Saturday, 15 November 2014

Latch Munchkin Bottle Review



                              Munchkin Latch Bottles

Shopping for bottles is something most new mums do, even though I knew I wanted to breastfeed I still wanted to have bottles incase things didn't go to plan or if I wanted to express. I'm glad I had things ready although I didn't have the 'best' things ready, I still had something! What I would suggest to any new mum is to do your research before you buy anything, having a new baby is expensive without adding the extra cost of replacing bottles a few months in when you change your mind about them. Research everything is what I've learnt!

I'm still mostly breastfeeding Isabelle, who turned 8 months old today but since around 3 months when we found out she had cows milk protein allergy we have been giving her a bottle of neocate lcp before bed. Before this I was expressing milk occasionally so using a bottle then too but I found they really gave Isabelle alot of wind, with one of her symtoms of allergy being wind - more wind was not something she needed! So we were delighted to be sent some of these new Latch bottles from Munchkin, out of the three types of bottles I've used with Isabelle, these are definitely our favourites! I'm going to tell you why I think they're so great.
 
 The bottles are designed to mimic breastfeeding, the shape is great and easy to hold, while the teat is more like breastfeeding, it seems more 'natural' and it can stretch, allowing your baby to move it to get comfortable with the teat. Isabelle seems to pull my nipple to where she wants to so it makes sense to be able to do that with a bottle too? She grabs it then latches herself on and I've noticed she does that with these bottles too. This bottle is also designed so the teat acts just like a nipple, the baby can control the flow of milk through the nipple by applying pressure to the base of it, these bottles allow baby to mimic this when baby pushes against the teats base making these bottles ideal for combined bottle/breastfeeding?

The blue Anti-Colic valve at the bottom of the bottle ensures no air bubbles get into the milk, The clever teat also means less colic because the teat moves with baby when she moves her head, she maintains her latch and less air can get in! = Fab.

You can get teats in 3 different sizes, 1, 2 and 3 meaning the flow can increase as your baby grows just like your breasts would do naturally.

I literally LOVE these bottles and I've noticed a massive decrease in Isabelle's wind after a bottle feed, I'd say 99% less wind and usually no wind what so ever. Actually love these bottles so much that when I went to The Baby Show and noticed that there was one in the prima baby goody bag I had to buy one of the bags just for the bottle! I told everyone else that I saw there that they were amazing. They're easy to take apart to clean, to clean and to put back together.


It's little things like these bottles that make such a difference to our lives, it makes life easier and happier! They fit nicely into the steriliser I already had.

The bottles come in two different sizes; 120ml and 240ml. For a pack of two 240ml bottles it's £12.99, you can find all the information here!

What I don't like about these bottles? I have found the teats for these bottles harder to clean than a normal teat but to have a happy baby - it's worth it.

Finally I'll admit these bottles have made all the others I had take early retirement.

You can find these bottles here - www.munchkin.com/uk

Mary-Kate, x
please note that I was sent these for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.






Monday, 3 November 2014

Toby Tiger - hat and mittens review

Colourful clothes for colourful kids! If you like boring then Toby Tiger is not for you so look away now, if you love bright colourful happy clothing/accessories then keep reading because we absolutely love this review, Isabelle was very excited and Oliver wasn't left out either!

You can check Toby Tiger out here!
Now it's chilly I'm so happy to have been sent a gorgeous hat and matching pair of mittens to help to keep little miss Isabelle warm by a brand I absolutely love. Toby Tiger! I was introduced to Toby Tiger when I was expecting Isabelle, Toby Tiger was founded in 1998 by best selling author and designer Zoe Mellor. Their brightly coloured organic cotton clothing and accessories stand apart from the rest being so cheerful.
Oliver was sent these lovely stickers so that he didn't feel left out - how nice is that? Thank you Toby Tiger!
 Toby Tiger sent us a georgeous knitted hat in the 'bold girly stripe' colourway which looks incredibly cute on Isabelle. Obviously it's 100% cotton outter while being fleeced lined keeping little ones head cosy and warm. It covers Isabelle's ears so also keeping them warm and has little ties, she giggles when I tie these together gently. The rrp for this hat is £15 and comes in extra small (0-6 months), small (6-12 months), medium (1-2 years), large (2-5 years).
 Here she is in her doona pushchair all snuggly with her Toby Tiger knitted hat on.
Isabelle was sent a matching pair of mittens, in the 'girly bold stripe' colourway, these are also cotton outer and  fleece lined. They're very warm for tiny hands. Isabelle was sent a small pair which is 6-12 months but they are big for her teeny tiny hands (she's on the small side for her age) but that doesn't affect them keeping her warm and it also doesn't affect losing them because they don't come off and even if they did the fact that these are those clever 'old fashioned' style that are attached by a string they can't actually get lost anyway = brilliant! The string can also be removed if you want to so you have that option. The rrp for these mittens is £10.99 and also come in extra small (0-6 months), small (6-12 months), medium (1-2 years), large (2-5 years).

