Wednesday, 25 July 2012

DIY water park

Our local water park has been packed to capacity with the return of that big yellow thing in the sky.  I met up with some friends there today but found the experience far too stressful. With so many people having the same idea, I didnt feel I could keep them all safe enough so we came away to save all the whinging and whining.

With the hosepipe ban having been lifted I thought i'd try and make it up to them!  We rigged up a simple system using the washing line, an empty pop bottle with a fair few holes in, sellotape, hosepipe and a cushion.



Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Garden Diaries

When we bought our house the biggest selling point was the garden, it's pretty big and has plenty of room for us to grow our own veg.  We have big plans for the gorgeous outdoor space but as with all things, when you have a young family, money is a big issue but we have made a great start!

This is what the garden looked like last autumn:
And this is the same view today:
Eventually we hope to divide the garden in half with a little picket fence to protect all the veggies from the inevitable football attacks and have a clear child/grown up boundaries.  This spring the girls were super lucky to be given a playhouse - a reward for successful potty training and en excellent report at parents evening.

Now you see it...
The BigD built a little patio area for the playhouse to sit on and in doing so he wiped out an entire bush!  He had been itching to take it down since we moved in but I kept putting my foot down and saying no - I think it might have been rather convenient that he had to build the patio so far out...  Then I came back from a little shopping trip to find he had taken out the sandpit too, not that  I could moan after I'd bought a new dress.

Now you don't...
I must say that the BigD did a great job in bodging patching up the lawn where the bush used to be but I think where the sandpit once stood will require a little more TLC.  Lawn care will be high on the priority list this summer and maybe, just maybe, I'll get my picket fence but I think, perhaps I might be fantasizing a little too much to hope for a patio and summer house in the little sun trap that is the bottom of the garden.


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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Rocky Road/Chocolate Tiffin Recipe

Do not go shopping when hungry!

Thursday is shopping day in the Mayhem household and wondering around good old Tesco at lunch time, having forgotten breakfast, was a seriously BAD idea!

Walking down the crisp isle to stock up on lunch box staples I heard a little voice calling to me from the chocolate section.  There, lo and behold, was a pretty large bar of dairy milk with a nice promotional yellow sticker on the shelf edge.  All of a sudden I just had to make some rocky road, it would be criminal not to with the chocolate at that price...


Here's my recipe.  It is seriously yummy and super quick and easy.

Ingredients:


  • 200g Chocolate
  • half(ish) a bag of marshmallows
  • half a pack of digestive biscuits (The super cheap value ones work just fine)
  • 120g Butter - Melted and allowed to cool slightly
  • 2-3 heaped tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

Method:

  1. Break up chocolate and melt in a bowl over a pan of boiling water
  2. Put biscuits in a carier bag and loosly break up by bashing with a rolling pin a few times
  3. Chop up marshmallows into smallish pieces
  4. Once chocolate has melted gently stir in peanut butter and melted butter until blended
  5. fold in crushed buscuits and marshmallows
  6. Poor into a 7" square tin
  7. Chill
  8. Slice and enjoy!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Dress for Floppy!

I have been confusing the life out of myself with the whole D1, D2 and D3 thing for a while now, so it's time for a change...  From now on I will use their nick names Monster, Floppy and The Boy (He is too young to have a nick name that has *Stuck* yet).

The BigD (The girls call him The Big Dragon, so that, in case you have ever wondered,  is where The BigD comes from) works shifts and I am at my most productive when he is on a late shift, or a 12hr night shift!  Tonight has been one of those productive nights.  You may remember a few months back now, seems like such a distant memory now but we had a lovely early warm spell and I was inspired to make Floppy a dress.  I never quite got round to finishing it and once the hot weather was replaced by copious amounts of rain I had no incentive to do so either.

Tonight I finished it, although please don't look too closely at the zip.  I think I need to get a lesson in sewing zips from my wonderful friend at Gandyfloss Creations.  Go check out her facebook page too.

What do you think?

The floral bit used to be a pillow case


















I can't wait for a hot day so she can wear it.  Actually, sod it, I think she can wear it tomorrow, rain or shine!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rainy Day Marbled Chocolate Biscuits (Dairy Free)

What a miserable day!  Such a waste of a bank holiday weekend, although we shouldn't have expected anything less really.

D1 has been pestering me for ages to make biscuits so with D2 watching Ben & Holly and The BigD & D3  upstairs having a little afternoon snooze we sneaked into the kitchen and did just that - some great Mummy daughter time.

