Baby · Review

Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym and Rainforest Friends Bouncer Review

When Sausage was little, we started as early as we could with stimulating her mentally. She loved to watch baby-focused DVDs with us, which played classical music and showed brightly coloured, highly contrasted images, and Husband would spend hours with her on his lap, looking at pictures of animals, listening to music and reading books. She’s an amazingly bright child (she recently got moved up to purple on the Pearson Books chart, which are books for kids in the end of year two and beginning of year three, whilst Sausage is still in year one) and I can’t help but wonder if her thirst for learning was kicked off by her early days. We’ve done our best to attempt the same level of interaction with BB and now that she’s at a stage where she’s holding her head up almost all of the time and her eyesight has sharpened, she’s really benefiting from it all.

When Fisher-Price got in touch and asked if we’d live to review their Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym and Rainforest Friends Bouncer we jumped at the chance. Sausage had a Fisher-Price seat which she loved and we thought that BB would really benefit from some apparatus to help with her development.

Fisher Price

It’s a little difficult to take pictures of BB using either of her things, because I don’t put candid pictures of the kids on here, but I did manage to get a snap of her using the mat which sums it up perfectly:

Fisher Price Kick and Play GymThat yellow circle? That’s a mirror. BB will happily kick away for AAAAGES whilst gazing lovingly at herself in that mirror, testing out all of her newly learned facial expressions. She loves kicking her feet and making music come out of the piano and she’s also now starting to try and grab the hanging parts, much to our amusement. The volume can be adjusted and it’s possible to choose from music or single notes when the piano keys are kicked, so there’s plenty of variety if BB seems to be getting bored.

The Rainforest Friends Bouncer is just as much of a delight to BB as the mat; the seat unit has a vibrate function, which can soothe her quite effectively when she’s feeling a bit grumbly and the removable toy bar allows us to moderate her levels of stimulation. In fact, when BB was going through the worst of her colic, one of the ways that we found best to soothe her was to gently bounce her in her Rainforest Friends Bouncer. I don’t know if the motion helped to move some wind through, but it definitely made a difference, and the fact that the crotch strap unclips from both sides made it easy to get her out and into bed once she’d finally dozed off.

Both items are colourful and well made, and the fabric parts are removable for washing, which makes life a whole lot easier. We’re really pleased with both the Rainforest Friends Bouncer and the Kick ‘n’ Play Piano Gym and would highly recommend them to parents both new and old.

We were sent the Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Bouncer and the Kick ‘n’ Play Piano Gym for the purposes of review. No payment was received and all opinions are honest. 

Uncategorized

Mum’s the Word Instagram Challenge #MTWIC

Instagram is one of those social media services that I absolutely love – being able to do in-app editing, add overlays and frames and share across multiple platforms is hugely useful and probably explains why it’s one of the most famous apps of all time. An estimated 150 million people use Instagram, many of whom are celebs, giving us a tantalising insight into their glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) lives.

I’ve seen a few Instagram challenges around before and have often wanted to join in, but haven’t kept up, so I thought I’d put together on of my own and I’d love it if you’d join in. An added bonus is that this is a way to work out who are the real Instagram followers on my account! There are 30 topics and it’s up to you how you do it – you can either do each one on the assigned day, or challenge yourself to tick off every theme randomly throughout the course of the next 30 days. I want you to be as creative as you can be with the themes and once you’ve taken your snap, Instagram it with the name of the theme as the title of the post and the hashtag #MTWIC. If you’re looking for the best site to buy instagram followers, there are quite a few out there where you can increase your numbers.

There’s no need to join in every single day if you don’t feel like it, but I’ll be sending out a daily reminder email if you want to leave your email address in the form below so that I can give you a gentle prod!

The beauty of a hashtag is that you can then go through Instagram by clicking on the hashtag and find all of the other people taking part – give as many comments and as much love as you can muster so we can give this a real community feel. This isn’t just for bloggers, either and I’d love as many of my readers as possible to come along for the ride. So…here’s the list:

Proof (1)

If you want to Instagram the list, just press and hold the image on a smartphone and save it to your device. Once you’re in Instagram, you can choose to upload it by clicking on the gallery icon next to the camera button. Don’t forget to add the title and the hashtag so we can find your posts. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think of the list and whether you’ve been inspired to join in. Also, do let me know if you have any questions. I can’t wait to get started!

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Christmas

Let’s Go to Lapland!

