Friday 20 August 2021

Back To School With Very Neko

 Back to School is just around the corner for those of us in England, pupils in Scotland have already started their new school term.

There is always excitement, nerves and worries about the brand new school term...

Will I like my new teacher?

Will my best friend still like me?

Will I make new friends?

Will this year be hard?

Usually, those worries always melt away the moment you step into the playground and spot your best buddy.
Some like my boys will all be starting brand new schools, so the nerves don't always melt away instantly but usually by the end of the day they all have new friends.
One great way to help make a child feel happy about going back to school is.....

New School accessories, such as a brand new bag and water bottle.

Very Neko have a great range of homewares, collectables and clothing from all your favourite characters all at reasonable prices.

When shopping for back to school supplies I scrolled through all the Loungefly bags until I came across the Starwars droids all over backpack which was in the sale for £20.99 usually priced up at £39.99 and decided that would be perfect for Ru and then after recently buying myself a metal water bottle Ru really wanted one so I found the Mickey Mouse rainbow Funko bottle for £12.99 which I knew straight away would be perfect for him.
The bottle will keep his water cool all day helping to keep him hydrated!

The bag is a good size and has two compartments in the main section, so Ru will be able to keep his paperwork tidy and still have plenty of space to put his pe kit in and his stationary and reading books.

Ru was over the moon with his new back to school goodies and is now more excited than ever to start his brand new school in September.

*products were gifted for the purpose of this post.

Helping Your Child Deal with Exam Stress

Whether your child is preparing for GCSEs or for A-Levels, stress is an unfortunate reality of this period for many teenagers. Most children understand that exam results have an impact on their future plans. It’s vital that parents recognise the signs of stress and more importantly, teach their children how to deal with the pressures as they arise.


Coping strategies for exam stress


It’s a rare student who doesn’t worry about exams at all. Most children will have some periods of worry. Talk to your child about stress and the risks of it before they get to the revision stage of examinations. Also, discuss strategies they can adapt to keep the worries at bay. Here are some of the things you can discuss with them in advance of exams – knowledge is power and preparation is key to minimising stress:


·      How long the revision period will last

·      How many hours of study are required

·      Which subjects they need to concentrate on

·      What would happen if they failed

·      How they could salvage the situation 


A lot of worries is down to fear of the unknown. By informing your child of the facts related to exams, you’re empowering them to cope better. Equally, letting them know that it’s not the end of the world if they should fail is an important part of helping them to see the realities of life. Sometimes things don’t work out as we want them to. That’s fine – a change of plan is not a problem if it’s managed properly.


Preparing your child for exam success


Obviously, the best way to help your child succeed in their exams is through preparation and study. Not all teenagers struggle with this – some enjoy it and if their school or college supports them with extra sessions, all the better. This independent college in Somerset does just that and it shows in the results.

*Sponsored post

Wednesday 18 August 2021

My Birth Story

I know its 6 months late but I finally feel I'm able to share my birth story.

My pregnancy with Bea started off awful due to morning sickness, which only eased off once I was 4 months pregnant then for a few weeks I felt fine and had all my energy back.
Though from around 28 weeks I started to get itchy.
Which ended up with me having my bloods taken weekly to keep an eye on my bile acid levels.
I was being monitored for cholestasis of pregnancy.

My bile acid level would rise and fall weekly but the doctors weren't too concerned but still wanted me to be tested weekly.

At 33 weeks I had to have an iron transfusion due to my levels being really low.

Around 35 weeks I started to get what I thought was really bad heartburn, so bad that I would call my mum up crying telling her it wasn't normal and I was pretty sure either Bea was on her way or I was dying.

Eventually the pain would go away and I would laugh off my hysterics.

My birth plan was to have a water birth at home with Jon and my mum by my side.

At 37 weeks I had some more bloods done, and this time they ticked all liver function tests and sent them away, my mum arrived in Norfolk as she was coming to stay for the month to be around for the birth and a while after to lend a hand.

I remember my phone ringing constantly, the hospital wanted me in the next day to take more bloods and to do more checks, I was then booked in for a scan on the Tuesday to double check on Bea and another appointment with my consultant was made.

I didn't really think twice and got on with the day.

After dinner my parents went back to their cottage and we went to bed, I was feeling a little worse for wear but put that down to being tired.
Around 1am I woke up feeling like labour had started, I was sick and then the chest pain came 10 times stronger than it had ever come before.

