Huggies Pull-Ups Review

Huggies Pull UpsA few weeks ago, Huggies got in touch to see if we’d like to work with them on a review of their Pull-Ups, and they kindly sent us some daytime pants, night-time pants and a whole selection of other goodies to try out, including a potty. Burrito Baby has got to an age now where she’s really vocal about going to the loo – she’ll often declare “WEE WEE!” or “BOOM BOOM!” just before going, which is a really good pre-cursor to getting potty training underway and Husband and I have been talking about getting a potty just to keep in the room for when she decides to use it.

Because BB idolises her big sister, she’s quite adamant that she’s a big girl and most definitely NOT a baby, so being able to offer her big-girl pants to put on when I first opened the Pull-Ups was a massive plus-point for her. She’s also a huge fan of Minnie Mouse at the moment, so she was thrilled to see her on her pants, running straight through to Husband and shouting “DADDY! MINNIE! BUUUUM!!” (most things that BB says are at a rather high volume at the moment…).

In terms of nappy changes, she’s also got to that age where it’s very hard to get her to lay down for more than about 5 seconds at a time, so being able to step in and out of the Huggies Pull-Ups was something she really appreciated. It also makes my life a whole lot easier!

Being able to pull the Pull-Ups down like knickers when it’s just a wet nappy is fine, but I also liked the fact that the sides tear apart for dirtier changes, although as one MINOR negative point, I remember there being a sticky tab on the back when I used them for Sausage, to keep everything rolled up when you change them, but that doesn’t seem to be there anymore and it’s very much missed as I now have to use a nappy bag again!

Potty training isn’t something that Husband and I are pushy with – we firmly believed with both girls that if they’re ready, they’ll do it and that has definitely been the case with both of them. Sausage was stubborn at first and I remember more than one occasion of looking on incredulously as she stood, nappy-less, next to her potty and wee’d on the floor instead! BB is applying the same Crammond stubbornness (I don’t know where that comes from…) and is mostly treating her potty with superstition at the moment but we did have a successful poop on the potty today and at just 18 months old, I think that’s really good going! She looked absolutely mystified about the whole process of sitting on a seat to poop, but once she realised what she’d done, she looked pretty pleased with herself!

Huggies are hosting a whole bunch of Potty Training Parties around the UK to help mums and dads with the process and have even got little reward charts and stickers available with a free sample of Pull-Ups to show progress, which I think is a great idea. Sausage always responded really well to reward and although BB is a little young for the concept at the moment, I’m sure in time we’ll use them again.

Overall, we’ve been really impressed with Huggies Pull-Ups. We’ve had no leakages and being able to liken them to ‘big girl pants’ like her big sister wears has really appealed to BB. We’ll definitely carry on using them and I think they’ll be invaluable to the potty training process.

TutorFair Review

tutorfairAs you’ll know if you’ve read this post, Sausage is a super bright girl, but thanks to being let down by a previous teacher, she lacks confidence in Maths and related topics. So when we were asked by Tots100 if we’d like the opportunity to receive a couple of tutoring sessions with TutorFair in a topic of our choice, we jumped at the chance. TutorFair offer teachers in a number of topics, including instrument tuition, but it seemed prudent for us to take advantage of some extra help with maths, if only to show Sausage just how capable she actually is.

The TutorFair website is one of my favourite things about the whole experience – it gives you the ability to narrow down what you’re looking for by subject, area, even budget, so you don’t end up trawling through a list of irrelevant teachers at prices you can’t afford. It also gives you an overview of the experience and qualifications of each tutor; the young man who came to see us was a Physics graduate and did his post-grad teacher training at Cambridge University, which is pretty impressive!

On the day, our tutor Sam arrived early for the session but jumped straight in (after taking his shoes off at the door, despite my protestations – excellent manners!) and gave Sausage a special programme to work through on his iPad to show him exactly where she was in terms of her knowledge. This allowed him to see exactly where she needed help and meant that their time together was properly optimised.

