Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My toddler this week...

This week I witnessed the funniest tantrum yet and it all started with a banana!

Isla: I wanna 'nana
Me: We're going to nursery in a minute, you'll have breakfast there.
Isla: I wannaaaaaaa 'nanaaaaaaa (repeat x 12)
Me: OK then (goes gets banana, peels it and hands it over)

Isla: I wannnnnnaaaaaaa 'nanaaaaaa
Isla: (Now pointing at the remaining bananas in the fruit bowl) I wanthatone

She now throws the banana that I gave her on the floor and goes back to pointing at the other bananas. I ignore her and get Noah ready to leave the house. Then she goes over to the discarded banana, stamps on it and goes over to the window hysterically crying, looking out in despair. When she stamps on the banana I'm open mouthed, as I've never seen this level of stroppiness before! Then 2 minutes after stamping on it, she goes over to the banana picks it up and happily walks off eating it!!

Who could know that a banana could cause so much grief?!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Weaning Has Begun!

Shea Mooti - Review

I am a big fan of using oils for stretch marks. Fact. I'd love to say that my body is a stretch mark free zone but that would be a lie. I can't even say that I didn't have any until I had kids, I had them WAY before! One thing I can claim though is to not have had one single one across my tummy after my first pregnancy. The sad news though is that the second pregnancy didn't take any prisoners and I have a few on my tummy now. But rather than feel hung up about it like I used to about the ones on my thighs, I actually don't mind so much as I have my beautiful boy to show for those 'battle' scars! I love using oils as I think they help to keep my skin supple and help to make it look more youthful.

Anyway, moving on. I was asked to try two products from the ethical skincare range Shea Mooti and I was really up for it as I LOVE body care products and it makes a change to receive something for me. Before children, without fail I would moisturise my whole body EVERY DAY. Now with two children, time spent on myself and my body is limited and I don't lavish enough attention on my poor weary, clapped out shadow of my former self!

I tried the Belly Rub Stretch Mark Oil and the Soothing Leg and Foot Cream and I really can say that I would buy and use them. I have a preference for the Stretch Mark Oil as I loved the scent of it and I really do think that it helps my skin as it shrinks back to size. The Stretch Mark Oil is most often used by the mum to be and I'm using it post baby but I would say that it's just as vital to be kind to your skin when you've had the baby as it is pre baby. The oil absorbs nicely, it's non greasy and doesn't sit on top of the skin.

The Leg and Foot cream has such a lovely texture and it feels great on the skin. I wasn't as keen on the scent for this product, it wasn't as delicious smelling as the stretch mark oil but I think this might be due to the anti-septic oils contained within the product. Again this is a product that would be well suited to a mum to be as it is described as "Therapy for those hard working legs carrying a heavy load" - I would say that Noah is definitely a heavy load (20lbs at 4 months!) and so my legs are working just as hard now as when I was pregnant and so deserve to be treated to this cream!

Both of these products are packed full of wonderful ingredients and all Shea Mooti products contain Shea Butter. This brand is a wonderful example of 'natural' skincare. Try it yourselves!

At the moment they have a discount code for first time users to get 10% off their first order. Quote SHEA131 at the checkout.
Like Shea Mooti on Facebook and follow on Twitter for all updated news on their products!

I was sent both of the products mentioned in this review for free but my views are honest and my own.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Give As You Live

Last night I went to an event at Liberty's in London and I feel compelled to tell you all about it ASAP as if the word gets out quick then a lot of charities can benefit from all the online Christmas shopping that will be done between now and the day itself!

I clocked off with the kids yesterday at 4.30pm and handed over the reigns to my OH. I felt mildly sorry for him as the end of the day is usually pretty fraught, but as I made my way to the train station, I was getting excited about being in London again (something I usually complain about when I work there everyday!) and looking forward to finding out about 'Give as you Live'.

I was welcomed by Polly Gowers founder of 'Give as you Live' and CEO of Everyclick, a fundraising technology company, which enables people to give to any of the UK's charities (from the smallest hedgehog related charity (!) to the biggest Cancer related charities) through everyday online activity such as online shopping.

Give as you Live is Polly's latest initiative. What is it?

Give as you Live is an online shopping app that turns every pound supporters spend online into funds for their favourite cause. How does it work?