I ripped my t-shirt off and was moaning so loudly that even Noah woke up worrying what was going on.
I was grabbing at my chest saying this isn't right.

Jon called my mum (my mum is a home birth midwife) and she came right round.
I could barely talk through the pain and she made Jon call the delivery ward and they told me to come straight away, the ambulance wait was too long, so Jon drove me.

By the time i got to hospital i was pretty out of it, but i remember a hand a banging headache and the chest pain was still going strong.
They put me in a room and I remember it instantly filling up with people.
I remember telling them my head and chest hurt and just closing my eyes.

    I woke a little while later with drips and canulars in and I was hooked up to fluid on one side and on the other I was hooked up to magnesium sulphate. 

I was having my bloods taken hourly, and I was constantly being prodded with needles and being told what was going to happen.

My consultant even came back as soon as she heard I was in hospital, so she was there waiting to talk to me.

She told me I had HELLP Syndrome!
It was really rare and because I hadn't had preeclampsia before and I wasn't with a new partner it wasn't something they were looking for, plus my blood pressure always seemed ok.
She was thankful I came in as the worse would have happened if I had tried to stay home and brush the pain off.

On Saturday when I was finally stabilised and back with it, the plan of action was to induce me whilst carrying on with the hourly bloods and magnesium sulphate.

I agreed and they got on with it,  I cant say it was a pleasant experience being induce in front of a room full of people, but apparently needs must.
As i settled down ready for the long wait my consultant came back in and said unfortunately a C-section was needed and it had to be done under general anaesthetic, my blood platelets had dropped extremely low and I needed to have a platelet transfusion first. 

Having my c-section under general anaesthetic meant Jon couldn't be in the theatre with me and I wouldn't hear Bea's first cry.
I remember being wheeled in and feeling ok about it, but as soon as the oxygen mask was put on me I started to freak out, I kept trying to pull it away from my face and the anaesthetist was trying to calm me down.

I woke up in recovery with Jon by my side.
Once I had woken they bought Bea in to see me, I cried and remember saying are you sure she's ours?
I couldn't hold her as I still wasn't really with it, so the midwife gave her a cup of formula and then Jon held her beside me.
Bea needed a little resuscitation due to the anaesthetic but other than that she was fine.

We were taken back into the delivery room where I had been since I arrived at hospital.
Jon stayed as long as possible and then headed home so he could sleep, as he hadn't slept since the Thursday.

The midwives were all amazing and helped me with feeding Bea through the night by bringing her to me when she needed feeding and making sure I was ok.

In the morning Jon came back and bought along with him presents from my mum and some food, as i hadn't eaten for a while.

We spent the day looking at Bea and not quite believing we finally had our little girl.
Towards the end of the day I was taken off the magnesium sulphate and the fluid. My bloods were still being taken hourly just to keep an eye on things.

Around 10pm I was helped get out of bed and see how mobile i was, it was hard but i was able to walk slowly. As they had taken out my catheter I had to be made to go for a wee to make sure everything was working.
Once they were happy I was moved onto the main ward.

It was busy and noisy and I instantly wanted to go home, we made it through the night and I was still being monitored for my urine levels, I was told if i didn't do enough I would have to have the catheter put back in, obviously that made me down the jugs of water available and make me get out of bed and moving.
I didn't want to spend another night on the ward!

The snow was getting heavy and Jon wasn't too sure if he would come and see me, but after a tearful phone-call he got on his way and came to see us.
By the time he got to me the midwife was pretty sure I would be able to go home that day!
I just had to make sure I kept going to the toilet and feeding Bea!

We cracked it and by 6pm they said we were good to go!
The drive home was so scary due to the amount of snow on the road, 
My mum didn't tell the boys so it was lovely seeing their faces when we finally arrived home with their little baby sister!

They were instantly smitten with her just as we were!

In the days after I developed an infection in my wound, so I had to have twice weekly doctor appointments and was put on strong antibiotics but I recovered in time, I also had to keep having my bloods checked for a couple of weeks afterwards.

I am thankful that my mum was around for a whole month to lend a hand and help me get my nursing established.

It definitely wasn't the birth I was after and it has taken me a while to get my head around it but the main thing is that Bea is here she is amazing, I'm still here and I have recovered well!


Tuesday 17 August 2021

Mindfulness with Your Child


Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help children and adults deal with the stresses and strains of daily modern life.


What is Mindfulness?


Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment. It’s a type of meditation designed to help people pay attention to their bodies, thoughts and feelings. It’s very useful for children because it helps them to develop coping skills for their emotions which for many children are hard to regulate.


Many schools adopt mindfulness as a regular part of the curriculum. Pastoral care is an important factor to consider when choosing a school, this junior school in Leicestershire has an excellent pastoral care team. Research has shown that Mindfulness can help children’s academic performance and reduce anxiety. Bedtimes can also be improved with Mindfulness as it can calm wakeful or over-stimulated children. Here are some ways in which you can easily explore Mindfulness with your child:


Take a Mindful walk


Take your child for a walk somewhere quiet and filled with nature. Help them to tune into the environment by pointing out the sounds…wind in the grass, birdsong, the babbling of a stream. Help your child to tune in to each sound separately and then to hear them all together. Point out the different sites such as flowers, leaves and other natural features. Focus on small aspects of each – notice the centre of a flower and each individual petal.


Mindful bedtimes and how they can help your child


Bedtime is a great opportunity to explore Mindfulness. Ask your child to lie down and in a calm, quiet voice, ask them to notice each part of their body separately, starting with their toes and moving up to ankles, knees, stomach, shoulders and so on.


Ask your child to notice how each area feels. The idea of this exercise is to help your child to focus on the present moment and not to worry about anything at all. Anxiety prone children should be encouraged to practice this alone eventually. 


The great thing about Mindfulness is that it can be practised anywhere! At home, on a walk, at school and on a bus! It’s a free, effective way to calm and focus. And many children need that focused energy in order to manage their day to day lives.

*sponsored post

Sunday 15 August 2021

Exploring Creative Writing With Your Child


Whether your child is a natural storyteller or not, exploring creative writing with them is a great way to improve their grammar, punctuation and help them use their imagination. As soon as your child can write a sentence, you can begin exploring creative writing with them.


How to begin creative writing with small children


A good exercise is to discuss books they enjoy. You can ask them questions about the characters and plot – this will get them thinking in a different way. Here are some good questions to ask:


·      Which character did you like best?

·      Was the ending of the story good?

·      Why was the ending good?

·      Can you think of a different ending?


When a child begins to think in this way, they realise that they’re also capable of storytelling and it can be quite exciting.


Helping your child write a story


Some children are full of stories – they tell them all day long. Others need a bit of help to get started. If your child isn’t a natural storyteller, give them some prompts to begin creating a character.  You can tell your child you’re going to ‘invent a character. Ask your child would they like their character to be a person or an animal…or even something else!


Now ask them all about their character – what do they look like? What is their favourite food? Where do they live? Is there anything in life that they’d wish for above all else? Now you have some basics, you can help your child tell a short tale based on their character. They can even illustrate their story.


For older children


Older children who show an interest in writing should be encouraged as much as possible. Discuss their efforts with them and help them to understand as much as possible about the plot – you can worry about spelling, grammar and punctuation later.

The most important part of storytelling is actually telling the story. 


Help your child by ensuring they know you’re taking them seriously. Provide a desk and a good light so they can work quietly. There are lots of writing clubs online where teens share and critique work. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to enter some competitions as these often come with written critiques from professionals.


Students with English as a second language should definitely be encouraged to write creatively. Not just stories but also poems and songs. This International Study Centre utilises its highly qualified staff to ensure that students get every opportunity to expand their written English as well as their spoken.

*sponsored post

Friday 13 August 2021

6 months of baby Bea

6 months, half a year old!!
I can't quite believe it.

It feels as though these 6 months have raced up to us and I'm not sure I'm ready for Bea to be six months old yet!

An ever-growing baby needs a constant supply of new clothes!

Bea is definitely my most smiley baby, she smiles at everyone, she very rarely cries, the only time she does is when I hand her over for someone else to hold whilst I pop to the loo or need to do something for the boys and she isn't quite ready to let me go!

Bea's favourites;
Boob milk,
Being outdoors,
Sweet Potato,
Her Jellycat bumblebee.

Her eyes are slightly turning green,
Her hair is blonde/auburn depending on what light you look at it in.
She is trying very hard to get up into the crawling position.

We have officially started weaning, I tried a little BLW as that was how I weaned the boys but Bea chokes when she gets a lump of food. So it's safer and less stressful to do purees with her at the moment.
She is really enjoying discovering new tastes.
I bought a fruit dummy, which I can give different types of fruits in without her choking on them.
She really loves melon, strawberries, apricots but her favourite is definitely banana.

