Review of “Hooray for Fish” by Lucy Cousins

Hooray for fish is another of our favourite board books, but this probably has a little bit more longevity than most others in this category. My son who is six will still listen to this story with his sisters and he still remembers the words fondly.

This is an engaging story about a little fish who swims around saying hello to all his different fish friends. There’s Ele Fish (a fish that looks like an elephant) eye fish (who looks like an eye, you get the idea)  and many other silly little fishes. The rhyming is solid and the rhythm is very appropriate, giving a gentle but not sluggish pace to the book.

Izzy, who is one, loves the fly and sky fish, which in our family, requires a great flinging of arms, swiftly followed by some squeals of delight, but all have had their own, different, favourite fish.

I’m still not bored of this book, even after five years of reading it. The best bit, which definately requires actions, is the bit at the end where little fish says, “But where’s the one I love the best, even more than all the rest? Hello Mum.”
“Hello, Little Fish.” Kiss, kiss, kiss, hooray for fish!”

Like I said, definitely requires actions.

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A Review of There’s a cow in the Cabbage Patch by Stella Blackstone, Illustrated by Claire Beaton

This has been one of the most read and most loved board books in our family. Sam and Maisie both loved it and now Izzy does too. I bought it from Igloo Kids in Islington about 5 years ago and its been worth it’s weight in gold, it’s just one of “those” books for us.

It’s such a charming little creation, the illustrations are basically photos of some gorgeous appliqué pictures and they depict plenty of animals with good sounds to try out with your baby. So far Izzy can woof for the dog, moo for the cow, woof for the owl and woof for the horse, which I think probably makes her a genius.

The rhymes work well with the correct amount of beats to make the words flow nicely. I can’t bear kids books with bad rhymes that don’t fit the beat, why are they even allowed to be published? What also works, is that it has enough of a story to engage little ones without being too long. It’s also far more interesting than your bog standard baby book that just has pictures with words underneath.

I think this book is fantastic, it’ll definitely be one for our kids “special stuff” box when they’ve all grown out of it.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

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An alternative to the Karvol Vaporiser (now discontinued)

Thanks to all who helped out with this, the best product we could find to replace the now discontinued Karvol Vaporiser was the

Two separate mums recommended this highly.
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Just had word from the company that owns Karvol and it looks like they have no idea about when it’ll be back… Here’s the email I received.

Dear Mrs. Duncan,
Thank you for your enquiry regarding Karvol.
Unfortunately, there is a long term out of stock issue with our Karvol range and we are unable to confirm when this product will be back in stock.
We can only recommend you to speak to a healthcare professional for an alternative treatment, as we do not manufacture any alternative product.
We apologise for this inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us.
Kind regards,
Patricia Mendez
Consumer Affairs Representative

Word on the grapevine is that it was discontinued due to a potential fire hazard in the unit… However, this isn’t actually the case, Karvol have manufacturing rather than safety issues, so don’t be alarmed if you have been using their Vaporiser!

Advice needed about Karvol Diffuser!

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A friend of mine has found out recently that Karvol have stopped making their diffusers and the only ones she can find on the market have night lights on them which keep her tiddlers wide awake.

Does anyone know of an alternative product that doesn’t have a night light attached?! Please let me know if you do, many thanks!
Emma

Things no one ever tells you about breastfeeding..

To say I’m a big fan of breastfeeding would be a massive understatement. I LOVE IT. I find it convenient, snugly and a wonderful source of comfort for me and my little one. I also know lots of women who just didn’t get on with it. I support all women in whatever way they choose to feed their baby, breastfeeding suits some women and not others and that is just fine with me.

The reality is that most mums will give it a go but are not always supported if things get tough. Here’s a list of good and bad things about breastfeeding that I didn’t know until I started doing it. This wont be the same for everybody and although some of these sound quite bad they are fleeting. Please add your own experiences in the comments box!

1. For the first two to three weeks, it is sometimes excruciatingly painful. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, our nipples aren’t used to such vigorous sucking. We assume that they’ll just get on with doing what they were made to do, but they do not. They put up an almighty fight and scream to be left alone. Secondly, when our milk actually comes in, the breasts can get so engorged that the nipples flatten, so hungry little baby can’t latch on without some serious and agonizing pinching.

The best bit though, is that this awful pain does pass and when it does, the elation of overcoming it is fabulous. So, if you’re reading this within the first two weeks of your baby being born and breastfeeding is painful, then hang on in there. If your nipples are cracked and bleeding though, go and see your doctor! This may be mastitis, which is something different and will need treatment.

2. If you get this pain it doesn’t just happen with the first baby you breastfeed, but all the others too. Bummer.

3. It’s quite common for bits of skin on the nipple to come off during those first few weeks. It’s a bit like when you get a blister on your toe, when the blister heals that bit of your foot gets hardened and can stand the pressure. This isn’t cracking or mastitis, it’s just a bit grim.

4. Breastfeeding seems to make nipples very stretchy. You’ll be amazed at the lengths they can go to when little one decides to have a look around whilst latched on. You’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t hurt, it just looks rather alarming.

5. It is a great way to lose weight initially and it certainly helps getting your tummy back in shape, but beware, breastfeeding also makes you HUNGRY! I don’t mean a bit peckish, I mean, Mama bear just came out of hibernation, ravenous.

6. It’s harder to lose weight when you’re breastfeeding as your body just goes in to storage mode. It wants to make sure you have enough energy to make tasty milk for your baby, so hangs on to extra fat ferociously. Marvelous.