The matching set looks great together, I've got so many compliments on how cute Isabelle looks in her hat and mitts set!

I've actually become a little obsessed with Toby Tiger now, Michael if you look at the browser history on the laptop it is mostly Toby Tiger. I thought I'd share with everyone my little wish list...

Firstly I am on the look out for a new blanket for Isabelle and absolutely adore this one below, the tights are gorgeous too and thave have such cute socks! I also love the unisex tops, Oliver would love the robin one.

You can find Toby Tiger here - www.tobytiger.co.uk






They also have a range of toys! They're lovely so make sure you take a look!
Buy the look...
Buy the look...
Buy the look...
You can find Toby Tiger on facebook - here!
and follow them on twitter @toby_tiger


We have loved reviewing these items from Toby Tiger :) What's your favourite?
www.tobytiger.co.uk

Mary-Kate, x

Please note that the hat and mitts were sent to us for the purpose of this review but all opinons my own.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Gazoob Educational Apps - Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper Review

Oliver is 5 years old and learning to read, he's one of the youngest in his year and I've always been keen to try to help him more so I was excited to learn about this app, we are living in a time where our children love our ipads and want to use them so it's great to be able to get them to use educational apps that are also fun = secret learning alert! Well done Gazoob who have worked together with Oxford university press to create the app to match their much loved range. This is great because our children are learning this in school, we can now bring that learning home and support them further.
Biff, Chip and Kipper (ok lets add floppy their dog too!) are names I already knew because Oliver's been reading the books at school as well as bringing them home to read together. I think they're fantastic and since he changed schools early this year and started on this phonics he's got so so much better! This app works in conjunction with the series of books. I love that you can click on each book and it gives the parent tips because I didn't learn phonics at school and I will hold my hands up now and say sometimes I get confused!!!!, the child can chose if they want to read it themselves of use 'autoplay'which Oliver loves as it reads the entire book to him.
To make sure they're listening there are questions to answer which shows how much attention he's actually been paying. There are activites in the books which have proven very popular with Oliver. As well as the stories there are phonics books where your little one can learn sounds and match items with what word they begin with. Oliver is already very good at writing his letters but does need to be a little neater so the feature on the app to practice by tracing over the letters is great for him.
Each book also features a list of common words used within.
This app is available on ipad and iphone from the app store, Android from google play or windows store. At the moment you can download 'read with biff, chip and kipper; library' and get two free books from level 1 or you can get a special discounted price for levels 1-3 for just £4.99. 
Oliver's absolutely loving this app and I think it's a great thing to download for your little ones.

Mary-Kate, x
please note that we were sent a code to download this app for free for the purpose of this review, all opinions however are my own.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Healthier halloween chocolate spider web cake - Sykes Cottages Healthy Halloween Treat !

Oliver loves cake - who doesn't? So when I was asked by Sykes Cottages if I'd like to have a go at creating a healthy halloween treat I instantly thought yay! (If you've never heard of Sykes Cottages you must go have a little look, they've got some gorgeous holiday cottages on offer) But then the problem came, what healthy halloween treat?! oh gosh. So I decided to adjust it a little to make it a 'healthier treat', a 'healthier' than your average chocolate cake! So here it goes.... 
I started by asking Oliver what treat he would like for halloween and he replied with 'a GIANT chocolate spider web cake' - oh ok, thanks Oliver, as usual something nice and easy to do. Don't think I can do the 'giant' but I shall give the chocolate spider web cake a go... a healthier go!
So firstly I wanted to create a sugar-free chocolate sponge cake?
Ingredients: 200g self raising flour, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, 200g low fat margarine, 3 medium eggs, little bit of semi-skimmed milk, 100g natvia.

