Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Baby College Review by Mummy Q

Last Tuesday,me and Baby G had the pleasure of being put forward to go on a taster session at Baby College at Madley hall at 10.30am. On arrival we were slightly late, the session had just began,the mummies where sat in a circle on floor mats, while Bea the instructor was sat at the top of the circle.
The group where very welcoming, the babies age ranged from 9 months to 10 months, I felt that I should have perhaps attended a group that was slightly older as Baby G was running riot around the hall!
Baby College Oxford logo

The session compromised of singing, sign language,showing the baby's call cards and telling them what was on them, for example me and Baby G where given the letter y,y for yellow, for young, these where passed round the group.We were then given a green hoop and Baby G  had to find the right colour bean bag that matched the hoop,which I helped and discussed with him.

Baby G loved dancing,my arms didn't like it so much! We also spinned the babies / Baby G being the only toddler in the village,then we put them down,this was to teach them all about balance. Next was a game of football, where you swinged your baby to hit the ball, Baby G loved this and found it highly amusing, Baby G enjoyed the doing activities ,but got bored with the seated activities, I would like to go to another taster session of an older age group to see how it is run and what learning activities would be involved.

The session is £6.50 as you go or you can pay for a full term.
I would recommend this class to any new mum,as it is such a huge learning curve for your baby,even at 9 months,there brains are like little sponges.especially if you don't do any groups ,nice way of meeting other mums,with children of a similar age.
To find out more about Baby College contact -
 
Bea Waterfield
Baby College Oxford
Tel: 01865 436920
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval Granted

Monday, 29 April 2013

Great gift idea - Bolly Babies product review

Once you enter the world of parent hood the merry go round never stops, with a new group of baby friends, comes a whole new set of birthdays, and special occasions. Having just completed round one of Slummy Mummy baby birthdays, I discovered how stressful finding gifts that are:
1-Useful /Practical
2- Fun for baby
3- Something that they don't already own
 
Mummy T inspired me when she gave Baby J a personalised little pouch which had pockets to store his toy cars which had road map on it as well. It was a lovely handmade gift which ticked all the boxes. I've since taken to looking at more smaller handcrafted shops online for inspiration for gifts & I hope to be road testing some goodies that I find.
 
One of the first goodies was sent to me by Bolly Babies www.bollybabies.co.uk
Who sent me a delightful boys gift pack, which contained a funky pirate patterned bib and matching crayon roll
 
 
As everyone who knows my family will know we are big fans of Pirates, and I loved the colourful  design. The bib is reversible with a soft ivory minky material on reverse, ideal when next to delicate skin, the bib washed well  and retained its shape.
 
The crayon roll is a great idea, & a perfect addition to my changing bag, so when we're out and Baby J needs distracting I can bring them out, grab some paper and hey presto baby is occupied for a little while [although he was more interested in using the crayons as swords with daddy than drawing with them, I blame daddy for this!]
 
Both items are well made and well priced, and would make ideal gifts for any little one. I love the materials that are available & I'm considering getting a Pirate tote bag to add the collection!
 
Slummy Mummy Seal Of Approval - GRANTED

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Slummy Mummy Cake

Mummy Q recently surprised us all by getting this fab cake made to mark our first anniversary. It features an icing model of each of us and our babies, sitting in our dream cafe! We all loved it, and had fun guessing who was who [easy for me being the only fiery dyed haired one] Thanks Mummy Q
 
Photo: They should really be wine glasses in front of us......!

Cute, Colourful Personalised Cushions by Twinkle Treats

Fans of our site will know, I am always on the look out for new, innovative ideas for baby. I came across Twinkle Treats through Twitter and instantly loved the idea of a personalised colourful cushion, that Baby J could cosy with.
 
I was sent a soft, colourful cushion with Baby J's name sewn on - similar to the blue one below. Twinkle Treats use soft fleece material with colourful lettering and stars. The cushion was an instant hit with Baby J, as I opened the parcel he came over to investigate and smiled when he saw the colourful contents, after inspecting it I offered it to him, he took it from me and sat tracing his fingers over the letter and stars before giving it a cuddle!

 
 
At the moment I'm using the cushion on Baby J's rug near his books so when he snuggles down to read his stories he can get used to sitting with a cushion, he's already got into the habit of 'flopping' on to it. Its big enough to be used but not too big as to dwarf Baby J. The covers come off easily and have no rough zips, and wash well [Baby J decided to cwtch with it after his toast] I really love the cushion, its well made and really appealing to children. I think it'd make a perfect gift for a new parent - I can imagine them being used to prop up mummies on nursing chairs, or as gift for any age child. They are more than a decorative item, which is where I feel they differ from others on the market, they are also great value for money and will not break the bank.
 
A really great find and a really great product! Well done Twinkle Treats! http://www.twinkletreats.co.uk/Treats/AboutUs.aspx
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED
 
 
 

Sensitive skin care products - the results

After trying out different ranges of skincare products which I didn't realise existed I'm pleased to say that Baby J's sensitive skin has really calmed down. Using a combination of the products I was sent to road test I've been able to find products that suit his skin. At first I was reluctant to try lesser know products, would they work? Would he react to them? As they were all natural and gentle on his skin I encountered no issues, and have seen a positive change. I'm pleased I gave them a go and would encourage anyone with a sensitive baby to try some of the products from the ranges I road tested.

Sensitive skin care products for babies - Bloom Bump & Baby

Still on my quest to find sensitive skin care products for babies, I was sent a selection of oils from Bloom Bump & Baby to try out. Could oils & balm be my skin care saviour?
 
Bloom Bump & Baby [BBB] - http://www.bloombumpandbaby.co.uk/
 
BBB have created wholesome 100% natural products for baby & mummy. No nasties in them at all.  I have tried basic baby oils in the past, and whilst Baby J has always been happy to lay back and be massaged I hadn't been able to find a suitable oil for his skin, many of the branded ones are thick, they don't absorb very well and have left his skin feeling greasy. So when BBB sent me some oils I was keen to try them to see how they compared.
 
