Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Berry Clever Kids

Berry Clever

When it comes to buying products for your baby, it can be really hard to know what's good, what works and what doesn't work.  Well, myself and loads of other mummies have been regularly putting our likes and dislikes on a website called Berry Clever.  It lists hundreds of products from teething to skincare, bathing, sleeping etc (you get the picture).  I've created 17 lists on there over the last few months covering the afore mentioned things - and where I've included products that I've used, I've shared a quick summary of my thoughts, whether good or bad.

What I really like is that your home page will show a list of the current trending products, it can be a great way to find out what things mummies (and daddies) are currently loving - through all different stages of babyhood/toddlerhood/childhood and connect with other mummies (and daddies) on there. If you do see a product you like, they do also have a link on each product to 'buy from Amazon' online, which should take you right to that product on Amazon - nicely joined up :)

Of all the lists I've created I think my 'Baby Teething' list is my favourite, there's some fantastic products on there, lots of which I have and use - bit shout out to Sophie the Giraffe teether - Squidge really loves chewing her face and legs and making it squeek :) See the full list here.  If you want to have a look at the 16 other lists I've put together you can see them here.

As well as Berry Clever Kids - they also have Berry Clever Pets - so if you're looking for some new treats or toys for your furry friends it could be worth checking that out too - you can access both sites from here.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Tommee Tippee Closer to nature digital baby monitor review

Tommee Tippee video baby monitor

Tommee Tippee video baby monitor receiver

Back when I was pregnant we knew we needed to get a baby monitor and naturally, I wanted a good one. I'd had my eye on this one, but at £180 it was way out of my price range.  Then at an Asda baby event, they had it on offer for half price, so just £90 - that was a price I was more comfortable with, and the order was placed.  Over 5 months on, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you on it.

It does come with a sensor mat that the baby sleeps on and will detect if they stop breathing.  I felt that I'd be a nervous nellie if I used this, so we decided to put that bit to one side - this we bought for the LCD monitor more than anything.

The system itself is great, it can tell the temperature in the room, and has full on infared night vision - so that in the night when all the lights are off, you can still see how your little baby is doing and if their dummy has popped out etc.  It's a decent sized screen, and you can zoom in and move the image about a little etc.  It also has a 2 way chat - so if your baby has woken up and needs some reassurance, you can press the chat button and talk to them.

Other than the full colour screen seemingly seems to have a pink wash over it, it's pretty good and serves the purpose.  It's also got a decent range on it so I can see him wherever I am in the house.

However, for us, this hasn't been the perfect solution we thought it might be.  For example, when unplugged from the charger, the battery doesn't last that long, it won't last a full day, so every night it needs to be on charge.  There's also been quite a few occassions where he's been crying and the monitor hasn't picked it up until a good 30 seconds after.

The screen is supposed to come on if it detects movement from him, but 90% of the time the only occasions when the monitor comes on is when one of us walks past it, and that's only now and then - normally the monitor only lights up if we make it.

I think for the money this is a very over-priced piece of kit - yes it's great to have the screen and be able to see him, but other brands like Motorolla do similar systems for a lot less money - here ytou're paying for the sensor mat, and as much as I haven't used it myself, I have been told it gives a lot of false positives - but that's just conjecture.

All in all, I wouldn't buy it again, I'd try something else.  I'd definitely go for a video monitor again, but not this one, I think it's really over priced and has a very poor battery :/

Friday, 27 March 2015

Afternoon Tea at The Angel, Abergavenny

It's no secret that I adore going for afternoon tea, so I figured it made sense to start sampling afternoon tea's from around the Cardiff and surrounding area (within about a 1 hr drive) to see who can really does have the best afternoon tea.  Currently, for me, it's Pettigrew Tea Rooms - so lets see how The Angel faired in comparison.

The hotel itself is gorgeous, very luxurious but not modern, which is something I loved.  All the rooms were a bit of a well-thought-out mismash with rooms leading on to an assortment of other rooms.

