Living Arrows 34/52 (2016)

It’s been a busy week here – hence the lack of blogging that’s been going on! Toby and Gabe had their first full days at nursery on Tuesday and Wednesday and both had a great time by all accounts. On Wednesday it was Gabe’s first birthday. I did feel a little bit guilty for sending him to nursery but he was none the wiser and we got chance to open presents in the afternoon when they got back and Barry was home from work. On Friday we went to a new baby and toddler group near my parents’ house – it was definitely good to get out and start meeting some new mums and kids. On Saturday Toby and I went to Manchester for an event with Dyson and Currys PC World that I’ll be telling you more about soon, and then yesterday Barry’s parents came to visit to bring Toby and Gabe’s birthday presents!

So you can see it’s been a pretty hectic week. On top of that Gabe and Toby have both been taking ages to get to sleep every night and then Gabe has been waking up again about 11 pm. With all of that I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging, even though I’ve had loads to write about. I’m hoping I might manage to get a few posts written while the boys are at nursery this week and start catching up a bit.

We finally gave Toby his main birthday present this week too – we didn’t want to give it to him before we moved only to have to put it into storage and him not be able to use it so we waited until Gabe’s birthday to give him his new balance bike. He was so excited to get on it but I think it’s a bit harder than he thought it was going to be – lots of practice is going to be needed!

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Gabe’s picture this week was taken whilst he was exploring his new birthday presents. He’s looking very happy here but it’s been a bit of an up and down week for him. I think he must have another tooth on the way because he’s hardly touched any solid food for the last few days and he sleep has been quite rubbish again soon. Here’s hoping it doesn’t last too long whatever it is!

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Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 33/52 (2016)

It’s been a busy week of getting used to life in our new house and new town now that Daddy has gone back to work.

Both boys had two settling sessions at their new nursery last week and will be starting properly tomorrow. They’ll both be going for two full days and if I’m honest I actually can’t wait! Having had them both at with us all day every day for the last month I have realised more than ever that I need some time away from them if I am going to stay sane!

I think nursery will be good for them too – especially Toby. It’s hard for him being at home all day because we have to try and fit things round Gabe napping, and at the moment that also means that he’s got to be quiet when Gabe is asleep because the bedroom is right underneath the living room. A couple of days of being free to play and run around and make as much noise as he wants will hopefully be good for all of us.

It will be good for Gabe to have somewhere totally safe to play and explore as well. At the moment I feel like I am constantly telling him not to touch things or taking stuff off him. How is it that babies can spot a wire or cable from across the room but have no interest in the 50 toys that are in front of them?

I was trying to take some product shots for a review the other day but Gabe just wouldn’t keep away from the box – it’s a good job he’s cute!

Gabe trying to steal my review products

Toby’s picture this week was taken yesterday when we went to another of our numerous local garden centres – I don’t think any of us expected to see this bear there though!

Toby and a bear

Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

Siblings // Toby and Gabe in August

There have been a lot of big changes for Toby and Gabe since I wrote last month’s Siblings Project post; we’ve spent three weeks living with Grandma and Grandad, moved house, and now the boys are sharing a bedroom. So far they haven’t really disturbed each other that much – there have been a couple of times when Gabe has woken Toby up with his crying in the night but usually he goes back to sleep pretty quickly. I can’t wait for their bedroom to be properly finished so I can share it with you.

Toby and Gabe on the bench in the new garden

Toby still gets frustrated with Gabe quite a lot and isn’t always very good at sharing but we are seeing more glimpses of the relationship I hope they will have in the next year or two. Toby is still Gabe’s favourite person and they’ve had a lot of giggles together this month. I think you can see in this picture that they are really starting to look alike too – especially their eyes and noses. Maybe once Gabe has a bit more hair, and a few more teeth, they’ll look more alike.

Brothers looking more alike

They are even starting to play together a bit now, and Toby seems to be realising that he can show Gabe how to do things and Gabe will understand.

Playing together

Gabe just wants to do whatever his brother is doing these days – even if that is getting in the soft toy basket and being buried by teddies!

