Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Helping a child with nightmares- Dream Pillow Review & Giveaway

It's heartbreaking, to hear my daughter crying out in the night. For around a year now, around 3-4 times a month, Isla has nightmares. Sometimes her nightmares are mild and she tells us about them in a hazy half asleep way, before dropping back down onto her pillow- but there are some nightmares where she runs around her room and doesn't understand she isn't asleep anymore until we come in and turn on the light.

It's not a huge issue thankfully, and we put it down to her having a very big imagination, but it does disturb her sleep and she worries about going to bed sometimes in case a bad dream hits.

That's why I was so thrilled to be contacted by Dream Pillow. They have created three beautiful soft pillows designed especially for children aged 2-12, to help them combat bad dreams and get a good night sleep.

Isla was sent the "Lamby" pillow, which came with a pad of cloud shaped paper for her to write down her wishes for good dreams. For her first night trying it, she drew a rainbow and said she hoped she would get to go "over the rainbow" like Dorothy, just without the witches! After drawing or writing what she wants to dream about, she just has to slide the dream into the pillow and get to sleep.

I hoped that her having the positive images in mind in such a prominent and happy format would stop her imagination running away into scarier thoughts, and it seemed to ease her mind as well as she was actually excited to go to sleep!

She didn't dream about rainbows, but she didn't have any nightmares and said she will just have to try harder in her dreams the next night!

Dream Pillow is such a fantastic idea, and the creators have also produced a revolutionary sleep mask that reduces all light and up to 40 decibels of sound- so once the kids are settled with their pillows you can rest easy (or use it to ignore a snoring husband like me!).

If you'd like the chance to win both an original Dream Pillow and Sleep Mask, please do enter in the widget below! Thank you so much Dream Pillow for the good nights sleep!

Dream Pillow & Sleep Mask Giveaway

I was sent one Lamby Dream Pillow and sleep mask in exchange for this review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Exciting News! 12 Weeks Pregnant

I'm so happy to finally be able to write about this- it's been a long 8 weeks of waiting and I've found my mind going blank when it comes to blogging ever since we found out. How could I bring myself to write when I couldn't yet talk about the most exciting thing we have going on!

I'm extremely pleased to announce that myself and Jack are expecting our third bundle of joy. Three children! Are we crazy? Many probably think so- we already have one of each and as I addressed in my previous post about feeling broody, we weren't sure that it was really the norm to venture past two children anymore.

But yes, little one is definitely on the way and the whole family is thrilled.

I'm 12+5 writing this today, and yesterday we had our 12 week scan to make sure everything is developing well with the baby- I feel very blessed to say it is.

Pregnancy so far has been surprisingly easy. With my first pregnancy, I didn't have morning sickness but I did faint all the time, even from the beginning. With my second, I had severe Hyperemesis almost from day one and ended up with acute SPD which started to ache almost from the beginning as well. We were of course nervous for what this pregnancy would bring, but the hormone gods have blessed me and I haven't thrown up or fainted or ached once!

At most, I'm tired. Wrangling two small children when all I want to do is nap lately has been hard and for some reason they've both decided that bedtime and wake up time are on a brand new schedule. Add in that I do have to get up to pee most nights and I'm definitely getting desparate for the second trimester energy.

The hormones are however, causing me to have more spots than I ever had combined for all my teenage years. My hair is annoyingly oily and I'm yet to crack the code for how often to wash it without it being too often. Breast ache has subsided but was a huge niggle for the first two months.

I'm definitely already in maternity jeans. I showed fairly quickly with my prior pregnancies and this one is no exception- they do say subsequent pregnancies can show earlier and at nearly 13 weeks there is definitely no hiding it. My uterus is way above my pubic bone already and I can feel it like a hard ball when I lay on my stomach (something I miss at night already, boo).

I'm so excited for this journey and to share it with you all!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Kinder's Easter Range 2019- Review

Easter is definitely a highlight in my children's year- who doesn't love chocolate and an excuse to eat their body weight in it? We were absolutely thrilled to be contacted by Kinder and sent a whole bunch of goodies from their huge Easter range for 2019.

From the well known and well loved Kinder Eggs, to the absolutely huge full sized Powerpuff girls egg (and I'm being honest, it was about as big as Isla's head) there's something for everyone's taste and budget this year.

It's a lot more than chocolate, the eggs all have wonderful quality toys inside, meaning that even when the chocolate is gone, the fun can carry on. They're also offering an Easter egg hunt kit jammed full of treats and fun, easy to put together signs and pointers which keeps the tradition and excitement of the Easter egg hunt alive.

