that of most baby teethers so completely safe. Since I needed something hard wearing for Logan to chew I choose to review two Button Pendants and one of the Emotichew bangles. 

The button pendants Logan received were the Cadet and Splash design. They came in their own little zip lock bag, which is handy for keeping them clean and dust free and also for transporting. Logan loves both designs however the Splash is his current favourite since it's blue as that's his favourite colour. As you can see from the photos the button pendants are a round disc shape and are quite thick. They sink in slightly in the middle as if you've pushed your thumb into them. It's a brilliant shape and works well for Logan to hold and chew. The button pendants are the strongest chews Chewigem have hence the reason I chose these. I like that they come with quite a long cord so that you can shorten if you so wish however Logan was happy to have his long. The necklace fixes together with a break away clip which is safe for children to wear and easy to use.

I'm happy to say that the pendants have been super durable with Logan's aggressive chewing and because they're quite thick they've lasted the longest out of any sensory chew he's had. We received these at the start of September and now into October and they're still going strong with no marks to the pendant what so ever! He has had the odd nibble on the material used for the cord and although it has a couple of little threads coming off it's still holding up to the onslaught.

The Emotichew bangle is a fabulous idea, having both a green and red side to it which can be turned either way. Green for when your happy and approachable and red when you may be sad and need some space for a while. Logan did understand the concept of this bangle however I'm not sure he knew how to really use it when he needed it so it hasn't worked for him so far. Maybe when he's a bit older it'll help. He kept taking it off at school as well and it got lost a few times. Thankfully the staff found it again so we're leaving this one for the time being. It's still an awesome design and Logan has been nibbling on it. There don't appear to be any marks or signs of cracking etc, I'm happy with it.

The Button Pendants and Emotichew can be purchased directly from www.chewigem.co.uk and they also have a sale on at the moment which you must check out. The Button Pendants retail for £12.95 and the Emotichew retails for £7.95 (child's version). Delivery is free if you spend over £40 and if you like Chewigem on Facebook you can get an extra 10% off!

Overall brilliant sensory aid chew products at an equally great price. I'm so pleased they've lasted more than a week and over a month is unheard of for Logan so really really pleased with that. Apart from him not quite getting to grips with the Emotichew it's still a fab product and probably when he's older he'll use it. The fact that they do an adults version is really good too. Logan wears his pendants to school every day now and we'll be using them for the foreseeable future.

Mummy's rating - 10/10
Logan's rating - 10/10

Please visit www.chewigem.co.uk for more products and information. You can also see what they get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello.

I was sent two button pendants and an emotichew bangle in return for an honest review.

5 October 2015

Dear Gran

Hi Gran!

You know I don't normally do all the soppy mushy stuff but can you believe it's been 9 years since you were taken from us!! I write it morbidly on the calendar every year (as you do) and had to do a double take this year. I just can't believe it's been that long. It feels like only yesterday when all the drama unfolded and you suddenly slipped away, the night before your holiday too damn. You were in the middle of redecorating your hall in the house as well and you never even got to see it finished.

I missed your last and final birthday on this Earth before that fateful night, how was I to know it would be your last? But I'll never forgive myself for it now, so young and so stupid. I'm sorry I didn't make it over. It wasn't intentional but things happened and you know... I still remember the phone call, rushing through to see you, family waiting at the doors. It all seemed surreal, like it was part of a film. How could this be happening? Why in hell was this happening to a person who was so kind and gentle!? The world seems to work in mysterious ways and who am I to question it?

Having you in my life was fantastic, you were like a second mum to all of us gran kids. Always there when we needed you always in waiting for us with a cup of tea and homemade cakes or the amazing toast you made. It kills me that Logan and Harlow will never get to experience this, that you were taken before they were born. You would have been the best great granny out there.

Everyone misses you. There's not a day goes past where not one of us thinks about you. Why did it have to happen when you were so young!? I guess that's life though, never knowing what's going to happen round the corner. It's fair to say that Di misses you the most, he's lost without you and I can't blame him. Things just aren't the same anymore, it feels different now. I feel so guilty for not visiting much but it's painful. Everything reminds me of you, you're everywhere. I know I need to make more of an effort though, it's only fair.

I wish things hadn't happened the way they did, I wish you were still here with us, I wish everything was back to the way it was but these are only wishes and I know what's done it done... I miss you.

We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name,
In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

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