Sock Monkey – A Gift Idea

Monkeygang Sock Monkey
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All of my kids have a sock monkey, Sam got his from his Uncle Grant and Auntie Sarah and Maisie and Isabelle got theirs from their Nana. They’re all rather precious. The Monkeys that Nana bought came from The Darryl Nantais Gallery in Linton, which has an amazing selection of paintings, sculptures, sketches, prints and… Monkeys! The monkeys, originally came from http://www.monkeygang.co.uk though and are all handmade in Norfolk. Prices range from £7.50 – £20 and can be bought online. We love them, you might too!

The best bits about having children

The best bits about having children.

Now, I’m very wary about sounding twee, but as I always honk on about the bad bits about parenting, I thought it may be refreshing to focus on the good bits. It’s taken months of consideration (JOKE) but here are my conclusions…

1. Random acts of affection. When your kid suddenly decides to give you a hug or have a snuggle without an ulterior motive or demand in sight, you feel like melting, like this is what it’s all about. It’s as though you get a glimpse of heaven, where it really is all about love and then it’s over, but you bank that moment and store it up and draw on it when you need to.

2. Funny stuff. There is nothing funnier than your own child doing something cute or hilarious. Maisie’s club-mix of twinkle twinkle little star for example, or Izzy’s attempts at jumping or Sam’s break dancing are AMAZING. Well… At least to me and Ferg and Nana and Pops.

3. Play time. When they play nicely, either alone or with other kids, you feel like you’ve done a good job. There’s something wonderful about thinking that this little person is going to be ok, they’re not to going to grow up to be a psychopath, they may even turn out to be…nice.

4. Chats. When you have a chat with your child and they tell you stuff, it’s just very rewarding. It feels like quite an honour, when this little person tells you the minutia of their day, it’s like you’ve had a glimpse into a fresh and very complicated world full of wonder and newness. This sounds a bit odd, but if your child can communicate sensibly with you and you get a flash of the person they’re going to become, it’s just mind-blowing and terrifying and exciting and really, really sweet.

5. When you see them smile. I’m sorry, I know this is super cheesy, but SERIOUSLY, when you see your kids smiling so much that there’s not really enough room on their face, you find YOURSELF almost overwhelmed with the beauty and joy of it. Grinning like an idiot, just delighted and relieved and and happy that they’re experiencing joy, because that’s what we want for our children, we want them to feel full of wonderful joy.

6. Giggling. Giggling is very different to smiling, because giggling is often related to mischief or tickling or something that they find FUNNY. Watching your child find something FUNNY is fascinating. They have a sence of humor! Who’d have thunk it?

7. That first night when they sleep through. This is the holy grail for me at the moment, but one day it just comes and you notice it and you appreciate it because it’s a milestone that really makes a difference to your life.

8. Tough bits. When the kids are ill or afraid or unhappy and they need you and you help them because you are Mum or Dad, that’s just amazing. To be the person that a child wants when their little world feels shaky, is an honour above all else. But those times, which are often difficult times are the building blocks of your relationship with them. It’s these bits that make you a parent and show your children that you love them unconditionally and although that makes them hard it also makes them good.

9. When your hard work pays off. All kids go through phases of being wonderful or hideous, so when you come out of the other side of a difficult phase and you’ve stuck to your guns and managed to be fairly consistent and you see a difference at the end, it’s incredibly rewarding. It’s also a relief, as occasionally in the midst of a phase, you worry that your child may simply be horrible. When they’re not and you then know it was a just a phase, you can enjoy their actual niceness. Well, until the next phase starts at least…

10. They’re fun there’s no getting away from it, children are fun. They make you do silly things, they stop you taking yourself too seriously and actually they just make life much more interesting. Sometimes we just need to let go, to stop getting our knickers in a twist and go with the flow.

11. When they tell you that they love you. What else matters? Thats it, the pinnacle, the goal.

the end.

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Birds Nest Thrift Store – An Eco Friendly, feel good, bit of feathery fun.

I got this activity tip from the Cambridge Botanical Gardens magazine. Basically, the idea is that you and your kids go outside together and create a one-stop-shop for our soon to be nesting, feathery friends. They suggest finding some sort of hanging container like an old disused hanging basket and filling it with stuff that birds would use to make their nests. Here are some examples;

Moss
Feathers
Twigs
Straw
Grass
Lichen
String (?)

Once collected, they all just go into the container and you can watch the birds going back and forth using your bits and bobs for their nests. I think they suggested doing it in March, but if the sun’s shining then a bit of pre-empted foraging certainly won’t do any harm.

Cute idea, thanks, Botanical Gardens!

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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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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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