Friday, 16 August 2013

Amelia's Interview

The hilarious Amber over at Crappy Pictures blog suggested a fun way to record a bit of your child's imagination. Interview them with deep meaningful questions and record their lovely innocent answers. So here's my interview with Amelia. I recorded the audio on my phone to just for extra prosperity

1. What is the meaning of life?
'Life is a ball.'

2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"A dinosaur"

3. What brings you the most happiness?

4. When do you feel the most loved?
"My scooter!"

5. What are you afraid of?
"I'm not frightened of anything yet"

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
"Winnie The Pooh on my high chair when I was small baby please."

7. What is the funniest word?

8. What is the hardest thing to do  
"I don’t know"
What's the easiest thing to do?
 "Puts some lights up" (She points to the wall lights)

9. What is the best thing in the world?
What is the worst thing in the world?
"I don’t know"

10. What makes you mad?
"I don’t know"

11. What is the meaning of love?
"I don’t know"

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
"Save it then buy something big, maybe a big dinosaur – Called a Scare-a- tops, the biggest dinosaur in the world."

Amber suggests asking the questions every few months or so just to see what their answers would be and they're a lovely memento to keep from your child's imagination 
Meanwhile check out Crappy Pictures for a funny, down to earth view of the everyday challenges of being a mum. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


So this is my first blog post since I started my Open University Course in March as any available time I had went on studying. I chose to study the Y183 Psychology Openings course. This course is designed to give you an introduction to studying particularly if you haven't studied for many years like me. I left school at 16 and went straight into work. I stayed at my last job for 9 years before being made redundant when i was pregnant with my daughter.

I decided to study for many reasons. firstly, I wanted to start using my brain again, being a Mum is physically challenging but much less mentally! Also, when the children start school I would like to go back to work and currently have no idea what I would like to do so I thought I would look into other options. I wanted to be able to add something new to my CV just to show that I am interested in bettering myself. And also, I wanted to set an example to my children. I don't want them to just think of me as a mum who just goes to playgroups and cooks them fish fingers!

About the course.

Once I signed up, the OU started sending me emails through with information I would need to know. I was called by a friendly lady explaining when I would receive my books and hear from my tutor and who to call should I have any problems. Shortly after I received my course materials. It was a canvas bag which contained The OU text book, the assignment booklet and a DVD. I then received an email from my tutor introducing himself saying that he would call me in due course.

My first conversation with my tutor was a brief but friendly chat where he was able to put my fears at rest. He was a friendly person who was very keen to explain that everyone works are their own pace depending on their life style. We arranged to have fortnightly calls for the duration of the course.

I got stuck into the text book and immediately found it fascinating. The text is broken up with little tasks to do which help re-enforce what you've just read and learned.  I started off by reading once the kids had gone to bed in the evening but often found I was too tired and I discovered I was able to absorb much more when I read the book during the day while Ayrton napped and Amelia was at nursery.

When it came to my first TMA (Tutor Marked Assignment) I couldn't wait to get my teeth into it. I found sticking to 1000 words a real challenge but this is where the assignments teach you to write clearly and succinctly without rambling on and on. My tutor gave me a lot of guidance on this during and after. The feedback was very detailed so I could really see where I had gone wrong and what I had done right.

By the time it came for me to do the final EMA (Examiner Marked Assignment) I felt quite nervous about submitting it I was worried about the idea of failing the course and what people would say but I realised its not about passing or failing it was about the course itself. I had gained confidence in my writing skills and evidence gathering and my tutor finished his final conversation with me by saying he fully believed in my abilities achieve the degree if I chose to.
I am going to seriously think about this but I know I wont' be ready to do it until both children are at school or nursery when I have more time to myself during the day.

On the whole I can really recommend the Openings Courses with the OU and if you're thinking about it just give it a go as there really is nothing to loose.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Follow On Milk

Since Ayrton has been born, I've always felt blessed that he's not a 'sicky' baby, having already had one that had severe reflux. So when Ayrton turned 6 months and started puking everywhere several times a day I was baffled. He also started to have very runny poo 5 or 6 times a day. At first I just dismissed it as an effect of introducing solids into his diet but it gradually got worse over the next month until he was being sick both before and after every milk feed.

I even started to wonder if he could have developed reflux, then finially something clicked and I realised that this had all started when we upgraded his formula to stage 3 Follow On milk. Ayrton was breastfed until 5 months when he self weened and I put him on Aptamil stage one until he turned 6 months when I moved him to the Follow On milk. Aptamil recommend you upgrade to this milk because it has an increased levels of Iron and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) from the omega-3 and omega-6 groups. This means your baby can have the benefits of LCPs right up to the age of one year. Apparently. There is also a slight difference in the distribution of milk protein, with the First stage being 60% whey and 40% casein and the Follow-On being 50% whey and 50% casein

However, milk companies are exploiting a loop-hole in british advertising laws which state manufacturers are not allowed to advertise formula in order to help promote breastfeeding. But it doesn't state that that Follow On milk can't be advertised. So Follow On milks are packaged slightly differently and they've thrown in a few extra minerals in order to make the product sufficiently different enough to get round the advertising laws. Except that whatever these additional minerals are, many babies are having the same reaction to it as Ayrton. A quick Google search will bring up many posts from concerned mums who've noticed a change in their babies digestion, nappies and even sleep since changing to Follow On milk.
Many health visitors will recomend there is no need for mums to change to Follow On milk but when its the same price as stage 1 with seemingly more vitamins it seems like an obvious choice.