She's also a big fan of hummus. 
I need to get her some nice weaning accessories, as currently, I am just using an old little bowl I can find in my parents' cupboards.

I am now 6 months postpartum and Im now looking at losing all the extra baby weight/lockdown weight I put on.
I am making sure I do 10,000 steps a day and have replaced my dinner with a green super smoothie, which is made with avocado, basil, apple and spinach. So far I have lost 5lb.

I still find myself staring at her in awe and thanking my lucky stars for her.
She really has completed our family!


How to Raise an Inquisitive Child

 Why is raising an inquisitive child important? 

Simply put, because the more questions a child asks, the faster they learn. 

We all know that child who says “why?” to every statement don’t we? 

That’s a good trait! It might be a bit tiresome sometimes but it’s definitely a sign that the child is inquisitive. 

Always try to answer those “why” questions – the child is showing that they’re keen to learn.


Keeping their curiosity as they grow


It’s important to help your child retain their naturally curious nature as they grow. All toddlers and small children have a natural capacity for learning but that can fade as they grow.


A good way to ensure the curiosity keeps coming is to expose your children to as many different experiences as possible. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve this either. There are many free activities that you can engage in and then discuss later with your child:


·      National Trust Gardens – these are usually free to enter and often contain many historical features and a wide variety of plants and trees

·      Local museums – again, usually free and showing items of local interest

·      Art galleries – usually free or donation only, art galleries are fun, educational and many hold free or low-cost workshops in the holidays

·      Local parks – full of learning opportunities, nature, play and social events


Keep your eye on the local news for workshops and clubs which your child can attend. Good schools like this independent school in London will also provide excellent opportunities such as debating clubs where children can learn even more about the world around them.


Engage your child in discussion and debate


There are many news outlets which specialise in the news for children – age-appropriate discussion can really open up your child’s world. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child about the big issues such as climate change, animal welfare, food and health. 

Children and teenagers are often very interested in hot topics and will enjoy discussing them with you.

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Tuesday 10 August 2021

Hello London

Seeing as we are still London, I decided to take the boys on an adventure around London to see all the tourist hotspots, especially seeing as it's pretty quiet due to the lack of foreign tourists.
Kelly and the girls joined us.

We met them at Victoria and then headed to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard as neither of us had seen it before.

Unfortunately, it had been cancelled and we weren't going to get to see it that day either but we did however see some horse guards heading off towards the horse guard parade.

The kids were all excited about seeing everything and didn't moan at all about being bored!

Seeing the Pelicans in St James Park was awesome, the boys all thought they were hilarious just sat smack bang in the middle of the path and not even moving when people went around them.

The kids all couldn't decide what they wanted for lunch and everyone wanted something different, so Kelly decided to take charge and take us to Bar Elba in Waterloo.

It is technically a rooftop cocktail bar for over 21s but the manager agreed to let us up.
I'm not sure they were expecting 7 kids to come tagging along but carried on letting us up.

The kids were all very well behaved and as we were leaving the manager came up to us to say how impressed she was with their behaviour.

Lunch with a view!

I had halloumi tacos & a non-alcohlic cocktail.

Watching the skateboarders at Southbank.

The reward at the end of the adventure was a trip to Covent Gardens and then on to Leicester Square to go into the LEGO store and M&M World.

Whilst the kids were all enjoying the street performers I ran into the Moomin Shop on my own to buy Bea a few treats, she ended up with a summer romper and a Moomintroll plush.

Cute bits for Bea.

Once everyone was finished watching the street performers and I had done a little bit of shopping we headed to the LEGO store. 

They each had a bit of pocket money to spend, so they were let loose and they all enjoyed finding something to buy, we then went over to M&M World for them to spend the rest of their money.

They were all very impressed with all the M&Ms they could choose from.
I was hoping it would be a bit like the M&M World I went in when I was in Florida and was really hoping to get some peanut butter ones but unfortunately, they only had peanut, normal, crispy and brownie type ones.

After everyone had finished spending their money we had a quick stroll through China Town and then headed back to catch our first tube of the day back to Victoria.

I had only planned to stay out till about 4 ish but we eventually got on the train home at 7oclock. 
The boys had all walked over 30,000 steps and I had clocked up over 20,000.
We were all rather tired by the time we got back to my parents but it was an awesome day out.

We are loving our London summer holiday, and have already planned our next trip into town for Thursday.