Tuesday, 18 June 2019

What We're Reading - The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter

If you have never heard of The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet you've either been living under a rock or your not a parent. The book written by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter hit it big time with children all across the world and now have several books in the series. We actually own several of the Dinosaur That Pooped books and they are always a massive hit! In fact I had to double check that we hadn't shared any before in our What We're Reading posts.

The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet has always been well loved in our house. When we first got it Dylan would choose it nightly as our bedtime story. Over time it's not been read as much as it was in the beginning but it regularly features as the bedtime story of choice. This last month has been one of those times and Dylan has chosen it as his favourite of the month. 

The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet is about a little boy called Danny and his pet dinosaur who are bored one day. They take a trip to the science museum and end up going on a wonderful adventure in a rocket ship to space! They run into trouble when his pet dinosaur gets hungry and eats everything it can find. How will Danny and Dinosaur get home from space?

It's pretty obvious that there is a lot of poop talk involved in this story and honestly it's pretty much Dylan's favourite part! He loves to shout all the toilet related words and phrases as we read along. 

Throughout the whole story of The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet the writing follows a lovely rhyming rhythm. Each page flows so well into the next so the story is very easy to read while having fun and adding a little extra emphasis to all the gross or exciting parts. 

Each page inside the book brings the story to life through beautiful, bright illustrations. Dylan loves to spot things on each page and will often be found with the book in bed after he's fallen asleep looking at the pages. The bright and simple design is lovely while still depicting everything that happens in the story with every detail you imagine it needs. 

Over all I have to say even Simon and I enjoy The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet .It's a perfect book for children who enjoy toilet humour. It is not a requirement with so much to love about Danny and his pet dinosaur that I am sure most children will enjoy the book.

You can purchase The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter for £5.24 from Amazon.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Baby Avery at One Month Old

I can't believe I am already sat here writing up Avery's first monthly update. He's already one whole month old! He was born on May 1st and now we've reached June which feels impossible. In the same way it feels as though he has always been here. He may have given our lives a big shake up but he's fitted in without a thought and I can't really imagine life without all three little people running around now!

 Avery is so little yet we already see so much of his personality, he's such a content baby who loves to be cuddled. It's early days and I know that over time his little personality will really start to develop and show. I'm excited to find out who he will be but for now I am happy to wait and watch as he grows and changes through these early days.

Through the first week or so Avery slept really well at night. He woke every three hours to have a feed and would drift back off easily. The only exception in the early days was that he would have his own little 'witching hour' when he just stayed awake for no real reason being a little fussy in the middle of the night. He has grown out of that little phase and now I'm finding we are generally up for a fair amount of the night. He will sleep well once he goes down however getting him to go down isn't easy. I'm hoping this is just another little phase and he'll find a proper night time pattern again soon. 

During the day Avery has several long naps and is usually only awake for around two to three hours. His awake time is slowly increasing as time goes by and he's more alert during the awake time now than a week or two ago. 

Physical Ability
At just one month old it's rather astonishing what a baby can do. Avery has been able to lift his head for a few seconds since he was born, over this month he's increased his strength and control when he lifts his head up as well as increasing the length of time he holds it up. He seems to enjoy tummy time for a minute or two so far.

He has a pretty good grasp, he'll hold on to your finger, blankets, clothing and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on. 

Avery is now able to move around if he really wants to, he has figured out that moving his body around and squirming can help get him where he wants to be. It's making nappy changes quite interesting at the minute!

There are so many milestones to share with Avery over the last month with his first day and night at home, meeting Scarlet and Dylan for the first time, reaching his birth weight are all milestones we saw during the first week after he was born. 
Over the rest of the month we have enjoyed watching as he had his first tummy time, started to grasp onto fingers, clothing and blankets as well as starting to discover the world around him. 

During the first few days of life Avery developed a little jaundice which for small babies who are born early is pretty normal. It's gone now and it wasn't anything to worry about,his levels stayed very low and only ever reached just over 80 which is fairly low. 

Quite recently we all caught a cold type bug that Avery also got a little bit of. Luckily he didn't seem to catch the whole bug and just got a bit of a runny nose. It did make feeding during the night a little harder but we did okay and he wasn't phased at all by it.

Avery has his first feed in the time not long after he was born. We've been breastfeeding since and he's done amazingly well. He latched on well the first feed and hasn't had any latch problems at all. We've been lucky that he's taken well to breastfeeding from the start.