We were sent a wonderful selection of oils and balms which I've shared with the other slummies which included - Moisturising Mother & Baby oil, Comforting Tummy oil, Easy Breathe Chest rub oil, Relaxing Baby Massage oil & Magic Balm.
Relaxing Baby Massage Oil - Bloom Bump and Baby
 
All of the oils are delicately scented, and left both mine and Baby J's skin nourished,well moisturised and soft which lasted all day. The oils were easily absorbed and didn't leave our skin feeling greasy at all. After bathtime I dug out my baby massage book and followed a simply routine using the  Relaxing Baby Massage oil, Baby J loved it, and the calming aromas helped relax me too. As soon as Baby J's PJ's were on he was ready for bed, and would of happily by-passed story time too [but Mummy wanted the next instalment of the story]
 
The past few days Baby J has become a snot monster once again, so last night after his bath I used the Easy Breathe Chest rub as with the others it was easily absorbed, the cooling and clearing vapours smelt lovely as I gently rubbed his chest, and when he had cuddles before bed I could still smell them. This  morning was the same, and whilst he was still snotty I do feel that he had a better nights sleep.
 
magic balm
 
The Magic balm has multiple uses, its soft and gentle and ideal for dry patches, its solid in the pot and needs softening before use, Baby J got a tad impatient and wriggly, so I could only use it in small quantities on him, it smells lovely and is  nourishing. I've now got into a routine of after using it on Baby J I now use it as a lip balm on myself, which have worked wonders on my dry cracked lips.
 
The other products are still be tested by the other Slummies and so I will add their comments once they've been roadtested.
 
I'm really impressed with the oils, my opinion of using them have totally changed and I have added them to both mine and Baby J's daily routine. The bottles look stylish in my bathroom and I feel they are well priced, especially considering you are safe in the knowledge that they are 100% natural. Big Thumbs Up!
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED
 
 

Sensitive skin care products for babies - Ellapure

As part of my quest to find suitable skin for Baby J's sensitive skin, I was sent a selection of products to try from Ellapure http://shop.ellapure.org/shop     Ellapure believe that in creating products that are a pure, natural and fresh as possible. Their products are created without using harsh chemicals such as Parabens. They have a wonderful large selection of products.
I was sent 3 fabulous items to try - The Wonderwash, Nature's Nappy Cream, and Baby Sleep Cream.
 
 
Both creams smelled heavenly of lavender & chamomile. I found the nappy cream much thinner than most branded creams, but it surprised me & worked well, I also used it on Baby J's cheeks after a particularly bad dribble day, within an hour you could see that the redness had gone down and his cheeks were soothed. I tried the sleep cream the same night and confess I didn't read how to use it to use it and just rubbed it on Baby J's chest, that night he slept well, and slept in longer in the morning too, I did the same for the next few nights and had the same outcome...I then realised it was suppose to only be put on Baby's pulse points....wps! I tried doing this and..... he still slept well, HOORAY! I also confess that one day it ended up in my work bag, and after a particular stressful morning I used it on my pulse points....& I'm pleased to say it helped calm me down too & also those I work with too. 

 
The Wonderwash intrigued me, what made it so wonderful? I read up about it, used it and found out that 'Wonderwash' by name wonder wash by nature! It has multiple uses, in the bath, shower, shampoo, handwash. It can be used on its own, or you can add essential oils to it. I used it on its own and loved it. It's gentle and kind - perfect for sensitive baby skin. Hubby also loved it and calls it the 'one bottler' as he only needs to take one bottle into the bathroom for bubba The dispenser made it easy to measure the quantity and to use with baby around. Big Thumbs up! 
 
All the products are well priced and are perfect for little baby skin.
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED

Nice to be listened too!

As you all know I am a huge fan of Blenheim Palace and like nothing more than going over with baby for a wonder round. Last weekend I managed to drag hubby with me and we did a shorten version of the 'slummy mummy' walk. As it was a Saturday it was busier than what I'm used to, and when we took lunch in the cafe area in the pleasure gardens I became aware how few highchairs there were there. They were like gold dust! When I got home I tweeted about my day and mentioned my concerns about the highchair situation, I received a quick reply and was asked to e-mail, I did and within 24 hours had a reply saying that the 'slummy mummies' views are valued and as a result more highchairs have been ordered!

Sensitive skin care products for babies - miamoo

Since Baby J was born he's always had slightly sensitive skin, back in January I noticed his skin getting more sensitive and swicthed to 'sensitive' ranges of the leading brands of baby skin care ranges, but this didn't really do very much. So I started my quest to look into other brands of skin care for babies, so during baby hour on twitter I ask if anyone could recommend products  for babies with sensitive skin. 3 suggestions were made, and over the past few weeks I've been roadtesting the items to bring you my review and recommendations.
 
Founded by Saira Khan., these products are suitable  for pregnant mother, and on baby from birth. They are 98.5-100% naturally derived, & are free from harsh ingredients such as Parabens.
I was kindly sent their travel pack to road test which allowed me to test quite a few products from their range.
The pack contains - splashy wash [body wash], fresh locks [shampoo], baba oil, huggy lotion [moisturiser], spritz and wipe ,& cheeky cream [barrier cream]
 
The first thing I did when the pack arrived was to open everything and smell it all - they all smelt heavenly! I then went on to the website above to check  how to use the products that were unfamiliar to me such as the 'spritz & wipe' which I learnt has multiple uses [cleanser, toner, detangler, and cooling spritz] - I used it to cleanse Baby J's face in the morning using the soft cloth that came with the pack, as it was something different from our routine Baby J didn't put up a fight and happily had his face cleaned, he enjoyed helping mummy with the cloth too. At bedtime I gave the other products a try, the wash, shampoo, moisturiser and oil all got used. The wash and shampoo foamed up well, they left Baby J's skin and hair smelling lovely, the moisturiser was lovely, its a fairly thin cream that gets absorbed really easily and doesn't feel greasy, the oil was easily absorbed too and as it contains lavender oil helped relax Baby J at the end of this busy day in nursery. After a few days of using the products I noticed a difference in Baby J's skin, especially on his shoulders where his skin had been rough, I also found that after using the oil before bed he slept better.
 
