Christmas tag

I was kindly tagged by 2 of my favourite bloggers – Jenna at TinyFootsteps and Katie at Life on Vista Street to do this Christmas Tag…. with just 6 sleeps to go I’m as unprepared as ever… still have a few presents left to buy, still have some Christmas cards to send and the tree is still in the loft!

I will be glad when the big day is here – we’re off to the in-laws for the day so no cooking for me :) This year is baby W’s first Christmas so hopefully we will have a lovely day with lots of fun memories!

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?

I think it has to be ‘Home Alone’ as that reminds me of Christmases when I was growing up – I think it came out when I was about 10, we had it on video and would watch it a lot! I also love Elf, and Love Actually.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning, of course – always have, always will ;)
 3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I’m not sure if I have a stand-out one to be honest…. all the childhood Christmases blur into one.. and they were defo the best, I think Christmas is so magical when you’re a kid! Although just thinking about it, last year I saw the Coca-Cola Christmas lorry and that was pretty magical :)
4. Favourite festive food?
Roast dinner is my favourite meal anyway, so Christmas dinner is just awesome :) turkey with cranberry sauce and bread sauce, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips yummmmmm

I also love the endless supply of mini sausage rolls that my mum has every Christmas!
5. Favourite Christmas gift?

Again, I can’t think of a stand-out gift… I used to love getting Friends box sets when I was in my late teens! These days I have everything I need/want and so I’m happy with bubble baths and smelly candles… they are my treats!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
I love all the smells associated with Christmas and always have some Christmas-themed candles on the go… spiced apple, mulled wine, cinnamon, oranges…. lush!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

I don’t think we did when we were kids. When I was a student I was always working in retail til quite late on Christmas Eve. After that, there were a few years when I’d go out in my hometown (Aberystwyth) for a few drinks on Christmas Eve with my sister :) It will be interesting to see what our family traditions with baby W will be!

8. What tops your tree?
We still haven’t put the tree up this year yet so I can’t actually remember what we have on there – I know 2 years ago we didn’t have an angel or star so we put a Hello Kitty teddy there instead!

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
It’s not crazy, wild or extravagant…. all I ever wanted was a Mr Frosty toy and never got one :(

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?
It has to the sense of togetherness, catching up with family and friends.

What are your answers to these questions?! Pop your blog links in the comments! Merry Christmas y’all x

Posted in get to know me better | 3 Comments

Baby’s first Christmas… wardrobe!

We’re fast approaching baby W’s first Christmas. I’ve only bought him one present so far (a ‘Lostmyname’ personalised book) but we do have a few things for him to wear…

I picked this up in the Next sale months ago (£5 I think) – a cute little Santa top and hat – perfect for Christmas day itself. I fear the hat will be too small for him – his head is a bit big in proportion to the rest of him :)

Santa outfit from Next

Santa outfit from Next

My other half bought him this gorgeous reindeer outfit from Mothercare – it feels so cosy and I think he will look adorable in it! Perfect for Christmas Eve or Boxing day?

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And a couple of jumpers for the run-up to Christmas – the one on the right is from M & Co (£15 – I was exchanging a gift that was too small) –   And my mum bought him the one on the left from Tesco (£8) – it’s a size too big at 9-12 months but Tesco sizes tend to be small so we might be ok :)

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And this one is a gift from a cousin and it’s made by a company called ‘Santa’s little helpers’. Can’t wait to see him in these with his jeans on :)

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What will your baby wear on Christmas day?!

Posted in fashion, haul, parenting | 2 Comments

How much does a baby cost in the first six months?

As we’ve hit the 6 month mark and I start preparing to go back to work, it’s got me thinking about money – I haven’t been totting up how much we’ve spent on baby W as we go so though I’d try and remember it all and probably give myself a heart attack in the process…

Nursery

Cot bed – Mothercare summer oak – £160

Chest of drawers/changing unit – Mothercare Summer Oak – £200

Mattresses – £100 (1 for cot bed, 1 for moses basket)

Bedding – £20? (1 set for cot bed, 1 set for moses basket)

Wall stickers – £40

Lamp – £20

Sleeping

Gro bags – £40

Ewan the dream sheep – £40

Tranquil Turtle sleep aid – £40

Angelcare monitor – £80 (this is one of the worst decisions I made, hardly used it and now W rolls around rendering the sensor mat pointless!)

Bathtime

Bath, duck thermometer, sponge support, sponges – £40?

Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!

Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!

