Monday, September 1

Divided opinions - Breast Feeding in Public

I honestly fail to see why some people have such a problem with breast feeding in public, and by that I don't mean the mum's who are feeding their precious little bundles - I actually mean those around her and her child.

As a mother who breast fed both of her children in public it is the most natural thing in the world however with it brings mixed opinions sadly.

For a new nursing mum it does take a lot of practice and confidence to feed in public - believe me for some feeding doesn't come naturally and self confidence is an issue already without the hushed comments you may get from others while you are actually doing your best to keep your child happy, contented and quiet too.

I have experienced both sides of feeding in public - the good and positive comments and the negative comments too.

Harry feeding - 2 and a half weeks old
While feeding Emmy in a corner booth of a pub awaiting my lunch with friends on one of our first solo outings I was loudly tutted by an elderly couple who started discussing loudly how 'that sort of thing shouldn't be allowed in here'.  It was quite obvious they were talking about me and it was very upsetting. 

I had especially dressed for feeding Emmy in a breastfeeding top and I had an over sized muslin draped over both of us - you couldn't see anything at all - even my friends siting in front and next to me couldn't see.  The couple behind definitely couldn't. 
I didn't feel I could say anything but it was upsetting, it didn't deter me though.  I was able to breast feed my child so that's what I was going to do - besides all the health benefits it was cheap!

I've also been in coffee shops feeding and had people (strangers) come over to me and strike up a conversation with me, often joining me to keep me company if I was alone, I've even had a few buy me a refill.  It's actually very nice and warming. 
Babies need feeding be that with a bottle or with a boob - either way if you don't feed them they will cry, then scream!  Now I wonder how may people would complain if you sat eating your meal ignoring your screaming baby?
That would bother people a lot more than your happy and contented baby who is being fed discreetly by their mother in the most natural way.  You would be surprised though - a recent survey carried out by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk shows that one fifth of people think that breastfeeding in pubs and restaurants is inappropriate.

A researcher for the online voucher code website found that 21% of people think that anywhere you eat or drink is not an appropriate place to breastfeed.

Now this is where I completely disagree - I think if you are allowed to eat and drink somewhere then your child should be able to too - and that counts for babies too - why should they be left out because of their age? 

I have NEVER seen a mother breastfeeding who exposes their breasts to do so - a nursing baby will cover the nipples of their mother and the mums clothing covers the rest, and many will then use some kind of cover up too - their feeding will have no impact on your meal whatsoever - you most likely wont even know they are doing it even - so just why it bothers so many people I will never know.

500 people were surveyed, males and females to find out how they felt about women breastfeeding their children in public places.  They were asked "Where is it inappropriate to breastfeed?"

These were the results of that question:
  • Pubs and restaurants - 21%
  • Public Transport - 18%
  • Recreational areas, e.g. public swimming pools - 18%
  • Town/city centres - 16%
  • Shops - 1%
However the survey also showed that 67% of people are happy for breastfeeding mothers to feed their babies anywhere in public.  This story was also shown in the Daily Mail where is shows 70% of Brits are comfortable with women breastfeeding in public even in pubs and restaurants.

Have you even encountered problems or comments when breastfeeding in public?
Would it stop you from doing so?

I've seen many posts of support on Facebook supporting breastfeeding - where someone has been asked to stop and to even leave an establishment - later that week a breastfeeding demo of support has been set up where that establishment has been over run with feeding mums - I have to say - good for them!

Feeding Harry at a family party

I do remember one time feeding Harry while out to lunch with Emmy and being asked if I could "that that and continue in the restroom as it was making others feel uncomfortable" - of course THAT meant Harry who was being breastfed.  Of course I didn't - I mean why would I? 

Would you be happy to eat your meal in the restroom?  Emmy certainly wouldn't and so why should Harry?  Besides Emmy was still eating her meal and I was not about to uproot her.  I was covered up - more so than usual as I was using a breastfeeding cover up.  It was actually a customer who had asked me to stop - I refused to be rude to him, as he was being to me and I asked if I was making HIM feel uncomfortable, to which he replied yes.  I then asked him why?  He couldn't answer or look me in the eye.  When turned to walk away, Emmy had taken that moment to talk to him - she said "That's my Harry, he's my baby brother", in that moment the man turned around to Emmy and smiled, patted her on the head and apologised.

I sincerely hope his opinion was changed then and he never asked anyone to stop again.
 
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Over the threshold: August Kitchen Edition

This summer holidays a few new items have entered our kitchen, mostly for the kiddies - in this post we will be taking a look at a few of those.
 
Panda Drinks:
 
Now these are drinks I remember from my childhood, fizzy bottles of drinks we would be allowed as a special treat.
 