The gem amongst the pack is the 'cheeky cream' which is amazing! Pretty much since birth I've been using the leading brand in nappy cream, and although it works well I've still had the odd bad rash and redness flare up. After one night's use of the cheeky cream, Baby J's redness had gone! It smells kind and not chemical, goes on easily, and does a great job. I've since used it on his cheeks as well to sooth dribble rash. A really great all round cream. The other great thing about the range is Mummy can use them too, I tried most of the products and was really impressed how soft my skin felt afterwards. The travel pack is a great buy, perfect for short breaks, & will save room in the wash bag as everything you could need for both Mummy & Baby are there!
 
Big Thumbs up from me. The website is easy to use and navigate round and you can buy the products direct, which I'd recommend doing. The products are very affordable and in some cases much cheaper than the leading brands. The also look 'children friendly' which a lovely cute icon. Once my little pot of cheeky cream runs out I'll be putting in an order for the full size products, and if I ever get a break I will be buying a new travel pack to take with us!
 
Thank you miamoo for creating such a well thought out range for baby and mummy.
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval -
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Baby Ballet Witney - Review by Mummy T

Baby ballet review – 20th April
Baby E and I excitedly got ready for our first baby ballet session at the Methodist church on Saturday morning. Baby E reserved her energy by arriving in a deep sleep! She soon perked up when seeing the lovely selection of tutu’s and merchandise subtly displayed. After a chat with Miss Charlotte we took our places on the mat and waited for Miss Breeze to give us our first instructions.
   
We were a part of a friendly group of 7 other little twinkle toes and 5 mums and 2 dads. Baby E and others were instructed by Miss B to do some gentle warm up stretches, and then we moved on to the more upbeat Camel song which got the baby’s (and parents) warmed up. Out came some exciting ‘bags’ of mystery items, the first being musical instruments, which were played and then some colourful scarves which were swished. These were only some of the props to amuse and stimulate the little ones. All the time various gentle music was playing in the background. The half hour seemed to fly by but I think the level of activity and pace was perfect for my inquisitive easily bored 13 month old. She was raring to go when it was cool down time and sadly poor teddy didn’t get so much a gentle cuddle than a wrestling head lock…but it was all good fun.
All in all Baby Ballet was fun, well-structured and stimulating. I would like to sign Baby E up for some sessions but as you have to book up a term in advance and May is a busy month, I will review next terms dates (which Miss C has emailed out) and plan from there.
A wonderful start to the weekend for Baby E and mummy! Thank-you Miss Charlotte and Miss Breeze.
For more information please see -
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Bump to Baby Fair - save the date

Mummy L is head organiser in arranging Witney's first Bump to Baby Fair which will be raising funds for the Childrens Air Ambulance. -

SATURDAY 1st JUNE 2013 - SAVE THE DATE!!
Witney's first and only Bump to Baby Fair
Madley Park Hall, Witney
More information coming soon!


Want to be kept in the loop? e-mail bumptobabyfair@gmail.com  & like the FB page  https://www.facebook.com/WitneyBumpToBabyFair

Help us make it a great success!!

Handmade knitwear for babies

As all my other Slummy Mummies will know I am a big fan of hand knitted things, from blankets [from Aunty B] to scarves, gloves, hats I love them, but sadly I can't make them, I have tried no end of times and each time my creation has gone badly wrong. So in life I now rely on friends and family to knit me creations for Baby J, that was until I made contact with a wonderful knitter who has her own website selling her gorgeous creations! She even kindly sent me a cardigan to review for Baby J.
 
Bunnie knitwear have a site which offers all manner of wonderfully knitted clothes for children I was sent the item below a red hooded cardigan - which I love. The yarn used is Sirdar Supersoft Aran, which has been designed for babies and toddlers that  it is all cosy and soft. Its easy to look after & the items come with clear instructions how to look after them too, perfect for busy parents.
 
 
 
The cardigan was of very high quality and would not of looked out of place for sale in an upmarket boutique. When we were out for a walk and the wind picked up Baby J was happy to put it on, and snuggled down in it in his buggy, soon drifting off to sleep. Just what was needed! The cardigan will last Baby J a while and I'm sure will become a firm favourite for us both.
 
Please seen the Bunnie Knitwear website below for more items and prices -
 
 
So if like me you can't knit for  toffee, and you feel your friends and family are fed up of you dropping hints, try one of the Bunnie Knitwear creations - I'm sure you'll love them as much as me.
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - Granted

Perfect Personalised Prints - Product review

I am always on the look out for things that a little bit different, and through twitter I came across Sarah Martin Creative who creative lovely contemporary designed personal prints. Sarah kindly asked me to review her prints and I gladly  accepted. As a lover of all things pretty and personalised I loved the idea of getting a print done for Baby J with his name on to hang in his room, especially something timeless that will last a lifetime. Sarah creative a stunning print for me with his name on and a series of vehicles underneath [including his favourite choo choo train!]  Which is the same as the one below with Baby J's name -




I love the design and can't wait to find a frame to hang it in his room. I've shown it too a few friends and have had lots of positive comments, and have passed on Sarah's details.  I've spent time looking through the other creations of Sarah, and was really impressed, from quotes to songs to birth details her prints are all amazing and would make such lovely gifts for new parents. So if you are looking for a special gift then look no further.
 
Sarah has also created some great greeting cards too, which are modern and funky in design, so like me you hate the card shops then try one of Sarah's great designs. She covers all manor of occasions and will design personalised cards.




 I especially love this card above, as a  Slummy Mummies the phrase is close to my heart.