Shhh - I think I may be in trouble for posting this

You will need:

  • 75g Melted Dark chocolate (make sure it is dairy free - Most of the good stuff is) 
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 capfulls Vanilla extract
  • 100g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 200g Dairy Free Spread (Vitalite or Pure are good brands)
  • Good pinch salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 (we have a fan oven).
  2. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Mix salt/baking powder/flour together.
  4. Wisk together spread/sugar/vanilla extract until pale and creamy.
  5. Fold in flour mix.
  6. Pour on melted chocolate and stir only a couple of times to give marbled effect.
  7. Roll into balls a bit smaller than a golf ball, place on lined baking tray and flatten them just a little - Watch out the mixure is a little sticky so this bit is a bit messy!
  8. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Leave to cool and then enjoy.





Monday, 28 May 2012

Home Grown Goodness

With the return of the sunny weather we have been spending a lot of time in the garden.  It is our dream to, one day, become self sufficient in the veg department - I think we are getting close, maybe this time next year?

Last year we fought a loosing battle with aphids and this year it looks like the ants will be our biggest enemy.  I am very much torn between being organic as far as possible and sustainability.  So far we have:
 
4 varieties of potatoes
Broad beans
Runner beans
French beans
Peas
Onions (red and white)
Sprouting broccoli
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Kale
Lettuce
Turnips
Carrots
Garlic
Radish
Herbs
Aubergine
Courgette
Cucumber
Variety of salad leaves
Tomatoes
Strawberries
Raspberries
Redcurrants
Blueberries

Quite an impressive list when all written down I think.  Last year we tried sweetcorn but it was a massive failure - a little more reading up required me thinks!  We also have an asparagus bed on the go but will be another year before we can enjoy any.

I must say the hosepipe ban is rather annoying and I find myself really appreciating the rain!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Galt Playnest Review

Last week we were sent a Galt playnest to review. We have had one of these before, for D1 & D2 as babies and I was a huge fan back then so was delighted to be asked to review. If you have never seen one of these before it is essentially an inflatable ring covered in brightly coloured fabric that can just be taken off and popped into the washing machine, this is especially useful if you have a sicky baby like D3.

D3 has just turned 4 months old and is beginning to sit unaided for short periods of time. The playnest is absolutely great for this, as it allows him to do so in a safe environment without the fear of him falling backwards and bumping his head or, worse, falling flat on his pretty little face! It also has lots of extra room for toys and keeps them within easy reach saving those moments of frustration when a toy gets pushed just out of reach.

The weather has finally turned a corner and we have been out in the garden a fair bit. The playnest has been fantastic as a safe place to put him down while he watches us work so much so I think Galt should create a wipe clean waterproof version so we could take it out in slightly muddier conditions.



I am a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What A Clever Girl

We are fortunate enough to live right next door to a local nature reserve - It is a lovely little walk round the lake and one that we do not do often enough.

At the weekend D1 learnt to ride her bike without stabilisers, and although she could ride it for 20 or so meters before coming to a very wobbly halt she just couldn't master the getting started bit.

For a change the sun shone for the best part of the day and it wasn't raining come school pick up time so we decided to go for a little stroll round the lake (I have been doing as much walking as possible over the last week and it is doing wonders in helping to shift a few excess baby pounds). The girls took their bikes (Naughty Mummy and Daddy forgot to take the helmets) and D1 mastered 'taking off' unaided. She was absolutely thrilled and we were very proud parents. It is just a shame the afternoon ended in tears after coming to a stop in a bush!

 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom: Elf Games DVD Review

Today we were very lucky to receive a pre release copy of Ben & Holly's latest adventures - especially as I have 2 HUGE Ben and Holly fans. The DVD is titled the elf games and has been released in perfect time to coincide with all the hype surrounding London 2012.

TV generally isn't allowed in our house, although I am getting more relaxed these days. I much prefer DVDs instead - I think it's the control freak in me.

The thing I like best about Ben and Holly is that the characters speak using "proper" English and none of the silly noises/phrases found on other children's shows. The colours are bright and each episode has its own story line with characters that appeal to both genders and a wide age range. The DVD carries a u certification so you know that you can happily let your children watch unsupervised and without prior pre screening.


Episode 1, The elf games sees Ben training hard for the Little kingdom's version of the olympics. Holly wants to join in but flying and magic are strictly forbidden...


Other episodes on the disk include:

2. Cows

3. The Toy Robot

4. Dinner Party

5. Big Bad Barry

6. King Thistle's Birthday

7. The Wand Factory

8. Daisy and Poppy's Pet

9. The Elf Rocket

10.Picnic on the Moon

I think it is safe to say both girls enjoyed the DVD and the BigD and I enjoyed half an hours peace and quiet before bed!