The only problem we've had at all is when he lost over 10% of his body weight at 3 days old and had to be given some expressed milk top ups to help him start getting back up towards his birth weight  again. All three of my children have had to have expressed milk top ups at 3 days old and Avery much like his siblings has thrived ever since. He did only have a few top ups and since he's gained back his birth weight and much more! He'll be due to get weighed in around two weeks time and was last weighed around 2 and a half weeks old when he was over 7 pounds! Which is amazing to think since he was only 6 pounds 2 ounces when he was born. 

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Win one of two personalised copies of "Goes to Sleep" book from Little Creatures {Giveaway}

In our house bedtime is always accompanied by a book to read together. It's not always guaranteed that the books will help in the getting to sleep department, more often than not everyone is still awake when we finish the books. Finding a book that children enjoy and which helps them drop off is no mean feat. It is however important. Having a good bedtime routine that helps to wind the whole family down for night time has more of an impact than you might think. A time without technology and outside influences to simply take a moment and enjoy a bedtime story can create precious memories and help with the bond.

It's here that Little Creatures are making a difference. They create personalised children's books using leading research to help combat and solve real problems faced by parents and children. They work with leading experts in paediatrics as well as The Children's Sleep Charity. It's through these connections and research that the book Goes to Sleep was born. It was created by co founders Kasia Dudziuk (illustrator) and George Berkowski (Author) with the intention of getting children the best possible nights sleep. Which in turn helps to get parents the best night sleep too. 

Goes to Sleep is a story that follows your child as they complete a bedtime routine before hopping into bed and drifting off to sleep. They'll fly off on a cloud and dream of great adventures including meeting a gorilla,elephant and many more animals who have had a very busy day. They're all staring to feel tired out and ready to fall asleep. 

The personalisation of the book Goes to Sleep is more than just a name inside the pages. Not only is your child's name added to the cover and story but your able to add many more personal touches to really help bring the whole thing to life for your child. You can add your child's hair colour and skin tone to really bring them into the books illustrations. 

The Goes to Sleep book would be a lovely addition to any child's bedtime routine. 
You can purchase a personalised Goes to Sleep book from £16.99.

Little Creatures are giving one of our readers the chance to win their own copy of Goes to Sleep which can be personalised for any child you like. 
Enter using the Gleam widget below.

Good Luck!

Terms and Conditions:
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • There will be two winners who will each receive a personalised copy of "Goes to Sleep"
  • The prize will be sent directly from the PR.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

This Noisy Isle, a treasure hunt show at Brighton Fringe {Giveaway}

Take a different look at the world through the exciting, immersive theatre and street games as they mix together in the treasure hunting theatre show, This Noisy Isle. Created by Spun Glass Theatre for ages 7 - 11 years old, This Noisy Isle was inspired by The Tempest.

Taking the journey through This Noisy Isle aims to bring the younger audience more understanding on the concept of human displacement and the challenges the UK's migrants face. With over 65 million people in the world being displaced This Noisy Isle wants to highlight and teach children about this social concern. By using poetry, magic and the excitement of adventure to share the real challenges faced by migrants and refugees who enter into a new country. A whole new world in a way.

This Noisy Isle is a show like no other, it uses a unique blend of immersive street theatre and street games to bring the whole show to live with the audience in the story. You'll go on an outdoor adventure with puzzles. You'll need to steer your team through some choppy waters in order to find a new home. Miranda, Caliban, Prospero and Ariel will lead you through the treasure hunt and help you learn about how people who are displaced integrate to new languages and cultures in their new homes.

This Noisy Isle is going to be showing at Brighton Fringe between the 31st of May and the 2nd of June.
You can purchase tickets to see This Noisy Isle at £5 for a child, £10 for an Adult, £8 for concessions or £20 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.)

We have an exciting giveaway with one lucky reader winning a Family Ticket to see This Noisy Isle at Brighton Fringe on the 2nd of June at 12pm. To be in with a chance to win enter the giveaway using the Gleam widget below. Please take a minute to read the terms and conditions before entering.

  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • There will be one winner who will receive a family ticket to a showing of
    This Noisy Isle at Brighton Fringe on  Sunday the 2nd of June at 12pm.
  • The prize will be sent directly from the PR.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: This is a brand collaboration giveaway, prize is provided by the PR.
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

DIY Superhero Canvas Art for Children

Over the last few weeks we've been redecorating the children's room and getting it ready for Dylan and Scarlet to share. It has meant that in some areas we've kept everything very neutral and in others it seems a little more on the empty side. In a bid to add a little personality back in we decided to create something to add to the wall along their beds. We have got some wall stickers for part of the room but this space was somewhere to add a little more personal touch. 