Check out more of Sarah's creations at -  http://www.smartcreative.biz/

Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED


The Blissful Baby Expert Book - product review

As most new parents have discovered babies do not come with an instruction manual, my GP & midwife gave me a variety of leaflets and booklets but nothing seemed to work for me, so before Baby J arrived I ventured into my local book shop with the intention of buying a book to guide me through the first few months / year of parenthood. After finding the 'baby aisle' I became sucked into the sea of books and quickly found myself drowning. There were so many to choose from, on such a wide variety of topics but none seemed to fit write with me and as  I hadn't a clue and found myself leaving empty handed feeling very overwhelmed. In the end I was given a book by my sister in laws and used that for the first few months, and what was missing from that I used the web and took pot luck in finding the right answer.
 
So when Lisa Clegg asked the Slummies if we'd review her book 'The Blissful Baby Expert' I jumped at the chance. Could there be a book that suited the every day mummy and daddy?

 Product Details

There is nothing more frustrating than reading a book written by professionals that half way through becomes clear that the author clearly has never had children. This is what makes The Blissful Baby Expert different, Lisa Clegg the author is an experienced maternity nurse who has looked after 100's of babies and supported their families, she is also a mum to 3 young children so has written this book from a professional stand point, but with also her own experiences
 
Lisa guides you through the journey of parenthood covering all the essential topics -
  • Before the baby is born
  • Going into hospital
  • Coming home
  • Feeding
  • Sleep
  • Weaning
  • Common problems and illnesses
  • Development milestones
 
Answering common questions along the way.
 
I really like the style the book is written, it has a friendly tone which made me feel the advice was coming from a friend. The advice in the book is easy to follow and makes sense. The illustrations are done well and are easy to follow.
 
Reflecting back over Baby J's first year I felt that the book covered all the topics that I sought advice on else where, not only that it gave me honest information, telling you what the recommendations are and also her opinion. The advice given in the earlier sections on feeding, and sleeping would of helped me no end and made my life so much less stressful. Lisa also mentioned other authors which is a rarity. I found the section on teething most useful especially as baby J is still in the middle of it, the book provides you with a diagram of when the teeth may come through, and for me matched up pretty well.
 
The Blissful Baby Expert is one of those books that should live on every new parents coffee table, as it contains so much useful advice that you would want to pick it time and time again to check on bits of information. My hubby was also impressed with it, and found that he could use the book too. So many baby books seemed to be written just with the mums in mind and often forget the dads need help too.
 
Thank you Lisa for writing a book for the real mummies and daddies of this world who need honest, friendly, professional advice. BIG THUMBS UP
http://www.theblissfulbabyexpert.co.uk/

Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Our lovely new logo!

As some of you may of noticed the Slummy Mummies have gained a lovely new logo, the lovely masters of creativeness at Lambchop Creative used their super skills and created us our amazing logo. After a consultation with us about what we wanted and what ideas we had, they went away and then they kindly designed 3 draft logos, we took a vote to see which one we wanted to use, our lovely butterfly one came out top, and with a minor tweak to add some purple to it...our logo was launched. Below are the comments from some of the Slummies -

"Looks really good Mummy Cxx" - Mummy LC

"LOVE it!! X" - Mummy E

"Looks Fab!! X" - Mummy G

"Fab honey, good work

"Love it xxx" - Mummy T

"Love it!" - Mummy Sa

"Love,love,love it!!x" - Mummy Q

"Wow, its stunning! Good job!" - Mummy SG

"Thanks Mummy C it looks great x" - Mummy R
 
I can't thanks the guys at Lambchop Creative enough, and of course would recommend them to anyone who is looking for some creative work. Please visit their website for info [don't forget to tell them where you heard of them!] They also have a super cute icon which we love

 
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED -

The super-soft, super-easy baby carrier - product review

Before I had Baby J, I would often look in wonder at mothers who used carriers to carry their babies around. The babies either looked super cosy, or super uncomfortable, and the mothers either looked blissfully happy or really struggling. My sister in law always looked so happy and comfortable carrying my nephew and he looked so snug being close to his mummy. So when Baby J came along I decided I'd give this baby carrying a go, and not knowing one carrier from another bought one from eBay and hoped for the best. My carrier arrived and looked the most complicated thing ever... with clips and straps and attachments here there any everywhere, it was made worse by the fact I didn't get any instructions...anyhow I managed to get baby in, and eventually out and for a few weeks it was fine,but when he started moving it was impossible to get him in, and getting him out was a nightmare....so bye bye carrier.
 
Recently via twitter I came across 'Joy and Joe baby carriers' and was asked if I would be willing to roadtest one. Having looked at their website I agreed, was there such thing as an easy carrier, or was I looking at nightmare on baby carrier street 2? The lovely people at Joy & Joe quickly sent me a carrier and when it arrived I smiled for 3 reasons -
1 - They sent me a cadburys purple carrier  [purple is my favourite colour]
2 - The carrier came with instructions... nice clear instructions, that had pictures and looked easy to follow.
3- There wasn't a clip, catch or attachment in sight.
 
In fact the carrier was just one length of fabric, a very long soft piece of fabric at that, how was this going to work? & How long would it take for me to get it right? Surprisingly not very long!! I laid the instructions out and followed them step by step, and by the last step I had the carrier wrapped around me, secured ready for Baby J to be fitted in.  Now it was all very well that I could get the carrier on, the test was always going to be getting Baby J in....and I managed it, without too many issues either.
 
It was lovely having Baby J so close, and he loved being able to snuggle with his mummy, especially when he was sleepy. I only wish I had of invested in one of Joy and Joy baby carriers from the start, it would of made my life so much easier being able to carry him round next to me, and knowing he was so snug would of been reassuring. 