Play-time

Fisherprice Woody friends bouncer – £30

Fisherprice rainforest playgym – £40

Fisherprice rainforest jumperoo – £70

Some Lamaze toys – £20

Snug chair – £30

Changing equipment

Changing bag – £30

Changing mat – £5

Nappies – now I reckon on average we got through a box of Pampers every month – we used more at the start when we were changing nappies every half hour, but we now only change his nappy a couple of times during the day and once at night – so I estimate we’ve spent £90 max

Baby wipes – we use Huggies pure wipes and, as with nappies, stock up on boxes during supermarket baby events – I reckon we’ve spent a max of £55 here (that’s assuming 1 box per month when actually I think we’ve used a lot less but hard to remember)

Bepanthen nappy cream – £20ish

Nappy bags – £10ish (again, we use far less of these now but when we do, I prefer the thicker, scented, more expensive ones!)

Feeding

Tommee tippee steriliser kit (inc bottles etc) – £70

Travel steriliser – £12

Breast shells – £13

Breast pads – I have no idea how much I’ve spent on these – £40?

Breast milk storage bags – again no idea – £40?

We now do combination feeding and buy ready-prepared Aptamil milk for the evening feed – I reckon about a tenner a week for the last 3 months, plus a bit more for day feeds when someone else is looking after him –  £120 (ouch!!)

Weaning

3x books – £20

Bibs – £4

Highchair – not bought yet but plan to buy the Ikea one at £18

Food – as we’re doing baby-led weaning, we’re not spending any extra on food but I have bought a few other bits ‘n’ bobs e.g. baby rice, baby rice cakes etc – £5

Cutlery set and dinky cup – £10

Teething

Sophie le Giraffe x 2 (we lost 1!) – £34

Then I reckon we spent £30 on Calpol, Nurofen, Anbesol, Bonjela, teething powders and a couple of teething chewy things

 

John Lewis snowsuit

John Lewis snowsuit

Clothes

I like to think I’ve saved in this area where others might go mad!

Before baby W arrived we spent about £50 on neutral, newborn babygros etc

0-3 months – we got through purely on gifts and the stuff we bought before he was born (and it was a hot summer so he mostly lived in vests!)

3-6 months – got through on gifts, hand-me-downs from a friend and a £20 haul from an NCT nearly new sale, oh and £40 on Next sleepsuits! And a Halloween outfit for £6!

Now as he’s getting into 6-9 months, I’ve just spent £28 on a snowsuit and £13 on a Tesco outfit, £21 in Mamas and Papas, and £13 on another NCT nearly new haul.

 

Other

Photo shoot – we spent about £200 on a newborn photo shoot (I know it’s a lot but we bought all of the digital copies as opposed to just buying a small number!)

Classes – baby massage (£50), tinytalk sign class (£55), 20 x swimming lessons (£200) mother and baby yoga (£96 for 12 lessons)

Thank you cards – (using photos from the shoot) – £50

What we didn’t have to pay for:

Bugaboo cameleon – we bought this second-hand for £350 but our parents kindly bought it for us. Oh that’s just reminded me, I bought my other half a Babybjorn miracle carrier = £70

Moses basket and car seat were kindly lent to us by friends

Breast pumps – I was gifted a manual, and electric pump

So…… the grand total is…..

 

£2,518!

Does this surprise you?! Did I forget anything? How much do you think you spent in the baby’s first six months?!

Posted in parenting | 8 Comments

Baby W and Mummy’s 7 month update

Last week baby W turned 7 months old eeeek! Before starting this draft I thought not much had changed in the last month but I guess it has….

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Weight/health etc

I’ve had him weighed twice in the last month – he now weighs 16lb 8oz – every so slightly under the 25th percentile where he’s been since he was born. He now has 5 teeth! (2 more than the last update!)

He’s had a healthy-ish month apart from a lingering cough/cold that he’s had on and off for a couple of months now. Keeps coming and going (and is at its worst when he’s teething). You’ll be pleased to know that he poos 2 or 3 times a week now instead the once a week explosion he was doing :)

Milestones

He’s pretty good at sitting up unaided now.

Still lots of rolling and clambering around but not crawling yet.

He loves standing up (with this hands being held!) and he still loves bouncing whether being held or in his jumperoo!

Feeding and weaning

The biggest change this month has been that we started weaning. You can read our latest update here – it was going quite well until I wrote that update but since then he’s gone off his food a bit… unless it’s a finger of toast… I don’t think he’s ever refused buttery toast!

