Tuesday 29 December 2020

Birth Bag


The other week I won an Instagram giveaway over on birth bag's page, I haven't won a giveaway in a long time so I was over the moon. 
I had previously been looking at the kit and thinking it would be a good idea to buy myself.
I usually pack a bag even for home births as 1. its handy to have everything you need to hand and 2. incase I do have to go into hospital and thought this bag would be perfect for it.

I'm so impressed with it, that I thought it would be rude not to share it on the blog.

I love the fact it has a ready-packed washbag with everything you could possibly need for a few nights in hospital.

What's inside the washbag?

  • Breastpads
  • Anyah toiletries 
  • Bamboo dental kit
  • Wooden hairbrush and hairband
  • vaseline
  • Washcloth.
A big hit for me is that is very eco friendly and that theme carries on through the bag.

What's inside the big bag?

  • 100% biodegradable baby wipes
  • slippers
  • cosy bed socks
  • eco-friendly mamabamboo nappies
  • cottons maternity pads

What's inside Baby's first outfit bag?

  • Booties
  • Muslin
  • announcement milestone disc
  • Baby hat.
The bag is a perfect size to be able to fit two outfits in, perfect for those overnight hospital stays with your newborn.

Along with winning the birth bag I also got to pick an outfit from Carrianna's Boutique which specialises in young children's and babies clothing.

I decided to go for this little pink knitted outfit as it reminded me of something my mum had for me when I was a babe.
It's in a size 3-6 so I have to wait a little while before she can fit into it.

Both prizes turned up the very next day and both businesses were lovely to talk too.

The birth bag tote retails at £39.99 and that is with everything included! Which I think is an amazing bargain.

My little outfit from Carrianna's Boutique was £22.00, again another bargain. 

I will be sharing what I am going to pack inside my birth bag in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Sunday 20 December 2020

How to Raise a Confident Child

 We live in a society that places great emphasis on being confident and outgoing. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of introverted people to feel insecure. 

However, being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean that a person isn’t confident, it just means that they value their own company. 

Regardless, it’s important for parents to try and find ways to give their children a self-esteem boost from time to time so that they learn to believe in their own abilities. Here are some tips from an independent school in Surrey.


Instilling confidence in your child is all about encouragement and the right attitude. Praise them when they deserve it and avoid being hard on them when things don’t go right. Here are some examples:


Example One: If your child studies really hard for a test and then gets a bad grade, don’t show disappointment, as this will only make them insecure.

 Instead, let them know how proud you are of them for trying their best and that making mistakes is the best way to get better at something. Knowing that you have their back no matter what will give them the reassurance they need to keep trying.


Example Two: If you notice that your child struggles with larger social gatherings and prefers quieter activities, don’t be tempted to tell them to join in anyway or try harder to have fun with the others. 

This will make them feel as though their own interests aren’t valid and being someone they’re not is the only way to get approval. Instead, let them know that the way they’re feeling is perfectly ok and that they don’t have to join in at big parties if it makes them uncomfortable. This will give them the confidence to make their own decisions. 


Example Three: If your child is very shy, avoid taking over and doing things on their behalf, as they will never learn how to stand on their own two feet. Give them some positive reinforcement and take baby steps. 

For instance, you could start by encouraging them to ask for their own meal at a restaurant, rather than ordering for them. Plan out what they should say in advance so that they don’t have to worry about saying something wrong.


The idea behind each of these examples is to instil a growth mindset in which they learn to have faith in their own abilities. 

Even if they’re scared or things go wrong, you will be there to validate them and value their input. 

They will eventually adopt the same attitude about themselves, with time and practise. 

*Sponsored Post

Saturday 19 December 2020

5 Fantastic Facts About Female Fertility

For many women, the path to becoming a mother is pretty straightforward, with limited stress. For others, complications form roadblocks and make the process more difficult. 

Fertility is hugely complex and young people aren’t really taught all that much about it whilst in school. 

With that said, a lot of us are guilty of not knowing how we can increase our chances of becoming pregnant if that’s something we want. I have teamed up with a London fertility centre to share five fantastic facts about female fertility. 


1.     BMI Can Hinder a Woman’s Chances of Conceiving


Being either underweight or overweight can cause complications that make it difficult to conceive. Excessive exercising, for example, can prevent a woman’s menstrual cycle, which is obviously a necessary component in becoming pregnant. Eating fatty foods can result in high blood pressure and certain diseases, which also make conception difficult. If you’d like to become pregnant, either now or in the future, aim for a healthy BMI of anything between 18.5 and 24.9.