These have been relaunched and are no longer the sugary sweet fizzy drinks I remember but now flavoured still water drinks.  I was much more inclined to let the kids try these out as I don't often allow them to try fizzy ones (special occasions or if we are out to dinner).
 
They were not only send the new flavoured drinks but a lovely lunchbox to help enjoy the summer with picnics, and some outdoor toys to encourage outdoor play, fresh air and exercise!

The new 250ml bottles are designed for little hands, with a non-detachable sports cap it means they can be enjoyed on the go, popped back into lunchboxes (or mum's changing bag) and they won't spill out and make a mess!  Always a bonus for parents.  They are a great size for children's school lunches too.
 
The new flavours available are: Still juice in Raspberry and Blackcurrant flavours and a new Panda Splash which is a fruit flavoured water in Orange & Pineapple and Blackcurrant Flavour.
 
Emmy wasn't very keen on the flavoured waters - but she isn't really a water fan sadly and they were clear in colour so she associated them too much with water sadly.  Harry on the other hand will drink anything so loved them all. 
 
They have both loved playing with the ball, chalks and skipping rope and looking through the other games in our booklet, I had forgotten about kerby - a game I used to play as a child - when Emmy is a little older I will definitely be teaching her to play this one!  Of course after a nice play outside and any sort of exercise they could grab their Panda drinks and rehydrate themselves.
 
Panda Still Juice and Panda Splash are currently available in Asda, Tesco and Ocado and are priced at £1.99 for a 6 bottle multipack.  Panda Squash is sold in Tesco and costs 99p for a 1 litre bottle.
 
 
 
Vimto Squeezy Bottles
 
Vimto, the multi-fruit soft drink manufacture has brought out a new range of 'water enhancers' called 'Vimto Squeezy'.  This comes in a small portable handbag sizes squeezy bottle  which can be used anywhere to transform ordinary tap water into a tasty drink with just a couple of drops of concentrated flavour.
 
I've found these handy for keeping in my handbag/changing bag and taking on picnics with us.  Emmy and Harry both like different flavours so instead of making two different drinks up and carrying more I am able to take one large bottle of water and a few cups then they can choose which juice they want.  This is handy for when the dog comes along too - he can have water and we can all have a different juice.
 
The little bottles may be small but they make around 25 drinks each.  They have no added sugar and almost zero calories, and come in Original, Cherry or Strawberry flavours.  Add as much or as little as you like.

These aren't cheap though and cost £2.49 for that little bottle which to me personally seems a lot but the convenience of having something in your bag may outweigh that cost for some.  These are available from Tesco and Asda stores.

 
 
 
 Tasty Inc - Microwave snacks

I'm really not a fan of microwaved meals and the thought of a burger popped into the microwave for 90 seconds to me normally wouldn't sound appealing - they remind me of my younger drunken days on returning from the pub/club in the early hours and needing something quick.

However I was promised that things had changed and these were nice and not at all rubbery in taste.

We were sent the Flame Grilled Quarter Pounder,  Whole Breast Chicken Sandwich and the Chicken and Chorizo Bagette.

They come well packaged and with clear cooking instructions on the packet.  Each take 90 seconds and come with the sauces in separate packets so you can add at a later date.

I was pleasantly surprised, they weren't rubbery or dry - the chicken was very moist and I actually enjoyed this.

I often send Paul on a midnight burger run when I'm pulling an all nighter blogging throughout the night so they would actually be handy to have in the back of the fridge for those midnight emergencies - not very often but every now and then wouldn't hurt.

They are all under 500 calories too.

 

 Pringles Speaker

Pringles have launched their brand new party speakers - perfect for that summer BBQ - we are forecast another mini heatwave, so I'm hoping the summer isn't over yet.

These limited edition speakers attach to the top of the Pringles can and flash with a different-coloured LED light while playing music through phones or other music devices.  These can be linked up together to make the music even louder. You can line a few up and take them to the park with you for a picnic.

To get these speakers you need to buy two cans of Pringles, enter the codes on the cans online and they will be send directly to you - you do need to pay postage of £3.

We have had our pumping out Frozen and Disney tunes around the kitchen and the kids have loved dancing around to it.

 

 

 
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Saturday, August 30

Review & Giveaway: Ripley's Believe it or Not! London

I mentioned a few weekends ago I had an AMAZING day out in London courtesy of Ripley's Believe it or Not! London.
 
I've not actually had a proper chance to sit down and tell you about that yet though, the school holidays are proving rather difficult to get anything done on time, that's no excuse though.  So finally I am about to tell you of what has so far been the BEST bloggers event I have attended (and there have been a few over the past 3 years - including that private lunch I had with Tamzin Outhwaite).
 