The place is beautifully and elegantly decorated, scented by fresh flowers.  We were greeted by really friendly staff who really couldn't be more helpful.  After seating us, they fetched a high chair (and a cushion as Squidge was too small for the chair).  We were both having afternoon tea, the only real decision is what tea leaves to have - we pretty much decided this on the drive over - I opted for Assam, and hubby went for Earl Grey (a new fav of ours).

Daddy seeing what Squidge wanted to order from them menu - he loves looking at words :)
Daddy and Squidge

Seeing as I'm vegetarian, they kindly brought my sandwiches separately (a lovely touch).  There was one egg mayo which was delicious, a cheese and cucumber, a cheese salad and a cheese and spring onion - all very lovely on very fresh bread.
Vegetarian sandwiches

Our teapots were gorgeous too, very heavy but very beautiful, gosh I'd really love one of these at home! 

The afternoon tea stand was lovely and not too over the top.  The bottom tier was the sandwiches, middle tear was taken up with little cakes and the top tier were two little orange (delicate) desserts which I'm not sure I can explain other than saying there was a little sponge at the bottom, some preserve, some creme anglaise and a little cream on top.  They brought out warm scones with jam and cream after we'd finished our sandwiches and they were absolutely gorgeous.

Then we moved on to the little cakes - these reminded me of French Patisserie style, the way so many were cut with a very sharp knife showing off all the perfectly defined layers.  A big shout out to the custard tart too - I've never had one before where the custard didn't fall apart and squeeze out when eating it, cutting it or sticking the fork in it - it was so well set, and delicious. 
Afternoon tea stand

These are the orange desserts, we had them at the end to cleanse our palettes as they were very subtle in flavour and far from rich. 
Orange desserts

My tea in beautiful china, the best way to drink tea. 
Cup of tea

This was the tiramisu from the middle of the mini cakes - this was the nicest tiramisu I've ever had the pleasure of tasting, it wasn't too rich, the sponge was very moist and again, it didn't all fall apart. It had beautifully defined layers and had been cut with a very sharp knife.

Overall it was a fantastic afternoon tea.  The staff were amazing, so friendly and helpful. We weren't left with dirty plates on the table and they were really good at keeping an eye scanning the room in case any customers needed them - one of my pet hates is when for ages you try and get the attention of staff and they're standing in the corner chatting instead of attending to the needs of the customers.

This wasn't a cheap afternoon tea at around £21 a head - however, the quality was fantastic, the service you definitely paid for and the beautiful surroundings, and as you can imagine, there were lovely customers around us too.

That being said, for me there's still things I'd have preferred, like less cake and maybe another sandwich - and for vegetarians, a better range of fillings - since 3 of the 4 were cheese (not that I'm complaining, I love cheese, but not all people would have liked that).  I really am a fan of having a big slice of cake, instead of the little cakes too - but that's all personal preference.  This was a beautiful afternoon tea and I'm sure we'll go back again.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The 4 month sleep regression...

Sleepy Squidge

I haven't written this sooner, because I had hoped it would have passed by now, however, here were are at 5.5 months and we're still going through it.

If you don't know what the 4 month sleep regression is, here's a great post about it - to summarise it, at about 4 months, babies change their sleeping patterns from a baby one, to an adult one.  Their new pattern will see them sleep for 5ish hours well, then wake up a lot, just like we do as adults, after sleeping a while we wake up a lot and turn over etc.  This regression will see babies who have been successfully sleeping through, start to wake a lot and essentially, regress.

With Squidge it started at about 15 weeks, just before he turned 4 months old.  He had been sleeping right through (this is when he was still in his moses basket), but he started waking up, not for a feed, just for his dummy - so I'd reach over, pop his dummy back in and we'd go back to sleep.  Well, that's still the case, only he's in his cot in his own room now, so when he wakes up for his dummy, we have to get out of bed, walk into his room, pop the dummy back in, go back to our room, get back into bed and go back to sleep while the other one is snoring away.  It could be as little as 5 minutes later, we're doing the same thing again, and again, and again.

