Showing posts with label #mummybloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #mummybloggers. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Joy Of Sleep: Simple Tips For Sleep-Deprived Parents

For many parents, nothing is more of a challenge than trying to muddle through the day on a serious lack of sleep. Even if you’re blessed with children who sleep through from an early age, it can be rare to get through a week without at least a few disruptions. It can also be all too easy to get used to a lack of sleep, which makes adapting to a ‘normal’ routine tricky. If you’re a parent craving a good night’s sleep, here are simple tips to try.





Adopt your own routine
As a parent, you’re probably used to routines, but they usually involve your kids. You probably focus all your attention on trying to get your little ones into a regime and don’t think twice about your own. The truth is that sleep routines aren’t just for kids. Your body has a clock, and if you can get used to a pattern that suits you, this will be hugely beneficial for your health and wellbeing. If you’re one of those parents who finds themselves drifting off on the sofa in front of the TV, start going to bed earlier, and be as regimented with your regime as you are with your children’s. You can use a sleep tracking app or simply just work out how much sleep you need, and adapt your timetable accordingly. Try and stick to these times, even if you do get a rare opportunity to enjoy a lie-in.

Make your bedroom inviting and relaxing
Has your bedroom become a second playroom? Is it more of a noisy meeting place than a serene retreat? Many kids like to hang out in their parent’s bedrooms, but try and make this a tranquil place, where you can get some respite after a long day. Socialise with your children in their bedrooms or play together in the kitchen. By all means, have the kids in with you in the morning for cuddles, but try to keep this a relaxing space, especially in the evenings. If you’re fed up of perching on the edge of the bed while the kids sprawl out or you find it hard to get comfortable at night, have a look at some mattresses on websites like John Ryan by Design or take a trip to a showroom and try some different options for size. Make the room more cosy with lamps, cushions, and throws, and try and avoid bringing tablets and phones into your room. Ideally, you want to feel relaxed and calm the moment you walk through the door.

Switch off
This is easier said than done when you’re a parent, but it’s so important. Once the children have gone to bed, do something you find relaxing and enjoyable for an hour or so before you head up to your room. Run a bath, read a magazine or put some music on. Do some sewing, call a friend for a catch-up and chill out in front of the TV.




Parenting presents many challenges, including trying to power through the day on limited sleep. If you’re a tired parent, hopefully, you’ll find these tips handy.




**This is a collaborative post.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Low Maintenance Pets for the Kids

“Mum, I want a dog!”

“Mum, why don’t we have a cat?!”

Sound like something your kids say?
If only they realised that it wasn’t as easy as simply buying a cat or a dog and letting it loose in the house. From a child’s point of view having a pet is simple; you feed it, pet it and play with it, but we know it’s a much bigger deal than that. Owning one of those furry friends costs money and takes time and effort to maintain and care for. Keeping them clean, making sure they’re healthy—the list goes on. That’s why you should consider getting a low maintenance pet for your kids instead.

Hermit Crab

These little guys are one of the cheapest pets you could get and also an easy way to introduce your child to the idea of responsibility and pet ownership. Most of the things they require are self-explanatory. 
A plastic aquarium makes for a sufficient living space, be sure to place some gravel on the bottom, with larger rocks, wood, and plants as decoration. Apart from water and food, which can easily and cheaply be bought from a regular pet store, they require a new shell every so often once they outgrow their old one, but that’s also easily bought from a pet store.


Gecko

Much like the hermit crab, a gecko is a very simple and inexpensive pet to own. You can find geckos for sale for no more than $20, or if you feel like spending more, up to $75. The requirements for living space are also very similar; a terrarium, plastic or glass, with some sand at the bottom, rocks and a lamp to heat the terrarium. Geckos eat mealworms, which can be bought at a pet store for just a few cents per serving.

