Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What a cheeky monkey!


Sorry about the distinct absence around here, I've been rather busy with this one and being rushed off my feet at work (booo).   She has been turning into quite the character and Nursery recount many stories with me about hilarious things she has done throughout the day.  Today I watched her get ridiculously out of control when she saw a giant teddy bear (staff dressed up as a bear); she swung between desperation to touch it, laughter and confusion. She is so interesting to interact with and watch nowadays; the way she looks with amazement, interest and intrigue at objects is just fascinating- imagining what is going through that little mind of hers.  Ophelia is particularly keen on cuddly toys at the moment; this mostly involves banging them on the ground but she also gets ridiculously excited if you bounce them towards her or make them have funny voices.  She really does love banging everything though, just today at nursery we witnessed her munching on an orange whilst trying to bang a block of wood into her mouth.  Her imagination seems to be going into overdrive and she spends ages trying to fit items into cups as well as pull the contents of tables all over herself (there is a rather worrying amount of determination and strength involved in this one!).  At the moment she is really interested in exploring others (!) and is a bit obsessed with digging her finger nails into our inner noses and lips, this really is quite painful I tell you! She also really seems to love playing with my tongue with her hand, rather odd again! I keep catching her looking at her hands and fingers whilst she moves them, it makes her appear quite profound and like she is performing shakespeare! She loves all the other kids at nursery and they love her too, today I witnessed a child hand her a toy whilst another boy came and sat right by us to play (please don't tell me she has a boyfriend already!).  She appears to have got over her weird phobia of getting her hands dirty and now likes to get "stuck in" at any oppotunity, the other day this involved soil to plant a seed and today it was chocolate whilst baking.  She loves to give me ridiculously wet, sloppy kisses on my mouth which is sweet if not slightly gross! I guess I should enjoy it whilst it lasts!

I really do love this kiddo and watching her personality develop more and more each day, even when she spends all day saying "Dadda"non stop, right up until she falls asleep!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

That infamous age....

Whilst she isn't even 9 months yet, I often find myself uhming and ahhing over whether we will bother properly celebrating Ophelia's 1st Birthday.  Mostly I fall towards the "no" corner purely because she won't remember it and I don't have time to eat let alone plan a party.  But several things have swayed me towards the "yes" corner; namely the fact that there is a possibility we may have a garden to play and heaps more space but also that Callum's mum bought her a dress that is screaming to be worn on her first birthday. Plus, I might as well plan it before she demands Peppa pig.

The other day I got a bit carried away and had as good as planned the whole party in a theme of Wizard of Oz-purely because I have this book and have been dying for a reason to use it! Here are some of the inspiration I found...

Look at that cake! I love the idea of different coloured foods although perhaps natural rainbow coloured foods as opposed to E numbers?! This site is GREAT for party inspiration! 

I love gingham and love any excuse to get involved in it so imagine how carried away I would get incorporating this into the theme!

Obviously eating is the main priority! Green luminous jelly?! Iced gem cookies?! Rainbow cake? Cherry pie?! Hells yeah! 

The other theme  I thought about was related to her dress which is a peach colour with a garden type pattern (from M&S I think) and here are some of the lovely things I've seen:


I love the tassel garlands and these colours look so fab together!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Bedtime routine

I've talked briefly before about our bedtime routine and Ophelia's night time habits but this time i'm linking up to Kerry's share it Sundays about bedtime.  
 Let me begin by saying that I always knew I would need to return to work, so I knew how important it would be to get Ophelia into a routine so that I would have some chance of functioning! My job is fairly stressful/dangerous so the more sleep the better!  You can imagine how much of a mountain I had to climb then when, after 24 hours of labour and 36 hours of no sleep we brought our daughter home and she did not want to sleep.  I kept hearing "ohhh I love it at that stage because all they do is sleep", oh no no no no no, not this little lady and especially not at night time! After a while, this did pass but not without some extreme routine building! 

