Saturday, 28 March 2015

birthday present ideas for a 1 year old

Isabelle has just turned one and got some lovely presents which she loves, I'm not going to list all of them but I'm going to randomly pick 10 that make fantastic 1st birthday presents.

Firstly I'm going to start with something that Isabelle and Oliver both love and play with together... Vtech toot toot animal safari. It's ideal for age 18 months to 5 years but Isabelle has only just turned 1 and she's playing with it already, the different animals you can add are great too. So far shes got the zebra, monkey, rhino, elephant and tiger. You can add to the set as well making it an ideal gift because christmas you can build upon it!

Leapfrog picnic hamper is great for their imagination and again both of them play nicely with it so I know it's a toy thats going to last a few years. I don't understand why it's pink though, boys like picnics too so surely it's a unisex toy? Not that boys can't have pink coloured things, Oliver did.

Balance bike - my brother & sister in law brought this for Isabelles birthday and again it's something to grow into and she loves it! Obviously needs to be held on it at the moment but I know before we know where we are she will be whizzing around on it. Balance bikes have got great reviews and I can't wait for her to be using it properly.
My 1st baby annabel doll has proved VERY popular with Isabelle, it's an ideal size for her and she absolutely adores it... so far baby has been on the slide and swing at the park as well as coming with her to collect Oliver from school and a shopping trip too.

"That's not my" books are very popular in our house, Isabelle loves them and Oliver loved them too when he was a baby. She loves feeling all the different textures and I can't tell you how many times we have looked at them!
 My 1st years painting apron and paint set - personalised with their name ofcourse. Michael's cousin brought Isabelle this for her birthday and it's so so cute! Something for when shes about 18 months I think but it's an amazing 1st birthday present and I LOVE the box, ideal for keeping babies first bits in as a memory box!

Playmobil 123 Noahs Ark - ideal present for them to grow into! Grandma got this for Isabelle and Oliver obviously helped her play with it straight away because and I quote "it's cool".

Clothes - Isabelle got some lovely clothes for her birthday from various family members. Monsoon, Next and Marks & Spencers do some lovely girly bits for the summer. She's one very lucky little girl when it comes to clothes! Clothes are an ideal birthday gift for babies I think. It was when Oliver got to three that he was fed up of clothes - oops!

Fisher price xylophone crocodile.

Creative stuff - first pens and pencils by crayola and an aquadraw are ideal! Isabelle hasn't used them yet but we will do soon.

Hopefully that will have given you some ideas if you're currently looking for 1st birthday gifts! Just remember not to be too dis-heartened if they spend more time playing with the box instead of the actual toy... Isabelle loves a box! Christmas sorted...

Mary-Kate, x

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar party .... Isabelle 1st birthday

Isabelle turned 1 on 17th March, we decided to have a little family get together the weekend after her birthday but I was struggling with ideas for party food because of Isabelle's many allergies... then when I was reading Isabelle a book, I decided upon The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme!

Perfect, just fruit and nothing to worry about, little preperation and no worrying about crumbs Isabelle might get... having said that I did decide last minute to buy 3 cakes from a local farmers market for other people to have, a victoria sponge, lemon cake and chocolate walnut brownie. I made little signs for the cakes she couldn't have saying please don't feed to Isabelle - incase anyone needed reminding.
I was going to buy the very hungry caterpillar plates, cups and decorations but then I decided just to stick with some from sainsburys at less than half the price! They were colourful so looked good next to all the other bits anyway.

I made some signs, exciting to use our new printer! you might notice that I changed a few bits from the story, on Wednesday I've got bananas instead of plums and Friday - who want's oranges at a party? So I made some jelly... which actually only my two children ate! I cut out the signs and stuck them to a cocktail stick and then popped the stick into whatever was on that plate.