Fish

Another pet that lives inside a glass container, although this one’s filled with water. Fish make great first pets and are one of the cheapest to maintain and care for. 
Of course, there’s different types of fish, each with their own requirements, some more expensive than others. 
A betta fish is the least costly, only requiring a simple glass bowl and food that costs no more than $20 per year. If you feel like owning something different and you have a pond in your backyard, you could consider looking into a koi carp; a slightly larger, exotic fish that looks absolutely beautiful. Costs vary depending on the size, so for more information check out a Koi Carp website
It’s as low maintenance as any other fish, but with the added benefit of looking absolutely amazing.


Rat

Excuse me? Yes, you read that correctly. Even though people might not like the idea of owning one, they’re very inexpensive and make great pets. Contrary to popular belief, rats are actually very affectionate and loving creatures as well as very intelligent. It would typically cost around $300 a year for a rat, including the cost of food, bedding, and toys. Their cage needs weekly cleaning and about an hour of time outside the cage each day.

**This is a collaborative post

VR Insane Pop 360

A new British brand, VR Insane™, have developed an amazing new virtual reality (VR) headset designed for kids and adults alike.

The POP360 VR headset is ultra-comfortable, lightweight (only 200g) and highly portable.  Made from a soft silicon rubber (similar to the feel of a snorkel mask), it collapses down to only 40mm, enabling compact storage inside the included hard-shell travel case.

VR Insane™ also offer 2 free apps with the POP360.  Available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices, POP360 owners can download the VR Insane™ app and VR Insane™ Kids app by scanning the QR code supplied with the headset.


Richard , Director at VR Insane™ commented “We’ve spent a lot of time and effort developing the right headset and app bundle for the market; we see our product as an easy, family-friendly introduction to the world of virtual reality.  
Our apps offer a library of what we believe to be the best VR videos out there and provide users with quick and immersive light entertainment.”
Regarding the recent release of the VR Insane™ Kids app, added “We have seen the enthusiasm kids have for VR.  

They love jumping into the Jungle Book or surrounding themselves in a world of virtual dinosaurs. 
It was natural for us to develop a dedicated app for kids to enjoy.”




Suitable for smartphones with a 4.5”-6” screen size, the POP360 has a top-mounted touchscreen button (Google Cardboard II compatible) for interacting with your content. This means you have control (play/pause etc) over your videos and interactivity (shoot/move) with your games, without the need to take off your headset. 
With a wide 96 field-of-view and suitable for use with glasses, the POP360 is available now from a variety of global retailers and www.vrinsane.com for £19.99.


Noah has been begging me to get him a VR headset, and I have always said no as I thought they were over priced and on occasion I'm pretty mean lol.

When I heard about VRinsane's new POP360 headset I asked them very nicely if we could try out a headset, the guys were awesome and said of course.

The headset is very reasonably priced at £19.99 and would make the perfect present for any boy whose into his gadgets.

Noah pretty much flipped out when he saw the box on the table!
After we installed all the right apps on my phone, he popped it into the headset and sat their shouting OMG THIS IS AMAZING!

I had to see what all the fuss was about, and actually it was pretty amazing!
Noah had to fight me off it, as I was enjoying trying out all the different videos that the app had to offer.

The headset can be adjusted to fit most head sizes, and I can ever wear it with my glasses, though I felt better wearing it without them on.

Both the adult and kid app are great and have a good range of different videos, which update constantly. So you'll never run short of watching something different!

Noah gives the POP360 headset 10/10.



Friday, 17 March 2017

Mummy Time // Mulberry Retreat Heacham

Back before February half term my mum was coming up to spend some time with us and she decided to book us two into the local spa.
unfortunately due to Oscar being admitted to hospital we were unable to attend.

So my mother being the lovely lady that she is, left a nice deposit behind the desk and told me to book in when everything had calmed down and I had a spare day to go and be pampered.

Wednesday was that day.
A few weeks of terrible meltdowns and next to no sleep, I think I was over due being pampered.


I booked myself in for an Aroma Blend, Refine & Firm Massage.

A completely new approach to massage and body sculpting. This highly effective body shaping ritual is completely bespoke to you and your needs. Your body will feel recharged and your emotions balanced.