Quite simply you go to http://www.giveasyoulive.com/ and download the app to your PC, this takes seconds and on restarting it will be present on your computer. Once restarted the Give as you Live app should start up and ask you to register all your details and also select the charity that you would like to benefit from your online purchases. I chose Myeloma UK as my Dad has this condition and the more money they get the bigger the strides towards a cure. Once you have an account registered you can regularly check how much you raise just by shopping.

You then shop online and if you shop at a store that is part of Give as you Live (which shouldn't be hard as there are over 1500 retailers linked up) then a window pops up and asks you if you want to give on this shop. You tick the box, do your shopping and rack up money for charity. The beauty of it is that you are not putting your own hand in your pocket, just by doing your usual shopping (Christmas or otherwise!) you will earn your favourite charities some valuable funds. It is the retailer who will be making the donation.

There are too many retailers involved to mention them all but most of the big ones are, including Boots, Sainsbury's, Debenhams, John Lewis, Liberty, House of Fraser, Topshop, M&S and soon one of the biggest online retailers Amazon will also be joining the throng!

An example of how much charities can benefit from this, 5 gifts and how much can go to charity if you Give as you Live:

iPad2 costs £399 and £5.99 would be donated to charity
iPhone 4S costs £499 and £7.49 would be donated to charity
Scrabble costs £14.99 and 58p would be donated to charity
Kindle costs £89 and £4.45 would be donated to charity
Twilight Box Set costs £8.49 and 21p would be donated to charity

This isn't just a Christmas initiative, it works all year round but it's worth saying that in this country last December, £6.8 billion was spent shopping online and if everyone had used Give as you Live £170 million could have been raised for UK Charities. If you're a fan of charity starting at home then you really should make the effort to shop in this way!

Go to Give as you Live and start your Christmas shopping and feel good knowing that you're doing your bit for charity.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Perform Party

Isla and I were recently invited by Energy PR to a Perform Party. We had no idea what it was about before we went but from the blurb it sounded like it would be right up Isla's street as she loves singing and dancing:

"Perform is a unique drama school for children, using a mix of drama, dance and singing specially formulated with a focus on child development to bring out every child's true potential, so we would love you to come along and see what Perform is all about. The Perform Parties are high energy, fun and totally infectious, children just can't resist joining in all the activities"

The parties will cover two age groups, so the whole family can come along and join in the fun
Mini Ps 1-3 year olds
Perform Parties 4-8 year olds"

Isla is 2 so she went to the Mini P's party. We were told that obviously the age ranges had to be a bit broader than usual for the purposes of the day, so the Mini P's party included things that were directed at young babies too. The theme for this party was 'Under the Sea' and the actress who ran the session was dressed as a mermaid, which I think Isla loved as it tied in with her current new obsession with The Little Mermaid!

The activities are used to promote the 4 C's - Confidence, Concentration, Communication and Coordination. The teachers use a unique mix of Drama, Dance and Singing to bring out every child's true potential.
What did Isla think of it? Well I think she enjoyed herself, she was a little bit tired during the session which was making her at times a bit 'free' and doing her own thing and I didn't feel like that was encouraged and the kids were expected to fall in line which doesn't always happen with 2 year olds. Isla was her usual friendly self and went off to hold the actresses hand who was leading the session so she obviously felt comfortable with her. Isla loves parachutes (this is a regular part of Gymboree and MAD Academy - classes that Isla has also loved) and so enjoyed this bit of it, she liked the instruments and the dancing. We didn't recognise the songs in the class but I guess with regular attendance then the kids would learn them. Unfortunately we also missed a bit of the session due to a toilet trip (grrr potty training!) but on the whole she had a good time.

Perform parties come in all different themes so you can pick one that fits in with your child's interests/ imagination:

Mini P’s
-          Fairies and Elves
-          Peppa Pig
-          The Night Garden
-          Teddy Bear Picnic

Perform parties:
-          Fairytale Forest
-          Popstarz
-          Superhero school
-          Ghost hunters
-          Magician’s Chamber
-          High School Musical
-          Peter Pan
-          Chocolate Adventure

Perform are not only about parties, they also run weekly classes and holiday courses. Go to Perform for more details and to see if there are classes near you. they are currently offering every child the first Perform session free here

All in all we had a fun mummy and daughter day in London, we received a delicious lunch and a goodie bag with T-shirt and CD on the day.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas - Christmas Stocking Filler!

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview lunch for the new Ice Age DVD release - A Mammoth Christmas. In recognition of the fact it's a Christmas release we had a delicious 3 course Christmas lunch and pulled crackers while Christmas Carols played in the background! It really was a lovely way to spend a lunchtime, I appreciated some me time away from the kids and also caught up with Mirka from All Baby Advice looking glowing with baby bump!