I made Isabelle's cake... I made the very hungry caterpillar out of icing, I used red icing to make his head and the body I used white icing which I had coloured green so that it gave more of an uneven colour. I made it a week before her party so that I didn't have a last minute panic. I did have hopes to make some fruit icing to go around the cake too but didn't have the time after all.

So how did I make Isabelle's cake completely suitable for a little girl who can't have dairy, wheat, soya, egg and potato? (potato is in gluten free flour!)

First of all I mixed these dry ingredients together in a bowl -
1 & a half cups of rice flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup of sugar - normal sugar not caster sugar

Then I made three holes and in each I put one of the following -
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white vinegar
5 tbsp. Rapeseed oil

Then I added 1 cup of water and mixed really well before pouring mixture into a greased cake tin and popping into the oven at gas mark 4 for 45-55 minutes. I  think it might be my oven not being fantastic and just took longer to cook it!

It did fall apart alot, less so when you let it cool for ages! I made two to create this cake - rice flour doesnt rise well in cakes! I put them ontop of each other with a layer of icing in the middle and then I covered the cake with buttercream icing - free from buttercream ofcourse, made using pure sunflower spread and icing sugar, coco powder and vanilla essence. I covered the cake with white icing and used some 'chocolate' letters to write Isabelle - they are dairy free! I also added little balls of icing, different colours around the bottom.
Isabelle got lots of lovely presents, shes a very lucky little girl.
I got little party bags too for the children that were there, babies got bubbles and in the night garden books. The older two got bubbles, chocolates and paint, paint brush and a little hanging thing to paint... they seemed popular!

Isabelle thought that the cake was very yummy!!...

This is Isabelle's very own present opening assistant! He works for free...
 And how cute are her new headbands? She wore the red very hungry caterpillar one at her party ofcourse!
Mary-Kate, x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

I can't hear you because I can't see your face

Oliver is 5 years old, like alot of 5 year old's sometimes he doesn't listen and recently I've found myself telling him off for 'ignoring' me... He then had a hearing test at the doctors, which was designed for adults so we were unsure if he didn't do well or if he didn't understand what he was meant to do. So we were referred to the hospital, where he was supposed to have a child friendly test done but when we arrived, he actually had the same test done and got the same results then the consultant referred him to have yet another hearing test done but thankfully this one was child friendly so now we know for sure whats actually wrong with him. It's a relief to know he isn't just ignoring me all the time, I know sometimes he is!

But now I feel awful because we have found out that the poor little chap has glue ear in both ears and actually he can't hear me very well, whats wrost is when he gets a cold, he can hardly hear at all. So telling him off, oops! Now we are speaking loudly, he is sitting in front of his teacher, he has had a speach and language appointment and needs some help with S and Z probably due to his hearing, in April he will see his consultant again and finally go on the waiting list for grommets, we hope that won't take too long!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Isabelle 11 month update

When did this little tiny baby turn 11 months old? Next month on St. Patricks day she will be a whole year old. How is that possible already?

It feels like yesterday she was being brought home wrapped in her GoGo from Puckababy, I wish she could still fit in it all snuggled up. It was definitely one of the best baby buys we made. I love puckababy products, she also had an original piep too which we used to swaddle her when she was tiny. Currently we only have a blanket by puckababy which makes me sad.

One item I have used every day since she was born is my Snoob breastfeeding scarf... to this day, if I leave the house without one I will make Michael turn the car around because I feel so much more confident to feed with it, even if I don't need to feed while we are out I like to have it on me just incase! You never know. So it's definitely a product I would suggest to any expecting mother wanting to breastfeed. Even if you're confident enough to go without covering up, I think it's still a nice thing to have because there's always a situation where you don't want to be uncovered. I am so proud of myself for still breastfeeding Isabelle at 11 months. She is also topped up with Neocate formula at night time before bed but I'm still breastfeeding her which I'm so proud of. I could of given up a million times because it's hard but it is so so worth it. I have loved breastfeeding... so much so that I've given up dairy and eggs to do so!