Now Baby J is bigger, and heavier I'm not going to be able to carry him round for long periods of time, but I'm hoping to make the most of the carrier whilst I can.
This picture is taken from the Joy and Joe website and shows how the carrier works -
Plain baby wrap- lilac

The wraps come in a variety of colours,  they are 100% cotton, washable, and  meet all the safety requirements, best of all they work! They are also affordable [just go directly to their website as you won't find a better deal else where on the web], they won't break the bank and will be a great investment. http://www.joyandjoebaby.co.uk/index.php


Slummy Mummy Seal of approval - GRANTED! 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Making my garden twinkly for baby.

I live in a small terraced house, which has a postage stamp sized garden. Its not massive and whilst I'd love a big garden so Baby J can run around to his hearts content until I win the lottery that's not going to happen, so I'm going to make do with what I've got :-) Prior to Baby J our garden which is 1/2 paved 1/2 grass has been morphed into a purple plant paradise, with as many purple plants as possible crammed in. I had them trailing up the fence [and often into next door] stuffed in pots all over the patio, and growing against the house. With the arrival of Baby J last year I did very little with the garden, let's face it with a small baby who has time to prune and plant? This year with Baby J being more aware I wanted to make the garden as appealing as possible. I have kindly been given some 2nd hand play equipment and had dumped them on the patio. So on a rare me day I set to work to transform the garden. I first went round and tried to use my mummy vision to spot any potential hazards, I got rid of  canes that weren't being used, and picked up random oddities that had made there way into my garden. I scrubbed all the garden stuff and the patio and position it so I could still use my small table and chairs. I had also been given a few scraps of 'fake grass' and put these at the bottom of the mini slide and near the seesaw, to help protect Baby J when he's playing on them. I then tidied the garden... but there was something missing... I needed some bright decorations to make it more fun for my little man.
 
Now as ££ is tight I did what all good savers do and headed to the 99p Shop...great idea! They had just got their garden stock in and had loads of children friendly garden decorations for me to stock up with. I WENT MAD!! I got windmills, wind chimes, wind socks, solar powered fluttering butterflies, LED dragon flies, wind socks, and twirly things that spin in the wind. for £10 I had enough to transform the garden. Let's face it I could of gone into any garden centre spent that and come away with 1 or 2 items if I was lucky. I know that they aren't going to last forever, but if they last this summer and make him smile then I'll be happy.
 
When I got home, I stuck the windmills in the few remaining pots, set up the fluttering butterflies which looks so cool, hung up the chimes, twirly things and wind socks... it looked great....in my opinion but it was all for Baby J so what did he think? The next day he was cruising on the coffee table when he stopped, something had caught his eye outside.... he looked at me then back outside with aww. He then started to point.... he's spotted my decorations, and was keen to get out to give them a look. So off we went... he loved watching the butterflies move, and seeing the windmills whizz round. The wind socks were blowing in the wind and he gazed with wonder and smilled... a very big happy Baby J smile. It was worth every penny and all the hard work to see my little man so happy with the transformation. He loved playing on his slide too, the fake grass was well placed and cushioned him when he came down the slide.
 
I'm really happy with it all, and feel that with a little imagination you can create a baby paradise and you don't have to spend huge amounts. I will take some pictures when the sun is out, and add them them to the post.


 

Places to go with Baby

Like all new parents, sometimes I found that I just had to get out and about with Baby J, needing a change of scenery. But where could I go? Would it be baby friendly? Could I get in there with the buggy? These were my worries, and through trial and error I've come up with a few suggestions where you could travel to near by with baby and relax knowing that you can get in.

Burford Garden Centre - only a 10-14 minute drive on the A40 from Witney, well signposted and easy to find. Lots of parking, and accessible spaces so you can get baby in & out. They have a lovely cafe which has a baby area, with facilities to warm up baby's food, and park the buggies. Lots of clean safe high chairs on hand, and the seating is easy to manoeuvre around. Changing facilities very close by too [nothing worse than a long trek] The decor in the cafe area is excellent for babies, lots to see and keep them engaged, Baby J spent ages looking at the lights and pointing at their designs The cafe area is cleverly located near the children's section, which again has lots to do for young people, and lots to tempt parents to buy!The garden centre itself is well laid out, I had no issues getting around with the buggy, and again there was lots for baby to see so ideal on rainy days. The downside would be the prices, they are little high, so nice as a treat but for me not a weekly outing. 4*'s

Millets Farm Centre - about a 20 minute from Witney on the A415, again well signposted and very easy to find. A fair size car park with an overflow carpark too. Parking spaces fairly accessible. I visited the garden centre side of the park, and found the cafe there very welcoming. Lots of clean, safe highchairs for baby, although the seating was a little crammed in so manoeuvring in and out could be tricky at times. Changing facilities are in the garden centre too although not immediately next to the cafe bit. I went near Christmas time and there was loads for Baby J to see, lots of displays at his height, things he could reach for [and not break] He especially liked the model Christmas village. They had an ice rink and a chance to meet Santa too! In between the garden centre and the restaurant / farm shop is a wonderful animal area, where they are goats, sheep, cows, ponies and other small animals in pens that you can show to babies / children... and best of all its all free. Even on the grey day we went Baby J's face lit up when he saw the animals, especially as he saw some 'quack quacks' it was a tad muddy but nothing dangerous. It can get busy during peak times so well worth trying to plan ahead to avoid these times. Prices are middle of the range, really nice place to go 4*'s

Yarnton Garden Centre - about a 25 minute drive from Witney, head out through Long Hanborugh - Bladon, take the 3rd exit at the roundabout, over the next roundabout and then the 1st left at the next one - follow the signs which will lead you there [hoping my memory serves me right on directions!] There car park is fairly big, and the spaces are accessible. The garden centre is spread out with a welcoming cafe that has a zone for children. Highchairs are available and a decent amount of seating, it may be difficult to manouver with wheels if its super busy. Changing facilities are not close by, and are back out in the car park...not the best of locations. Lots to see for little ones. Mummy G often takes Baby Ja and he loves looking in the pet centre at all the fish. There is some clever merchandising in certain areas, after wheeling Baby J round a corner he squealed with delight at seeing himself in a mirror, and loved looking at the wind chimes. Some displays felt a little tight so those with a bigger buggy beware! The cakes were really lovely and worth the trip alone. Great for a rainy day. 3.5*'s