For more information visit http://www.littlekingdomstore.co.uk/*/DVD/Ben-and-Holly-s-Little-Kingdom-Vol-4-The-Elf-Games/119QE01M7000

Disclaimer: We received a copy of the DVD for review purposes, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own


 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Freezer Cooking

Last week the fridge freezer decided to die - really not good for my stress levels!  We had so much meat that needed using or throwing away.  There was nothing for it but to go on a major cook fest.  In one afternoon The bigD and i managed to whip up:

2 meatloaves
1 portion of meatballs,
1 bolognese
2 chilli con carnes
1 Cantonese chicken
1 sweet and sour pork 
1 steak/ale stew/pie filling
1 portion Lamb kebab meat
1 Cooked beef joint for sandwiches
1 portion of shepard's pie meat

It was some effort but we managed to save most of it and it has now all been distributed amongst friends'  freezers.  Once we are back up and running in the fridge/freezer department I am quite looking forward to 2 weeks of not having to cook, but for the moment we are living day to day, buying fresh on a daily basis.  I am looking forward to it so much I think I may just have to make it a regular thing, only with a little more forward planning next time.  I am hoping to dream up a varied two week menu, which would mean if done well I would only have to cook 2 days a month.   Just think, what could i do with all the time saved?  If I need to chop 1 onion I may as well chop up 10!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Vanity And A Self Portrait

D1 has become so vain since starting school.  It is ridiculous.  I want to burn all the hairbrushes and hide the mirrors.  This morning she got in bed with me and before we went downstairs, in fact, before we had even turned the lights on she was tweaking her hair and smoothing it all down.  It wouldn't possibly do for the coco-pops to see her hair a state!

I  decided to give her practical reason for looking in a mirror.  I gave her a mirror and asked her to draw what she saw.  
look at that tongue poking out with concentration

This is the result and I am sure you will agree it is such a great likeness!

 

Mirrored Writing
I must say I was very impressed with her observational skills and the detail she has picked up on - from the teddy on the front of her jim jams  to the blue of her eyes.  It took the BigD and I a while to figure out what the back-to-front writing was all about.  Well, I did tell her to draw what she saw!

I have dated this wonderful picture and I am going to ask her to repeat the exercise every few months and make a little book of them.





Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Homemade Toys - Soft Links

Since getting my sewing machine I have become obsessed with making things for the children.  I could easily have gone crazy but I have been determined to only make things that will truly get used so have managed to resist lots of "for-the-sake-of-it" projects.

I recently fixed/bodged the children's toy buggies - I will make replacement covers/seats when my other projects are completed but for the short term they are back in full working order.  They have been out of action for a while and once I actually put my mind to it I had them both in proper working order again in less than 10 minutes and I feel guilty that I didn't do it sooner.  

I have been working on a sleepsack for D3 although it took MUCH longer than anticipated following an accident with the iron.  I will share pics of this soon.

I spent ages browsing the internet for tutorials/inspiration and using some scraps of fabric I was given I managed to rustle up some washable teething rings for D3.  You can find the tutorial here.  I may have to work on some of my tequniques as they took so much longer to make than the carseat blanket, but as you can see they have gone down an absolute storm.
Isn't he just edible??



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Button Necklace

D1 and I spent the evening eating junk and making necklaces from a value pack of colourful buttons!


The buttons cost a whole £1 from hobby craft.  Some are a little defected but there are plenty of usable ones.  I picked up the thong from the local charity shop for a measly 20p - We are lucky to have one specialising in beautiful crafty bits and bobs.

D3 is suddenly getting very nosy and is easily distracted when feeding and my colourful creation made for a fantastic nursing necklace.  I shall be wearing it a fair bit over the next few weeks I think.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Child Will Sleep Anywhere

I took this snap last week and feel it's screaming out for a caption.

What can you come up with?


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How Much???

Today was the first day back at school after the Easter Break and D1 went back wearing her new school summer dress.

You may remember my previous post about my fantastic new toy (the sewing machine)... Well, I came across a vintage pattern for school uniform in a local charity shop for 50p, and then couldn't believe my luck when one of the fabric shops in town reduced all it's fabrics to £1/mtr.  I am a total novice when it comes to sewing but I am really enjoying it so thought I would give it a go...  

I had never followed a pattern before so just dived straight in and made it up as i went along.  I used greaseproof paper to trace the pattern, forgot to note all of the markings and cut off the notches!  I spent a lot of time on you tube watching "how to" videos and asked various friends and family members what to do with edges and hems.

Here's the result:

It won me the biggest kiss and cuddle, I can't believe how pleased she was with it.  It only took me 9 hours, Plus another 2 hours to get the hem right.