At 11 weeks old Isabelle was diagnosed as cmpa (cows milk protein allergy) but it wasn't until 10 months of age I realised she reacts to egg through my breastmilk too.

At 11 months old Isabelle is: Dairy, egg, wheat, soya, potato, broccoli, peaches and mango free.

Her favourite foods at the moment are tuna,sweet potato roasties, spaghetti bolognese, coconut yoghurts and kiddylicious smoothie melts... oh and coco pops! which are actually dairy free - who would of thought, they are but some crisps arent?! She loves to feed herself.

Isabelle is wearing size 6-9 month clothes now, we haven't had her weighed in a while but I will at her next hospital appointment.

She's got really good at walking around pushing her little pushchair, I think she will walk before her 1st birthday.

Better start planning her 1st birthday?!

Sometimes she sleeps through the night - not very often. I hold her for 1 nap mid morning and she has her afternoon nap in her pushchair while we are walking.
She seems to say "yeah" alot... but shes just making sounds. She likes to wave and point at everything! She adores Oliver... until she decides she's teething and his foot will do as a teether!

Today, 25th Feb Isabelle started kissing me... on the lips.... then bit my lip REALLY hard. Then laughed her head off.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Octonauts LIVE! We are the octonauts

Oliver is a massive octonauts fan, both myself and Michael also love octonauts. We think it's a fantastic programme that teaches little ones alot about not only sea life but manners and how to treat other people. I can't tell you how many times I've watched octonauts now... how many times we have played with octonauts toys in the bath and since going to octonauts live Oliver has drawn so many pictures of different gups, sea animals and octonauts themselves. We were very kindly sent 4 tickets to go and see octonauts live, Oliver was very excited, Michael even took the day off work! (he's self employed so no work = no pay, he doesnt get days off) Isabelle was classed as 'babe in arms' so we took one of Oliver's friends with us. We had a fantastic time and even Isabelle LOVED it. She was dancing!

 For the first time live, the Octonauts kept us glued to the story the entire time! Oliver wants to go back and see another one but trying to tell him theres only one. Octonauts and the deep sea volcano adventure with the entire crew of the octonauts, led by Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso they set off on a new exciting underwater mission full of surprises it's a great action-packed adventure. It features new music from bafta award winning composer Mani Svavarsson. It's great to see all of the Octonauts live on stage together for the very first time and I think it would be a shame to not see them again and again!  
 Children were invited to get involved with the show which was great, we were sat in the Gup-X... Oliver and his friend loved being asked to move around to steer the octopod, when the children were shouting Isabelle got very excited, being only 11 months old she was really shocked by it all. After the other children shouted she threw her hands around and shouted too - her shout was delayed though and by the time she was shouting, everyone else had finished.
 The show lasts around 90 minutes including the interval and we loved every single minute of it. At the end the children were delighted to be told that they were no longer cadets but now they are fully fledged Octonauts too.
 Oliver's never been to a show before, we definitely can't wait to take both of them again soon. Brilliant day out and even I'm walking around singing "we are the octonauts". The set was amazing, the props were great, Oliver was fooled by the people moving them around but his friend wasn't fooled - they're 5 years old so a younger child would have believed it and not seen faces. WE love that it teaches children about different creatures in the ocean, the different zones and which animals you can find in each one.
There's still lots of time to catch Octonauts live, you can buy tickets here -

please note that we were sent the tickets for the purpose of the review, all opinions are our own.

