Safety 1st – nightlight review

When people told me that at 12 months old, Jasmine would be in to EVERYTHING – they weren’t lying. It’s a skill known only to tiny humans that they have the ability to destruct anything in minimal time, I’ve even had to speed up my blinks these days with the fear of what she may be in to next. So we’ve begun trying to safety proof as much as possible.

I came across safety 1st and their website is literally full of ways to make your home that bit safer when your little ones are exploring the world.

Their company values are as follows:

At Safety 1st, our number 1 priority is to provide smart ways to help children discover life safely‘. – I love this ethos, as a parent I don’t want to stop them discovering new things, but I do want to provide an environment that’s as safe as possible.

Safety 1st kindly sent me a nightlight to use in Jasmines room. It was nice to have one that doesn’t require batteries (honestly, the amount of batteries I can get through with previous nightlights..) So it plugged in to the socket and although it’s a soft light it was light enough for me to see everything I needed to, it wasn’t too bright to wake her, and most importantly she was reassured she was in her room if she stirred. The best thing is that the nightlight doesn’t get hot and it consumes very little energy.

It automatically turns off when the room gets light in the morning and switches on again when it gets dark. I’d really recommend it, especially for parents who are looking at moving their little ones in to their own room.

*Disclaimer – I was gifted a nightlight in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sick, sick, sick…. poorly mum, poorly baby.

The time is midnight, I’ve got work in the morning, I’ve got the worst back pain of my life and a stinking cold, and I’ve also got a sick baby glued to me. She’s been sick for the last hour and I’ve changed her pyjamas three times. She’s desperate for more milk but I’m trying to hold off as more than likely she’ll throw it up.

Up until the age of five months, Jasmine had never been sick, I was happy about this and would share my delight with others… ‘Jasmine is just not a sickly baby’ But my, oh my she’s made up for it. Especially the last few weeks there’s been an epidemic of bugs and grim germs going around. So now I’m ill, exhausted, in pain and walking around rocking a baby who’s sleeping in my arms. Sleeping beautifully until I dare to sit down, then boom – she’s awake!

I can smell sick on myself, the bedding is soaked through and I’ve not gone to sleep yet. Pacing around wondering if I may die from back pain, exhaustion and bracing myself for another unexpected puke volcano. It’s grim, but if you know, you know!

In spite of all that, my concern is for Jasmine. Is it something she ate? Something I ate? An allergy? A bug? Will she be exhausted in the morning?

Motherhood tests us in ways we can’t imagine and our lives and priorities are never the same again. People often say to me ‘I don’t know how you do it’ regarding Jasmines lack of sleep and the answer is – you have to. There’s no option so you go in to ‘mum mode’ and carry on as every mum would.

As a mum you’re a nurse, a teacher, a cleaner, a chamber maid, a chef….the list goes on.

I know it won’t last forever, one day she’ll be all grown, I will sleep then. For now I’ll be whoever she needs me to be.

Top tips for self care for a poorly mum.

1. Drinks 5 times the amount of water you normally do, drink drink drink.

2. Let the baby sleep on you safely and enjoy the rest.

3. Grab a shower or share a bath with the baby if needed.

4. Make sure you take pain killers and vitamins (then hide them from the baby).

5. Cancel plans, don’t push yourself, if you’re unwell you need to rest or it will take longer to go. Plus no one wants your germs.

Creative Courage – Teaching little people skills for life

Something I don’t often mention these days is that in my other life, I used to be an actress. Trained hard at drama school and made a modest income from acting and singing, enough to survive off but not enough for a home in Beverly Hills. I would love to get back in to it at some point but I’d definitely need to work on my confidence, the thought of singing in front of a room full of strangers sets me in to mild panic where as a few years ago, that was a pretty average day. But hey, maybe that’s a blog for another time.

I have however kept teaching drama, singing and dancing for a company called Stagecoach Theatre Arts – in Norwich. I teach 4 – 6 year olds and I love it. An age where they don’t tend to think too much about ‘acting’ they just act! Children tend to naturally be fantastic actors as it’s just playing ‘pretend’ essentially. Every child I teach has a natural ability and it’s not always in the spotlight.