So that's a little healthier, right?!?!
Put it all in a bowl and mix it all together until its as Oliver says, 'really smooth'. Pop it into a cake tin and put it in the oven at gas mark 4 for what seems like forever!!
For the alternative to icing I've decided to throw together a weird mixture and see what it ends up like, so in the cupboard we had peanut butter which I've never let Oliver have and I can't eat anymore due to breastfeeding Isabelle who's got cows milk protein allergy, so might aswell see if we can make some use of it!?
Ingredients: 4 table spoons of peanut butter, 2.5 table spoons of soft cheese, 1 and a half table spoons of maple syrup, 8oz greek style yoghurt and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Mix the peanut butter and yoghurt together until combined, add the maple syrup and cream cheese, finally adding the vanilla extract and keep mixing until its all smooth..... and guess what I've no idea what this tastes like! haha, I can't actually eat it due to the dairy included in the ingredients so the taste test has been done by Oliver - who's 5 and he says its 'yummy', so it must be yummy right? He also loved putting it all over the cake but that wasn't his fav bit!

Cover the top of the cake in the 'peanut butter yoghurt messy stuff' and then it's time to decorate! Oliver decided on the spiderweb theme... but how on earth was I going to manage that in a healthy way? Then I realised Oliver loves Yo-Yo bears so why not use those!?
So here's what it ended up like.....(Oliver's best bit was getting to eat leftover bits of yo-yo bears straight away!) Around the outside, we've used raisins to make it even healthier treat!

We didn't really have time to work out how to make a spider for the cake so Oliver's kindly said we can use one of his toy ones BUT we can't eat it and he needs it back as soon as possible! (probably so he can leave it on my pillow again because he knows I'm terrified of spiders?! Daddy's idea by the way and no, no no no, Michael it was not funny, it will never be funny and I will get both of you back for it... just a matter of time...).
If you try and make this and it goes wrong by following my instructions I accept absolutely no responsibility :)

I know that this isn't the 'healthiest' of all halloween healthy treats but I like to think we've found a healthier way to enjoy a chocolate cake!
But to add a little healthy we have also got an orange - oops we emptied out the good stuff and filled it with green monster jelly mwahahaha! well Halloween is meant to be fun isn't it!?

We have really enjoyed making this cake so big thank you to Sykes Cottages for getting us involved!
Happy Halloween!
Mary-Kate, x

This post was written to be my entry for the Sykes Cottages Healthy Halloween treat competition - Oliver was sent a lovely reciepe book and we were compensated for the cost of the ingredients, Oliver says 'we really want to win!' Our opinion is that we think Sykes Cottages are a great website offering gorgeous cottages from coastal to countryside - there's something for everyone. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

#5StepWeaning plan by Cow & Gate

We're very excited that we have been chosen as one of the ambassadors for Cow & Gate 5 Step Weaning online plan which if you haven't already seen you must take a look - it definitely came at the right time as I know I'm a second time mum but every baby is so so different and I litterally forgot 'how' I weaned Oliver, that and the fact Isabelle has cows milk protein allergy I just felt like I needed some help. We were sent a box of cow & gate goodies as well as some weaning accessories and a supermarket voucher to help us on our weaning journey.
If you're about to start weaning or even if you've started and feeling a little out of your depth - I know I did both times but more so with my second due to allergies, then this could really help you, so far its definitely helped us!

Isabelle is allergic to dairy so her weaning is going to take slightly longer due to the fact we need to introduce one new thing at a time for 3 days before introducing something different just to make sure she's actually ok with it, she is having a skin prick test done next month so hopefully we will be able to introduce a few things then and not have to worry so much. She has reacted to a few other things randomly that had no milk in so we're just being super careful. Also if your baby has allergies then I'm thrilled to tell you that you can still follow Cow & Gate 5 step weaning, just cut out the 'problem' food!

very first spoonful of neocate spoon - baby rice
If you register for the Cow & Gate 5 Step Weaning plan then you will receieve some money off vouchers - which always come in handy don't they? Especially with the big C word coming up soon... don't worry I won't say it just yet! (maybe tomorrow or soon when I've got a 'C' gift guide for the blog). Also you will be able to track your babies likes and dislikes, which is a great way to remember what they actually liked, I don't know about you but I'm still exhausted since having my baby 7 months ago and my memory is seriously suffering so the fact that Cow & Gate will remember for me through the 5 Step Weaning plan is a big thumbs up from us!
Avocado and pear... she loved it!
A little bit about the plan...
Step one is first spoonfuls - goal to help your baby eat from their spoon and introduce those exciting first foods that will get spat in your face! Never will you think its cute to be spat at other than this time by the way... First tastes include carrots, pear, peas, apples and broccoli (which if your little one is allergic to dairy like mine, I'd suggest avoiding as it creates wind and my little girl along with others with cmpa can't handle broccoli).
Step two is introducing breakfast for your little ones, getting into a good daily routine of breakfast will help later on. Isabelle is super fussy at the moment, I've tried countless cereals but she just wants a mashed up banana for breakfast - we recently tried toast but she had terrible wind and was up alot that night so we're avoiding until after skin prick test. Good ideas are baby porridge with banana, pear or apple puree.
Step three is offering variety, introducing a wider variety of vegetables and fruit to your little ones meal times. Some of these are butternut squash, mango and tomatoe.
Step four is adding meat and fish (or alternatives) to your babies diet and includes recipes like sweet potatoe and lamb.
Step five is to establish your babies three meals per day, the aim being to put all the steps together to create a healthy three meal per day diet for your little one.