Oliver & Isabelle's baptism

Sunday 15th February 2015 (also my birthday!) Oliver and Isabelle got baptised together at our local church, which is lovely. Afterwards we hired a local little pub to hold a reception as we obviously wanted to be able to spend some time with family and friends that came along. We arranged a food buffet with unlimited cups of tea and coffee, to keep the family happy! It was a small thing with less than 40 people there, which was nice. We didn't have long to plan it at all but it turned out to be a really lovely day and luckily most people were able to attend at such short notice. Thanks :) We promised them when we get married, there will be much more notice hehe!
The outfits, we'll start with Michael because his is a boring (hehe sorry Michael) plain black suit, waistcoat, tie and white shirt. Oliver's outfit although very similar to Michael's is so much cuter because it's so much smaller hehe. They looked cute all matching. Oliver's face when he saw himself in the mirror... he wanted to also wear the waistcoat the next day and the day after!! I brought it from Next in the sale so it was half price.

My outfit was a stripey dress from Oasis after my panic that I had nothing to wear, I still have baby weight to lose but I don't really care. As long as I am comfortable, I'll get back to my pre-baby size one day until then I'm happy as my body gave me a beautiful baby.

Isabelle's outfit was a gorgeous set from Emile Et Rose, a brand I have loved since Oliver was a baby. I knew I didn't want a 'gown' for Isabelle and she was very kindly sent a beautiful long sleeved dress which is perfect for Baptisms in chilly seasons, the colour ofcourse stayed traditional in ivory. The fit was perfect, being made in stretch jersey it was perfect for a baby to be comfortable in all day, perfect for practising to walk and getting lots of cuddles! The dress has 3 rosettes above a panel of pressed pleats and paired with the ivory tights which feature a little bow on each leg look lovely together. It's simple but gorgeous and perfect for any special occasion. Would look lovely on a winter bridesmaid!
Isabelle was also sent a very pretty, traditional style coat in ivory velour. It's double breasted with two rows of buttons and front pleats making the coat very comfortable to sit down and move around in. Comfort is essential for babies! The coat comes with a matching beret style hat - how cute is that?!
Whats even better? All of the items are machine washable at 40! yay. I'll be reviewing them both properly together very soon.

We had it catered with some buffet style food, I made the cupcakes,some of them had farm animals on, others had stars and some were just icing with glitter but my favourite were the 'rainbow' ones I made using some sweets. Michael helped with the cake pops which were both blue and pink. The main cake, a noahs ark cake from Marks and Spencers was a gift from Michaels parents.
We had some balloons, one normal round helium balloon for each child guest and then two big animal faces for Isabelle and Oliver, one monkey and one giraffe.
The children both got some amazing gifts which they will treasure for years to come. We are in the process of writing thank you notes but Oliver being 5, takes a while with his writing!
Oliver also loves his candle he gets to keep. Isabelle also had her first cupcake, being a dairy, wheat, egg, soya and potato free baby... it was a big deal!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

#WeLoveBeebies Brand Ambassador application by Isabelle age 10 months

My mummy told me that Beebies Baby Store are looking for some new 'ambassadors', at only 10 months old I've no idea what this means but I smiled anyway because I'm a happy little lady today. Mummy showed me the website (here) with all the bright colourful toys and I recognise some of the things - my favourites! I pointed and giggled lots so I really want to be a Beebies Baby Store Ambassador... #welovebeebies

I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about ME,  Isabelle...
 I kept everyone waiting a really long time... I was really happy in my mummys tummy. Then when I was born, my mummy was fast asleep so I got taken to my daddy and we had a really big cuddle. I cried until my mummy was in the room with us awake, then I settled straight away. I'm still a mummy's girl.
 I met my big brother, I remembered his voice as he kept talking to mummy's belly when I was living in there. He's very nice and likes to give me lots of cuddles. I brought him some presents when I was born, some sweets and lego. He loves me.
 So that's little young me and I'd really LOVE to be an ambassador for Beebies Baby Store I want to let all the other babies and their parents/grandparents/friends know that Beebies Baby Store is the place to go! In return I promise my mummy will take so many photos of me having fun being a Beebies Baby Store Ambassador and use social media to spread the #WeLoveBeebies word.
Lots of love,
Isabelle x

p.s. why don't you apply too? Application for Beebies Baby Store Ambassador

Beebies Baby Store Website