Using a combination of iPad and traditional pen and paper, Sausage and Sam worked through a whole load of topics (with me hovering around to get a good overview for review purposes) and it seemed like he was really able to connect with Sausage and pass on some new techniques for doing certain sums. I try not to criticize the UK’s free education system too much as it’s fantastic for most families, however there can be a slightly “one size fits all” approach to teaching when class sizes are large which means that some kids catch on quicker than others. Extra tuition like the sessions Sausage received are a brilliant way to solidify knowledge that’s passed on during school time and make sure that all of the new concepts have really sunk in.

In terms of cost, the tutor who came to us would usually cost around £38 per hour, which is by no means the most expensive session on the site and could be well worth it if your child is having a lot of problems with a subject. There are also tutors who offer help with 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels and Sam told us that, in some cases, 11+ tuition begins as young as 8 years old.

All in all, I felt like we had a really positive experience with TutorFair. Sausage felt a lot more confident even after one session and it’s something that we would definitely consider continuing with, should she need the extra help. As a final point, another thing we liked was that, if you were a normal TutorFair customer, all payments are made via the website, so there’s no awkward exchange of cash at the end of the session – this may sound like a silly little thing, but it just made me feel like I’d be a lot more comfortable about using the service in the future.

For more information on tutors in your area, visit the TutorFair site.

Travel Sickness and How to Deal With It

travel sicknessDizziness, cold sweat, and vomiting are the main symptoms of travel sickness, also referred to as motion sickness. According to the Telegraph, it affects more than 20 million people in Britain with children, aged between 2 and 12, particularly prone.

Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, a GP from Cambridge, explains what causes this nasty sensation: “If the driver throws the car around, tiny particles of chalk suspended in liquid in your inner ear push against microscopic hairs. This tells your brain that you are on your side. Meanwhile, your eyes are sending different information and it’s this that makes you feel sick.”

But what can you do to prevent travel sickness from occurring? We’ve put together a list of different cures, which might help to alleviate the problem.

Choose the right seat and keep still

People suffering from motion sickness should try to find a seat where the motion is minimal. On a plane the calmest seat is in the middle near the wings. On a ship you usually experience less motion in the lower cabins near the centre. When travelling on a train, make sure to sit facing forwards and if you’re travelling by car, then it can help to sit in the front seat rather than in the back.

Relax and keep calm

Focus on your breathing, try to remember poetry, listen to music or engage your brain in other mental activities. Try not to worry about getting travel sick as this might end up making it worse. This also means avoiding contact with other people suffering from travel sickness as hearing them talk about it can make it worse.

Medication

In severe cases, you can get medication from the drug store. Most medication has to be taken a few hours before the journey begins. The NHS lists hyoscine (also known as scopolamine) and antihistamines as often used cures. It’s essential that you talk to your GP first before using them or giving them to your children as they have to be used with caution.

The right food

Avoid eating anything “heavy” prior to and during your journey and ask your fellow travellers to avoid eating food with a strong odour when you’re around. Snack on some pumpkin seeds or ginger products such as ginger biscuits or ginger tea. Ginger is sometimes used to treat nausea and although no scientific studies have been conducted yet to verify its abilities to cure motion sickness, it has been used to treat vomiting and nausea for centuries.

Fresh air

Open a car window or stand on deck if you’re travelling by boat – taking deep breaths of fresh air can stop you from feeling hot and stuffy and can prevent motion sickness.

There’s no guarantee that travel sickness can be cured by these tips. Many children simply just have to grow out of the age where they experience this nasty feeling. However, by being prepared, you can at least have an influence on the severity of the condition

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.

Enjoy Your Summer With a #HolidayatHome

Having Chuck, our 11 year old bull terrier cross, means that going on holiday is pretty much impossible. Asking someone to look after him would be a no-no as he can be difficult to walk unless you’re used to him and we promised, after getting him from a rescue home, that we’d never put him into kennels.

Every summer, we try to make the most of things though, by going on day trips and also trying to do as many “staycation” activities as we can. We’re lucky enough to live near the coast so trips to the beach are a simple matter of walking a mile or so and avoiding the holiday traffic. There are also some excellent activites along our seafront; it was Sausage’s birthday last week and she asked if we could spend the morning at the arcades playing games, before going to the fountains to play.