I also booked to have my eyebrows shaped and tidied.

But before I had any treatments I took full advantage of my child free day and spent an hour in their thermal spa.
Where I enjoyed the hot tub, sauna and steam room!



The thermal spa was lovely, I was the only one in there so I could fully relax and enjoy the silence!
I did take my book with me, but I actually preferred just sitting with my eye closed and having my mind completely blank.

It was pure bliss!
I was worried I was going to feel a bit like billy no mates, but I can see myself going along again.


My massage was something else, it was relaxing yet vigorous.
I dont think I've been pulled and push like that ever before during a massage, but I felt 10,000 x better afterwards that I did before.


I finished my trip with an eyebrow tidy, which was very much needed.
They were starting to resemble a very hairy caterpillar.


I'm starting to thinking that a mini spa days are going to be essential!
Because after all looking after 4 very wild and crazy boys certainly does wear you out.

How do you treat yourself?


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Are You Making Enough Memories With Your Kids?

One thing you really notice as soon as you have children is that time starts to fly by. And, given the busy lifestyles we lead and the pressures we are all under to ‘raise our kids right,’ there are often things that we miss due to those time constraints.

Many households have both parents working, for example, and it often means that one - or both - will end up missing important events because of work. And there is the constant pressure to get the kids to bed at the right time, develop a healthy routine, and equip them with the life skills they need to progress. In short, it’s a minefield, which many parents struggle with.

However, while work and bringing up your children in the right manner is important, so is having the time to spend with to create memories. In the future, your child won’t remember that awesome day they spent playing on Daddy’s iPad. But they will remember the sights, smells, and feelings of an excellent day out at the beach or a fantastic holiday.

It’s experiences they will cherish, and it’s up to you to create an environment where their memories of childhood are happy. With this in mind, here are some simple suggestions to help you and your family create fantastic memories you can all cherish long into the future.


Night time stories

Regardless of how busy you are as parents, never neglect the bedtime story - and always read books with your kids whenever you have a spare five minutes. Storytelling is one of the most powerful and memorable things we do as humans, and it’s vital for your child’s development.

Conversations

Be honest - how much do you actually converse with your kids? It can be tough when you are a busy parent. And, if you are anything like the average mum or dad, most of your communication will involve giving orders rather than having a chat. But conversation helps kids develop their cognitive and memory-making skills, and gives them a chance to remember awesome things they have been doing that day. Not only that, but it gives them a voice and a sense of independence - so, chat more; instruct less!


Photographs

I have vivid memories of poring through photo albums as a child. Even now when I look at them, I can remember vividly about the occasion when many shots were taken. And it’s struck me recently how things have changed nowadays. Your photos are on Facebook or Instagram now, or in a folder on your home PC - not in the traditional family album. So, don’t just take photos - print them. Arrange a few family photo shoots for special occasions, and keep them safe for the future. While the digital realm has its advantages, I think the traditional family photo album deserves to make a comeback.

Adventures



As I mentioned above, the biggest and best memories we have from our childhoods are all based on experiences rather than physical products or general entertainment. Holidays, exciting days out, exploring the countryside - they are all great ways of giving your kids fantastic memories they will live with for a long time. Adventure doesn’t have to cost you money, too - so there are no excuses for not finding the time!



**This is a collaborative post.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Learning Through Play With LeapFrog


Since the twins started reception they have really enjoyed learning how to read and always jump at the chance to read / sound something to me.

They're blending their sounds together beautifully and they're even able to say a few words with out having to sound them out first.

When we were offered the chance to review Read With Me Scout, I knew it would be great for them.


Read With Me Scout is a cuddly companion that provides the perfect interactive introduction to reading.

Key Features-

  • Scout reads from 5 included books, asks questions to engage children and deepen comprehension.
  • Features 5 interactive touch points, 70+ comprehension questions and 5 illustrated board books.
  • Teaches comprehension, early vocabulary and book and print basics.
  • Ages 2-5 years.