Don’t get me wrong, if I hear an incredible voice or see naturally wonderful dance skills – I’m going to nurture it and technical ability will always be something I encourage. However sometimes I take the most enjoyment out of the small milestones achieved. When a child who hasn’t spoken for a couple of weeks finds the courage to excitedly tell the class her news from the previous week, or the boy who struggles to focus thriving as a natural leader when working as part of a team during drama class.

I have seen confidence grow, friendships grow and creativity flourish each and every week. Of course I feel emotional when I hear one of my students hit every note in a solo song during a performance. Although I also feel the same emotion watching someone stand still in the spotlight, knowing that they have struggled so much just to keep still and focused.

In an age when the X factor and Britain’s got talent encourage people to be stars I encourage everyone in my class regardless of everything, to me they are all stars. They are still so very little, so I say let’s have fun, build talent, make silly faces, put on funny voices, play games and give everyone a voice, they are much cleverer than you may think. I’ve had so much feedback from parents who’s children have grown so much in confidence which has enhanced so many areas of their lives.

When the rewards come each week, in all kinds of ways because no two students are ever the same, how could I not love my job?

So you want to go to Disneyland Paris? Must know tips before you go!

Fresh back from our trip to Disneyland Paris I wanted to write a blog post. Rather than review each ride, restaurant and our lovely hotel I decided to keep it simple and offer some tips before you go!

We stayed at the Disneyland hotel for three nights, the location was amazing, especially with my tiny human Jasmine in tow – she had moments of wanting to crawl about and burn off some energy, so we would nip back the hotel for this and to feed/change her too.

🌟 Pre book your meals. If you’re desperate to dine at a particular restaurant, they can get booked up quickly (especially character meets). I’d highly recommend character meals, the interaction is great and you can get some great pictures. Reservations are taken 60 days before your trip, you can spend a fortune calling France making reservations or you can call 0800 085 0671 for free!

🌟 Download the Lineberty app. At 9.45am each day (not a minute after) you can book up to meet your favourite characters at the Walt Disney Studios park. Avoiding the queues and getting great pictures.

🌟Avoid going in school holidays if you can. We went in between Halloween and Christmas. Saw the end of the Halloween decorations and the start of the Christmas ones, it was so quiet, we walked on to every ride.

🌟 Don’t panic about getting ‘the picture’. The picture is having an empty castle shot, just you (maybe your family) and the castle. If you get to the castle about 8.15am (using extra magic hours entry) you can take it in turns to take pictures of the empty castle with you in it.

🌟 Don’t forget to visit the dragon under the castle!

🌟 Child swap. If two adults in the party want to go on the same ride, you can get a child swap pass, so one queues whilst the other looks after the child, then they swap and the second adult doesn’t have to queue again.

🌟 I booked directly with Magic Breaks , they have always been great for me. If you wanted to book directly through the Disney site be sure to check the prices on the UK site but also the US site and German site etc….they rotate their promotions and offers, it won’t impact what your booking but may save you lots!

🌟 Pack medicine – as far as I’m aware there’s nowhere in the park that sells pain relief so make sure you pack enough! All toiletries in fact.

🌟 Pack for all weathers, it was chilly at night – scarf and hat chilly – but there were a couple of days I was in just a t-shirt in the middle of the day.

🌟 Get the Disneyland Paris app – it shows wait times so you know you can go and wait 10 minutes for a ride. Subsequently if you go on rides during the parades or fireworks.

🌟 Pack an European adapter for plugs.

🌟 If staying at a Disney hotel you will get extra magic hours. If you plan to start the day in Magic Kingdom park then go straight to Peter pans flight or if you go to the studios go to crushes coaster. These rides a part of the few that open for the extra magic hours and best to do them then. They can exceed wait times of over 2 hours.

🌟 Shopping service. If you are staying at a Disney hotel and don’t fancy carrying all your purchases around with you, the shops will deliver your shopping to the shop in your hotel by 8pm that night.

🌟 Water in the park is pricey and there’s drinking fountains everywhere in Disneyland Paris – refill!

Lastly join Facebook groups for Disneyland Paris – there’s loads of people there happy to answer any questions! Oh and ENJOY, it’s magical!

The series of events which ruined Jasmines day.