We started our day off at Hamleys toy store, I'm not even going to tell you how amazing that place is as I'm sure you already know - it's a place I've been to many times and somewhere I avoid taking the children, not because I'm mean, it's because my purse couldn't cope!  I want everything let alone the children, but this visit was different - it was closed.  We had a private tour of a closed toy store, for 2 whole hours. 

The children could play with the toys, they had a go on the Nerf wall, chased around the ring master, watched a puppet show and even tried to juggle.  We learnt of some of the stores history and the toy history too.  Kids let loose in a closed and empty toy store - it was like a dream come true for all - including the parents!  They were then let loose on the pick n mix (and the adults too) before leaving.

 
 
From there we went to Planet Hollywood for lunch.  A section had been allocated for us all and we had a dedicated menu for our party.  We all settled very quickly and ordered our meals - the children could choose from the kids menus (their menus had colouring pages to entertain them - Emmy was pleased as she loves to colour) and Emmy decided she wanted a Burger and Chips.  I'm always very vary when she does this as although she does like Burgers, she only really eats the thin and over processed ones from a certain take away, she is a rather fussy eater, preferring plain foods such as plain spaghetti or plain pasta with cheese.  For this reason I ordered myself a pasta dish - Blackened Chicken Penne Pasta, my thoughts were that Emmy could eat the pasta if she changed her mind.
 
Considering the size of our party our party, our food was served pretty quickly.  Mine arrived before Emmy's and she started digging into the pasta - I had to pick the sweet red peppers, mushrooms and chicken off of the bits she wanted to eat but she really enjoyed it and for once didn't seem to mind there was a cream sauce on it.  When her Burger arrived she wasn't keen to try it - it just goes to prove Mummy knows best.


 
We were entertained during the meal by the onscreen messages and music and at one point the CCTV was hijacked and aimed our way so we could all wave and be silly and see ourselves on the TV screen - the kids loved this much more than the adults who were seen adjusting our clothing and sorting our hair after being caught in a down pour!
 
After lunch we headed off to Ripley's Believe it or Not! - en-route the heavens opened and we were all drenched though but what's a little (A LOT) of rain amongst friends?   
 
I had no expectations before we went and wasn't sure what Emmy would make of it (she is 4 and a half) -  We had a guide who talked to us about some of the displays and unexpected artefacts. 
 
Ripley's is a place to find the weird, wonderful and bizarre in all its forms under one roof from the worlds tallest man and the worlds heaviest man, there is a full sized Ferrari which has been knitted using 12 miles of yarn, and even a scale model of Tower Bridge made entirely from matchsticks - 264345 matchsticks were used!
 
There is a canvas picture of Katherine -the Dutchess of Cambridge which has been painted in one of the most unique ways I've ever heard of - the artist wore lipstick and then kissed the canvas, repeating this process over and over again until an amazing piece of artwork had been created.
 
Emmy wasn't keen on the Amazonian Shrunken Heads and wasn't too keen on me trying to tell her about some of the displays - however she toured in her own way - probably the best way for someone of her age - she went up to all the displays which interested her, all the colourful ones, ones she could touch, feel and interact with.
 
She LOVED the interactive graffiti wall - this is a huge computer screen which the children could spray paint on with a spray can - the spray can acts like the mouse would on a computer which you use to direct your graffiti onto the wall.  All the children loved this and it's the stillest and most patient I have seen a group of children as they queued for there 1 minute with the spray can.


 
The Marvellous Mirror Maze was both wonderful and scary at the same time - for this you wear disposable gloves and head into the darkened maze full of mirrors - the mirrors are floor to ceiling in length and the whole maze is dark except for strips of red lights on the floor - this obviously makes finding your way through the maze very hard.  There are twists and turns everywhere, dead ends and false turns hindering your path.  I have never been in a maze of mirrors and had thought how hard can it be to find your way out - well the answer to that is very hard!  I'm slightly claustrophobic so after more than 10 minutes of Emmy leading the way, feeling our way by touching the mirrors we both started to panic a little - she wasn't too keen from the off and firmly held my hand.  We made it out with a huge sigh of relief and when a staff member asked Emmy if she wanted to go again she legged it in the opposite direction, and I can't say I blame her.  It was fun but once was enough.
 
The sights inside Ripley's are amazing - the hours and hours spent making and creating some of the art work is immense - there are pictures make entirely from flattened bottle caps, and others from gob stoppers.  
 
It is well worth a visit if you are heading into London, I NEED to head back again as Emmy was tired by the end of the day and we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to.  You are however very lucky as I have a family ticket to Ripley's to giveaway.
 