The boys happily sat in bed with Scout, picking books and listening to him read.
They were more into Scout reading than they ever have when it comes to me reading to them.

They answered all the questions and loved giving him pats on the head and kisses.
Alex even tried to read the books back to Scout.

I have taught them to read along by pointing to the words, so they get more familiar with what the words look like. 
They did this when Scout was reading and Oscar often sounded out the words, so he knew which one he was pointing too.

They both loved the "sleepy time" button, as after I left them to go to sleep, they would press the button and get another story from Scout and then a lullaby to fall asleep too.

You can buy Read With Me Scout from amazon for £23.99.


Rupert loves counting and saying his colours, so when I saw the Number Loving Oven I thought it could encourage him to start saying his numbers in the right order.


Key Features - 

  • 30 phrases and songs,
  • 16 ingredients,
  • Teaches counting and sharing,
  • Move the slider up and down to explore numbers, time and temperature.



Rupert loved cooking up the egg on the hob, and we often sat down for a tea / pizza party.
He wasn't very good on the sharing concept but enjoyed breaking up the bread and pizza and lining them up as he counted them.

Ru loved all the songs the oven sang whilst he was playing and he would often bob his head along with it.

You can use the pizza sections and use it for maths questions 1+2 = 3 
Ru didn't really get what I was trying to show him, but theres was no harm in trying.

You can also buy the Number Loving Oven from amazon for £13.32.






As well as being sent Read With Me Scout and The Number Loving Oven the boys were also sent a pile of LeapTV games to play on their LeapTV console.

Just before Christmas the boys were sent one out to review and they absolutely loved it and play it pretty much every day.
They were delighted with their bundle of new games, they literally grinned from ear to ear when they saw them.
Rupert was quick to claim the Paw Patrol game, so I'm on a mission to show him how to play.
They're all really great games which keep the boys entertained for hours!

You can read my review on the LeapTV here.
LeapTV games are available from most toy shops and from amazon ranging in prices, starting at £9.99.


Friday, 10 March 2017

Adventures With Ru. // Snettisham Park


After having a bad week full of meltdowns and confusion I thought it would be nice to take Ru somewhere, where I know he'd have fun.
Two of Ru's most favourite things are being outdoors and animals.


Snettisham Park is a 10 minute drive from the house and I have been meaning to visit since we moved here.
I have a real love for working farms, where kids are allowed to get hands on experience with the animals, rather than looking at them behind a fence.

Ru has always shown a love for animals, big and small so I knew he'd be right at home and wouldn't think twice about stroking a lamb or a even a big cow.


We arrived at opening time, as we both thought it would be easier to handle Ru when it wasn't so busy. Too many people can upset Ru and the last thing we want when we're out is for him to have a freak out that ends up in a massive melt down.


We met some lovely animals, and Ru enjoyed saying hello to them all.

He loved getting up close and personal with the lambs and giving them a good stroke.
When I told him we could give them a bottle in a bit he bent down and started telling them he would give them a bot-bot soon!

Whilst we waiting for the farmers to get back we went and had a play on the ride along tractors and play equipment.






After a quick bite to eat and a mini meltdown the farmers were back and we could go and help them bottle feed the lambs.
Ru took too it like a natural and demanded he had no help holding the bottle!
No help was needed as he fed two by himself like a pro and then we fed the blind lamb, which the farmer helped us do so, as he needed a little help to do it correctly.


As you can see from the photo's Ru was loving it!!

We are probably going to buy a season pass, as it was so great! 
Definitely a place we can bring Ru, just to get him out of the house and doing something that he loves!


Snettisham Park also offer a deer safari which we are planning on doing over the Mother's Day weekend as my parents are back up and I know all the boys will love that!


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Emotional Development Assessment...

Rupert had one of these assessments just before we moved and he scored way up in the 200's so when our new health visitor suggested we do one, I was more than willing to agree.

Hoping that he'd improve and be closer to the normal child scoring of below 80, or knowing that if there wasn't a big improvement its not just all in my head and that I am noticed something slightly off with him.