It's so important to remember that a face you might read as baby hating the food, might actually mean they like it - it's just new. Try everything again and again to see if your baby likes it, Isabelle hardly ever likes something straight away.

I love that the Cow and Gate website is really easy to use, you can be registered within minutes and creating your babies own weaning plan. They have special 'eaticons' to track your babies likes and dislikes. When I started weaning Isabelle I said I was going to make all of her food - this didn't last, trust me I woke up and smelt the roses baby poo and realised sometimes life is busy and you need to have that quick alternative back up in the cupboard or in your bag if you're off out.. you can't just say no to a hungry little baby... think it's fab that each recipe shows a Cow and Gate ready made alternative, fab for if you know your baby likes a certain food you've made and you're going out so would like to that some ready made with you.

Isabelle's average food day at 7 months old
Breakfast - mashed up banana (always try some baby cereal too but she closes her mouth)
Snack
- rice cakes
Lunch - mashed carrot/sweet potatoe and chicken and if we're at home she will have finger food dessert such as fruit she can hold herself and get super messy but if we're out or she's just really hungry I give her fruit puree as she gets it 'quicker' she likes avocado and pear or banana and apple, she seems to prefer two fruits mixed together.
Snack - finger foods such as carrot, crisps or baby biscuits.
Dinner - something like carrots, peas and pears or sweet potatoe, beetroot and quinola. followed by some fruit either finger foods or purees.

She's obviously still having lots of milk too, although I have noticed her wanting less and less lately. I've started to offer her water with every feed but we are yet to find a cup that she really likes using. I think being breastfed mostly she gets a bit confused when it comes to a beaker.
So far we absolutely love the #5StepWeaning plan and can't wait to try more of the reciepes suggested and also try some more of the Cow & Gate products.

We will definitely share some of the reciepes ideas suggested on the Cow & Gate 5 Step Weaning plan with you soon! And also Isabelle will put those products to the test and let you know what she thinks. She absolutely loves the apple and pear puree!

Are you following the 5 Step Weaning plan too? If so I'd love to know what your little ones favourites are so far.

Mary-Kate, x

please note that I was sent products and voucher to help me complete this review but all of the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

CupCake Nursing Pads Review!

Recently I was sent a new product from a brand I already love called Cake Lingerie, I've reviewed one of their nursing sets which you can find here!

The new product is CupCake nursing pads which are reuseable breast pads and I will add at this point that I've always said I'll never use resueable breast pads, it's safe to say I've eaten my words and completely changed my mind, they make perfect sense now.

The packaging is different, I really like the two eggs on the front of this complimentary packet and I think it really makes them stand out. Theres also milk bottles, ice cream sodas and grapefruit. The packaging is also 100% recycled which is good, helping the eco-friendly nature of this product.

The product itself is great, super soft and feels as if you're not actually wearing breast pads - the disposable ones sometimes make me itchy which obviously is incredibly annoying. They're organic cotton and washable, being super thin no one will actually know you're wearing them because they are designed to be discreet under your clothing leaving you confident that you'll remain wet patch free! The nursing pad itself has a pocket where you can pop in some liners if they're required. I've used them with and without liners and to be honest I prefer with because sometimes I leak alot and although they've always held it without the liners, I just like the extra protection. One/Two/Three liners can be added, depending on what your needs are which is great! You couldnt put two disposable pads on could you? Just wouldn't work like this. I wish I'd of had these months ago, especially when I had a little blister on my nipple! ouch ouch ouch. They would have really helped me. Fantastic addition to any breastfeeding mums life.
If you've always said no to reusable, why? I hated the idea of washing something in my washing machine thats dirty - how silly was that because my bra goes in there and without pads that will get bits of milk on! silly me. silly baby brain.