On any given night, he'll wake up between 2 and around 15 times, each time requires us getting out of bed and putting his dummy back in.  Once the dummy is in, he goes right back to sleep, until he either spits the dummy out, pulls it out or just wakes up.

Some nights, he does actually sleep right the way through - I think since he was 15 weeks (he's now 24 weeks), we've had maybe 3/4 of these, they really have become a rarity.  I'm hoping he goes back to sleeping through again soon and that this doesn't last for months more.

Do you have any tips to help with this?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Huge Sainsburys baby haul

There's quite a few things I've been needing to get for Squidge - mostly things that aren't in this haul - like lots of proper clothes - but I have vouchers earmarked for most of that, I just need to find time to get into town and buy the stuff - but I can't take long as he's pretty much grown out of his current size clothes and really needs next size up stuff.  

Ok, he didn't 'need' all of this, but you know, it's fun to buy stuff for him :P  Here's what I bought:

'Guess how much I love you' bibs - this set of 3 were £5, and some next size up socks - I thought these were really cute - some have planes on and some have helicopters on :)
Sainsburys bibs and socks

Funny story with these tops - they were originally priced at £2.50 each but were previously on offer for 2 for £4.  However, they were in a reduced section saying 50% off - so surely 2 for £2? Well we had a bit of a 'discussion' with the man on the till as he was charging us £1.25 each, we argued the point, he called a supervisor over and we got it for 2 for £2 - bargain :)
Sainsburys baby tops
I really couldn't resist this outfit - dungarees and a cute nautical vest, perfect for warmer weather as the dungarees are shorts - I can't wait to see him in these! This outfit was £10.
Sainsburys Dungarees

As we're weaning him and have been for 6+ weeks, he's now on the next stage of weaning, so little puffs like this, finger food and mash (lumpy).  I'm loving giving him different foods to explore and see his little fact when he has it :)  I wouldn't normally buy things like this, but I just wanted to see how he'd get on with them. 
Kiddy puffs
Every morning with his bottle he now has a small bowl of porridge.  He was having the Cow & Gate Sunny Start plain porridge which he really likes, but I thought I'd try him on a flavour - so far so good!  The pouch of Pears & Baby rice from HiPP organic is one of his favs, so I've bought it to use when he's trying a vegetable that he doesn't like.  I've read that if you give them a flavour (like fruit) that they like after a vegetable they don't, they're more likely to like the veg they don't like, if you follow?  I think I said 'like' too much :P
Pouches and Porridge
In an effort to give him some soft food with chunks I thought I'd give these a go too.  Don't worry, he gets bits of fresh fruit and veg too - just today he's had celery, pineapple, blueberries and potato - all fresh :)
HiPP Organic food pots
I had to get this - it's so far is favourite savoury flavour - we found adding a little of this to mashed potato was a great success.  He didn't like potato as it was, but with this he really liked it.  Next time he'll have more mash and less of this, until he's on pure mash and loving it :)  I mean, I'm half Irish, he HAS to love potato - especially with the amount of it I ate when I was pregnant!
HiPP Organic food jar
On days when he's really fussy, I'm finding that I don't have time to wash up between feeds as he's with me almost constantly.  I only had 3 feeding spoons for him, so I picked up this pack too.  I actually prefer them to the Tommee Tippee ones I have, even though the TT ones are great as they change colour if the food is too hot.  I also picked up the Nuby teether ring, he loves this - it's either in his mouth, or he's busy throwing it on the floor!  Also on a recommendation I picked up a Nuby Nibbler - you put big chunks of fruit in it and they nosh it up through the mesh, so there's no risk of choking.  The fruit he has in it is fresh from the fridge, so nice and cold on his sore gums too.
Nuby haul

Ready for him turning 6 months, I picked up the next level teets for his Tommee Tippee bottles.  He's not ready for these yet, but I wanted to have them ready to try for when the time is right. 
Tommee Tippee teats