I love watching Jasmine grow and develop each day. At the ripe old age of 10 months she’s started having tantrums, arching her back, crying inconsolably and making me feel like the worst person in the world. Here’s a few terrible things I’ve done over the last few days….

1. I told her not to tip over the dogs water bowl, lick the dogs water bowl or put socks from the radiator in to the dogs bowl.

2. I changed her nappy. I told you – I’m awful like that.

3. I put her in clean clothes. Imagine trying to put a live, wriggly salmon fish in pyjamas….the salmon starts crying hysterically. Exactly.

4. I put her in her highchair to eat.

She. Goes. Crazy.

Much happier on my lap or on the floor…. this happens 3 times a day.

5. I sneezed. She didn’t like it.

6. I wasn’t Daddy and she wanted Daddy at that moment.

7. I said no to eating batteries

8. I confiscated the batteries

9. Put her on the floor to make the dogs breakfast. She wanted to watch.

10. I tied my hair back after telling her to stop pulling clumps of it out during our relaxing bedtime routine.

Now somebody pass the wine…

The baby with 400 teeth

We’re all guilty of it. Making excuses if our babies aren’t themselves, my go to is ‘she’s teething’ I find myself explaining with an apologetic face. Truth is, if she was teething every time I used that excuse – Jasmine would have over 400 teeth by now!

This weekend was a tough one – as a parent or just for someone who needs sleep to stay alive.

It all started with ‘teething.’

Jasmine hadn’t been herself last week which I found myself blaming on the elusive teething. When it continued, I had to trust my instinct that this wasn’t teething and stop hiding behind my favourite excuse. After being soaked in her sick like a 90s foam party, we endured a LOT of washing, some more washing and cleaning! After two doctors visits my instincts were confirmed, of course it wasn’t teething – it was gastroenteritis.

Jasmine was so poorly she was just falling asleep anywhere and she slept most of the time – very unlike her! Then she was waking up with awful tummy pains and I’ve never heard screaming like it. I wanted to cry myself. I didn’t go to bed Thursday night, instead I carried her around rocking her, singing to her and trying to comfort her. Come Friday night she was still very sick, my back was in agony now. She screamed if I put her down or if anyone else held her, so I continued to carry around my extra 10kg of weight. Facing another night of not even sitting down let alone sleeping I wasn’t sure if I would collapse with exhaustion, faint or just cry.

Once I mentioned that Jasmine was unwell I had such a huge response from other mums saying their little ones were also unwell. Being a mum is so tough at times anyway, but once they get sick it’s even harder. No breaks, no sleep, no awareness. Not knowing when they’ll be better. The thankless task. Mums are amazing, never putting themselves first, just giving them unconditional love – there’s no alternative.

Jasmine is thankfully much better but I learnt a lesson – to always trust my instincts, they’re more powerful than any medical professional. Oh and I must not blame everything on teething!

Have you ever trusted your instinct and been right? I’d love to hear from you.

Snufflebabe – cold treatments for babies

With the weather getting colder, more of our babies are picking up coughs or colds. When the temperature took a sudden drop a couple of weeks back, I noticed Jasmine was much more fussy, lost her appetite and started sneezing a lot. Sure enough she had a cold. Frustrating for her, struggling to breathe and frustrating for us as we can’t explain to her she has a cold or help her blow her nose. With most cold products on the market being too strong for a 9 month old baby, Snufflebabe kindly sent me some products to try.

My favourite product was the vapour drops, Jasmine has a humidifier in her bedroom – which is great product I never would have thought to buy pre Jasmine. I simply add the drops to water in the humidifier which steams while she sleeps. I could see that this really made a difference to her breathing and it definitely helped free up her airways.

I had not used a Nasal Aspirator before, despite hearing great things about them I find them a little daunting looking at them. Once I used it though – it couldn’t be simpler and is completely hygienic to use.

Firstly, if your babies nose is blocked and dry, use a little of the Snufflebabe nasal drops (saline that is suitable from birth). Then put the nozzle at the entrance of the babies nostril (but not inside) right next to any visible mucus. Then suck through the mouthpiece. It’s not possible to over suck – never blow though. I was a little worried I would get it in my mouth BUT it’s not possible, all mucus collects hygienically in a sealed chamber.