2.     When a Female Baby is Born, She Has Between One and Two Million Eggs


This is the most eggs she’ll ever have. Over time, this egg reserve runs out, as around 3000-5000 are lost with each menstrual cycle. When a woman reaches the age of 35, her fertility starts to decline rapidly, making it harder to conceive. Many women choose to freeze their eggs as a way to preserve their fertility. 


3.     IVF Bypasses the Need for Viable Fallopian Tubes


Blocked, scarred or damaged fallopian tubes prevent natural conception. During IVF treatment, the eggs are fertilised in a lab and placed into the uterus where they can implant and grow, meaning the fallopian tubes are completely bypassed. 


4.     Certain STIs Can Lead to Infertility


The most common sexually transmitted diseases in the UK are gonorrhoea and chlamydia. When left untreated, these, and other STIs, can cause infertility in both men and women. If you’re planning to have a baby, ask your GP for a full health check-up, including your sexual health, to ensure it is safe for yourself and your unborn child, and indeed, possible. 


5.     Smoking During Pregnancy is Extremely Harmful to the Baby


Smoking while pregnant can cause premature birth, low birth weight and certain defects. It is fairly common knowledge that you’re not supposed to smoke while pregnant, but what you may not have known is that it can actually affect the child’s own ability to conceive in the future.

*Sponsored Post 

Friday 18 December 2020

5 Outdoor Learning Activities for Children

 Outdoor learning provides a range of benefits to children, playing a vital role in their overall education and development. It teaches them that learning can happen in lots of environments, not just inside the four walls of a classroom, which opens their eyes to a whole host of new opportunities. 

What’s more, learning outdoors can help young people develop a sense of respect for the environment, which we could certainly use more of in recent years. An independent school in Buckinghamshire have the following suggestions for outdoor activities to get you started. 


1.     Build a Bird Feeder

 Building a bird feeder is a great way to entice some feathered friends into your garden. It’s easy to do and fun for everyone. There are lots of ways to do it, like with an empty milk carton or an old teacup and saucer – have a look online for some inspiration. You could even invest in a pair of binoculars so that your child can keep an eye on it and learn about different species of bird.


2.     Survival Skills


A great outdoor activity that many of us remember from our own childhood is building a den out of twigs and leaves. You could also teach them how to read a map or even camp out for the weekend.


3.     Prepare a Scavenger Hunt

 Write a list of some items exclusive to the outdoor, like a sycamore leaf, an acorn, a conker etc. Take your child and some of their friends for a trip to the woods and have them find the items on your list. The first one to find all of the items could win a prize. Allow them to work in teams if that helps. This is not only a fun activity, but it also teaches children about nature and how to participate in healthy competition. 


4.     Grow Your Own


Planting fruit and vegetables will only work at certain times of the year, but it’s a rewarding activity that teaches kids about patience and persistence.


5.     Observe Some Bugs


Head to the woods with a magnifying glass and allow your child to observe the bugs. Ask them to count how many they can see and talk to you about the kind of habitat they like to survive in. You could even encourage your child to write their observations down in a diary. 

*Sponsored post

Thursday 17 December 2020

How to Be More Involved in Your Child’s Education

 There are so many different layers involved in being a parent. 

Not only do you have to put a roof over their head, make sure they are well-fed and grow up with good manners, but you also have to support them with their education. 

Research has found that when parents are more involved in their child’s academic endeavours, the child is more likely to succeed. This is probably because it gives them the motivation they need to try their best and overcome any challenges. 

I have teamed up with a private college in London to explore some ways that you can become more involved with your child’s education.


Be sure to attend any events at the school, including plays, sports day and Parents’ Evening. This will show your child that you are genuinely interested in both their personal and academic achievements. In fact, it’s wise to keep in touch with your child’s teachers throughout the year, not just at Parents’ Evening, so that you can monitor their progress and deal with any issues as they arrive. 

The teachers will also be able to tell you about the curriculum and what might be coming up in some of the lessons, which will help you come up with some ways to help your child at home. 


Provide your child with a study space at home where they can complete their homework. By giving up a place in the house just for studies, you will show your child how important you think their schoolwork is, which will likely sway their own attitude to learning. 

The study space should be quiet, well-lit, and free from distractions. It should also be stocked with relevant stationery and books. 