The other thing I've needed to update are his dummies.  The ones he's currently using are 0-6 months, I believe these ones are a bit bigger, making them less of a choking hazard.  I wasn't going to buy 4 packs, but they were on offer - instead of £5 a pack, they were 2 packs for £6 which is great - so I shopped the offer.  3-4 of them will stay up in his nursery (he throws them out of the cot in the night, so we need plenty of backups) - another 1-2 will be kept in his change bag, and the other couple will stay in the lounge :)
avent dummies

So there you have it, a very big Sainsbury's haul and I still have loads of stuff to buy.  I need another few sleepsuits, more trousers, more tops, more socks and a new coat! I have vouchers for M&S and John Lewis which is where I'll be buying everything from, so keep your eyes peeled for a big baby clothing haul then! I also bought 3/4 pairs of trousers for him from M&Co this week, I'll add them to his next-size-up haul :)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Silent Sunday #12

Taken on day he was the happiest I've seen him since he was born

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Weir, Hereford

I'm back with another National Trust adventure! As you may recall from previous posts, we bought full memberships back last summer when we were on our babymoon in Cornwall, and in the past few months we've really tried to make the most of our membership and go somewhere regularly, although this past couple of months life and the weather has really got in the way.

A couple weeks ago we went to visit a friends new baby, and about an hour from them in Hereford is a place called The Weir, so we thought we'd go and take a peek.  The Weir is probably one of the smaller National Trust places we've been to, but also one of the ones we've enjoyed the most.

When we got there, we tried to take a family selfie in the sun, but it only made Squidge and Chris squint, and me smile/squint - either way, I thought it made for a funny pic so I added that here for good measure :)

Fail family selfie

It's pretty cheap to get in to if you're not a member, £6.75 for adults and £3.30 for children, however there isn't a great deal to do there so if you're on a budget, you might prefer to spend a little more money and go somewhere like Tredegar House instead as there's more to look at and do (£8 adults, £4 children).  That being said, with a 5 month old we had a great time.  

Happy hubby and baby

The suggested path is in a bit of a narrow V, starting on the higher part of it, and going a little uphill. The views (which is really why you'd come here) are fantastic, both looking down at the lower path you'll walk back along, and at the hills in the distance over the river.  The above pic was taken just at the beginning of the path.

Here's some of the views you'll be greeted with along the higher path - there were lots of daffodils and snow drops cropping up and the paths were lined with trees.  I'd really like to come back here in the summer when the trees have leaves on and there's a new assortment of flowers that will have grown.

Lower path at The Weir
Main path at The Weir

Lovely view at The Weir

If you wanted a shorter walk, there was this path down to the lower path - or if you simply wanted to explore without having to do the whole walk (although it isn't that long).

Short cut path

Not too far down the path there was this lovely little hut, I couldn't get a great picture of the outside of it, but this is the inside - it had a really funky handmade bench and pattern on the floor - everything looked reclaimed and used from fallen wood etc, but really creatively made.

Gorgeous little hut at The Weir

We were heading straight to the tea tent as we hadn't had lunch - we picked up some cakey treats from the admissions hut to have when we got there, and on the top path was this house. Unfortunately when the whole place sold (house and land) the National Trust didn't buy the house either, which is a shame as it would have been fab to have a look around it.

Beautiful house at The Weir
Pretty sun and shadow patterns on the ground

Beautiful flowers at The Weir

A view through a break in the hedges just beyond the house - spectacular!

One of the great views at The Weir

This was the recently added tea tent.  There was 3/4 picnic tables, each with some fresh flowers on (lovely touch), and a table by an outdoor tap with a kettle, fridge and some tea bags.  That brick wall on the left was the back of the loo's - don't worry you couldn't hear anything or smell anything!  It's worth mentioning that the loo's were made up of 1 room which accommodated men, women, disabled people, and had a baby changing table on it, which we used.

There's a trust box there to pay and you serve yourself, I was very disappointed to see though, that we were the only people who actually paid for our tea - there were 2-3 other older couples there, and a young couple, all who drank their tea and left without contributing.