So after the festive fun we went to the screening room and watched the 20 minute film. So what's it all about?

Everyone's favourite sub-zero heroes are back in an all-new holiday adventure for the whole family. When Sid accidentally destroys Manny's heirloom Christmas rock and ends up on Santa's "naughty list", he leads a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right - and ends up making things much worse. Now it's up to Manny and his pre-historic posse to band together and save Christmas for the entire world.

I can't wait for Isla to see it as she really loves the characters in Ice Age (she should do after the number of times we've watched it together!) and she loves the little squirrel who chases the acorn all the time. I enjoyed it, it was very funny and all the original voice cast are back too.

Ice-Age: A Mammoth Christmas is out on DVD from the 21st November 2011and is available exclusively from Asda, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Priced at an excellent £5!

I was given a box set of the Ice Age collection and a cuddly squirrel on the day. The views written here are my own.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Justin Fletcher's New Single - Hands Up

I don't know many kids who don't know of Justin Fletcher in his many different guises in 'Something Special' and 'Gigglebiz'. In time for Christmas Justin is releasing a single 'Hands Up' from his forthcoming album of the same name.

I'll honestly say that this isn't my cuppa tea at all but seeing as the music in the car isn't allowed to be of my choosing anymore then what's it to me if we have to listen to this on repeat everywhere we go?! Isla loves it and Justin's voice is so distinguishable that Isla says put Mr Tumble on when I've dared to try and listen to something else. So there you go, 2 year olds love this stuff and who am I to argue. Justin if you're reading, no offence, I'm just more of an Indie girl  and I really do love you on the telly!

We'll be reviewing the album here at I Heart Motherhood in the spring but in the meantime if you want to connect with Justin you can on Twitter and on Facebook

Hands Up is released on 20th November.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Noah is Given his Marching Orders!

On Friday I had myself a really lovely lunchtime stroll around Borough Market with Noah and one of my dear friends. I was a little bit anxious about venturing to London on my own with Noah, but given I was only travelling to London Bridge, I knew that we weren't far from home and that we didn't have a tube journey to contend with.

We were all having a really lovely time, Noah was taking in the sights and sounds and my friend and I were spending on delectable foodstuffs! After an hour we thought it best to have a cuppa and a cake and get Noah fed, so we went to a Patisserie on the edge of the market.

Being on maternity leave at the moment I'm finding myself having coffee and a cake in cafes quite a regular thing, so on entering the cake shop I had no inkling that we would be asked to leave as that has NEVER happened to me before, so I was blissfully making my way to a table to sit down when the waitress intercepted me and said that we couldn't come in here with THAT. I initially thought she meant the buggy and given that it was a really small shop I thought, fair do's it is a bit tight, so I said, that's fine I can fold it down (handy Maclaren!), again she said no and I mistakenly thought that as she had an Eastern European accent that she didn't understand what I meant, so I repeated that I could fold it down and put it under the table. How wrong was I? She understood quite well what I meant and she then had to think up some other reason that we weren't welcome. 'Erm, we have no seat for him'. Well that's easy I said, he can't sit up on his own anyway and he would be sitting on my lap. I'm very calm, really still not getting that she doesn't want my baby in the place - it's not the buggy at all!!! To which she just bluntly told me that her boss wouldn't welcome us. So 'THAT' which she was referring to was my baby.

The penny dropped.

I was a bit gobsmacked and anyone that knows me would know I would at that point normally have flipped, blurted out a load of angry words and flounced out. But my saviour was my friend who I hadn't seen for ages and I really didn't want to make a scene and embarrass her. So we walked off up the road perplexed, with my friend feeling bad that she'd suggested the place.

On reflection now I'm actually outraged. When we found somewhere to sit down and have coffee, Noah was brilliantly behaved, had his milk, looked cute, giggled and did not once cry, he drew admiring looks and we got on with our afternoon.

I found myself thinking about the incident quite a lot since it happened and I decided that it deserved a blog post as I've never been refused entry to a cake shop because of my kids and it got me wanting to google this particular place and I'm glad I did as I now feel that I wasn't singled out, apparently this place has a terrible reputation for pushing people out the door for not spending enough, telling people they can't use laptops and now telling people with kids that they can't come in! Unfortunately this establishment will not suffer as there is enough trade in the area but I now feel it's my duty to add to the online log of dissatisfied customers (although obviously I can't call myself that, not actually having imbibed anything!) and name the place as PATISSERIE LILA.