Try and find time each evening to have a quick catchup with your child about their day at school. Mix up the questions and make sure they are open-ended, to encourage your child to give you more than a one-word answer. 

For example, if you ask, “Did you have Science today?” they can simply say yes or no, but if you ask “What did you learn about in Science today?” they will have to go into more detail with their answer, prompting follow-up questions. 

Use positive terminology when talking about school and praise your child when you see them working hard, to encourage repeat behaviour. 

*Sponsored post.


Monday 14 December 2020

Christmas Sleep Tips from The Sleep Nanny®

While Christmas this year is set to be very different, one thing that will remain the same is the excitement of children desperate to see what Santa has brought them on Christmas Day!

Getting children to bed on time, and encouraging them to stay in bed and not wake up at the crack of dawn is NOT going to be easy!

However, Lucy Shrimpton, sleep expert and Founder of The Sleep Nanny® (www.sleepnanny.co.uk) is on hand to share her top pieces of advice:


  • Limit sugary foods. Your cupboard may well be full of lovely Christmas treats and your tree hanging with delicious chocolate and candy canes – all temptations for our little ones. And for some reason, we allow children way more than we allow ourselves so just be careful of this, as if they’re having treats close to bedtime, that sugar can create an adrenaline rush just as they’re meant to be calming down for bed. Be particularly mindful of this for children aged four and up who have the most successful powers of persuasion!


  • Avoid over-tiredness. While it can be tempting to want to keep children up later and later each night over Christmas, this will only cause over-tiredness. When a child is over-tired this means they won’t be able to sleep properly in the night or they might wake up earlier than normal – just what you don’t want if you’ve got a busy day of cooking and entertaining!


  • Avoid too much screen time close to bedtime. Christmas movies are one of the best things about Christmas but do your best to give children around an hour of no-screen time before they go to sleep and at least half an hour before getting ready for bed. Try reading a Christmas story to them in bed instead.


  • Stick to your routine steps wherever you are. So, if you’re staying over at your family’s house in the allocated time that Boris has allowed us to, try to stick to your sleep routine. Nap during the day at the time they are used to and make sure they go to bed at the same time each night. Have the same sleep cues you have when you’re at home so that they know that bedtime’s coming.


  • Stick to YOUR rules. If your family has a set time when you can start the day, stick to it. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean they can start waking up at 5am and if you allow them to for a few days, this will only cause confusion and potential disobedience, particularly in younger children who don’t understand your logic. If you don’t stick to your rules, your child will not take them seriously for the rest of the time so, as hard as it might be, try to stick to your rules and routine – you’ll thank me when New Year is here!


The Sleep Nanny® has just launched a brand new online sleep programme called Dream Maker, aimed at new parents struggling to help their children sleep through the night - https://www.sleepnanny.net/dream-maker-program.

The program doesn’t take a one size fits all approach; using knowledge garnered from parents, the Dream Maker will give families a bespoke course to suit them and their child’s needs. 

Neatly packaged in an online portal, it is full of expert guidance and support, sleep diagnostics and sleep training. It focuses on overcoming challenges, night weaning, nap training, and advice on staying on-track for the long-term. And, alongside the portal, clients are supported via an online private group and weekly Q&As, as well as one-to-ones for certain packages.

About The Sleep Nanny®

Lucy Shrimpton is an author, speaker, trainer and mother of two who knows first hand what it’s like to feel extreme sleep deprivation and face challenges with infant sleep. Lucy’s extensive learning in sleep consulting is accredited by The Royal College of Nursing and The Royal College of Paediatric & Child Health. 

Through The Sleep Nanny Academy™ Lucy trains people to become certified sleep consultants and continues to mentor in her graduate programme. Combining insights from psychology, sleep, parenting and wellness, Lucy is able to help parents all over the world to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Lucy also has a very popular podcast – The Sleep Nanny Show where she interviews well-known parenting entrepreneurs and influencers about their experiences and gives advice.

For more information visit www.sleepnanny.co.uk / @sleepnannyofficial (Instagram)

Thursday 10 December 2020

It's feeling festive in the Mini Beast house.

I thought I'd share with you a few snaps of our Christmas decorations around the house.
It'll be a picture heavy post, but I haven't done one of those in a long time, so forgive me.

We bought our trees on Tuesday from the local garden centre and got to work on them as soon as we got home, hoping to get it all done as a surprise for when the boys got back from school.