So, by my Maths:
50p for the pattern
£1 for the fabric 
11 hours at minimum wage
=
£68.38

Maybe dress number two will work out in the £30 price range?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter Learning - Chocolate Colours


D2 is learning her colours.  Once we had purchased back the stash of cheap and nasty foil wrapped eggs from D1, The Big D set up a little colour sorting game.

D2 had a great time and seemed to catch on really quick, even going to the toy box and presenting BigD with a yellow toy.  A very successful lesson I hear you say.

This video is her showing off her new skills!

video
She has become really fond of this "game" and has played it daily since Sunday - My baking session with the surplus chocolate may just have to wait a while.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Learning - Chocolate Maths


This year the Easter Bunny left it far too late "must have run out of dairy free eggs" to hide round the garden for our annual Easter egg hunt so we just had to grab a packet of little chocolate eggs from Tesco.

D1 still had a great time hunting for them and we agreed an exchange rate of 10p per egg.  Where D1 is concerned money has no value and she would happily swap a £2 coin for 2p if the 2p was shinier - We are trying to rectify this and over the Easter Holidays she has been paying for all the shopping, we have also been learning how to count in tens so we had great fun working out how many pennies she needed in exchange for her hoard of eggs.

How many eggs does Daddy need in exchange for 50p?
The eggs cost £3 and she made £2.60 from her stash.  We are now left with a pile of indelible cheap and nasty Tesco chocolate and are -£5.60.  Next year the Easter Bunny will be more organised and buy a packet of plastic refillable eggs from the pound shop!  In the mean time I am on the look out for a recipe that might make all that chocolate edible.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Come Dine With Us - D1 Style

This Easter holidays D1 has been in charge of all our evening meals.  

I picked up a fab little cook book (What's for dinner) from the book club at a baby singing group that D2, D3 and I attend.  It is great in so many ways, we love the photography and more importantly there are not many recipes that we won't try.  It certainly isn't posh dinner party food but it definitely is a quick and easy everyday family cook book.

D1 flicked through the book and bookmarked every recipe that caught her attention (lots of pasta) and we are now working our way through them.  She is writing a shopping list and we are going to the shop for ingredients on a daily basis (we are walking distance to the super market), she is paying and then helping to prepare the meal.

It's proving to be a great exercise and the Italian Chicken Bake will definitely be going on the menu more often, even our fussy eater (D2) ate it all, along with the extra vegetables I snuck in!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Potty Training

D2 has been "ready" for potty training for a few months now, since she was 18 months to be precise, but with a new baby due we decided the time just wasn't right.  

It all started with nappy rash.  We kept the nappy off one evening after her bath in order to get some air to her bottom and settled down to read some books.  We took the opportunity to introduce the potty and had her sit on it whilst we read - I didn't think for a minute it would get used and if I am totally honest I just didn't want to be cleaning up pee off the sofa.  

Minutes into our book she jumps up in fright following a fluke wee wee.  We seized the moment and laid the praise on super thick, I even gave her a chocolate button.  The following evening we did the same and we were presented with another wee wee, again we went OTT  on the praise and gave her another chocolate button.  Later that same evening she tells me she has done another wee and this time asks for chocolate!  Coincidence surely?  No.  Not all.  The scenario was repeated every time we took the nappy off.  

D1 was nowhere near ready to toilet train until she was 2 and a half so I couldn't really get my head round it with D2 being so young and wasn't quite sure what to do.  I spoke to all kinds of people and sought advice from the nursery nurse/ leader at the breastfeeding support group (booby club) we attend.  Eventually we decided to wait until after the baby was born as, apparently, it is not uncommon for children to slip backwards when a new baby arrives.

Well...  D2 is now 23 months and baby D3 has been with us now for 10 weeks so we are all, well and truly, settled into our new routines.  The bigD has 6 days off over Easter so we had decided that we would give potty training that final push then.  Last SUNDAY, however, we were having a lazy day and no one got properly dressed all day, it wasn't until 3 o'clock in the afternoon when D2 came up the stairs shouting she had done a number 2 that I realised we still hadn't put her nappy on.  My first thought was "oh s h one t" (no pun intended) I really couldn't  be doing with having to deal with a nice pile of poo on the carpet.   I get down the stairs only to find it nicely contained in the potty and it, only then, dawns on me that she has gone the whole day without a nappy on, AND without leaving me any little presents.

On MONDAY we decided that after her achievement the day before  it would be unfair to put the nappy back on during the day so out came the big girls knickers and by 10 o'clock we had had 3 accidents.  I was starting to regret making the commitment.   