He still has 4 milk feeds a day – one first thing, one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon and one before bed (about 6.30/7pm) – still combination feeding, mostly breast but a bit of formula too :)

Weekly and daily routine

I’m finding our daily routine has been all over the place since we started weaning – as feeding can take an extra hour or two of our day (including prep) so has a knock-on effect on naps etc.

Our weekly routine stayed much the same as what I wrote in our last update but as we enter December, the classes and groups are coming to an end in line with the end of my maternity leave :/

Sleep

You’ll know that we’ve never had great sleep, well in the last month we definitely turned a corner. We had one night where baby W slept through til 5.45am! And a couple of nights he’s slept through til 4/5.

I was always against ‘sleep training’ as I thought babies will sleep through when they’re ready. However, I was also aware that baby W waking every 2-3 hours was not for hunger, it was just for comfort. Through a mix of mothering instinct, the book ‘no-cry sleep solution’ and emailing Lisa Clegg (blissful baby expert) we tried:

-giving him water instead of milk during the night

-and/or getting him back to sleep through shushing/patting him etc, then leaving him (I often find that he cries more when I’m in the room with him!)

And these have largely worked although teething and coughing get in the way quite a lot :(

So we’re not quite there, but we’ve definitely turned a corner!

What else we’ve been up to

  • This month my other half was away a LOT with work, and had a work-related exam. Tough times for us all, as he was busy and stressed and missing spending time with W. And I felt like a single mum for a good few weeks – very tiring!
  • I had my first weekend away from baby W and survived! (actually really enjoyed it! Read about it here)
  • Lots of settling in sessions with the childminder, including a full day – these have gone really well, I’ve felt fine leaving him and he’s had a good time over there!
  • Keeping in touch days with work – I did a couple of these over the last month – was nice to catch up with everyone :)
  • Lots of autumnal walks with baby W and baby W had an underwater photoshoot!

 

Posted in my regular updates, parenting | 8 Comments

Q&A Interview with Julie Clark (author of Baby-led weaning: step by step)

As you know, we recently started weaning and we’re going with a mostly baby-led weaning approach (with some limited spoon feeding). On our journey we bought a really useful book and by chance the author, Julie Clarke, got in touch with me on Twitter and I asked here if she’d be happy to do an interview for the blog… well here it is :)

Our books about weaning

How did you become an expert/interested in baby-led weaning?

This is actually quite an interesting question and my answer may surprise you! Before I had my first baby I had not even heard of BLW. Being a Nutritionist I was determined to plan and eat well before my pregnancy and during my pregnancy but then reality hit me and I found myself craving things I wouldn’t normally eat such as ham and cheese sandwiches and my perfect nutrition went out of the window. I then had the most horrendous labour ending in an emergency (& very distressing) c-section.  I then struggled with breast-feeding and bonding with my baby and the vision I had of the perfect pregnancy and delivery left me feeling such a failure. I was then determined not to fail at the weaning stage and wanted to introduce my baby to a good whole food diet. It was by chance that my health visitor asked me if I’d heard of BLW. As mentioned before I had not so she simply said look it up I think it will resonate with you. Well, resonate doesn’t even begin to sum it up, it was like a light bulb moment for me and it has since changed the direction of my career. I love BLW, as a Nutritionist I obviously know what foods a baby needs as well as their nutrition requirements but using a method that encourages a good relationship with food, reduces the risk of being fussy and obesity is absolutely huge. I found that my friends with babies were asking me lots of questions and asking me for recipes and eventually they persuaded me to run a course. I guess becoming an expert in this subject comes from my experiencing with both my children, my knowledge of nutrition and the fact that I have helped 300 or more parents wean their children this way.

I’m guessing that spoon-feeding is the norm, but have you seen growing interest in baby-led weaning? if so, why do you think that is?

BLW is growing in popularity at a rapid rate. It seems to stem from the fact that we used to wean at 4 months when a baby could not feed themselves and purees/spoon feeding was used but move on 6 months and many babies are refusing to be spoon fed. At 6 months the vast majority of babies are more than ready and capable of feeding themselves. They do not want to be spoon fed and this had led many parents down the road of BLW. The method is not new but the phrase is and as more people get to know about it and see the benefits the more the word is spread. You also have people like me who are looking at ways to improve a child’s relationship with food and getting in at the weaning stage is the best possible place to start.

I’ve seen a bit of snobbery among mums who BLW, they can look down on mums who give babies puree, I would have thought they give BLW a bad name – what’s your view on this?