So it easy, hygienic and most importantly I noticed an instant improvement in Jasmines breathing. It also helps to prevent further complications such as ear infections, coughs and stomach upsets. I’d definitely recommend the Snufflebabe range for little ones.

It’s all reasonably priced and it’s good to be stocked up as you never know when you may need it! It’s available from a range of pharmacy’s or you can pick it up at Boots, Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s. You can also visit the Snufflebabe website and check out their range of great products.

* Disclaimer- I was sent Snuffle babe products in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The things they don’t tell you about breastfeeding…

This post is not a debate about formula/breastfeeding. This is a post about my journey and as it happens my journey has been a breastfeeding one which is why I am writing about what I know. I simply want those choosing to breastfeed to know some of the things I didn’t. Not to put them off, The opposite in fact, to make them aware of the challenges so you know you’re not alone and the challenges will pass.

Firstly – it’s hard!! Loose any images you may have of sitting on a lily pad with your hair gently blowing in the wind as you nurse your babe. These days I’m covered in milk while Jasmine feeds and tries to pull clumps of my hair or gauge my eyes out at the same time.

Let’s start with my story….My midwife asked if I was planning to breastfeed and I remember my line was ‘If I can, but if I can’t I’m not going to beat myself up about it’. Not long after Jasmine was born ‘the golden hour’ a midwife tried to help me feed, Jasmine wouldn’t latch and I thought ‘well I tried’. I remember a midwife sat up with me all night by my side helping me feed her, she was having such issues latching there was talk she had tongue tie.

Eventually she latched a little bit would loose it almost straight away. It was a battle and a frustrating one. If someone had given me a bottle of formula to give her there and then I probably would have, but the midwives were so dedicated to helping me, I felt I owed it to them to persevere.

Some babies can’t latch due to medical reasons but I’m sure this was because it was all brand new to us both. This went on for a few days and finally she started latching….and….ouchhhhhhhhh – cue the toe curling pain. I’ve listed some facts/myths things I wish I knew 10 months ago, I’ve also enlisted the help of other new mums to get their thoughts on breastfeeding in particular things they wish they knew before, not that it would change their preferred feeding method, just to have more knowledge to avoid the ‘I’m failing’ feeling…

The pain

If you start breastfeeding and you’re in pain – that’s normal, mine felt like every feed was agony but nipple shields and creams will help you! Not to mention the pain when your milk comes in, it’s how I imagine Lara Croft feels all the time – they’re rock hard. Warm showers, cabbage leaves and feed, feed, feeeeeeed.

All you can eat buffet

And let’s talk about cluster feeding. Newborns feed ALL the time. They are regulating your supply and will be thriving (providing they are not drastically loosing weight.) The mistake some breastfeeding mums make is when their baby cluster feeds they think they’re not getting enough, so top them up with formula, they then sleep longer but mums supply will drop so baby feeds more….it’s a vicious circle. Trust your body and your baby they will be getting enough. Mums are often misadvised that they shouldn’t be feeding as much or baby isn’t getting enough. I perfectly normal for them to be attached to you, get comfy!

Mastitis

Inflammation of the breast tissue often caused by clogged milk ducts, it can also come with fever and it hurts! But there is relief – icepacks, supplements (vitamin c, echinacea, bee propolis, garlic) feed, feed, feed, massage, paracetamol for fever, drink lots of water. It’s one of the top reasons why women stop breastfeeding so it’s important to have knowledge about it and how to help.

Stock up on breast-pads

They sell reusable breast-pads so cheap now it’s worth getting some and washing them as trust me you’ll need a lot!

Pour the wine

Unlike pregnancy, It’s a myth that you can’t drink alcohol whilst breastfeeding a glass of wine is the equivalent of a shot of alcohol in the ocean to the baby so they are quite safe. I’ve researched a lot and medical professionals agree it won’t affect the baby. Personally I’d never have more than a couple as I’d always want to feel in control, it’s also advised not to co sleep in the same bed as baby after any alcohol.

Dairy free Doctors orders

Jasmine went through some digestive issues which resulted in me going dairy free for a few weeks, for Jasmine it turned out she wasn’t dairy intolerant but it’s normally the first thing doctors advise you to cut out. Eventually she grew out of it.