TUESDAY wasn't much better.  Everything was going wrong when we put pants on.

WEDNESDAY was booby club and we had been doing brilliantly all morning until she decided to pee all over a friend's soft structured sling ( If you are reading I am so sorry).  That evening I did some research and came across this article, I am not too sure I agree with the 3 day thing but basically they advise no underwear for 3 months (hopefully it won't take anywhere near that long) and it seemed to fit with it all going wrong when she is wearing knickers.

THURSDAY we headed off to meet friends at a local play centre.  We went with a bare bottom and I was armed with kitchen roll, a small hand towel, flash wipes, nappy sacks and, of course, the potty.  She did 3 on target (the potty) and 1 at the entrance to the ball pool!  It was a good job I had gone prepared.  Not that prepared - I had forgotten a change of clothes (Any excuse for a new dress from the shop up the street).

FRIDAY was accident free except for the puddle left in D3's bouncy chair.

SATURDAY onwards has been accident (and knicker) free.  We have used pull up pants for bed and nap times and she has been dry for most nights, even waking to use the toilet.  It is clear that the knickers, tights or trousers were giving her a false sense of security and I think we will try to introduce knickers again at the end of the easter holidays and see how we get on...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Our Tongue Tie Hell

Image sourced from flikr  - madamepsychosis

Day 0. 
Baby D3 was born at home, his birth was amazing and he was put to the breast within 5-10 minutes of being born.  He nursed beautifully. 

Day 1.
36 hours later my nipples were blistered and my milk was beginning to come in.  I was pretty sore and things were not going quite so beautifully.  We went to Peterborough Hospital for his routine paediatric check and whilst we were there I put in an SOS to the breastfeeding support people (Infant Feeding Advisers).  

I will just say at this point that I struggled to feed both my other children so wasn't totally surprised to be sat in a side room waiting for the infant feeding advisers (IFA).  After struggling to feed D1 I became a peer supporter determined to help others in a similar situation and to understand where we went wrong.  After attending a six week course and reading everything I could, feeding D2 was going to be a totally different experience. Right? Wrong.  It was agony.  Worse than the 1st time round with D1 and it never really got any better and no one was able to help. 

The IFA that turned up to see us recognised me from my struggles with D2.  She observed a feed, checked for tongue tie and concluded that I was "lacking confidence" after such a bad experience with D2.  D3 was making clicking noises when feeding and my nipple was coming out very slightly lipstick shaped but we were told our technique was was pretty damn perfect and that our biggest problem was me looking too closely at our latch but to "please go back" if we had anymore problems.

Day 3.
My milk was well and truly in, to the point of engorgement but we kept plodding on.

Day 4.
Things just weren't improving and mastitis began to kick in.  I was feverish, shaking with cold and my breasts were agony.  I managed to nip it in the bud with ibuprofen, massage, warm compresses and cabbage leaves.

Day 10.
More shivers, shakes and sore breasts. Again I managed to stave off the mastitis. 

Day 15. 
The mastitis had reared it's head again but this time I just didn't have the energy to fight it so i took myself to the doctors for a course of antibiotics.

Day 17.
We went back to see the IFA at he hospital. I told them how much we were struggling and got quite emotional, I told them about my recurrent mastitis (different breasts each time), I told them that baby D3 did nothing but cry and projectile vomit after each feed.  

It was thought I had raynaud's of the nipple which was adding to my discomfort when feeding and they also suspected D3 was suffering from reflux and suggested I took him to a doctor for baby gaviscon.

I asked a lot of questions on Facebook and spent a LOT of time on google.  Somehow I just knew D3 wasn't suffering with reflux and after some research we introduced a dummy to help him work through some of the wind in his system rather than medicate unnecessarily. This did help a little bit however he struggled to keep it in his mouth.  

Day 28.
The feeding got worse and worse, he would fuss at the breast, couldn't maintain a latch, would appear to be in constant pain with wind and the dummy was becoming less effective. Nappies were not consistent in colour and consistency and my nipples were getting sore again. I developed a breast abscess the size of a satsuma. I had it drained/aspirated 4 times and was put on antibiotics again. I think I took antibiotics for 4 weeks straight. I am still undergoing treatment for this as I type.

At some point someone asked if he had been checked for tongue tie. He was checked on day 1 by the IFA and again at 2 weeks so I dismissed them. Something kept niggling at me though and I started to hear about something called posterior tongue tie. I started to research and came across this website. The more I read the more I began to suspect that this may be our problem. 