Lapland Northern LightsHaving a dog (a senior one, at that) means that we really have to think outside the box when it comes to holidays. It’s not as simple as booking a fortnight away and hopping on a plane; we couldn’t leave him for that long in a boarding kennel and it would be a big ask for family to look after him because even at almost 10 years old, it’s still a bit like being dragged by a steam-train when I take him for a walk! I had an idea about pricing up a few one night trips to attractions in the UK and northern France so that even if we couldn’t take a full holiday we’d feel like we’d had a break.

The most famous ‘attraction’ in Northern France, home to a certain mouse, came in at over £1200 for the four of us for ONE night in August and a trip to the place in Windsor where they build a lot was equally as prohibitive in price. We got our thinking caps on and started looking into a Lapland holiday; Sausage is 6 this year, which means we’re running out of time for the magic of Santa to still be exciting for her and going away at Christmas means that we wouldn’t have to worry about taking our fair-skinned, red-headed child to somewhere hot.

Just for fun, I decided to ask Sausage what she thought Santa might be doing, seeing as it’s off-season for the old guy right now and here’s what she said:

“I think Santa is probably doing lots of sleeping because soon he’s going to have to start preparing for next Christmas! Mummy thinks he shaves his beard off in the summer, but I think he keeps it. I think he wears shorts and a vest in Summer and flip flops on his feet!”

Personally, I reckon Santa is sunning it up in Cancun with Mrs. Claus at the moment, taking full advantage of a bit of downtime and soaking up all the vitamin D he can get before going back to the darkness of Lapland for the winter busy season.

Lapland really looks like a magical place to visit, at any time of year. I’ve always wanted to visit Lapland and stay in the hotel with the glass igloos for rooms – the chance to see the Northern Lights would be incredible and feeling like we were sleeping under the starts, whilst managing to stay warm and cosy inside the igloo is an experience we’d never forget.

Have any of my readers ever ventured north and visited Lapland? Did you go at Christmas? What did you make of it? As a side note, what does your little one think Santa is doing right now?! Leave me a comment below.

All About ME! · Meme

What I’m Doing Now – A Meme

God, I love a meme, especially when it means I get to talk about myself, so when Sally from Who’s the Mummy (aka. The Ubiquitous One) asked if anyone would like to be tagged in this one, I was that annoying kid at the front of the class with one hand in the air (and a buttcheek lifted off of the seat so as to make the aforementioned hand just that little bit higher than everyone elses) yelling “Me, Miss, ME ME!”. So, here we go:

Currently I am:

Reading: Reading? What’s that? My beloved Kindle has been sorely neglected since BB came along and the only chance I get to read is when I take Sausage to her weekly musical theatre class. And then it depends on whether I’ve actually remembered to charge my Kindle. When I do get a chance, I’m still wading through Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Listening to: A lot of dance music. I think it’s a summer thing; I dream of laying on some Balearic beach somewhere while Tiesto DJs in the background. Oh, and BB (or ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’) seems to love MTV Dance, so I don’t get a lot of choice.

Laughing at: The current series of Louis CK’s TV show, Louis. He’s probably my all-time favourite comedian and after seeing him at The O2 a year or so ago, I still find him “HILARIOUS” (That’s actually a Louis joke…) NSFW

Swooning over: Is it cheesy if I say ‘My Husband’? It is? Well, tough, it’s true. We’ve been married for 8 years this August and I’m just as in love with him now as I was back then – he still gives me proper butterflies when I glance at him.

Planning: SUMMER! We’ve got a chart on the wall counting down to the summer holidays and I simply cannot wait until we get Sausage to ourselves for almost 7 weeks.

Eating lots of: Bacon (Yes, that faint groaning sound you’ve been hearing whilst reading this is the active narrowing of my arteries). Husband bought 5lb from an online butcher before I realised we didn’t have room for it in the freezer, so we’ve been working our way through it for the last week. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it…

Feeling: Snotty. Sausage has tonsilitis and every time she gets it, I end up with some weird coldy-virus thing, too. It’s cool though, I’m having my first night out since Burrito Baby was born tonight so burgers and beer are BOUND to help.

Discovering: whether or not we’re cut out for home educating. We’re not very happy with Sausage’s current teacher and we’re genuinely wondering if she’d be better off being homeschooled for a while.

Looking at: Reddit. It’s genuinely one of my favourite places on the whole internet. What’s not to love about a place where you can read just about any topic you can think of, whilst simultaneously looking at pictures of squirrels stealing Cheetos?