I came up with the idea for making our own Superhero Canvas Art after I had seen a little valentines DIY ideas video on Facebook where they created a heart shape on a canvas with paper before adding random paint strokes and blobs all around. The finished product was lovely and it seemed like a lot of fun which Dylan could join in with.

You will need:
Small square canvases (you can change the size or shape if you wish) 
various colours of paint
cotton wool balls
clothes pegs
masking tape

We set to work with my idea and first we had to decide what we wanted the focus to be. I went with the really easy option of superhero logos, the not so easy task for Dylan however was choosing which superheroes we would use! After a while we decided on a few and got to work drawing the logo shape out on paper and cutting each out. Once cut we taped it down with a piece of masking tape folded over. Ensure the tape doesn't come over any lines around or in the design itself. This is really important. 

 Once we had our canvas prepared we needed to get the colours of paint we needed. I had already decided we would use each superheroes iconic colours to make the design really pop. We took the cotton wool balls and added one to the end of a peg for each colour of paint. 

Now comes the fun part, using the cotton wool on the peg as a dabbing type of paintbrush you need to cover the whole canvas. Ensure you use several colours or shades to get a good effect and try to keep the colours well spread out over the whole canvas with space to add other colours or shades in between. Your main aim is to cover all the white on the canvas. Do take more care around the superhero logo to ensure it doesn't move around or you may not get the effect you want.

You now have two options, allow the paint to dry first or remove the logo before the paint has dried. We have tried both methods and I did prefer to do it while the paint was wet as on a few we did manage to get some paint under and removing when dried made this very difficult.

Once the canvas is dried your ready to hang up your artwork and enjoy it! 

I'd love to see the results if you decide to make your own.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Welcome To The World Baby Avery - Birth Announcement

This time two weeks ago I was getting the final preparations completed before our induction date! In the end we didn't actually need induced and our baby boy was born just a few hours after our planned induction. We've now had our littlest baby boy with us for almost two whole weeks and I think it's finally time that we shared the news on here!

Meet baby Avery. He's just perfect and weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces when he was born. We only stayed in hospital for one night before we got to head home. Which has been totally different to when Dylan and Scarlet where born.

He's been getting cuddles at every opportunity from his big brother and sister who are just as equally smitten with him as me and Simon are! 

I did finally remember to share my final bump update which had been written up before I gave birth. Over the coming weeks I will share my birth story too. 

Friday, 10 May 2019

Bump Update Baby #3 - 36 & 37 weeks

I can't believe I'm actually sat here writing up my last bump update!In the next few days we will be meeting our little baby boy. (He arrived before this post was actually due to go live and has now been with us for over a week!) We are all so excited but I am feeling a little bittersweet that these few days will be the last of pregnancy for me. Strange as I never felt this way with Scarlet despite planning to be finished with just her and Dylan. I guess I never got a date and never really saw the end coming in a way?

Baby 36 weeks - At 36 weeks baby is measuring up to be roughly  50 cm and weighs a little over 6 pounds according to the scan we had.

Now it's all about getting bigger. Over this week babies lungs will finish developing enough to breathe in air after delivery. It's at this point we see baby dropping down into my pelvis to be ready for delivery. 

In preparation for delivery they'll be shedding all the downy hair that has been protecting their skin inside too. 

Baby 37 weeks - Now baby is considered 'full term'! and measures up to be around the size of a Honeydew Melon and weighs about 6.5 pounds (although we've been measuring up a little higher than my app for most of this pregnancy). From now baby will gain about half an ounce a day too. Isn't that amazing?

Baby should be in the engaged position now and is getting himself ready for delivery day! Everything should be developed enough for live outside the womb. Although baby is now ready to meet the world he is still developing his immune system which will continue right up through those early months and years too. 

Me 36 & 37 weeks - The last two weeks I have really noticed that baby has moved down into my pelvis. My bump has dropped a fair bit but I'm feeling more and more uncomfortable as time goes on now. I've been lucky in not having any braxton hicks contractions yet in this pregnancy. 