 Since then the house has been feeling ultra festive and everyone seems to be cheery.
We are definitely counting down to the Christmas holidays now.

You really can't beat coming home after a dark and gloomy school run to a house filled with fairy lights!
 It makes everything so cosy.

The Hallway.

I made a little wreath out of the tree cut-offs to hang on the lounge door.

The fireplace in the lounge

My newest Gonk addition.

The hallway looking from the stairs.

Our biggest tree sits proudly in the kitchen!


The hallway from the kitchen to the lounge.

More Gonks sitting in the hallway.

Our second tree, which is in the lounge and it'll be where Father Christmas will leave his presents.

This year's wreath I made, sitting proudly on the front door

We aren't really doing anything special this year, as we are going to be spending it with just ourselves due to other family members being high risk, but even so, it's nice to have the house looking ready to entertain.
Plus being heavily pregnant I think it's probably for the best.
My mum will be here in February for the whole month and my dad will pop up too, so I'll see them then and hopefully once the baby is here my brother and his lot will come and visit too.
Jon's side of the family we are hoping to do some local walks where we can see each other but at least keep our distance.

The house is so snug and festive, it really is my favourite time of the year.
Do you like getting your house ready for Christmas?
Have you sorted your Christmas bubbles out?

Monday 7 December 2020

29 weeks Pregnant

 Seeing as I haven't really written much about my pregnancy since I first announced it, I'd write a little post about how I'm getting on.

I'm now 29 weeks and finally into the third trimester.

The countdown is well and truly on.

Last week I had my 28-week check-up with the midwife and another one with my consultant.

My midwife appointment went well, all my checks were fine, we discussed home birth more and what we needed to plan in before February, such as a home check and getting a maternity pack ready to have at home for her arrival. Then I went and had my bloods done to check for anti-bodies and recheck my blood group and see how my iron levels were doing.

I left feeling pretty good and like I was on the ball and everything was going to plan, roll on my consultant meeting and it was a completely different story.
My consultant is lovely but she feels because I have already had a previous section I should be booking in for another one a couple of weeks before I'm due and not a home birth.

She went through all the risks I could be putting myself in and I'm pretty sure there's more now than when I had my VBAC with Ru, they all sound very scary and they made me question myself for a while.
At the end of the meeting, she did turn around and say how small all those risks were but she'd still prefer me to have a c-section but is happy to have another video meeting with me and my midwife when I am 36 weeks to discuss "what if" plans.

I also got my blood results back and my iron levels were really low, which explains why I've been so tired lately, so I'm now on iron tablets.

After a phone call with my mum after the meeting, I felt a bit better as she talked me through why consultants think the way they do and why midwives usually think differently. I am still very up for another home birth and I am actually hoping to have a water birth this time. I had a pool all ready for when I was due to have Noah but because it was such a fast labour and the football was on (home birth), the pool didn't quite get filled up in time.
So fingers crossed I finally get my water birth this time around.

My mood lately has been up and down, yesterday the hormones got the better of me and I pretty much spent the whole day sobbing over nothing and everything. Jon didn't quite know what to do for me and Rupert was looking at my tummy asking why it was hurting me. 
Thankfully the tears dried up towards the end of the day and I was able to watch some evening TV without crying.

I'm barely sleeping as I just can't get comfortable but amazingly Rupert has for the past two weeks been sleeping in his own bed to try and help me get some sleep. I was worried he'd still be in the bed when the baby was here but he decided he'd be a big boy and start sleeping in his own bed and when the baby is 3 he'll get back into my bed! 
I love how his little mind works.

We bought a car seat in the black Friday sales, so that's a big buy ticked off our list, I have a Moses basket and a crib ready, I think I'm pretty good for clothes as I went a bit mad when I found out I was having a girl. I still need to buy a baby carrier and then just some small things like a changing mat, a changing bag I'm not buying a pram as I plan to carry all the time like I did with Ru, I'm also not buying any bottles just yet, I'll do that when I start to pump - I need to double-check my breast pump is still in working order if not I'll have to buy a new one.

I'm not going to go straight into cloth nappies, but I have been looking at eco-friendly disposable nappies and though they are more expensive I will probably go with them until I decide to jump back into the world of cloth nappies.

I'm trying to hold off on buying things now until after the new year, and then I will be getting everything completely ready for her arrival!

We have also settled on her name, and I can't wait to share it with everyone!