Bicester Avenue - a 30 minute drive away, head for Bicester on the A34 and follow the signs. Bicester Avenue has a large garden centre, a pet shop, Laura Ashley shop, Hobby Craft, to name but a few. Lots of accessible parking and over flow parking. When I came after a nose round the shops I went in the garden centre for a cuppa. Its really well laid out, easy to get round and lots to see. The cafe is great, lots of choice, a fair amount of seating and facilities to warm baby food too. When I last came Baby J hadn't quite mastered crawling, but now he has I'm hoping to bring him back as there is a fab looking soft play area [which I understand you can use for a small charge] and a very children friendly cafe bit next to the main one. Outside there is small play area as well. Changing facilities are great - very clean. The prices are very good, and if you sign up for their free membership card you get sent vouchers through the post and get a discount in the cafe area. Even hubby is happy to come with me as there are some shops that appeal to him too. Nice 'mini day out' shame it wasn't closer. 4*'s
 
For the shopoholics there is also Bicester Village which is just down the road, loads of parking and lots of discount shops to visit. It can get very busy at peak times with bus loads of tourists. Baby changing is available, and there are a few different places where you can get a cuppa and a bite to eat.
 
Hilltop Garden Centre -  a 10/15 minute drive through Hailey heading towards Charlbury, and as the name suggest its at the top of a hill. Lots of parking suitable for the size of the garden centre, and accessible too. The garden centre has a nice range of household, gifts and garden supplies. The cafe is well laid out but can get busy. There is also some out door seating available and on a warm day would be lovely to sit out looking at the hilltop views. Highchairs are available. I didn't use the changing facilities on my trips but have been told by others that they are good. Its a small centre in comparison to the others but well stocked, there is a wildlife trail for older children, and the displays are well placed with things for children to see and aww over, although some displays have lower items that are easily grabbed - as I found out! Prices are reasonable, with a fair range of food including scrummy cakes. Great for a 10 minute breather. 3.5*'s

Blenheim Palace - and I saved the best to last! a 15 minute drive from Witney, just head for Woodstock and you really can't miss it. This is the only one of my days out where there is an initial entry free, but you buy one day and get 12 months free... yes 12 MONTHS FREE! Always worth keeping an eye in the local papers too as they sometimes run golden ticket offers where you get 18 months free. Parking is ok, its on grass / gravel and can get muddy. Its about a 5 minute walk from the main palace. I love coming here as you will see from my other posts. If you head for the main house you can wander around the palace [some areas can be tricky with the buggy] or you can head for one of the many walks [the info desk has maps] my favourite is the  lakeside walk which is about a 40 minute brisk walk, taking in the lake, waterfall, & rose garden. Ask at the visitor desk  for the disabled access code and you will then be able to get into the garden side with no issues. Its not all flat there are some inclines / declines but nothing too challenging. The paths are fairly level just the odd one or too unevenness. The view are spectacular, Baby J loves looking at the ducks on the lake and the gushing waterfalls. We often get surprised by a pheasant popping up and running across our paths too. Lots of green areas on this walk to stop and use for picnics. Back at the main house the cafe is great, and very reasonable. The staff are on hand to get you a high chair and in my case carry my coffee and cake to the table. The changing facilities have recently been re-done and are great, although they could do with another one in the main area. The gift shop is well laid out too. From the main house you can take the little train down to the pleasure gardens, which has a butterfly house, model village, play area, and adventure play area for bigger kids. There is also a car park near this bit if you wanted to head straight here. I love this section and the butterfly house is fab for little ones, Baby J is enjoying it more and more. Lots  of outside seating in the pleasure garden cafe bit, although not huge amounts of high chairs. There is also baby changing in this area too, well appointed and kept clean.
For the more adventurous there are longer walks round the estate, I've seen families with dogs on leads and kids on bicycles taking advantage of the paved paths. Lots of areas to stop for a picnic and green areas to explore. The Slummies did a walk round in the summer when all the babies were in prams, and we really enjoyed it. Looking forward to going back this summer now the babies are a bit bigger and can enjoy the picnic with us. Although there is a charge for a pass, it does give you discounted if not free access to events too, so well worth it. 4.5*'s a firm favourite.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My first baby year essentials


I have been reflecting back over my first year with Baby J, and have thought about what items I was given or bought that became essentials items & what I would recommend all new parents to invest in.

1.       Ewan the dream sheep - this furry, friendly sheep was recommended to me by Mummy N when Baby J was 3 weeks old. I was looking for something to help soothe him to sleep and Mummy N said to try Ewan, at that stage I was willing to try anything so bought him to try. He looks like a simple round cuddly sheep that has 4 soothing sounds activated by pressing his feet, his tummy glows as well. His tail is Velcroed meaning you can safely attach him to the cot, Moses basket, car seat, buggy etc. Ewan is a miracle worker! I remember when I first went to try him, Baby J wouldn’t settle and hubby was doubtful that a cuddly sheep would make any difference… oh how wrong was he, with the soothing sound of ‘heartbeat’ playing  within minutes Baby J calmed down and drifted calmly off to sleep.  After that he was used daily I used different sounds during the day / night to help baby identify long sleep and naps, he was used until Baby J got better at settling himself. He now lives on the corner of Baby J’s bed and gets lovingly played with. On nights when Baby J is cranky or won’t settle he gets used.   Ewan is worth every penny, & hubby and I soon learnt to keep spare batteries in the house so when we heard the gentle beeps of the battery low signal we were able to change them in a flash. 