7. When breasts produce a lot of milk, they get a bit leaky, which is why breast-pads were invented. What happens with breast-pads though is that you always forget to put them in on the day your boobs decide to leak. I’ve lost count of the times my boobs have leaked in public, but it has been often and it has obvious. However on the bright side, breast milk doesn’t seem to stain, woo hoo! If it did then all my tops would look like they had headlights.

8. Boobs are VERY clever. They adjust the amount of milk they produce according to how much milk your baby needs. Say you went away from your baby for a few days and your milk levels went down during that time, it would only take just over a day for your boobs to get the message that they need to start producing milk again. Breasts don’t stop producing milk overnight, you’d probably find that you could have 3 months off and still have some milk!

9. Breastfeeding is great for lazy people. I know this because I am one. The idea of sterilizing bottles and making up formula seems like a lot of hard work to me, but then I didn’t sweep the kitchen floor for over a month once so I’m hardly an expert on hard-work in the home.

10. It’s possible to be very discrete when breastfeeding in public. You don’t have to wap out your entire boob if you’re out and about, you can use a scarf or just utilize the fact that you now have super stretchy nipples and feed the baby under the table.

11. Some babies can feed for ages and they’re not necessarily feeding for food, it may just be for comfort. Sam did this, and it was fabulous. We spent hours cuddling on the sofa watching rubbish telly. They were such lovely snug times and I’ll always remember them.

12. Although people may tell you that breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, nobody can prepare you for the wonder of looking down on your suckling babe, catching their eye and giggling with them whilst they ping your nipple in great hilarity. Now, that is precious. 😉

Please note, this is neither my boob, nor my baby. It is however a very cute picture.
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Ten Things I love about NOT being pregnant…

I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding for the last seven years and as we are SO not having any more children, I feel the time has come to reflect on all the things I love about not being pregnant.

I love…

1. Not constantly having indigestion.
2. Being able to sleep on my tummy.
3. Being able to stay awake beyond 8.30pm.
4. Not having piles. Well, not having such massive piles.
5. Not having to get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the smallest room in the house.
6. Being able to drink booze, especially after having one of those days.
7. Not having to rub Bio Oil onto my stomach and boobs every morning and every night in the vain hope of avoiding stretch marks.
8. Not feeling sick.
9. Not having to wear a bra to bed to harness my massive, sore and very hard, pregnant boobs.
10. Not having to think about giving birth, ever, ever again! Woo hoo!

On that note, I’m going to bed at 10pm, after having a delicious glass of wine, without taking a Rennie, to sleep on my slightly stretch-marked tummy, whilst not wearing a bra on my now, gently deflated boobs. I also get to kiss the faces or my three sleeping little treasures. It was all DEFINITELY worth it. 🙂

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Tasty Salmon Pasta Bake

SALMON PASTA BAKE

My children seem to hate all food apart from ham, sausages, fish fingers and usually salmon pasta bake. I say usually because their default is processed rubbish and anything else somehow manages to inspire the phrases, “This is disgusting” or “I hate this.” Anyway, despite the fact that my children don’t always appreciate it, this recipe is delicious and one of those meals where I really struggle not to scoff the leftovers.

Ingredients
250 grms smoked salmon slices
A good swig of semi skimmed milk
A healthy chunk of butter
Some plain flour
Any shaped pasta
Cheddar
Pasta
Broccoli (I use about 10 little pieces from three children)
Peas (enough to provide a bit of colour to the pasta bake)

Method
Put some pasta on to boil. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Place the smoked salmon into a frying pan and pour over enough milk to make a sauce with. Broil the salmon until cooked and then pour the milk out through a sieve into a pan so you catch all the flakes of salmon. Put the salmon to one side and pour the milk into a jug. Take the pan and melt down a chunk of butter and sieve some plain flour into it once it’s melted. Stir in the flour until the mixture is smooth and still a bit runny. Then add the salmon-flavoured milk over a medium heat and stir until the sauce is neither too runny nor too thick. At this point you can add some peas or broccoli to the sauce and then add the salmon and stir it all in. If the pasta is done then add it to the mixture and then put into an oven proof dish. Grate some cheese onto the top and you can even sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top too if you’re feeling crazy. Then just pop into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. This is also good without the bake angle, this also makes it 25 minutes quicker!

Lusharoony, as my daughter would say (on a good day where she hasn’t suddenly decided she hates salmon, cheese, pasta or peas.)

Today Izzy Wears…

Pink velour wrap top from Limo Basics at from http://www.yellowlolly.com and blue velour baby pants from Holly’s, kindly handed down from auntie Claire. Pink striped tights from Katvig originally from http://www.tootsieandfudge.com/ but currently inherited from big sis.

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Review of Memento – A Fabric Photo Book.

Memento

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These little books are a great idea. Mitali Peckham, who came up with the idea and creates each book by hand, let me borrow some to have a look at. I have to say they’re a real hit with the kids, even though they don’t contain any pictures of themselves! The idea is that you provide Mitali with 8 pictures and the text for each page, so you can make a book about whatever you like. I’d like to create a little story based on pictures of my kids but you could add pictures of the first newborn days or a christening or even just a special day out.

This is a memento that your kids can play with and enjoy every day, I think they’re lovely and so does Maisie! If you’re interested in getting one then you can just go to Mitali’s website http://www.babytreasures.eu and order online. The cost is £27.50, which includes the postage. A super gift!