Don't go there unless you really can't find anywhere else and you fancy potentially being humiliated.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Christmas Stocking Filler - Talking Princess Holly Soft Toy - Review

Isla was recently very lucky to be sent a Talking Princess Holly by Entertainment One to try. She was at nursery when it arrived, so I unwrapped it and left it on the table for when she came home. I didn't even get a chance to give it to her, she spotted it as soon as she got through the door and was so excited! Along with Peppa Pig, she is a massive Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom fan and she already had a Ben Elf, so she was so pleased to have Ben's partner in crime! She pressed her tummy and heard all the phrases, she loved that she had a wand and she started running round the room 'flying' Princess Holly around. She is now one of Isla's current favourite toys and is definitely fuelling her new obsession with Princesses. Much to Isla's annoyance Noah also seems to like toys that talk and has taken great pleasure in cuddling and dribbling all over Holly too!

You can squeeze Princess Holly's tummy to hear 5 fun phrases including, "I'm Princess Holly", "Come on let's play", "Now wand, what shall we do today?" Made from soft and cuddly fabrics she's ideal to hug and hold.

Talking Princess Holly retails at £12.99, from all good retailers and would make a great pressie for any budding little Princess!

Monday, 7 November 2011

I ♥ Essie Jain

Essie Jain's 'Until the Light of Morning' is simply gorgeous and if like me you have a baby that loves to fall asleep to music then this will be right up your sleeping beauty's street! Not only that it's also really enjoyable from an adult perspective too, not a Twinkle Twinkle in sight! I would compare it to the likes of Zero 7 (who I love!), it's really quite folksy and Essie's voice is beautifully hypnotic, sending baby into a gentle slumber (not to mention a tired mummy)!

You can purchase the album on iTunes for £5.99

We received a copy for review and I'm happy to say we absolutely loved it!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Fab Oh Baby London Giveaway!

Oh Baby London was started as an independent baby and children's wear brand in Brick Lane, London in 2002. What started as an allergic reaction to pastels by founder, designer and mum of two Hannah McHalick has grown to a full collection of cool but cute fashion for kids and the coolest kids products. Eccentric, bold design and irreverent truths like 'Been Inside For 9 Months' are the essence of Oh Baby London. 

All designs are 100% original, created in the Brick Lane studio by people who love what they do. Oh Baby think that clothing shouldn't be disposable, so they build it from high quality materials, and don't believe in throwaway fads or hype. They also try their hardest to be ethical throughout the entire process, from the fabric all the way through to distribution. Oh Baby collaborate with the HEBA Women's Project, a non-profit organisation which aims to empower women by teaching them skills and all the clothes manufactured from August 2007 use fabrics are tested free from harmful chemicals, and are made by people paid fairly with good working conditions.

Noah was lucky enough to be able to try out one of the wicked rompers - he looks like a member of Bad Manners (Baby Buster BloodVessel?) - very cool! This particular one costs £20, and there are many other designs.

There are so many lovely things on the site that I would love for Noah and I'm sure I'll be spoiling him sometime soon!

The lovely people at Oh Baby London are giving my readers the chance to win £20 to spend on anything on their site and there are plenty of things you can buy for that amount! All you need to do is visit the Oh Baby London site and tell me in the comments below what you would spend your £20 on. Please leave a method of contacting you should you win.

For an extra entry please tweet this competition mentioning @iheartmuthahood and @OhBabyLondon and the URL of this post. Please leave an extra comment below to let me know you have done this.

For a second extra entry please follow @OhBabyLondon on twitter and let me know you have done so below in a separate comment.

This competition will end on Sunday 20th November at midnight. UK Entrants only.

Good Luck!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Charity Shop Gems

Since having the kids I've found myself looking in charity shops more often than I ever did. They are such great places to find bits and pieces for children and so I thought I'd share with you some of the little gems that I've bought and my most recent find is my favourite so far...a Thomas the Tank Engine throw. A steal at £4! Noah is often found lounging around on top of it.

The shop we bought it from was fantastic as it was a children's hospice charity shop in Truro that only sold children's clothes, toys and equipment (buggies etc.). It wasn't like any other charity shop I've ever been in - everything was set out so nicely and I had the patience to look at stuff rather than seeing a load of jumble and walking out. Of course we couldn't escape without buying Isla something too, so she fleeced us for a bracelet and cuddly dog!