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Wearing: A pair of chino shorts and a black and white stripy vest. It was my 30th birthday last week and I got some money to spend on clothes, hence my uncharacteristic smartness.

Cooking: See the aforementioned bacon…we’re currently looking for bacon related recipes as we’ve actually achieved the impossible and ended up sick of bacon sandwiches. I KNOW.

Wondering: How to have my hair cut when I go to the hairdressers tomorrow. Should I go for my tried-and-tested long layers, or mix things up a bit (for ‘mix things up a bit’ read: cling desperately to my 20’s with wild and inappropriate hairstyles that I won’t be able to replicate myself once I leave the salon)

Trying Out: Loom bands. I may be a little bit hooked. Ha! Hooked! Geddit?!

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I’ll get my coat.

Now, because this is a wonderfully memetastic post, I get to tag three other bloggers:

Annie at Minisaurus

Vicky at A Cupcake Mum

Donna at Mummy Central

All About ME! · Personal

Grabbing My 30’s By The Balls

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Wednesday was not a good day.

Wednesday was my 30th birthday.

It was all going really well until my moods (and possibly depression, but I’ve yet to have that properly confirmed) got the better of me and I started behaving like a nasty brat. Husband got a text asking if he wanted to go out for the England game later in the week and I got totally jealous, which made me act appallingly and spitefully. I was sullen and sulky and ended up being awful to Husband.

My Husband.

The ONE person who has been there for me through thick and thin, no matter what. I could give you a laundry list of reasons for my crappy mood, but none of them excuse being so vile to the one person who’s ALWAYS on my team. I basically ended up sabotaging my own birthday, despite Husband going to the effort to make sure I felt loved and special. What an idiot I am.

Anyway, I’ve woken up today with a new attitude. I’ve decided that I’m going to make my thirties my most successful age yet. I started my 20’s unsure of who I was and I feel like that girl is merely a shadow of who I am now. Despite my ridiculous “Oh my god, HOW did I end up being 30?” I’ve realised that it feels NO different to being 29.

So; success. How do we measure it? What does ‘success’ mean to you? Is there even a universal measure, or is it different for everyone?

I’ve managed to have two beautiful, healthy children. I have a happy marriage (despite my best efforts at self sabotage…) to my best friend. I’m (for the most part) healthy-ish. My blog is doing pretty well after 4 years of slogging away and I’m being asked to write for other people, which is a dream come true. So, what can I do to elaborate on this?

First and foremost, the health issue: I say ‘healthy-ish’ because although I have type 2 diabetes and slightly high cholesterol, both of these things could be improved hugely by improving my lifestyle. Its the age old story of ‘lose weight, feel better’ and I’ve spent my 20’s adopting an ‘it’ll still be there tomorrow’ attitude to the problem. Before BB, I kept thinking “I’ll lose weight once I’ve had another baby”; well, she’s here and I’ve no more excuses.

In terms of writing, I’d love to do more of it. I’ve had a novel swirling around in my brain for a couple of years now and I really need to start committing it to paper (or screen) so that I can see if it really is an idea for a novel, or just a novel idea. I’d love to branch out in other ways too and I have a concept for another blog ruminating in my brain too, which I really need to start working on.

And then there’s the elephant in the room (no, this isn’t about my weight again…). My mental health. I’m fairly certain that my moods are quite closely connected to my thyroxine levels, as I have an underactive thyroid. For the past few months, I’ve actually felt really well; my moods have been more stable, I’ve been far less tired, I’ve managed to shift some weight for the first time in months. Then, I got a call from my GP saying that my thyroxine levels were too high and needed to reduce my medication immediately. No sooner did I reduce my dose, my moods were constantly black, my skin dried out and cracked, I’m tired all the time and I’m having weird, slow-thumping heart palpitations. All sighs of not enough thyroxine.

I’m not making excuses for my behaviour, but the difference in me since I lowered my levels has been genuinely striking and I’m planning to go back to my GP and ask what the ramifications would be were I to put my does back up – if its improving ALL of my symptoms, would it not be right to assume that maybe I need slightly more than the average dosage?

Who knows. What I do know is that I may now be 30, but I intend to start grabbing life by the balls and making things happen (insert motivational poster here). If anyone had any tips or words of wisdom for me, or experience with thyroids both over and underactive, do leave me a comment.

THIS IS 30. I’m determined it’ll be even better than 29.