 We stayed quite strict with the routine and I think if we had just gone with the flow, I would still be going to work now with no sleep! At first she slept in a carry cot type thing and we used to roll a towel into a U shape, popped it in the cot and snuggled her body into the shape before tucking a muslin over the top.  This worked really well (she hated being swaddled) at making her feel secure and sending her off to sleep and we transferred this same technique to the cot when she moved into that.  At first when she was teeny tiny, she really didn't like gro bags, but we tried again when she was a few months old and we have been using them every night ever since. 

The routine we used remains the same even to this day, although the only difference is that she goes down much quicker now so her bedtime has got slightly earlier (generally!):

6ish: Start getting everything ready e.g. bottles out of the fridge, hot water, run bath, boil kettle etc. Wind down by reading a book.
         Give bath/wash down and put sleepsuit on.
6:30ish: Give bottle
7-7:30ish: Put to bed and always give her a kiss goodnight.

Ophelia never used to be able to settle herself to bed and it was quite the laborious exercise so I can see why some parents decide to feed to sleep/rock to sleep/co sleep etc because it ain't pretty! But always at the back of my mind was that I was going back to work and all those things would simply make my life more difficult further down the line- obviously if you're not going back to work relying on those techniques probably isn't an issue and is probably quite nice!  I also never liked to co sleep for a massive safety issue-on a nightly basis I kick/talk/shout/move in my sleep and so I wouldn't trust myself to not do any of those things to her by mistake.  

Like anything with children, i'm sure this will all change as time goes on and even when she was ill last week it completely set her off kilter and regressed.  I in fact ended up letting her sleep on my chest all night, so then sleeping in her cot was evidently unappealing! But we persevered (I survived at work by having 5 strong coffees a day!) and she now seems to be back into her normal routine (touch wood).  The length of time she sleeps still varies a little bit; sometimes she stirs quite a lot but gets herself back to sleep but other times she wakes up at 3ish or mornings like today when I was awake before she was (7:30am!).

So that's our bedtime routine story! It works for us and for her, although it isn't neccesarily what I imagined I would do prior to having her!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Cosatto supa stroller pixelate review


Brightonmumma cosatto supa stroller review

We were lucky enough to receive our first buggy Quinny Buzz 3 secondhand barely used, from friends at a really really generously reduced price.  It has served us very well but Ophelia no longer appears comfortable in it and lugging it up and down the flat stairs has grown rather tiresome (it's rather damn heavy and in two parts!).  I started looking around for a stroller a few weeks ago and decided a cosatto was the answer.  I ordered it from Kiddicare on Thursday and it came on Friday between 9:30 and 10:30am; I think Kiddicare are great for their ordering service.  Not only was it free, speedy delivery but I received a text to tell me it would come between 9:30-10:30am, so none of this waiting around all day malarky!

 Putting it up/taking it down:
When it arrived, my Mum and Callum went about getting it out of the packaging so I hadn't even had a look at the instructions when it came around to using the pram the next day.  I muddled through and whilst I found it a bit tricky at first, considering I hadn't had a demonstration or read the instructions, I think it was quite easy! Putting it up, there is a handle on the side of the pram (seen in picture below) which you flip out in order to release the front section of the pram and it folds down with ease-no exursion needed, hurrah! There is a circular handle on the back of the pram which you push down and this widens the pram out to the usual width ready for baby to sit in. 

Brightonmumma cosatto supa stroller review
I love everything about the design of this stroller, the colours and pattern on a very superficial level; how can you possibley feel sad with this bright beauty? I love the fact everything is so simple but helpful for parents; the brake system is really effective (separate for both front and back for a nice click for when they're on), everything slots on and off very quickly (the hood has velcro and clips), and the coffee cup holder clicks on and off.  Oh yes, did I mention it has a cup holder?! Perfect for our Sunday strolls for coffee!   The handles are a great height and pull up an extra inch or two if needed, they are also the perfect distance and design to put bags on without them trailing by the wheels. 