Tuesday 1 December 2020

A Mini Christmas Gift Guide 2020

 I thought I would share with you a few little pieces that I think would make some lovely presents for your nearest and dearest.

Something Personal

We love books in the Mini Beast household and if they're personalised the boys love them even more, our nightly stories are becoming rather rare as the twins and Noah all happily read to themselves and Ru doesn't always want a story before bed, but one time of the year where I know they will all happily sit around and listen to me read a story is at Christmas time. I try to read a different Christmas themed story each night on the countdown to Christmas day. If your family is like mine then you'll love what Wonderbly have on offer.

Wonderbly have a fantastic range of books for all ages that you can personalise and tweak to spark your child's imagination.
I was recently sent;

When a child stumbles into a strange museum, a mysterious Professor takes them on a thrilling personalised tour of history. 
They experience real-life stories from some of history’s most inspiring figures and learn what it takes to stand up for what you believe in.


Snowflake is looking for a place to call home this Christmas – but only you and your loved ones can help her! 
A charming, personalised book all about the importance of being with the people you love.
 For boys and girls aged 0-8

Each book was simple to personalise and the boys were over the moon when they arrived. Rupert has made me read his Remarkable Rebels over 100 times and The Christmas Snowflake has been a true hit, as we were able to personalise it so that all the grandparents even got a mention!

Both books retail at £21.99

Tree Present Idea.

I'm not sure if it's just our family who do tree presents, but a tree present to us is usually a family board game or card game that we can play once dinner is done.
We all love this tradition and all enjoy finding a new game that we can play as a family.

This year I was sent a true family classic from Top Trumps,

Venture into the World of Animals and answer 500 questions designed to draw on the whole family's knowledge. 

Key Features

  • Quizzical Animal fun with a Top Trumps Twist
  • Entertaining educational card game loved for bringing your favourite Animals to life including dogs, cats and horses
  • 500 puzzling and captivating questions that will test your knowledge and memory on the world of animals
  • The easy-to-carry plastic case means there are no limits on gameplay
  • Prepare to outsmart your opponents, discover new and exciting facts and duel your way to becoming the Top Trump

Suitable for ages 7 and up, it also has the super Top Trumps Twist...feel your mind twist and turn in round 2, as you try and remember what you heard just moments ago.

Retail price £9.99

If animal quizzes aren't your thing, there are other subjects to pick from such as Disney Classics, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Sports and many more...why not have a look here for yourself.

The boys are all pretty clued up on their animal facts so I have a feeling a may lose to them on Christmas Day. 

Something for the family Chef

Every family has a budding sous chef and Sous Chef is the perfect place to shop for them!
They have an amazing range of goodies for every sort of chef, be it beginners or even professionals.
They also have ingredients to tempt all taste buds.
Recipes from Japan to Italy, tableware to help show off the scrummy meals, they pretty much have everything you could wish for if you were to hold a special dinner party to show off to loved ones!

I was recently sent this yummy Deluxe Truffled Risotto kit, this will make a perfect date night dinner for me and Jon over the festive holidays and I know it's something that we'll both enjoy and hopefully feel like we're eating out at a fancy Italian restaurant.

           The Set includes:

This kit retails at £22.99.

Stocking filler idea

Last but not least a stocking filler idea for all those Playmobil loving children.

The EverDreamerz 2 comic city collectable would make the perfect stocking filler, hours of fun and suitable for anyone's budget.

In their new adventure, the magic amulet brings the five friends into Edwina's fantastic dream world. Here, everything is sketched, and the world is full of bright colours and varied patterns. 
New things can be created by drawing and painting or even be erased again. 
The girls are enthusiastic about their painting utensils and bring various comic creatures to life.

Each box contains up to 7 surprises in hidden compartments that you can unbox to find the characters little trinket as well each EverDreamerz character has its own silicone bracelet for children with individual character pendant for collecting and swapping. 
The character and its accessories can be stored in the colourful package and taken along.

Ru has unboxed a few of these colourful ladies and really enjoyed finding all their little bits and pieces and his favourite part was the magical water pen, which helps the faded stickers become nice and bright.

Each character box retails for £14.99 and the surprise box retails at £5.99.


I know that was only a small selection of gift ideas but I hope it has helped if you were starting to get a little stuck with your Christmas shopping ideas.

Whether you are spending Christmas in your extended family bubbles or just your household I hope you have a fantastic time and all enjoy one another's company and here's to a better New Year!!