Southend Seafront Fountains

We also try to make the most of spending time at home; movie afternoons are a favourite when the weather isn’t up to much and we’ve also made some pretty cool dens for the girls to play in. Making S’mores is an absolute must, too!

Carpetright have just launched the brilliant #HolidayatHome competition, where the lucky winners will nab some amazing prizes, such as a Champneys spa day for two with pampering treatments and a three course lunch worth £408, as well as a luxury picnic hamper from British Fine Foods. All you need to do is share a photo of yourself or your family enjoying fun staycation activities via social media, to be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. Don’t forget to include the hashtag, so that Carpetright can find your entry!

In the meantime, we thought we’d give you a list of our favourite staycation activities to inspire you on yours:

  1. Go to the beach
  2. Go to the pool
  3. Take a long walk (preferably ending in a pub lunch!)
  4. Take naps!
  5. Play a sport
  6. Have a water fight
  7. Visit friends/family
  8. Have a home spa day
  9. Have one day where you eat out for every meal
  10. Do a pub quiz

The most important thing is that you remember to have plenty of fun!

 For more information about Carpetright’s carpets and other products they offer, click the link to visit their site.

The Truth about Life as an Air Hostess

Seeing the world, having friendly chats with crew and passengers, and wearing a snazzy uniform – it’s little wonder young children dream of working above the clouds. But the realities of being an air steward/stewardess aren’t always that glamorous, and success in the job very much entails being able to take the rough with the smooth. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to separate the facts from the fiction.

Expectation: Cabin crew on flights are always smiling and looking happy – they never seem to get stressed out.
Reality: It’s a flight attendant’s job to remain professional at all times, but underneath it all a lack of sleep, demanding customers, and a crazy time schedule can take their toll. Hilary, a former Singapore Airlines flight attendant, recently quit her job and she says: “I feel like my lifespan has increased by 10 years – no more stress or pekchek-ness (frustration). After I quit, my parents told me that I became myself again. I was less grouchy, less quick to anger & I was nicer again.”

Expectation: You’ll essentially be a waitress above the clouds.

Reality: Hilary knows that aspiring cabin crew who think that will be in for the shock of their lives: “You are not only a waitress in the air, but also a safety officer, baggage porter, bar tender, toilet cleaner, policeman, babysitter, maid etc. The list goes on.”

Expectation: Passengers will have friendly chats with you and never ask for anything weird.

Reality: A 22-year-old flight attendant for a major airline wished to stay anonymous as she answered some tough questions about dealing with passengers. She says: “If it exists, a passenger has asked me for it. They ask for EVERYTHING.” Flight attendants need to be prepared for the weird and wonderful suggestions that inevitably come their way.

Expectation: You’ll have plenty time to spend time with your family and your loved ones.

Reality: Often, you’ll have little choice but to miss important days including birthdays, Christmas at home, New Year’s Eve celebrations etc. This is certainly true if you’re still in your trial period, as you might get called up to spontaneously fly to the other side of the world. While it has many perks, being a flight attended isn’t always fun and social – it can be very lonely.

Expectation: You get to party all over the world and your social life will flourish.

Reality: Often you’ll be much too tired to hit the clubs or do any kind of sight-seeing. Constantly changing time zones can cause bad jet lag and you’ll be more likely to want to hit the hay as soon as you’ve landed.

Due to the rise in the number of airline passengers taking to the skies, the role of a flight attendant is becoming increasingly difficult.

Due to the rise in the number of airline passengers taking to the skies, the role of a flight attendant is becoming increasingly difficult. Cheap comparison sites and budget airlines mean flight attendants are having to work harder and longer than ever before – whilst keeping a smile on their face. Although there are some fantastic perks to being a flight attendant, individuals who are considering entering the industry must be aware that with all the incentives comes a lot of hard work.

You’re expected to smile even through the toughest of trials. However, the rewards can be great: you’ll get to travel the world, see new places and meet new people on a daily basis. The question is, do you have what it takes?

Beanies Coffee – A Review

A while back, we were sent a selection of items by Beanies Coffee to taste-test and review. For those of you who haven’t heard of Beanies, the company makes flavoured coffee, both roast ground and instant, in a wide selection of flavours. I opted for Cherry flavour and Maple Syrup flavour in the roast ground, and Amaretto Almond in the instant.

