Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The bully and the shrimp

Bullying is a very serious issue and one which need to be addressed with sensitivity and understanding. As my daughter has started school it is something that I am on the look out for, not that I expect it to happen just that I am aware of the possibility that it could. In Order to help address this sensitive issue Parragon books have developed a picture book to help address bullying and is aimed at both parents and school aged children.

The bully and the shrimp has been developed in conjunction with school teachers and child development experts. The book follows the story of Noah shrimpton. Noah is small for his age, but being small is not bad. Following Noah at school the story progresses to how Noah is slowly bullied by a bigger boy. Noah becomes scared and is too afraid to tell anyone about the bully. The story shows how Noah copes and slowly builds his confidence to ultimately stand up to his bully.

Not only is this a great story to show children and to help them gain confidence should this be happening to them, it also gives a discussion point with your children so that you can find out if they are also being bullied. At the back of the book is a helpful page for parents with tips on how to tackle bullying. The bully and the shrimp is a very clever way to address bullying in school children.

the bully and the shrimp

We were provided with this book as part of our partnership with Parragon Books.  All words are my own opinion. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Late afternoon walks

I love where we live it is so close to a variety of walks and some great places to explore.  We were in need of fresh air and to stretch our legs so we went off on a walk.  It was a beautiful afternoon and we decided to feed a few ducks [the girls always ask to feed ducks]

feeding ducks in the afternoon

It was really peaceful standing next to the water and watching the ducks.  We soon ran out of bread so we began exploring the nearby wood.  The girls took great delight in climbing the trees and running though all the leaves.

climbing trees

It was a really beautiful afternoon and lovely to watch the girls explore.

This day I love late afternoon walks

Monday, 24 November 2014

Is breast best?

For a while I have sat and thought about writing this, it's one of those topics which I don't want to get into arguments about yet would also like my story heard. I breast fed both of my children, yet I really wish I had formula fed my eldest. I wish I had trusted my gut instincts and given her a bottle, I really wish I had been given the option.

My eldest daughter slept from the moment she was born until around 4 the next morning when a midwife came and asked (yes woke me up) me how feeding was going. When I said she hadn't woken up we tried to wake her and fed her. She could latch fine, but just didn't seem interested in milk or what I think there wasn't any milk. She would soon fall asleep and then I would have to repeat the waking up process.

It soon became clear I needed to express and syringe feed. The moments my newborn daughter was sleeping I would be sat on a machine expressing milk ready to feed her, then washing and sterilising all the equipment, waking her up and trying to get her to take this syringe. I was never very good at expressing and I think the most I ever managed in one sitting was 2oz. This meant multiple sittings, constant expressing and generally a stressful existence.

By day 4 she had lost 12% of her body weight and we were re admitted into hospital. They saw she could latch fine to me and they saw she was doing all the 'appropriate' actions, she even would drink the expressed milk from me. They told me to wake her every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to feed her both night and day. This is part of the reason I think she now has a sleep problem. I asked about formula and was told every time not to give her any formula for the following reasons

1. It would interrupt your milk supply and you just won't produce enough to meet her needs

2. 'You will damage her stomach by stretching it with formula and then you won't ever be able to feed her yourself as you won't be able to match the demand. Her stomach will be damaged beyond repair'

3. Formula is too heavy for her little stomach to manage, breast milk is much better for her.

In my emotional and hormonal state I listened to these health professionals and continued to Brest feed her. With hindsight I should have ignored them and given her formula.

I disliked the whole breastfeeding experience with my eldest. I hated the constant guilt that she was loosing weight because my milk wasn't good enough, I hated the inadequacy feeling that I wasn't a good enough mother because I couldn't produce milk to support my daughter. I disliked the stress and the fact I was tied to a pump to express milk to give her a 'top up' in between feeds when I should have been playing with her, cuddling her or simply admiring her new born babyness. I really hated that I was guilt tripped into it, I felt I had no choice and that if I had formula fed that I was letting her down. Most of all I hated the loneliness of it all. I was never confident at Brest feeding, I am very self conscious, and so no matter where I was even at home I would go and sit in a room by myself to feed her or cover up.