 
Giveaway Time
 
For your chance to win a family ticket to Ripley's Believe it or Not! London just fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
 
This giveaway will end at midnight on 19th September - the ticket is valid until 14/08/2015
 
 
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Disclaimer: We were treated to this awesome day out courtesy of Ripley's Believe it or Not!  We have not been compensated in any other way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own
 
 
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Friday, August 29

5 Top Tips for Keeping the Kids Entertained On a Long Car Journey

Having kids ask "Are we there yet?" every so often during a long journey can drive any parent crazy, so how to keep children entertained should be on your list of things to prepare for. Impatient and noisy kids can be a distraction, especially if you need to concentrate on driving so as not to miss an important turn in the road. With these top tips, you can make every journey an enjoyable adventure for your kids, and you can focus on getting your family to your vacation spot without the least bit of hair-pulling involved. Let’s get started!

 
Travel Games and Toys

 
There are many travel games you and your children can play during the ride, such as spotting games and mind games. For instance, you can tell your kids that every time they spot an umbrella, they should say "Rain, rain, go away!"
 
You can also tell them to be on the lookout for a particular colour of a vehicle or a building. Uncommon colours are best—for example, you can tell your children to look for purple buildings or orange cars. Another game you can play involves music. Before your trip, save popular tunes in your MP3 player and play a guessing game during your journey. Let your kids name the title of the song, and sing along.
 
Toys can also keep children entertained. You can bring favourite toys or surprise your kids with new ones such as small dolls, action figures, and model cars and planes. Even everyday household items such as pipe cleaners can become toys that children can sculpt into various shapes!
 

Art Kits

 
Many children love creating things with their hands, and with just a few basic materials, you can make art kits that your children can enjoy. Get some blank sheets of paper, a small clipboard, and a box of washable markers, coloured pencils, or crayons, and give a set to each child. You can task them to draw different scenes and objects: what they think your destination looks like, or what they see out the window, their pet or favourite toy, or portraits of family members.
 

 
Portable DVD Players

 
You can also invest in a portable DVD player so you can bring along cartoons and movies that your kids can watch during the trip. When your children get bored of looking out the window, having something to watch will surely keep them entertained.

 

Tablets and Gaming Consoles
 
 

 
Portable gaming consoles and tablets with interactive games and apps can keep children busy and quiet during a long trip. There are thousands of games and apps available for children of all ages, and many of them are also educational. These devices are also capable of playing music and videos, taking photos, and providing users with endless hours of entertainment. Just be sure to bring extra batteries and a car charger along!

 

Snacks

 
You can’t go on a long journey without snacks! Children will happily munch on treats while looking out the window or listening to their favourite tunes. Pack a variety of snack options such as fruit snacks, animal crackers, vegetable chips, and gummy bears. Prepare sippy cups or water bottles for each child, and have wet wipes and travel tissues handy in case of spills.
 
 
 
With these travel tips, you will surely be able to keep your children entertained and therefore keep your sanity while driving your family to your destination. Have a safe and happy trip ahead!


 
"This is a collaborative post"
 
 
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Not your usual bank holiday weekend start!

I love a Bank Holiday - it's like a Sunday for me and I was especially looking forward to the one just gone.
 
We have been so busy for the past few weeks that I had planned NOTHING!!
 
It was to be a pyjama day - we have a few new DVD's which have been sent for review to watch and that was my only plans for the day.
 
Monday started earlier than I had hoped, with Harry waking before 6am - this is never good when I've been up working until around 1.30am the night before.
 
Emmy woke around 7.30am and was feeling sleepy and cuddly.
 
With milk and cookies we took to the sofa with blankets and pillows and snuggled - all 3 of us at one end of the sofa.
 
What happened next is, well...... I still actually don't have the words for it if I'm honest which is unusual so I will just show you instead.
 



 
 
A lorry driver reversed into it and knocked it through my fence and into my front room doors.
 
It actually fell touching the glass of the door - I've paint from the shade on my door where is came to a stop.
 
We were all very lucky
 
YES it is bad BUT it could have been 100% worse
 
We are still dealing with the aftermath of the damaged caused, it can all be replaced in time - the fence, the green house, the kids play house and the rabbit hutch were all damaged in one way or another and of course the lamppost.
 
The police arrived very quickly and National Grid despite being a bank holiday were here within 2 hours to remove the lamppost from our garden.  It took them all day to make the outside safe as they needed to drill down into the ground to get to the rest of the post and to the wires.
 
Emmy has effected most by this.
 
She has been having nightmares and has spent every night since it happened in my bed, we've also discovered she is scared of the dark - something I was unaware of as he had a street light shining outside here window every night.
 
I just thank our lucky stars that it was raining as the kids and I would have been in the garden otherwise.
 
I hope your bank holiday was better than mine.
 
 
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