Getting into taste, my two loved having the job of taste tester (so did Jack who told me through a mouth full of chocolate that this was the best review I've ever had to do) and it's safe to say that they gave two sticky thumbs up each. Isla loved how different the Kinder Joy was- it still had a toy but had the novelty of scooping out soft kinder chocolate with a little spoon, and Archer has eaten more Kinder Chocolate Mini's than I can count.

The toys are amazing too- they've had loads of fun putting their things together, and the giant toys inside the larger eggs definitely surpassed our expectations. I won't show you what we got in the giant ones, as I don't want to spoil the surprise for any little eyes that may be peeking over your shoulder at this post... I can definitely see why there is such a hype for all those unwrapping videos now though!

So yes, Kinder's 2019 Easter range also has two very chocolatey thumbs up from me and I've definitely had to cave on my healthier diet at least 10 times in the last week.

As I said, there's options for all tastes and budgets. Ranging from just 99p to £15, as well as multiple options for toys (Powerpuff Girls, Minions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...) and even soft toys for the younger babies who can't have chocolate but can't miss the fun. The giant eggs are available in Tesco and Ocado only, so be sure to grab them while you can!

Thank you so much Kinder for all the wonderful treats, I'm going to have to go to the shops and grab some more for Easter now!

I received a hamper of Kinder's 2019 Easter range in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own honest words, and all photography is my own.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Best Rides for Under 3's at Disneyland Paris

We were a little apprehensive about taking Archer and Isla to Disneyland initially. Isla is nearly four, but she is not the tallest in her class and she barely tops a meter. Archer is another ball game, as he is under two years old and much smaller than a meter.

There was little to no information online about what actual height limits were on all the rides, so is there much point taking such small children if they can't go on much?

Yes there is! There are so many things they can go on, so I'm listing the best rides for under 3's at Disneyland Paris right here for you.

1. It's a Small World

It's a strange one, and it's got that song that everyone loves to hate, but there is so much to look at that we were dragged on it 5 times by our little ones and didn't get bored.

2. Peter Pan's Flight

Try to get fast passes as this one is hugely popular, or get there as soon as the park opens... but it's so good! Fly in a ship over London and Neverland, no scary bits and plenty to keep children fascinated (a huge favourite for me as an adult as well).

3. Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin

They do ask your childs age for this one- it isn't to do with their height, they just want to know that they're old enough to hold their heads up as this one goes around and around pretty fast! Not too fast for little ones, but enough to be one of their first thrills.

4. Casey Jr's Circus Train

Remember that little train from Dumbo? They have it hidden in a corner of the main park, and it's great for kids and adults. Mine loved how fast it went around the track, and they get to pick which animal cage they sit in!

5. Dumbo's Flying Elephants

An absolute classic, and no doubt it's the one you've seen on all the adverts. Your little ones will love the views of Fantasyland with the maze and castle. If the queue's are too big and you want something similar, head over to the Studios and get on Aladdin's flying carpets- just as good!

6. Ratatouille: The Adventure

A 4D trackless ride that takes you running through the kitchens, the size of a rat! Archer kept his glasses on for the whole thing, and while a couple of bits may make your children jump (the chef is trying to catch you) it had Isla in hysterics. A fun ride if you have braver children.

7. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

If you've got a Toy Story fan (both of mine are!) and have already run through all of the Toy Story section in the Studio park, head over to the main park for this ride! Though the little ones are rubbish shots, they loved the rotatable cars and getting to try get Zurg, as well as all the other cameos from Buzz throughout!

There are plenty of walk through areas if you aren't sure if your child will like rides- such as Alice's Labyrinth and Aladdin's Enchanted Passage, and there are so many rides I haven't even listed that your children might like. 

Some are a bit scarier despite small children being big enough to ride (Snow White and Pirates of the Caribbean for example) but they let the parents judge that one, and surprisingly mine did pretty well on both even so young!

I hope this helps with your planning! Let me know if there are any rides you'd add to this list.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

REAL tips for flying with toddlers!

Flying with toddlers. Flying with a lap toddler.... it doesn't sound fun.

Thankfully, our first flight was only an hour and a half long, but that doesn't even begin to cover any of the time dragging them through check in, security, milling around the departure lounge, heading to the gate, boarding the plane, sitting on the plane before and after take off, waiting to collect luggage... you catch my drift.

Airports are bloody boring if you're under 5 and have no money or patience. They're even more dreadful for the parents who have to endure those bored little people for half a day, even when the flight is "only" an hour and a half.

I've read so many posts with top tips for flying with small children and toddlers, but none of them truly touched on all that travelling by plane encompasses, so let's delve in and I hope that by the end of this post, if you're planning on flying with children you either change your mind (retreat!) or have a little more faith that you'll manage it.

When you first arrive at the airport:

Check in and luggage, security and of course...lines. Quite a lot of airlines these days allow you to check in early, so if you aren't checking luggage, chances are you're far more savvy than I am and you get to head right over to security. We did have luggage to check, because I am an over packer (plus we were getting tags to check our prams in at the gate, thank you for this huge convenience easyjet!).