Week 6.
I marched back to the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital, armed with my iPad and the information I had found, hoping to get a diagnosis and a referral for treatment.  The IFA I was hoping to see was not in clinic but the the lady covering watched me feed, read my research and agreed with me. I was very emotional and she told me she would pass on all my details and even phone the IFA that could help me as soon as clinic was over. I went home and waited for her to call.  She didn't call.  

After a post on the Analytical Armadillo's  facebook page someone suggested I contacted the lady at La Leche League Peterborough  to see if she could recognise a tongue tie or help with the problems we were having.  I made contact with the lovely lady at LLL, she said she wouldn't be able to diagnose a tongue tie but went out of her way to find me all kinds of information and links.  One of the links she sent me was this one  http://thelogicallady.blogspot.com/p/posterior-tongue-tie-information.html  and once I had read it I was absolutely certain I had hit the nail on the head with my tongue tie theory.  She also said she would email the IFA at the hospital.  The IFA still didn't get in touch.  

Week 7.
The health visitor came out to see us for our routine checks, she asked how the feeding was going and I became emotional again describing how painful it was for us both.  I told her of my tongue tie suspicions and I tried to show her the articles I had found.  She would not look at them.  She had a brief look in his mouth and commented that D3 had a "short tongue" but no tongue tie.  She began to talk about bottle feeding and medication as solutions to our problems.  I became very emotional at this point and kept repeating that these were just not options - I wanted the tongue tie to be fully explored; this all fell on deaf ears as she started to talk about post natal depression.  Perhaps I should consider some "help" for my emotions.  She also said she would talk to the IFA at the hospital. Guess what? The IFA never phoned.

I called the LLL lady for a rant and she was able to supply me with a couple of lists of Professionals that should be able to diagnose and/or treat tongue tie.  I bit the bullet and phoned Suzanne.  As soon as she answered I began to cry... Again.  Suzanne was brilliant and took control of the conversation asking me if I was having problems feeding my baby.  She arranged to see us that very evening.

Tongue tie was diagnosed and a frenulotomy performed.  D3s feeding/latch improved instantly and was feeding better than he had before within 60 seconds of the procedure being performed.

Week 9.
Two weeks later and we still have the odd problem latching but the improvement is amazing.  I still think there is room for yet more improvement and I am wondering if, perhaps, the wound may have knitted back together a little or if some cranial osteopathy would do the trick?  D3 has also had chicken pox and a chest infection which has hampered his feeding so this will have prevented him 'practicing' using his new tongue properly and maybe the extra improvement I am seeking may just happen given time...  I will keep you posted.

In summary I feel totally let down by the NHS especially as we have one of the few hospitals that have been awarded "baby friendly" status.  I have a brilliant milk supply and strong let down reflex and D3 has gained weight beautifully but ONLY because I have effectively been pouring the milk into his mouth - no nursing required, thus masking one of the biggest signs of tongue tie.  I know that if D3 had not been gaining weight properly then my concerns would have been listened to and investigated.  My feeding discomfort and the obvious pain D3 was in was not good enough.  D3 was gaining weight, therefore I was doing a "great job" and to para phrase I should "put up with it".  I also think that health care professionals should understand the emotional investment a mother makes when feeding her child and she should be taken seriously when she says something isn't right.  The IFA that was able to make the referral for us to be diagnosed and treated on the NHS was approached by three other people to discuss my case and I can only surmise that she "chose" not to contact me.  I realise that my previous statement sounds a little bitter but that is because I am.

If you have stumbled upon this blog through a google search because you suspect your own child may have tongue tie, I want to urge you to trust your instincts and not dither as much as I did, also to be stronger than I was in fighting for diagnosis and treatment.

UPDATE!
we went back to see Suzanne and had the tongue re-snipped as it had knitted together slightly.  D3 is now the most happy content little boy and I am totally pain free.  He is the most gentle feeder and I am grateful on a daily basis.  I also have had to deal with stress and anxiety problems and I firmly believe that these could have been avoided had I had support from the beginning.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Spring table decoration


Spring is just around the corner and we will soon be seeing daffodils Lining the roadsides.  I love daffodils (and tulips) and just thought I would share with you the table decoration I made last week.  

I am really looking forward to seeing it in full bloom.

It was so simple to make and cost absolutely nothing.  You could splash out a little with some posh stones or spray them with craft paint to make it prettier but I quite like the rustic feel of using stones out the garden. 

To make your own just dig up some daffodil bulbs, about 7 or 8 should be perfect, and place on a decorative bowl or plate.  Secure roots and bulbs in place using stones.  Don't over water.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Our Ultimate Saturday Brunch


I first came across this flavour combination 5 or 6 years ago when the BigD and I were still dating.  I used to travel by train to Edinburgh, a 5 hour journey, to spend the weekend with him.  There was a little bagel stand at the station (I have no idea if it is still there) and I used to look forward to my bagel whenever I was passing through.