With the timer on count down I feel like I should be enjoying this stage a bit more but life with two little ones is crazy and add in wanting to get the house sorted (thank you for nesting!) in some sort of crazy fashion that has me cleaning at most available moments. Although I do want to be sure I'm still taking time for me and for both Dylan and Scarlet. I must admit it's quite a juggling act and a few things do slip in the end. 

As I sit typing this up I do feel like I have most things ready now. We have a plan, bags are packed, house is almost completely sorted out, prams are ready and we can relax a little now. 

Over the last two weeks my itching has been relatively mild too. My bile acid levels are coming down and seem to be staying under 40 which is great news! I'm still taking my medication and it seems like it is all working fine. I've had appointments at the hospital for bloods and last week we had our final scan. Everything looked good and baby is doing just as he should. Now all that is left to do is wait. I won't have any more blood tests done now until 14 days after I've given birth. They'll do this final test to ensure that my liver functions go back to normal after pregnancy and that I don't need any further treatment for anything. 

Now it's just a waiting game. I'm rather excited to think that the next time I sit here to type out a post it'll be a birth announcement!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Buttonbag Dinosaur First Sewing Kit Review

Finding new fun crafts and activities for Dylan can be a challenge. We've done so many things over the years now and I am always weary of what might be too old for him. With his ever improving fine motor skills and a love for making things with his hands. I was actually really excited when Buttonbag got in touch as their products all sounded perfect for us.

Buttonbag was founded back in 2007 by Sara Duchers and Sarah Marks who started the company from their kitchen table and sold their craft kits from a little market stall. By 2008 they upgraded to a design studio and are now stocked in hundreds of stores across the UK. Each of the Buttonbag products is designed in the UK with children at the forefront of their minds. Their kits will all contain every item you need to complete a whole project right down to the sewing needle!

 I was really excited to see their Dinosaur First Sewing Kit. I already sew myself and Dylan has always found it interesting, he'll ask questions and enjoys watching me sew. I thought the kit would be the perfect introduction to sewing for him since it is made for children aged 4+. 

Inside our Buttonbag kit we found two green felt dinosaur shapes, two large plastic safety sewing needles that are perfect for children, 5 red felt hexagon shapes with sticky backs, 1 red and 1 yellow bundles of string, a bag of padding for inside, 2 googly eyes and the instruction leaflet.

Getting started is so easy, Dylan was really excited and ready to jump straight in! First thing to do is to thread the needle. Dylan found it easy to do with the large eye on the needle and I tied a little knot to keep the thread from slipping back off.

Once we had a threaded needle it was all down to sewing around the dinosaur shape. We tied a big knot in the end of the tread to stop it slipping through the pre-made holes in the dinosaur. Dylan got to work sewing his way around the dinosaur and he really enjoyed watching as the thread made it's way around the shape. He did concentrate a fair bit with ensuring he didn't miss a hole. 

We stopped with a space still left to sew between the last two spikes on the dinosaurs back. We used this space to pack in all the padding and pushing it down into all the little corners. We did find that our little knot slipped through one of the holes at the start but stayed put after that. 

Once we had all the padding inside Dylan set to work closing up the hole to meet up with the first hole we put the string through at the beginning. I used this to tie the string together and create a continuous loop of string. It prevents the need to have more than one knot and also means they won't slip through any holes.

Now it was time to get sticking! Dylan struggled a little with getting the backing off the Dinosaur spike shapes and I had to help a little using my nails. He took great pride in choosing where each needed placed on the dinosaur and sticking them in place.

Finally he added an eye onto each side of the dinosaur's head and his little Buttonbag Dinosaur was complete! All in all it took around half an hour from start to finish so it is perfect as a nice activity for one on one time without being too long to take the whole day. 

We both really enjoyed the activity together. There was a whole lot of fun and talk about dinosaurs while he worked and he was engrossed the entire time. With so little preparation needed and such a wonderful outcome of something that Dylan has made himself I am so happy with the Buttonbag kit. I cannot recommend them enough. They have everything you need to create something special and you don't need to be crafty in any way to be able to enjoy them. The Dinosaur First Sewing Kit is perfect for children to experience sewing for the first time and includes so much fun.

You can purchase a Dinosaur First Sewing Kit from Buttonbag  for £9.99.

Disclaimer: *we received this product in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What's in my hospital bag

This may be my third pregnancy and also my third hospital bag however I've never actually taken the time to share what I like to take with me into hospital when I go into labour. With Dylan the bag was huge and literally held every single thing I could possibly imagine needing for me or for him. Things really downgraded with Scarlet since I really didn't need to bring the entire house with us. A weekend hold all and her changing bag was plenty to keep us going for the initial first days, especially since I didn't actually have it during my labour with Scarlet.