Part of the selling point of this stroller for me was the fact it packs up into an umbrella packaway, however a big negative for me is that you seem to have to take the hood off and everything out (including waterproof cover) of the underneath storage. EDIT: Thanks to the lovely people at Cosatto I now know that you CAN put it down with the hood attached (wooo!). 

Brightonmumma cosatto supa stroller review Brightonmumma cosatto supa stroller review     

The storage on this stroller is much better than on the Quinny buzz; it is more spacious for a start and has taller sides to avoid things falling out.  It also has a pocket on the back of the hood which has a speaker to attach to a tablet, as well as a good amount of space for other bits and bobs; I find this perfect to shove "easy to reach" items in like my phone, keys etc.

It isn't as light as I thought it might be, but it has been much easier to get up and down the stairs leading to the flat.  What I like most is the fact that we can put Ophelia in it before bumping it down the stairs, whereas with the Quinny Buzz we had to do two trips to get out each time. 

 I think Ophelia quite likes it:


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

World book day baby costume ideas

I love World book day and can't wait until Ophelia is old to appreciate and enjoy it fully.  Both of us are so keen for her to have a passion for books, she actually gets really excited about books already especially if you do different voices! I have all these crazy ideas floating around my head already for a few years time, having a book theme for the day and having fancy dress, crafts and baking all centred around that book.  In the meantime I leave you with some costume ideas for the baby in your life:

Available from Party delights

A tribute to a classic range of books, Ladybird books, this costume is an avent garde take on the dressing up vein.  Ophelia would hate it if I put her in here though; I think she'd get too frustrated by having her legs tucked away!

Available from Party delights
This one is so sweet I crack up every time I look at it! One of my favourite books as a child was The Owl who was afraid of the dark so this costume would be perfect! I can just imagine Ophelia's face in this one!

I love dinosaurs and think this one is perfect for Ophelia's age; room to crawl/sit etc without feeling restricted.  I'd heard a bit about this book by the McFly boys and will probably get it at some point just out of curiosity! 

Have you got any costume ideas for World Book day? It's this Thursday 6th March :)

Monday, 24 February 2014

7 months old: favourite toys

Ophelia turned 7 months old the other day which happened to coincide with us being donated lots more toys, so I thought it was time I updated the kinds of things she is now interested in toys wise:

Walker: This is a very recent new favourite but boy is she enthusiastic about it.  Just this afternoon she spent a while playing with it with one of our friends.  It works on so many levels to hold her interest and I can see this keeping her entertained through a few stages of her development.  Today she has had several different types of play with it; the obvious one to begin with is playing with the bits on the front- this in itself keeps her entertained for a while.  The front on ours comes off which is really useful because if she gets bored or tired reaching for the highest toys, it's nice to put it on the floor or on a chair for her to reach to.  She also likes trying to reach the highest toys on the front by pulling herself up on the bar and reaching over the front.  Her little face as she kept looking back at our friend; beaming from ear to ear and laughing, it really was lovely to see.  I personally think there is no point getting them one of these much before this age. 

Ball pit: Our nursery has a soft ball play room which each age class of child gets to go in every day. YES you heard that right-every day she gets to mess around in a big ball pit.  I saw realised we needed to turn our house into one big ball pit rectify our lack of ball pit immediately.  So we now have one! Even better is the fact that the cat loves it too-two birds, one stone; double win! She again gets SO excited when we put her in there; her favourite things are kicking balls or when I play peekaboo through the cabin holes in the sides!

Anything she can shake: Some of the toys we were given make varying types of shaking noises and she loves them! She watches as you shake it then grins and reaches for it to shake herself.  At nursery they have lots of shaker bottles like the ones above and when we went for one of her settling in days, she stole one off another child and then wasn't keen to give it back-oops!