Once we began living together we just didn't pass by that little bagel stand very often so we began to make them ourselves.  They have now become our staple Saturday or Sunday Brunch and the little Ds love them - I think one of the reasons they are so popular, apart from tasting great, is that we prepare all the ingredients and just throw them on the table and everyone just makes their own. Great family time too.

Ingredients:
Bagels
Cream Cheese - We skip this for a dairy free option for D1
Tomatoes (Sliced)
Avocado (Sliced)
Bacon, 1 rasher per bagel (We prefer smoked)

Method:
Slice the bagels in half and toast the bagels on the cut side only.
Layer all the ingredients up and enjoy!

Variations:
I like a smidgen of chilli sauce on mine.
D1 likes lashings of freshly ground black pepper on hers.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Homemade Car Seat Blanket

I am a seriously lucky girl.  A couple of weeks ago the BigD bought me a sewing machine.  I have been lusting after a sewing machine for so long but could never justify it as I had never really used one more than once or twice before.  We were browsing a department store in town to see what to look for in a 2nd hand model.  We came across a really good deal in the sales and it was too good to pass up when we took into consideration guarantees/warranties etc...

If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that we have been blessed with a gorgeous new addition to the D household.  Given that he was born in the middle of winter (D1 &D2 were spring/summer babies) I found we needed to invest in a coat or carseat blanket.  When it comes to driving I, personally, hate to be all tied up in a coat/seatbelt combination and I am really aware that the children are probably just as un comfortable all strapped in with their winter coats etc. especially on long journeys.  With this in mind I went for the carseat blanket option but couldn't find the product I had in my head anywhere in the shops.  I asked around and a friend suggested I made my own, so after a bit of googling I came across this tutorial.  

I purchased my fabric from eBay, I went for two coordinating fleece fabrics.  Initially, before I was gifted the sewing machine, I was going to try and create a non sew version.  

Armed with my fabric, this step by step guide and my shiny new toy here's what I came up with!



I really wasn't confident edging a whole blanket so I decided to machine stitch the whole thing together with the right sides facing inwards and left a small gap to turn it the right way round after.  Also as I already had my car seat I was able to adjust the spaces for the carseat straps rather than go for the generic option as shown in the tutorial but still allowing room for the straps to be adjusted.

I must say I am so proud of my efforts for a first sewing project and it totally eliminates the need for a winter coat, making the school run and other outings so much easier.  I can just pop a sleeping baby into his carseat without pulling him around and waking him up trying to get a coat on.  All that's needed is a hat.

Monday, 30 January 2012

My 2011 Highs & Lows


I was Tagged last week to take part in the following Meme, ‘My 2011 Highs & Lows' by Boo, Roo and Tiger Too. So once you've had a look at my year go and check out her Blog!


(1) What was your happiest event?
Would absolutely, without question, have to be finding out we were pregnant with Baby D3 who finally arrived last week.

(2) What was the saddest thing that happened?
My husband (The BigD) is originally from New Zealand and to cut a long story short he had a visa application rejected due to a form change. This meant he wasn't able to work for 12 weeks until it was resolved and it damn nearly destroyed us.

(3) What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did? 
The BigD was offered a job he really didn't want to do but the salary was amazing and meant we could begin to sort out our financial position following the unfortunate visa situation. He agonised for a fortnight over the best thing to do and I couldn't help as I could see serious down sides to the job as well as the financial benefits. Well he decided to take the job but just for 6 to 9 months and then look for a job he actually wanted...  Well turns out he LOVES the job and the change in him is just brilliant and it's great to see his sparkle back.

(4) Who let you down?
As much as I wanted to keep my blog open and honest I don't feel able to answer that question in such a public arena - I knew I should have gone for an anonymous blog!

(5) Who supported you?
Gosh, that list feels almost endless with the visa issues we had and it's related problems.  The biggest support came from my mum and her credit card, without which I worry we may have lost the house.  Support also came from some wonderful friends and I was seriously touched, to the point of tears sometimes, by the small acts of kindness they showed. Simple things such as a packet of posh coffee and to a trip to the cinema.

(6) Tell us one thing you learned
Although we had all the visa problems and at times couldn't afford to eat.  I can honestly look back on 2011 and say it was a happy year.  So as the old saying goes "money can't buy happiness".  I learnt that this is most definitely true!