I guess the point I am trying to make is I wish I had support, and I'm not taking support from friends and family I had that in plentiful supply. I am talking a balanced view point, a reference point to argue both cases or even a midwife or health visitor who could discuss things with me. I saw a different midwife or health visitor every time. Just something which said to me 'you know what it's OK, formula was made for a reason, it isn't bad, it is an option'. I wish a book like Guilt-free Bottle Feeding: Why your formula-fed baby can be happy, healthy and smart had been available then, just to give me the assurance that it is OK to formula feed.

I wish that in today's society we would be allowed to make the right choice for our children. breast feeding was not the right choice for my eldest daughter and she should have been formula fed, I firmly believe that. I feel I was guilt pressured into breast feeding and wish I had taken the time to look at the bigger picture to realise it is OK to formula feed.

Good Girls

This year the girls have decided to write their very first letter to Father Christmas.  We began by cutting out things from magazines which both girls wanted for Christmas.

making a letter to Father Christmas

The girls loved cutting and sticking.  They turned over each page and spent a while looking at all the toys, choosing what they would like.  After they had finished cutting and sticking it was time for my eldest to write her letter.  She took great pride in thinking about the words and what she wanted to write, sounding them out and asking me for help.

 Letter to Father Christmas

She has written:

To Santa

We have been good girls.  Please bring us some toys. Love [followed by their names] xxxxxxx

After she wrote the letter she then wrote the envelope

Santa, North Pole, Lapland

envelope to Father Christmas

We placed everything inside the envelope and tomorrow on our way to school we will post the letter to Father Christmas.

The girls loved writing their letter to Father Christmas and I cannot wait to see their faces when they get a reply!

This day I love Good Girls 

Review : Polagram

I really love to take photos of the girls. When they were babies I took a photo of them every day for the first year of their lives, to document them growing up. The majority of the photos I take are on my phone, which has no external storage. To print photos stored on my phone can be a little bit tricky, emailing them across or adding to cloud based storage before downloading.

Polagram is an app which helps overcome this problem.

The app was free to download. The app is really easy to navigate, simply press the item you wish to order, prints, large print, posters, photo books and cases. I love that I can create a photo book straight from my phone, and all within the app. Once a product has been selected you are then given a secondary choice, for example in phone cases the model of phone. You can then choose your photos.

Polagram allows you to choose photos not only from your phone but also from Facebook and Instagram. To select a photo you simply click/press it and its then added to your cart. Within the cart you can duplicate the amount of the selected photo or remove if not needed. Ordering is almost complete,simply select recipient and delivery details, along with payment and everything is ordered. Item is shipped the next week day. Quick and simple to do.

Polagram pink envelope and photo

I ordered my prints on Tuesday and they arrived Friday, within the estimated delivery time frame. The prints came in a lovely pink envelope. They are of a beautiful quality and certainly worth the 29p per print. I was a little disappointed as I had wanted to order a gift box but this was not an option on the app, I used the android app. Instead I will be using the prints in frames and to make gifts.

I really think Polagram is a wonderful idea, the ability to Order direct from your phone in such a quick and simple fashion is fantastic. I can order photos, photo books and more anywhere. Next time I'm on holiday, instead of a postcard I will be ordering a print off my phone and sending it direct, whilst I am still on the beach.

We received a pack of Polagram images for the purpose of review.  All words are my own personal opinion. 

Cooking with Quorn

On certain days of the week we are often in a rush after school to get my daughter to one of her various after school activities. I look for quick and easy to prepare meal ideas and Quorn fits this nicely. Quorn is a healthy alternative to meat. It is high in protein and low in saturated fat, great for those leading an active lifestyle or those looking to loose weight. I like Quorn because I can cook it from frozen, so I don't need to mess around with defrosting.

I felt in the interest of fairness it would be wise to try a variety of the different Quorn products available. We have had Quorn sausage and egg sandwiches, tried the Swedish meatballs in our spaghetti and used Quorn mince to make chilli con carne, pasta bolognese and shepherds pies. Quorn chicken free pieces have been used it make chicken pies and for Chinese stir fry but our current favourite is Quorn steak strips in risotto.

Quorn risotto

Quorn is so versatile that it can be used in place of meat in any dish. We have found it very easy to cook and to BBQ with. My husband, who is a huge meat eater and prefers his steak raw, loves the Quorn meatballs and often mentions he prefers them. Even the girls love Quorn. Quick and simple to cook with and means I can create a healthy meal quickly even when we are rushing after school.

We were provided with vouchers in order to try Quorn.  All words are my own opinion.