Today was the day that the health visitor popped round, with a student HV.
We had a cup of tea and spoke about Rupert's sleeping issues - we will be talking more about this next week with her, as she's going to bring along one of the specialised HV with her to see if she has any tricks that we haven't thought off / tried.

The Student HV had just been on a course about sleep issues in children and suggested we tried putting a tent like cover over his bed, as he may feel more secure like that.
Both Jon and I both thought that might actually work.
He loves hiding away, and will often do it when he isn't comfortable in a situation or a place gets too loud.
We are now both searching the internet for something that might do the trick.....even if it doesn't work at least we've given it a go.

After we'd spoke about the sleep we got on with the assessment, Rupert was in a good mood and happily sat at the table playing with the twins new power ranger toy.
Then just to show us up, he took himself off to bed!
(why do kids do that!?!? When your moaning about something they don't, they just like to show you up and go actually you silly woman I can do it!)

At the end of the assessment he had scored better that before, but still higher than the average "normal child".

This actually made me feel pretty happy, I knew he'd improved since he was last tested but not enough for all the issues that he has to be passed up.

It's not all in my head and that makes me feel less crazy.
I have a daily power struggle with myself, questioning myself about him.
Am I making this up or is this actually happening!?!?

It doesn't help when people suggest maybe you should try this or that and that should work and its like you can tell them until your blue in the face that you have and nothing...NOTHING you do or try works, and you don't need them sending you newspaper articles about this and that making you feel like you are doing everything wrong.
Its a vicious cycle I constantly go through, and with the little sleep I get I feel most of the time I'm about to crack up!


He has been referred to the community paediatricians, so hopefully we should hear from then soon and I'm looking forward to meeting this specialist HV next week to see if she has any handy tips to help us with Rupert.  


Monday, 6 March 2017

Blaze and The Monster Machines Light & Launch Hyper Loop Play-set Review


Light & Launch Hyper Loop is a blaze and the monster machines track set that includes a vehicle launcher that spins in a 360-degree loop, sending blaze through 9 different stunt combinations and racing through the finish line!


If Ru isn't watching Blaze on Nickelodeon he's watching it on his iPad.
So when asked if we wanted to try out the Light & Loop Hyper Launch I knew I had to say yes.
Anything that lights up and launches cars into the air is always going to be a winner with Ru and when its a character that he loves its going to be a double winner!

The playset comes in pieces but its pretty simple to put together and most part just click together.
It took me about 5 minutes to build. Ru strangely enough was rather patient and sat watching and trying to help out.


Key Features:

·         Place Blaze in the Hyper Loop and charge it up using the lever to activate the Speed Lights
·         Press the release button and the Hyper Loop whips Blaze into an awesome 360-degree rotation and sends him blazing down the track
·         Move the towers to different points on the playset for 9 different combinations

Suitable for ages 3+


As soon as it was built Rupert was eager to get playing.
Once I had shown him how to turn the wheel, he was happily able to do it all on his own.
He loved watching Blaze fly through the sky.

Ru experimented with the different ramp positions to see what the different results would be, but he preferred it when the ramp was down and Blaze could do a little jump off it.

Ru being the dare devil that he is, had the play-set on the edge of the kitchen table and got Blaze to really fly off the end, he flew so fast he nearly reached the sofa!
I don't think I've ever heard him laugh so hard!

When the twins got home from school, Ru showed them how to operate it and they were very impressed with it, lining up to take turns in pressing the launch button.
Oscar liked lighting up the lights and Alex ever lined a few cars at the end of the run way for Blaze to jump over.
Blaze managed at least 5 cars!



Your child can also attach the light & launch hyper loop to the tunnels that come with any of light rider vehicles, as well as other blaze playsets and accessories. 
Each sold separately and subject to availability. 
You can buy the Light & Launch play-set from Argos for £24.99
It would make a fantastic birthday present, or even a special present for when your child has done something special.