(7) Tell us one thing that made you laugh
D1 "Daddy do you touch your wee wee when it comes out" (shouting from the bathroom)
BigD "Not usually D1, why?" (in most confused voice)
D1 "...'cos I just did and now my hand is all wet"

(8) Tell us one thing that made you cry
It would be D1's 1st day at school.  Somehow I managed to avoid the tears when dropping her off but boy did they flow when she was let out at 3.15 and she ran over and gave me the biggest cuddle.

(9) Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud
This isn't possible to limit to 3.  I am proud, to the point of bursting, of each and every achievement or milestone they achieve/reach.

(10) Tell us one thing that made you proud of yourself
This one is easy.  I learnt to run. I literally went from couch to 5k in quite a short space of time and turned into a bit of a fitness freak in doing so. I can't wait to be able to exercise again after giving birth to Baby D3.

(11) Tell us one challenge you overcame 
Sorry to keep going on about it but definitely the visa thing, It was a pretty major event but we're still standing and stronger than ever.

(12) Tell us three things you would like to change about your life from 2011
I wouldn't change anything of significance right now but being as I have to choose something I would like to:
Loose my baby weight
Spend more time on crafty projects with my children
Get at least 2 rooms decorated.

I challenge Bargain mummy buysLish Concepts and Forest bump and beyond  to complete the following Meme too, if you haven't already that is...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Welcome

Well it's official.  I now have more children than I have hands!

Welcome to the world Baby D3, it's good to have you here.


Baby D3 arrived one week ago yesterday on 16th jan 2012 at 01:18. He made quite a dramatic entrance, but that is a separate post I feel.

Even though I  am seriously sleep deprived, battling with severe breast engorgement through over supply and fighting off mastitis, I can honestly say I absolutely love the newborn stage.  I really really love it.  I love it even when I still haven't got him settled at 1am and am up again for another hour and a half less than 2 hours later.  I had remembered those first few sleepless nights after my other two, but I had definitely forgotten how bad they were. Indescribable.

Anyway, whine over.  The nameless child is here and he only remained nameless for 24 hours.  We had a short list of 5 names and although none of them jumped out at us as being "the one" before he was born, we were hoping once we met him one would just suit him better than the others.  Of course none of the names fit.  After a day of calling him "The Baby" we were beginning to get desperate - Calling him "The Baby" just felt so wrong.  Desperation led us to explore family initials and special place names but these didn't work either.  In the end he ended up with a name that basically, and rather loosely, translates to "Baby D3" and it suits him perfectly.  The thing I love best about it is that it isn't a made up name but a really old fashioned English name and although it is somewhat unusual it has a real story behind it.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

We've Got Monsters...

About 2 years ago we had "Monkeys".  D1 was about 2.5 years old at the time and it was a total nightmare.  She was terrified and would leap into my arms trembling at the slightest noise.  They stayed for about 2 months and were finally banished following trips to various zoos and lots of nice monkey stories.

 D1 is now 4 and a half and this time we have monsters.  I have a permanent shadow. The fear doesn't always seem quite as genuine as it was with the monkeys and I feel some of it is for attention as she only has to mention "monsters" and Mummy jumps into reassurance mode.  I am not saying by any means that it is a total fabrication, just that she is a smart cookie and with me being pregnant (I was pregnant last time too) it is an effective way of getting some one on one attention.

 I do have to stifle a little giggle when she will not go downstairs by herself if the rest of the family are upstairs without taking D2 with her.  D2 is 20 months.  Does she really think that if there was a monster, a 20 month old would protect her?

At the moment it isn't too much of a problem as it is not affecting bed times.  We do have the odd wakening throughout the night but she is usually very calm when telling us she can hear monsters, possibly just looking for the green light to climb into bed with us for the night.  I am, for the time being, fairly hopeful the monsters will vanish before they become too much of a problem.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Do large companies have a responsibility to not be seen to be promoting formula feeding?


I recently stumbled upon a sleep-suit with the slogan "save water drink milk" accompanied by an image depicting a babies bottle on the NEXT website, actually I saw it first on another blog promoting the new NEXT spring summer collection (a kind of preview).  I wrote to NEXT at the time to share my opinion.  Now don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with the slogan, it is the slogan accompanied by the image that gets my back up.  

While having a grumble on my personal Facebook page a friend left me a comment stating the irony of artificial milk being made from water and also reminding me (I had stupidly forgotten) that it is infact illegal to promote formula feeding for babies under 6 months.  This sleepsuit is available in First size upwards...  Another argument, and a pretty valid one, put forward was that expressed breast milk can be given via a bottle but that certainly isn't the perception of the "majority" of people when looking at such an image.

I do think most people would not be influenced by such imagery BUT at the same time I do think large companies do need to sit up and take some responsibility. 
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