I have seen this myself and I do not have an issue with people spoon feeding or mixed feeding as long as they are doing the right thing for their baby. I do get frustrated when I see a Mum trying to spoon feed a baby who clearly wants to do it them self. I truly believe that if a Mum had all the facts they wouldn’t just spoon feed their baby unless there was really no other way (i.e. due to medical reasons etc). I’m on a lot of BLW groups and it does make me laugh how people can react to someone wanting to mix feed and most of the time it’s the people looking down that actually do not really understand the method. I see people say you are not doing BLW if the baby uses a spoon and only finger foods are allowed, this is completely ridiculous!

One of my friends started their baby on home-made purees, and missed the ‘gag reflex’ window so the baby is now struggling to eat ‘proper food’ – do you think there’s more that can be done to help educate new parents on weaning? If so, how? e.g. should everyone have a compulsory weaning check with their health visitor?

Yes I absolutely 100% agree that all new parents be given some nutrition and weaning education which is why my weaning course (Happy Little Eaters) is a 6 week course covering both nutrition and weaning. The biggest problem with keating this to the health visitors is that 1) there are not enough of them and they do not have the time and 2) they do not have any nutrition training!

And some more practical questions…

Baby W loves omelettes – do I need to limit how many eggs he has in a week?!

Eggs are a great food, packed full of essential fats, protein and nutrients. However, egg is one of the most common foods for babies and young children to be allergic to! There is no limit to amount of eggs you can use and babies are very clever and will only eat what they need.

When giving baby W fish I’m petrified that there will be a bone in it – do you have any tips on this or do I just need to carefully check each morsel?!

I still worry about this myself and my children are now 3 and 5 years. I always tell the fish monger (and this can be at the supermarket) that I’m giving this to young children and I need the fish to be filleted without bones. My local farmers market fish monger gets out a magnifying glass and tweezers to fillet the fish!!! Then even when I’ve cooked it I will go through it carefully before giving it my children.

Jenna from Tinyfootsteps asks: I’d like to know when 3 meals a day should be fully established? Jasmine (nearly 8 months) still only has 2 meals a day but still isn’t overly fussed about food. We are BLW.

Most babies will be having 3 meals a day around 9-10 months so it sounds like your baby is doing just fine. Remember that all babies are different though and when your baby needs 3 meals a day she will eat 3 meals a day!!

Sarah asks: Please ask Julie for meal ideas for dairy and egg allergic children. Particularly along lines of pancake and muffin type recipes. I’m at a real loss as to what to cook.

I often post up recipes on my facebook page and recently added a guide for allergy substitutions. For example you can substitute egg as a binder in recipes with mashed banana. Dairy alternatives are easy because you can use lots of different dairy free milks and spreads etc. Have a look at my page Spring Nutrition.

Hannah from hannahsays asks: Our little boy is 5 months at the beginning of December. We’re being recommended by the health visitor to keep breastfeeding up to six months and then start to wean. He’s starting to get upset at meal times because we all sit down to eat but he doesn’t get any but also if he’s on our laps rather than in his chair he tries to steal food from the plates (it’s happened once or twice on the last week or so).

We bought a high chair last week and so now at meal times we put him in the high chair so he knows “now we eat” but actually it’s not his mealtime. I give him his weaning spoons to play with rather than toys to distinguish further than now is a meal time.

When can we start and what should we start with as there seems to be mixed opinions.

Hannah you need a copy of my book!!! The recommended age for weaning is 6 months but some babies may be ready earlier. Getting him sat up with some spoons and a beaker of water is a great start. You can also give him a raw carrot to play with and gum. As soon as he is showing all of the signs – sitting up unaided, holding head up, showing interest in food then give him something to eat that he can play with and taste. At 6 months anything goes if a baby can pick it up (with the exception of honey, salt and anything processed). The best food to start with is fruit and vegetables. Try giving some steamed veg and see what he does. Do not wean earlier than 5 months though unless advised to do so on medical grounds.

So there we have it, thanks Julie for doing the interview and for some really helpful answers! If you’re interested in more about Julie, I reviewed her book here where you can also buy it, and you can follow her on facebook and Twitter

Posted in parenting, weaning | 2 Comments

Exploring Cardiff: Street food Cardiff

I’ve been living in Cardiff for about 14 years and I think the coolest thing that’s happened to it during that time is happening now…. Street food Cardiff!

Friday night I headed down there with my sister and some of her friends and I LOVED it – they’ve basically taken over a warehouse on Dumballs road (random road, mix of industrial estates and apartments!) and filled it with pop-up food stands, bars etc…

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It’s on every Friday and Saturday night between now and the end of the year. We got there for 6pm when it opens, and there was already a large queue…. as soon as we got in we walked around to choose what food we’d have. I think the food changes every night – this was the menu the night we went…

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I finally got to try pulled pork from Hangfire Smokehouse which I’d heard such good things about. Only £5 for a big bap of pulled pork and slaw and it was delicious.