I would definitely class myself as a coffee drinker; I drink instant at home at least twice a day, and usually have a latte somewhere if I leave the house, plus Husband and I stick the pot on for a “proper” cup of coffee a few times a week, too. I also have a personal filter coffee machine which makes a thermally insulated flask of coffee for one person which I often take with me when I’m out and about. See – definitely coffee people!

I was worried at first that the sweet flavours of Beanies coffee meant that they had added sugar; being a diabetic means I have to avoid excess sugar, but I needn’t have worried. Beanies sweetness is explained on the website’s FAQ:

Your sensory cells for taste and aroma respond to the sweetness of the flavours and although they contain no derivatives such as dextrose, fructose, lactose or syrups the receptors tell the brain that the product must surely contain sugar. Therefore when you taste our coffee you in fact smell the familiar flavour notes and your brain is automatically tricked into thinking the drink is sweet. Clever eh!

Each of the three flavours I tried were very authentic – the cherry really tasted of cherries, while the maple syrup and amaretto versions definitely tasted of maple syrup and amaretto! All three flavours smelled amazing, too. It was almost worth brewing a pot just for the amazing aroma that permeated around the house! 

I have to admit, none were sweet enough for me, despite the Beanies claim that you shouldn’t need to add sugar or sweetener, but then I do have my coffee pretty sweet on a day-to-day basis, adding two sweeteners to a normal mug, so it may well be sufficient for someone who doesn’t like their coffee as sweet as me.

All in all, I was really impressed. I’m not sure that flavoured coffee could replace every mug for me, across the day, but it definitely makes a lovely mid-morning treat and I could happily see myself tempting a guest to try something flavoured rather than our usual brew!

If you want more info on Beanies, head to their website, or take a look at their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

Do We Expect Too Much From Our Kids?

As parents, there’s definitely a certain amount of “do as I say, not as I do” that we get away with on a daily basis, and it’s a natural part of child rearing, to an extent. However, there are certain things that I’ve observed other people saying to their kids that absolutely baffle me. Obviously, I’m not advocating letting your children behave badly, but sometimes I think adults really do expect too much from their kids. More, in fact, than they’re even prepared to do themselves. Here’s just five of them.

1. Cheer Up

As adults, we aren’t expected to be permanently cheery and it’s accepted that everyone has a bad day. But for some reason, when it comes to kids, we expect them to be constantly cheerful. I even hear people say to their kids “what have you got to be unhappy about?”. Sure, kids don’t have the stress of work or a mortgage on their plate, but they do have the stresses of learning and developing socially, as well as getting their little brains around day-to-day life. Everyone is entitled to an off-day, regardless of their age.

2. Stop Showing Off

It’s human nature to feed off of the rewarding feeling of other people’s praise or laughter. Kids will often exhibit behaviour that adults perceive as negative or “showing off”, but they’re simply soaking up the feedback they’re getting for their behaviour. As an adult, I guarantee YOU show off at times too, but you don’t have a larger adult around to belittle you for your behaviour. Everyone likes feedback. Full stop.

3. Be Nice

Kids are expected to be sweet and kind all the livelong day, and don’t get me wrong, these are great traits to instill in your babies, but are YOU nice all the time? Do you ever ring your bestie or your Mum to have a bitch about someone? Do you ever give major side-eye to the Mum in the school playground who’s dressed wildly inappropriately for the school run? If so, that’s YOU not being nice, and if you can’t do it, why should your child? Being unkind may not be a desirable trait but it is human nature.

4. Give Them a Cuddle

There was a fair bit of controversy around the article in The Guardian which said we shouldn’t be forcing our kids to hug grandparents, but I have to agree. As adults, if we don’t want to hug, kiss or shake hands with someone, we simply don’t; we’re afforded the agency over our own bodies and personal space to say no. Kids should also be afforded this right. If they don’t feel like being affectionate, we shouldn’t be forcing them to.