A quick switch back to Stage 1 milk showed an immediate improvement, with Ayrton no longer being sick and pooey nappies back down to one or two a day. I even noticed the grizzling that he had started to do (that I had put down to teething) after we put him to bed in the evening stopped.

Many mums assume that at 6 months its necessary to upgrade to the next stage of formula but it really isn't. The same goes for the 1+ year 'Growing up milk'. After 12 months, cows milk is perfectly adequate and much cheaper, yet too many people are fooled into thinking this is the best option for their babies. You just have to read the packaging to understand why mums would make this assumption with statements like Aptamil Follow On can be used as a main drink, as part of a weaning diet, from 6 months, really makes you think this is an essential part of your babies diet when this really ins't the case.

Of course I'm sure there are plenty of mums out there who have moved on to Follow on milk and not experienced any changes but why risk it if it's not necessary.

Monday, 18 February 2013


When I was in hospital having my baby boy I had an epidural and I was one of the unlucky 1 in every 200 people to suffer a Post Dural Puncture Headache. When I relay my story to friends I'm always surprised that so few people have heard of this condition. So I decided to create a website for people like me who might find themselves in search of reassurance and to raise awareness of this condition in the hopes that a quick diagnosis can be made.

You can view the website here where you can learn more about this condition and its effects. 
I wasn't diagnosed for nearly 36 hours after the birth of my son so during that time I was in a lot of pain and bed bound. The staff in the hospital were very unsupportive and refused to help me with anything as they wanted the bed back. Once I was diagnosed with PDPH they were suddenly a lot more helpful. If I had been diagnosed sooner, I might have been able to get home sooner to enjoy being with my new baby. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Cot Wrap

I have recently purchased a Safe Dreams 4 sided Cot wrap because Ayrton kept rolling around in his cot and getting his little legs jammed in between the cot bars.

When the wrap arrived, packaged neatly in a plastic zip-up bag, I pulled the wrap out and immediately went up to fit it on Ayrton's cot. However, I found I really did need to read the instructions to make sure I was fitting it properly. It does work best when fitted they way they advise which only takes a few minutes.

The cot wrap is made of breathable, soft cotton so if baby falls asleep with his face up against it you don't need to worry, and it's machine washable too.

Theres no chance of your baby climbing on it due to the way its fitted which means it would fold under babys weight if they tried to stand on it. The Cot Wrap is a brilliant alternative to the conventional un-safe cot bumpers that sag down and Ayrton hasn't got his legs stuck since we've fitted it.

Safe Dreams Cot Wraps are available as 2 sided or 4 sided in White, Ivory, Pink, Blue, Grey, and Green.
They start from £21.99 and are widely available online. I purchased mine from the lovely RonniBobs where they offer free and fast delivery.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Back 2 Skool

Recently I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do with myself when the kids have grown up and are going to school. I've been thinking I might go and help out at their school or a local school but the more I look into this the more I realise every mum wants to do this because of the hours and convenience. Plus when I do want to go back into work, I think I will struggle to get a job when I've been out of work for the best part of ten years.

So after chatting to the other half about this I've been thinking about Adult Education. My interests are in Advertising, Marketing and as Daniel put it - people. So I've thinking about Psychology with a view to linking into to marketing. I'm not sure how that will work yet but I think I'll be studying mostly in the evening when the kids are in bed. Its only supposed to require 8-10 hours a week so it sounds quite gentle and should be manageable  If I choose to do the degree I will have to find more hours but I will cross that bridge when I come to it!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A battle of wills

Today, while picking up Amelia from nursery she had a total meltdown about not wanting to wear her coat outside. Its currently -3 degrees so I was instant she wear her coat just till we get to the car, but it was too late. She went into full on screaming and throwing herself on the floor mode. I felt totally judged by all the other mums around me, even though they probably weren't judging me in any way but I felt like I had to stick to my guns, I wasn't going to back down and I think I may have even said the words "you're not going to win this!" So I'm literally wrestling with her and I managing to get one arm in a sleeve and she wriggles it out while I'm trying to get the other one in. At this point I decided the other mums had had enough of a show in How not to manage a tantrum and I just scooped her up and carried her out, while trying to push the buggy out and carry the various buts of arts and crafts she had been ejected with.
I managed to carry her under one arm kicking and screaming and squirming until she slid out of her coat as we crossed the road. In a bid to catch her  and get her out of the road, the buggy rolled into our parked car and poor Ayrton just looked at me like this is an everyday occurrence (Which I assure you its not!) She sobbed all the way home and is now sleeping soundly in her bed.

Now I've had time to wind down I realise the error of my ways. I should have just let her go out without her coat on. It was a one minute walk to the car and she was unlikely to have caught hypothermia in that time. I was so focused on not giving in to the tantrum that I forgot my mantra of pick your battles. Yes I may have somewhat won this one but was it worth it? No, and this was certainly not a battle I needed to fight.

Now in order to mend some bridges and ease my guilt I've got an afternoon of cake baking planned for us.