http://www.sweetdreamers.co.uk/

2.     Baby  Sheepskin rug – my lovely sister-in-law bought me this when Baby J was a few days old, she advised me to sleep on is for a night to get my scent on it before using it with baby. I did as she suggested, and got hubby to do the same. It was ideal to lay baby on to help snuggle down; I used it for naps, tummy time, during the summer to help cool him and during the winter to keep him warm. It was ideally shaped to fit in his pram & Moses basket. Baby J loves it and when he’s sick it’s guaranteed to help cosy him.  A great gift / buy and one that will last a long time.
Available widely in shops and online

3.       Gro bags / sleep bags – my brother gave me 2 Gro bags before Baby J was born, at the time I’d never heard of them and was unsure how they’d work or how they would be better than blankets…. That was until I tried putting covers on Baby J when he went to sleep, swaddles failed, as baby likes to sleep in the muscle man pose, blankets got kicked off time and time again disturbing him and causing him to stir, so when baby was 6 weeks old and old enough to be put in the Gro bag I gave it a go….. It is basically a sleeping bag for babies, which has arm holes for baby’s arms, and fastens up round the feet / baby’s side.  Baby J couldn’t kick if off and was free to sleep in his poses, which meant he was kept warm and snug during the night….HOORAY!! I’ve since learnt that you can get different tog sleep bags, during the summer we used a 0.5 tog [sheet thickness] and in the winter a 2.5 tog. You can layer baby’s clothes up underneath depending on the season too.  I have now stocked up on Gro bags and tend to use them as long as possible.


http://www.gro-store.co.uk/grobag-baby-sleep-bag.html?gclid=CLiTrZfEyLYCFdHMtAod5DEAdg
 
4.       Buggy Buddy – this nifty little basket attaches easily to the handles of any pram / buggy. It has a holder at either end for bottles / drinks for parents, and a roomy compartment for keys / toys / purse/ nappy / wipes / mittens etc. So why do you need a Buggy Buddy when you have a changing bag? Buggy Buddies are ideal to quickly attach to your wheels if you are just nipping down the shops or on any short outing where you don’t want to take your big bag out. On full long day outings, I’ve used mine with my changing bag on Baby J’s wheels; I keep Baby J’s drinking bottle/ my keys / wipes / snacks and hats in it for easy access. I have also used it on car journeys; it’s great to put everything for Baby J in one easy accessible place.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/SUNSHINE-Buggy-Buddy-stroller-handle/dp/B006YG57XO/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby&ie=UTF8&qid=1365886812&sr=1-3&keywords=sunshine+kids+buggy+buddy
 

5.       Aunty B’s Blankie – The lovely blanket was crocheted for Baby J by his Aunty B & he loves it! It got used in his pram and now his buggy, it got moved into the car for journeys, and back into the house to be used for naps. Its ideal as with its holey nature baby can grab it and hold on, I know that it keeps him warm without overheating baby. I loved it so much that Aunty B kindly created another one in multi colours, so one now lives in my car, the other in the house.  So if you have a knitter in your family get them to make you one, I’m sure you can get them in the shops, but one given from a family member or friend means so much more and will become a treasured loved item.
 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Some rare me time

Before Baby J arrived I had a fairly good if what basic skincare routine. I exfoliated, cleansed, toned, and moistured. I always took my make up off before bed and wore sun protection. Then along came Baby, and out the window went my skincare routine. Instead came the cleanse in the shower, quick slap on of moisturiser, and removal of make up [If I actually got chance to put some on that is] with one of his wipes whilst on the move.

When the lovely ladies from Arbonne asked me to review their products I wondered if I'd get chance to road test them properly... then along came a couple of Baby J free days so I decided to make the most of it and pamper myself using the samples from Arbonne. I actually had time to cleanse, tone, apply serum, eye cream and day cream which had added SPF.  I felt like a new slummy, and my skin felt lovely, I've used the products a few more times and have seen an improvement. I'm hoping to try and keep it up as much as I can with Baby J... fingers crossed.

For more information about Arbonne products please see http://www.arbonneinternational.co.uk/

 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Great splashy fun - swim toys

If you've read my blog you'll know I love taking Baby J swimming and try and take him as often as I can. I was recently asked by Prescription Swimming Goggles if I'd like to review some of their swim toys... I consulted Baby J on this one, and the idea of getting to splash about in the pool  with some fun stuff made him smile so we said yes.

I was sent 2 different toys Zoggs Seal Flips - which are little floating toys that have different seal heads on each side. The idea being that you encourage baby to blow on them to get them to flip. Now as Baby J and I had done some swimming lessons in Springfield School, he'd already seen the Seal Flips before, but hadn't really got the hang of it, however now as he's a bit older he seemed to understand a bit better what to do and had fun blowing raspberries in the water, mummy helped a little and we managed to flip them over. We also chased them round the pool a bit [rescuing them from the grasp of another eager child] As Baby J likes them so much I've let him have a couple in the bath too, which have gone down really well, Baby J is getting great at splashing and flipping them over. Great fun! The Zoggs Seal Flips are lighweight and don't store water, so after a quick pat down are easy to pop back in the swim bag and away we go.
 
The other toy we were sent was the Aqua Splats, which are friendly foam characters that can be soaked in water and thrown around. Baby J loved using them to splash and toss in the water for mummy and Baby J to chase after. The characters are really lovely, nice and colourful. I was asked in the pool by another parent where we'd go them as they looked so much fun. As with the seals I allowed Baby J to have one of the characters in the bath, and they have created lots of laughs as he attempts to sink them and uses them to bomb his ducks! Although they can get soaked the water is easily squeezed out ready to go home. Baby J also decided that he wanted to play with his starfish Aqua splat in his room, and carried it from the bathroom [who was I to say no] to his room to play with, he loves throwing it around and cuddling it [sooooo cute] and the starfish has become a firm friend. Swim toys I've learnt are not just for the water!
 