Freeze it

I found this concept pretty weird before Jasmine but it’s great to have a stash of expressed milk in the freezer and it can last up to 6 months.

Thirsty work

To this day as soon as she starts feeding my mouth feels drier than the Sahara desert – totally normal just keep water close!

Express and bottle feed

I always had some bottles in, if I’m honest I always had pre made formula in (just in case). It’s nice to have someone’s else feed them.

She’s hungry

It’s hard when she’s so tiny and every time she fussed Dave or who ever was holding her would say ‘she’s hungry’ whilst passing her back to me, I would struggle knowing I was the only one feeding her. It felt like a lot or pressure and I also started to feel like a cow. This certainly gets easier though and it’s actually quite a nice feeling after a while knowing I’m providing for her.

Find your feeding spots

I’m still not confident feeding in public (to be honest now Jasmine gets too distracted). The city is full of baby change/feeding places I would use them as my safe zone when I was out and about.

These are by no means to put people off but to encourage those planning to breastfeed. Each of these reasons were reasons I almost finished by breastfeeding journey and I wish I was aware of them at the time instead of feeling like I was failing. Most people experience these.

Make sure you talk about it if you do and it’s always best to be prepared. For me, I’m glad I pushed through as it’s so much easier now and I feel proud of my 9 months of breastfeeding.

Children on the internet – a parents choice.

When you become a parent you face lots of tough decisions. Whilst pregnant I decided I wasn’t going to post any pictures of Jasmine on any of my social media platforms, fast forward to her being born and I was unable to stop myself. I was so proud and wanted to show my friends and family (most of who live away) how wonderful she was.

I completely respect those who choose not to put their children’s pictures online or who cover their faces. There are some strange people online parents have every right to be cautious. I went back and forth with my decision and decided I wanted to post Jasmines picture… do I want her to be safe? – absolutely! Are there dangerous people online? Yes. But the really sad truth is that there are dangerous people everywhere… in the supermarket, on the train, in the park…. they will ultimately see Jasmine, unless I shield her from the whole world, I can’t stop her from being seen in society no matter how much I want to protect her and I want to protect her so much, but as a parent you can only do your best teach them, protect them and love them. I have rules with posts I never put any bath time shots on or anything that could be misconstrued.

Sadly we can’t control those around us, we really can’t but we can look after our babies in this crazy world we live in. Teaching them about the good and the bad people in the world from a young age. Maybe I’ll get to a point where it no longer feels right to post her pictures but for now I’m just a proud mother with a new camera. What ever you choose to do to safe guard your children – your choice is right. As long as you’re keeping them safe then the decision is the right one, because it’s your decision.

Messy me – Clutch bag review

It often takes ages to leave the house with the nappy bag crammed full of ‘just in case’ items – 95% of which I won’t use. I’ve been saying for a while that I need a much smaller bag to fit just wipes and nappies in. I stumbled across ‘Messy me’ they sell lots of beautiful products and they kindly sent me a ‘clutch bag’ to try out.

Made of oil cloth it’s easy to clean and the perfect size. It fits travel wipes, a couple of nappies and there’s still space for a dummy, nappy cream or my current favourite – teething gel!

I love that it’s so neat and compact, now that Jasmine is 9 months old we brought a stroller it’s it’s much easier for nipping out to the shops or holidays away as it folds so small, the new stroller has a much smaller compartment underneath, so my regular nappy bag won’t fit – so the nappy clutch is perfect!

It also has a matching changing mat because, let’s face it, public changing tables aren’t the most hygienic. They come in various patterns. I chose ‘wild rose’ as I thought it was classic, pretty and matched the buggy. I love that it has a velcro fastener as I can open and close it with one hand whilst sorting Jasmine with the other.

I’d really recommend getting a nappy clutch for all of these reasons it a perfect little gem I’d never have thought to purchase before I had Jasmine but post Jasmine it makes my day a little bit easier!

To check out the gorgeous oil cloth clutch bags and the full range of Messy me product Click here and see how they can make those messy moments easier whilst still looking fantastic.

* Disclaimer- I was given a Messy Me clutch bag in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.