Mermaid Lamaze toy: She has had lamaze toys in the past and liked them, but at this age she seems to really like this one and the doll one.  On Thursday my Mum played with the doll by making it move and Ophelia was in full blown hysterics for about half an hour-this is when she had been in hospital the previous day so she must REALLY like them.  What I really love about the mermaid is that numerous parts of her appeal to the baby- her hair is great to fiddle with and put in her mouth, the doll like features make it perfect to play with, the seahorse and tail make great teething accessories plus the tail doubles as a mirror (say no more!).

Kid's stacking rings:  Her favourite thing is to simply turn it upside now and drop them all onto the floor from a great height then gauge my reaction.  Oh, not forgetting her game of "what's the biggest size ring I can fit in my mouth", which brings her such joy when she tries. 
Developmental advantages: Helps; them recognise shapes, colours, logic skills. 

Crawl and learn ball: She can't help but try to grab it as it rolls away!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Nursery diaries; Week 1

Monday 10th February:
Dropped off at 9am (to avoid Nursery drop off 'rush hour'), Ophelia responded well when I passed her over to her key worker-she immediately smiled at her and went to grab her face (she does this a lot at the moment!).  I gave her a kiss goodbye and left her in the nursery's capable hands whilst I went to distract myself with a task list the length of my arm.  I didn't really think too much about it throughout the day, I had far too many other things to get on with and knew she was in capable hands.  At about 3pm I decided I wanted to do the food shop just in time before picking her up but just as I was scanning my veg I got a call from the nursery.  Ophelia had vomitting and diarrhea and so nursery wanted me to come and pick her up.  At this point I got a bit worried, had I missed signs of something over the weekend? When I collected her she was happy as larry and continued like that until she went to sleep at bedtime.  Understandable for nursery to send her home but I also realised that it was simpy a precautionary measure and perhaps might not have been the case if she had been at nursery a while and they knew her better.  We got our summary of her day and she had drunk all her bottle on both occasions, all of her lunch as well as a banana and rice cakes (which she had neverh had before!)- no wonder she was sick! Nursery fed back that whilst she had cried on some occasions she also enjoyed sitting in an activity ring whilst another child passed her balls to play with.

Tuesday 11th February: 
After no issues following symptoms of illness, I decided it would be okay to take her to nursery again today, this time I dropped her off at her usual time of 8am.  Seeing as drop off went so well yesterday, I decided to use the same technique today and took her all the way into her room, giving her a kiss goodbye.  I was really looking forward to picking her up and was even happier when I got feedback from the staff; she had really enjoyed herself in the sensory room (she loves lights this kid!She is already obsessed with our dimmer switch in our bedroom!) and again loved being in the activity ring.  When I went to collect her, she was sitting with the other children in the soft ball play room, gnawing on a teething toy and oblivious to my arrival.  It was only when I sat right down next to her and talked that she realised I was there and started to cry a little, almost like she suddenly realised I hadn't been there the whole time! I sat in there for a few minutes and it was great to see how she interacted with the staff, smiling at them and reaching for them.  The staff also fedback that she seems really interested in the older children, particularly one girl who she appeared to stare at for quite some time! She had also managed to fit time in her busy schedule to make us a valentine's day card! As well as drinking all of her two bottles, she had a quarter of her weetabix, all of her lunch plus a quarter of her snack.  I'm so happy with how things have been going so far and she is settling in much quicker than I anticipated- I can really see how much she will flourish by going to nursery and it has already had a massive impact on her!

I forgot the details of Wednesday and Friday but she went! I also saw again how she is fine and happy when there until she sees me and then gets upset.  It was one of the children's Birthdays so the nursery tried her on cake, apparently at first she was skeptical but then started wolfing it down. 

Overall I was really happy and impressed with how the week went, much better than I anticipated.  Whilst she had points of crying when there, she already settled into a routine quickly and the periods of crying got less as the week went on.  It really put my mind at ease ready for my return to work, plus she has been having really long naps-wooohoo!