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The queue for Hangfire Smokehouse was huge and so Burger and Lobster (who are opening soon in Cardiff) were giving away samples of their lobster roll to people in the queue – that was also delicious and a nice starter for me!

I thought I’d be able to sample a few more food stands but the pulled pork had stuffed me up like a pig so the only other thing I was able to eat was a crème brulee from the brulee bar – my sister and I shared a ‘sticky pud’ and ‘blue moon pie’ – both were great but we agreed that ‘sticky pud’ was the winner!

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The place was heaving and I loved the mix of people in there – from babies to oldies with lots in between! The décor was pretty cool – lots of random things like cars on their side, tuk tuks, fairy lights oh and they were projecting movies onto the wall.

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I hope to go back again over the next few weeks and try out some different food. I don’t think I’ve done the place justice with this post but I urge you to check it out – I honestly think it’s the coolest thing happening in Cardiff!

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Oh and go early, when we left about 8.30pm the queue was huge and I think they were working on a 1 in, 1 out policy.

Posted in cardiff, food | Leave a comment

Exploring Cardiff: Rhiwbina

One of the things I said I wanted to do in my maternity bucket list was to explore parts of my city that I wasn’t that familiar with.

I had a few hours away from baby W last week, so had the opportunity to check out the lovely suburb of Rhiwbina….

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I’d already been there the week before he was born for a massage and pedicure at Vanity rooms and knew there were some cute shops to look around…

So I started with lunch at the Snails deli – I went for lamb cawl (Welsh broth/soup) and it was delicious. It was a Friday lunchtime and it was jam-packed, I was lucky to get a seat at the window-facing bar so I could watch the world go by.

Cawl at Snails Deli, Rhiwbina

Cawl at Snails Deli, Rhiwbina

I loved the décor and atmosphere – rustic, friendly, bustling. I’ll definitely be back!

Snails Deli, Rhiwbina

Snails Deli, Rhiwbina

From there I went a few doors down to a shop called ‘Cwtsh bach’ - a very cute, little gift shop selling a lot of (but not only) Welsh and Welsh language gifts. I saw lovely felt cushions with the words ‘Mamgu’ (Grandmother) and ‘Tadcu’ (Grandfather) on them so I’ve bought those for my parents for Christmas :) (similar style to the ones you can see in the photo) – PS I’ve just realised that they sell most of the stock online if you click on the link above!

Cwtsh bach, Rhiwbina

Cwtsh bach, Rhiwbina

 

Cwtsh bach, Rhiwbina

Cwtsh bach, Rhiwbina

On the same street (Beulah road) as the deli and Cwtsh bach, is another cute gift and card shop (Ginger White’s) they were selling local jewellery, candles and smellies and a range of other stuff.

Ginger White's, Rhiwbina

Ginger White’s, Rhiwbina

I turned the corner onto Heol-y-Deri and went to ‘Nest vintage’ - I had been to this shop before but since then they have moved into larger premises.

Nest Vintage Living, Rhiwbina

Nest Vintage Living, Rhiwbina

 

This is an absolutely gorgeous shop that looks very homely – they have little rooms and snugs everywhere selling everything from Cath Kidston to Orla Kiely to local Welsh goods.

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I didn’t buy anything but did get some ideas which I hope to go back for before Christmas. They also had lots of Christmas decorations and it smelt lovely in there as they were burning some Christmas-selling candles…. lush!

 

Opposite they have opened a new shop called ‘Little Nest’ for children’s and baby gifts – lots of pretty wooden toys, felt animal heads and cute baby leggings…. I was running out of time by this point so didn’t get any pics sorry.

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I did manage to pop into Victoria Fearn art gallery on the street – and cue more unique gifts and decorations – as well as some lovely art pieces!

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In addition to all these gorgeous gift shops, Rhiwbina has everything else you need from a wine merchant, yoga studio, barbers, chemist, florist and I think it even had a wedding dress shop!

It also had this very cool but random bench – I would love to know why it’s been decorated in this way!

bench in Rhiwbina

bench in Rhiwbina

Seeing as I’m publishing this on ‘Cyber Monday’, I hope it inspires you to Shop local, and support local businesses – you really could do all your Christmas shopping in Rhiwbina – I will be popping back there this month!

Posted in cardiff, travel | 4 Comments