The most important thing at this point, is to keep your little ones from going mad while they wait, because chances are there's a queue. I found with my oldest (she's nearly 4) the best thing to keep her mind occupied, was to invent jobs for her. She had her own little suitcase, and it was her job to wheel that along for example. Throw as many snacks as you can at them while they wait, promise them there is a McDonalds in the fabled departure lounge, and tell them they can watch as much Peppa Pig as they want on your phone. 

Also, make sure they wee before you start to line up because I promise you, they will decide they need one. Right away. Right before your turn with the X-Ray machine (especially if they've had to chug their drinks so they don't get binned!)

Departure Lounge:

If you manage to wrangle them through the X-Ray machines in security without a meltdown as they bin their water bottle, you've made it to the departure lounge. If you are lucky, unlike me, the promised McDonalds will buy you another 45 minutes of entertainment and a new toy. There was not a Maccas in the lounge when we flew, we had to sadly persuade the kiddies that Pret was just as good. It wasn't.

We watched planes, we gave Isla the job of watching when the board had new things appear, and we watched as much Peppa Pig on mummy's phone as we liked. Honestly, I keep repeating it. I'm not a fan of screens- my two don't get to use my phone or tablets, and they don't have their own and won't for a while. In the car, I tell them to look out the window... but at the airport, you gotta do what you gotta do to get by and just give in. Your sanity will thank you.

When it's finally time to get down to the gate, don't assume you don't need to move instantly. Yes, you have around 40 minutes before it leaves and before I had children, that was enough time to buy a magazine and a Toblerone before I wondered lazily away from the shops.... move move move- do it. We got to around 3 gates away before Archer decided it was prime pooping time and ended up at the back of the line to get on that silly little bus, Isla was wandering along with her little suitcase as slowly as she could and we just made it before they started boarding children.

On the plane:

I had a lap toddler. Archer is under two, so he had to be strapped to me. I used Netflix to "wifi free" download as many cartoons as I could onto my phone, and stuck it inches from his face in an attempt to keep him happy. He was lucky enough to get a go in the pilots seat in the cockpit before we took off, which meant while Jack was upfront with him I could get the bags and belts and older child all ready and settled.

Stickers, snacks, colouring (don't get round pencils, get the ridged edge ones so they don't roll off!) and cartoons were our saviours. If you bring things for them to do, take into account that they only stay focused for around 5-10 minutes before getting fidgety again.

Let them watch as much Peppa Pig as they want.

Being honest, nothing will prepare you for flying with children for the first time. I am no expert, but we did survive and we didn't piss off the people sitting around us too much and we all landed fairly happy but exhausted. Children get bored, it just happens, and no matter how you prepare, you never know how they'll handle a trip.

The real tip is don't beat yourself up or worry about the people around you, just focus on yourselves and try to enjoy it without letting the stress take over. They are people you will never see again and it'll be over before you know it.

Taking the #BepanthenProtects Challenge

As a parent, from the moment your little one is born, you want to do everything you can to make them happy. Whether it be ensuring they are fed before they start to cry with hunger, or that they get that cuddle before they need to ask for it, it's always been an aim of mine to ensure I try to cover my children's needs before it turns into full melt down mode!

This aim of course, means I've always got to keep their bottoms in check, and ensure I do what I can to prevent nappy rash and irritated skin before it can appear and bother them. For a long while, we actually used cloth nappies with Archer (we managed 7 months before the laundry became too much!) and as they aren't as absorbent, making him more prone to irritation, I actually started using Bepanthen nappy ointment before being asked to take part in this challenge and was thrilled to be able to tell you all about it.

The important thing to remember with Bepanthen is that it not intended for treating or preventing or curing nappy rash, but using it regularly and making it a part of your normal routine when changing a nappy can help to protect your babies skin when the rashes do threaten. A baby's skin is 40% thinner than an adults, which means it's far easier for them to get irritated.

I can't count how many times teething or new foods have given my little ones the type of filled nappy that could cause a rash... but keeping on top of it with cream before it hits really does help keep their skin protected. Apply a thin layer after changing them and letting their bottom dry, and their skin will be protected with a breathable layer that stops irritation from rubbing and moisture.

Bepanthen is kind to skin, and gentle, something I'm sure you will agree is very important when finding a product for your little one:

- No Fragrances
- No colours
- No Preservatives
- No Parabens
- No Antiseptics

There's even a handy travel sized bottle, perfect for throwing in a changing bag. It's definitely something I would recommend.

This post is an entry for the #BepanthenProtects challenge, sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more about how to protect baby’s sensitive skin on https://www.bepanthen.co.uk
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