5. Eat What’s On Your Plate

I’m a firm believer that, if they like what is on their plate, kids will eat as much as they need and then stop. I know this doesn’t cover kids with food issues or extreme fussiness, but if a child has a good relationship with food, we should be allowing them to dictate when they’re full, rather than forcing them to overeat. Ultimately, this will ruin a child’s own sense of when they are full and lead to a poor relationship with food as an adult.

Do you have any more to add? Leave me a comment below.

Personal Responsibility

RibenaI’m guessing by now that everyone has heard about Tesco banning Ribena and several other products from its shelves? In fact Ribena is just one brand that the store has axed, also choosing to shun brands such as Capri-Sun, claiming that both are contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic. According to the newspapers, health campaigners are lauding the supermarket chain for its decision and is urging other retailers to follow suit.

Am I the only person who thinks this is absolutely BONKERS?

What happened to parental responsibility? Should it not be down to the parents of these obese children to say “No”, when they try to pour litres of sugary drinks down their necks? Should we not be teaching our children moderation, rather than an outright ban?

Let’s look at other things that Tesco sell – seriously; take a stroll down the confectionery aisle and browse the HUNDREDS of other products which have high fructose corn syrup as their main ingredient. Why is Ribena worse than ANY of these? In fact, let’s go one step further – what about the tobacco kiosk or alcohol aisle? Do we need to eradicate these, lest irresponsible parents allow their kids to drink or smoke? Or, do we rely on the fact that there are people out there with an IOTA of common sense?

The fact that Tesco has chosen to be so specific about one particular product smacks of outside lobbying; someone, somewhere, within a very wealthy company has told Tesco that they’ll make it worth their while if they drop certain brands. How long will it be before we’re bombarded with adverts about some amazing new brand of sugar-free drinks that are ONLY available from Tesco? Something, as they say, is rotting in Denmark.

The fact that Tesco has taken it upon itself to supposedly tackle childhood obesity seems like an overly grandiose gesture to me. Who the hell asked them to make themselves The Juice Police? Especially when they continue to sell other items high in sugar, alongside processed meat, high fat convenience food, confectionary, alcohol and tobacco? In fact, isn’t it Tesco which has a franchise option with KRISPY KREME DONUTS? Excuse the caps, but I’m getting incredulous.

The absolute, glaring hypocrisy of Tesco for pretending to be the shining light in the fight against childhood obesity makes me sick to my stomach and I think it’s a seriously sad measure of modern society when we ban things rather than allow people to moderate themselves or display any sort of personal responsibility. When the litigious culture which prevails in The United States started to creep over here to the UK, anyone with any sense knew that it would lead to bad things, and here we are, in 2015, banning sugary drinks. Is the move so that Tesco can’t be named in lawsuits by parents looking to make a buck off of their wildly unhealthy child?

Am I looking at this all wrong? Should we be applauding Tesco for its responsible action? Or are you with me in thinking that this is a bullshit move and that there’s probably more to it than meets the eye?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I Used to Hate Myself…

I used to hate myself.

I hated my annoyingly-too-large hands…until I realised that they were the hands my daughter reached for when she was nervous.

I hated my tummy, covered in stretchmarks and seemingly permanently distended…until I realised it had provided a safe place for my babies to grow.

I hated my ears…until I realised that BB has held onto my ear to comfort herself since she was tiny.

I hated my arms…until I realised that they were the arms which had held on to Sausage and BB for thousands of hours, never letting go.

I hated my smile…until I realised that my girls are what make me smile, a natural reaction to their wonderful personalities.

I hated my hips…until I realised they were where my daughters have sat whilst being carried around when little legs were too tired to walk any longer.

I hated my eyes…until I realised they were what allowed me to watch my babies develop and grow.

I hated hearing my voice on video…until I realised that was the voice which had read stories, sung songs and whispered comfort to both girls for the past 7 years.

I hated so many things about myself. Until I realised that my babies loved those things about me, and if they could love them, all of my perceived flaws, then maybe I’m not too bad after all. I hope that other parents can take a moment to see themselves through the eyes of their babies and realise that, once you strip away all of the self-criticism, there’s someone in the world who thinks you’re pretty perfect.