Stopping in the tea tent to feed the little man

After the tea tend we walked to the pinnicle of the path (the peak in the V) and started our walk back. On the walk back there was this gorgeous tree which had spread out in a really unusual way, so of course I had to stop and take a picture!

A funky tree on the lower path

My second favourite photo of the day, the hubby with Squidge on the walk back along the river.

Chris and Squidge on the walk back along the lower path

At the end of the path there was this roman octagonal cistern (water shrine) - me, I though it was an old fire pit, but just goes to show what I know!  Apparently it was first discovered in 1891 - this wasn't it's original place, it was dug up, and after they realised how significant this find was, they placed it back, but not correctly.

Roman water shrine

Other than places with houses to explore, this was probably one of our favourite National Trust places we've been to.  It helped that it was a lovely fresh Spring day and that the staff there were so lovely.  If you have kids that need to be kept entertained this may not be the best place to bring them to as there's not much to do - but for a short-ish walk and a bit of hill it's great - if we didn't have our memberships though, I'd have said this was a little expensive for what it is and admission should really be cheaper.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

My first Mother's Day as a mummy

This time last year when Mother's Day hit, I was about 3 months pregnant, and what I didn't expect was to have a card from the hubby as a 'mum to be' - it was so lovely it made me cry, such a thoughtful gift.  Mother's day has been hard for me the past 10 years, since my mum died, so this really meant something to me.  This year was no different, just much more awesome :)

Mother's day card while pregnant
Last year's card

The day started off like usual, with Squidge cooing then crying in his cot - but this time Chris got up to dress him and feed him, while I stayed in bed!!! Ok so I didn't get any more sleep as I was 'awake' by then but I did get to get out of bed when I was ready.  As I was in the process of getting up, Chris brought Squidge up to see me, dressed in a waistcoat, shirt and bow-tie (my favourite outfit of his), greeting me with a gorgeous rose-print bad full of gifts.

Squidge's first marks
Squidge's first marks

I opened the cards first, this was the first time I cried that day (and not the last!).  He'd bought me a card from him (Chris), basically thanking me for being a great mum... that choked me up - but when I opened the card from Squidge, that's when the tears flowed - Chris had given him a pen and got him to create his first 'pen to paper' marks on the card, that was more precious to me than anything he could have bought.

In the bag was a lovely cherry yankee candle (he knows how much I love a good scented candle), a box of lindt (the red ones - yummy!) and a 'best mummy' mug with a teddy bear in it - awwww so cute!  I collect mugs so this was a very happy present to receive.

Lovely mothers' day presents
Lovely presents

After that I jumped in the shower then came downstairs.  Chris popped to Starbucks for us and came back with their new maple syrup macchiatto's (the caramal macchiatto is my fav) but it wasn't really sweet enough for me, back to favourite latte's I go! He also brought back a cinnamon bun for me, yum!

After that we headed to his mum's house to wish her a happy mother's day and have a cuppa. Squidge was not on good form that day, he was really unhappy and crying a lot - just getting over a cold and not napping.  So we went for a bit of a drive so that he could get some sleep.  We popped to Waterloo Tea in Roath to pick up some cake (takeaway), but much like last time, the cake was very dry (and expensive!).  Needless to say, we won't be going back there.  

The rest of the day was spent relaxing at home, and trying to keep Squidge happy.  Once he was in bed we ordered a chinese.  I'm a vegetarian but for a long time I've been thinking about eating shellfish again, not normal fish, just shellfish, in fact, just prawn and crab.  After having a prawn curry recently and hating it (VERY fishy curry and the prawns were really overcooked) I thought I'd give it one last try, but king prawns.  I opted for king prawns in satay and veg and it was so yummy! I know what a veggie is called who eats fish, but what about one who only eats shellfish?

Squidge dressed smart with daddy
The two most important people in my life

Anyway, I had an amazing day, Chris did pretty much everything and without any grumbles (much appreciated!) especially as Squidge was so grouchy and unhappy.  It was such a lovely day, it felt like my birthday, I loved every moment and felt really special :)  Thank you Chris <3

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