Price wise, for 2 x pairs of light nursing pads it will cost £9.90 and for 3 it will cost £16.90. The CupCake liners come in pack of two for £5.90 and you can buy them online at www.cakelingerie.com

As with all the reviews I do I wanted to use these for a bit before posting on here so I can give an honest review, I really like these I think they're discreet making you more confident and wash lovely, not losing that 'new' feeling against your skin.




Mary-Kate, x
please note that I was sent this complimentary packet for the review but all of the opinions are my own.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Octonauts at The National Sea Life Centre - Birmingham

Sea Life Centre Birmingham & The Octonauts!
It's no secret that my 5 year old, Oliver, absolutely loves The Octonauts so when we were invited along to see their new Octonauts mission at Sea Life Centre in Birmingham (and be one of the first families in to see it) - we knew it would be worth travelling up. I was excited too, firstly to see Oliver's face at meeting some of the Octonauts after watching about 1000 episodes on tv, playing with the octopod and all the bath toys and secondly to see Isabelle's face at all the fishes she would see for the very first time. What's even better was that Daddy was coming too so it was a proper little family day out.
Usually when we arrive somewhere and park the car, we have a long walk - mostly getting lost to actually find the place we are going however Sea Life Centre is so so easy to find, its literally 2 minutes walk from car to the entrance! I obviously loved this, especially with the weather not being great that day. When we arrived Oliver was given a special octonauts hat to wear which he loved, we were also given an activity sheet so we could look for questions which were around the centre placed on tanks so encouraging children to look around at all the exciting things they can find there. Once they found the question there was options of correct answers and then they needed to scratch out the correct answer to reveal a tick. It ended in Oliver getting an octonauts sticker for completing it, which he's proudly stuck to the side of his bookshelf. (He adores stickers, all kids do don't they?)
After our essential toilet stop, they are located as you enter sea life we continued on to have a photo taken which actually we forgot to buy at the end of the day! *blames Michael* :) Then it was onto looking at the new Penguin ice adventure which was great, I adore penguins and Isabelle was so excited to see them. She loves Ping and Pinga on baby tv - guilty, sometimes baby tv allows me to clean the house or just make some lunch! I have a baby who isn't a great sleeper so sometimes I need help! Then Oliver noticed a very fimilar PESO standing at the end of the room.. obviously he quickly darted in his direction for a massive cuddle. I actually had to say to him ok lets let Peso breath darling. I took some photos with Oliver and peso and then a very kind Sea Life Centre member of staff offered to take a photo of us all as a family with peso. *These are stuck on my camera! I've lost the adapter to get them onto the computer so once I find that/buy a new one then I will add those photos!*
Peso looked right at home next to the penguins, I was very impressed at the fact you could be right next to the penguins with lots of room to have a really good look around.

Sea life is an amazing venue for The Octonauts, they fit right in and alot of the fish living at sea life actually feature in the programme at times which is great for showing children them in person! I love the programme because I feel it actually teaches our children alot about sea creatures and how we need to look after them. One of Oliver's favourite things was to have the chance to get closer to some of the creatures living at Sealife in the touch pool, there is; crabs, starfish and sea anemones for example.

If you're going to go (which I highly reccommend) then I suggest arriving early as later in the day it gets very busy in Sea Life Centre, it's nice being one of the first in there with more room to move about especially with little people. I'd advise checking the website for times of the character appearances.

Sea life is a fantastic day out for children, the penguins, sharks and seahorses are always Oliver's favourite along with obviously Clown Fish thanks to Nemo! Isabelle loved the colour changing with the jellyfish, she couldn't take her eyes off of them.

Favourite things about the day:

Oliver: Meeting Peso and Kwazzi, although he wanted to Captain Barnacles too!
Isabelle
: The Jellyfish!
Mummy: A sealife member of staff gave a talk near the sharks and I found it fascinating. I can't remember his name but I want to say Josh or Jake or something with a J?! He was very good and even Michael (who is clued up on fish things!) learnt something.
Daddy: The fish, actually he's now getting a new fish tank!


The Octonauts will be at Sea Life Centre Birmingham from Saturday 11th October 2014 until Sunday 30th November 2014 so be quick if you'd like to see them!

We had a fantastic time at Sea Life and can't wait until we visit again!


Mary-Kate, x

please note that we were invited to the launch of this but all of the opinions are my own.