 
 
Baby J really loved the swim toys we were sent, they were  good quality, lightweight and lots of fun. Thank you Prescription Swimming Goggles for making Baby J smile and laugh in the pool and in the bath, and for introducing him to his firm friend Mr Starfish!
 
Having looked on their website,the range of products on the Prescription Swimming Goggles website is amazing, with prescription goggles for children & adults, toys, accessories and more. I was really impressed with the great range and even more impressed with the prices. Big thumbs up. Don't just take my word have a look yourselves - http://www.prescription-swimming-goggles.co.uk/index.html
 
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED!
 
 
 
 


Catching up with the Slummies

Back in January I changed jobs, and lucky for me got a job in a school... which means one thing SCHOOL HOLIDAYS! So this past week I have been off work and have had the chance to catch up with the other Slummy Mummies. I've really had fun meeting up with everyone and their babies and seeing how much they've grown and the new tricks they've learnt, my favourites have been Baby G growling like a lion, and Baby N blowing kisses to everyone - too cute! Baby J has loved seeing his little friends and all his Aunties. I've missed them all so much so this week has been great therapy. I've one more week left and hope to make the most of it by catching up with as many of the Slummies as possible.

Chillipeeps - the must have parent essential

When the lovely Claire from Chillipeeps asked the Slummy Mummies to review her wonderful product I jumped at the chance! Having seen the teats on sale in my local supermarket – I was keen to see what they are all about. The Chillipeeps teat is a teat that can be screwed onto cartons such as ‘ready formula milk’ or mineral water bottles. It comes in a stylish green pod that is easy to locate in an over flowing changing bag.  The teat is multifunctional and has different flow options too.
After the initial inspection of the teat, I gave it clean, popped it back in the pod, and wondered when an opportunity would arise that I’d need to use it? I didn’t for one moment think I’d get to road test it within 24 hours!  After a long and dreary day at work I was kindly invited to meet a friend  after work at a coffee shop, I excitedly picked up Baby J from nursery and drove into town to meet my friend, I had Baby J’s nursery bag with me so all was good…. Or so I thought until at the coffee shop I went to give Baby J a drink and realised that I hadn’t a water bottle with me, or a clean bottle. *light bulb moment* I nabbed my Chillipeeps teat out my bag [which I found fairly easy thanks to the green pod], bought a safe bottle of mineral water, fixed it on the bottle, twizzled it round to the fast flow and away we went.  Baby J got a drink, mummy got a coffee and chat everyone was happy!
After discovering what a gem the Chillipeeps teat is, I’ve been keen to spread the word and have encouraged the other Slummy Mummies to carry one in their bags. The past week I’ve been giving demo’s all round town [to the other Slummies and anyone near by] and the reaction has been really positive. Like me some of the Slummies had seen the Chillipeeps on display in the baby section of the local supermarket and had wondered about them. Now they have the chance to road test them! Watch this space for their comments coming soon….
I’m really impressed with the Chillipeeps teat, it’s a fab product that is so handy to keep with you ‘just in case’ see the website http://www.chillipeeps.com/chteats.htm for more information.
 
Slummy Mummy seal of approval – GRANTED!
 

The mountain of clothes

Baby J's baby clothes have been building up, & I never seemed to find time to sort them and put them into storage. Yesterday seemed like the perfect opportunity as Baby J was in nursery & I had the day off. The night before I bought the clothes down....there was now no avoiding it! I'd already been to the 99p shop and got some vacuum bags & so was ready to go! I sorted & stored everything by age & within 2 hours I was done. I was amazed how many clothes he had, & felt nostalgic seeing the tiny baby clothes. I was so pleased to do it & hope the bags don't explode in my attic. I vow not to let it build up again!





Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bedtime support

Following an introduction on Twitter Acosy Bumper asked if the Slummy Mummies would be interested in reviewing some of their products, and as always we said yes! We  were sent 2 items to review a foam wedge and a bumper.
 
Acosy Wedge  - is a specially designed Wedge of foam [which is cot safe] that simply fits under the matteress, ideal for when baby needs to be elevated during times of illness. When it arrived I gave it a quick check and put it in the airing cupboard wondering when I'd need to use it, and for a week I didn't, then Baby J bought home a lovely chesty cold from nursery, and was extremely bunged up. It was during one of his 'wake up's' in the night when I remember the wedge and in a bid of desperation to make him more comfy, I dragged hubby out of bed to fit it under the mattress. It worked really well, and gave Baby J the much needed elevation to make him more comfortable, helping him breathe better and drain some of the gunk from his chest. I used it for a few more nights until his chesty cold had eased. Its a horrible feeling hearing baby all bunged up, hearing him wheeze and cough during the night, before I felt so helpless, now at least I can offer him something to reduce some of his congestion.

 I was really impressed with the wedge, a health visitor had recommended in the past using a couple of phone directorys under the legs to prop up the cot at one end to help when Baby had a cold, but that was far too fiddly and I could never find 2 same size phone directorys when I needed them! Thankfully from now on I won't be needing them. Hooray!
 
The other item I was sent was Acosy Bumper - which is a length of form that is designed to lie along the edge of the bed mattress. The bumper helps prevent children rolling out of bed, and also adds a 'snuggly' aspect for children to cosy up to. Now as Baby J is still in his cot and not yet ready to move into a bed, I asked a friend who has an older child to road test this for me.
My friend was just moving her daughter into a 'big bed' and was concerned for her safety as she's a 'little wriggler' and often ends up at odd angles in the night. She gave the bumper ago [and also put some cushions along the length of the bed incase there was any rolling incidents] and was pleased to report the next morning that during the night her daughter hadn't rolled out, and instead had laid next to the bumper with her comfort teddy - big success. My friend said that she felt assured that the bumper would prevent her daughter falling out [the cushions have gone!] and begged to keep it!
 
The products are well made and well designed, and best of all  they don't cost the earth so are really affordable. Thankyou Acosy Bumpers for creating such great products.
 
 
 
Slummy Mummy seal of approval -Granted