I thought I would do a quick and relatively short post on the things I plan to bring with me for labour and the day or two after I give birth.

First up is what I have packed in my bag. I'll start with the obvious, PJ's I have three pairs going in, two will be the usual cotton kind which I find comfortable but they also minimise my itching which will still be around after I give birth. The other pair is more a very comfortable casual pair of wide leg trousers which I love and find extra comfortable along with a vest top which will be good for breast feeding. There is a lightweight housecoat in the bag too. I have put in an old night dress which I can also wear during labour although I've mostly worn what I had on when we arrived with Dylan and Scarlet.

I have also included this pair of soft slippers which I picked up from LIDL and three pairs of trainer socks. I find I prefer to wear socks all the time at the hospital and have my slippers should I need to use the bathroom etc. Bending down to get my slippers on in the first day or two is hard and having socks means I don't have to do it all the time. I have also packed away 5 pairs of 'granny' type knickers which are ultra comfy for after giving birth. Along with 4 nursing bras to wear. I have brought more than I probably need but I'd like to have spares too. I haven't pictured my actual underwear as you probably don't need to see it.

Another fairly obvious item is towels, I am bringing two with me for the first bath after I give birth and I've made sure they are comfortable ones which I like. It's all about the comfort in those first few hours!

Now onto my toiletries bag. Inside I have included small travel bottles which I picked up from Poundland in a set. Each contains shampoo, conditioner or shower gel (missing in the photo) and I have also included the little pump bottle which has antibacterial hand soap. Each is labelled on the bottom with marker but it means that I can bring the brands I use which don't react with my skin and the soap at the hospital won't make my hands hurt from eczema.

I've put in some unscented deodorant to use as I know baby needs to be able to smell my scent to have a good start and chance with breastfeeding. There is also a new toothbrush and a travel sized toothpaste (not pictured as I totally forgot that until now. Whoops!). I've included two lip balms as well for during labour and after. One is tinted but has a different texture when it is applied which I sometimes prefer to the Dr PawPaw. Finally there is a set of headbands (this is literally the only thing I really wanted from my hospital bag when I was in labour with Scarlet!), hair baubles and a hairbrush which I've put inside my hospital bag itself for easy access in labour.

I have popped in a packet of maternity pads from ASDA, the hospital do prefer you to use their pads which will be in each bedside locker however I like to bring a few as a back up in case I really need one and don't have to wait for some should those run out. I've also got a box of breast pads in there which will likely get me through the initial first few days. I plan to use reusable pads at home but I don't want to add to the washing load that will be waiting for us at home.

Finally I have my going home outfit which I completely forgot to get a photo of before packing it away. It is just a nice comfortable top which is loose fitting and my softest pair of jegging type jeans. I can always change this depending on how I feel as Simon can bring up something else should I want it.

There will a few last minute items which I'll need to pack when the time comes which include my phone, purse, hospital notes, camera and chargers.

Inside the bag for baby is a few muslin squares, I have only taken a photo of two but I have got 3 or 4 in there. I find them really handy for nappy changes on the bed, cleaning up baby sick and various other jobs so I always have a few with me.

I have included what should be his first hat (crocheted as I remember they need to wear a warm hat for a few hours after birth.), two cotton hats, two pairs of mittens and two pairs socks.

I went with a general number of 5-6 vests and sleepsuits in sizes newborn and 0-3 months. I do think those will be enough for a day or two at hospital after he is born.

We will be taking one pack of newborn nappies from ASDA, a pack of WaterWipes, a pack of cotton wool pads (not pictured) and some Green People nipple cream which I know I will need in the days after giving birth and starting to breastfeed.

Finally in the bag for baby is his going home outfit, a little cardigan type jacket, a light blanket and our little 'Hello World' milestone circle.

This isn't all that I have packed ready for delivery day as I will have a small bag of items packed for Dylan and Scarlet to go to our friends house while I am in labour. I will also have a small bag full of extra essentials like baby vests, sleepsuits, muslin squares and nappies along with PJ's, underwear, maternity pads, breast pads ready for Simon to bring up to the hospital should we need to stay for longer than a day or two. I have ended up staying in hospital for 5 days after both Dylan and Scarlet's births so I want to be prepared for that should it be needed.



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