Anything you can do

The Me and Mine Project

Toby Goes Bananas

Review: Babymoov Light Wood High Chair

When we started looking for a high chair for Toby when he was weaning we got lots of recommendations for a very cheap one from a well known Swedish furniture store. It served Toby well until he moved into a booster seat at the table when he was nearly two. We used the same high chair with Gabe for the first month or so of weaning until, as part of our role as Babymoov ambassadors, we were sent the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair and matching Comfort Cushion to try out.

Babymoov Light Wood High Chair

I’ll be honest here – coming in at ten times the cost of our old high chair I did wonder if the Babymoov high chair would be worth the extra money. But I have to say it does have loads of great features that really do make it stand out from other high chairs on the market.

Large easy to clean tray on the Babymoov high chair

As the name would suggest the Babymoov high chair is made from wood and it is really solidly built. It is very sturdy and I’ve never felt worried that Gabe could tip it, whether he’s sat in it or using it to pull himself onto his feet! The slight downside to this is that at 6.5 kg the chair is quite heavy – I wouldn’t want to have to move it around a lot.

What makes the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair different to a lot of other high chairs on the market, and one reason I think the £140 price tag is justified, is that with a movable seat and foot rest, and a removable tray this chair can adapt to be used from around 6 months right up until your child is big enough to use a standard chair, and beyond.

Sitting up at the table in the Babymoov Light Wood high chair

Now I know there are a few other wooden high chairs on the market that are adaptable to be used by both babies, toddlers and children but the thing that makes this Babymoov high chair unique is that it also be folded so it is almost flat. For me this is a massive plus point over our previous high chair, and other chairs of this type. It’s really easy to collapse as well; just release the crotch bar, press two buttons on either side to lower the tray then squeeze the clip on the back of the seat to fold it. Opening it back up is even easier and can be pretty much done one-handed.

Babymoov Light Wood High Chair folds flat

The high chair is very easy to wipe clean and I do like that the lip on the edge of the tray doesn’t go right round to the back which makes it even easier to wipe crumbs and other bits off into your hand. The only thing to watch out for when cleaning is that crumbs (and Cheerios in our case) can collect just at the base of the crotch bar and they’re easy to miss when cleaning, especially when you’ve got the cushion over the top.

Watch out for those Cheerios

Looks wise the Babymoov Light Wood high chair is definitely more stylish than our old high chair. I like the dark and light grey of the chair – it’s going to fit in really well when we get our new kitchen soon.

Gabe likes the Babymoov high chair

If you are looking for a wooden high chair that will adapt with your child and last them right from weaning through to childhood then this Babymoov high chair is definitely one to consider.

 

**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product as part of my role as a Babymoov ambassador. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 32/52 (2016)

First up I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who linked up last week whilst I was hosting Living Arrows in Donna’s absence. I really enjoyed reading all your posts.

Last week we finally moved into our new house and we have been unpacking boxes since. It’s nearly all done now but we’ve still got a lot of organising to do before everything is where it should be.

This week’s Living Arrows photos were taken before we left my mum and dad’s house. I’m not sure what Toby is doing with his face in this picture but I love how the wind is catching wisps of his hair and making them fly round his head. He really is due another haircut soon though – it’s right down in his eyes again so he can hardly see out from under it!

Toby's flyaway hair

And this picture of Gabe was taken in the garden when he was giving me a lovely cuddle. I’d say that 90% of the time Gabe just wants to be on the go and crawling around the floor getting up to mischief but he does like a cuddle too and he gives a really good cuddle, properly snuggles in and often really clings round your neck too. It’s lovely when he treats you to a proper one…

Gabe giving cuddles

Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (July 2016)

Well July has been quite the month for us. On the 15th we moved out of our house in Scotland and we have been living with my mum and dad in Blackpool since then. We completed on our new house on the 25th but then the removals people couldn’t deliver our stuff until today. So we’ve used the time to decorate Toby and Gabe’s new room and do some jobs (with a lot of help from my dad!) and hopefully after a bit of unpacking we’ll be able to move in by the end of the week.

I’ve not written a huge amount about the new house so far – until last week I had only seen it in pictures so I wanted to reserve judgement until I saw it in person! There’s lots of decorating to be done and we’re going to complete redo the kitchen, but it’s going to be brilliant once it’s all done and until then it’ll be pretty good anyway. I’m hoping to do plenty of posts as we sort the rooms out and hopefully I’ll be able to share Toby and Gabe’s room in a few weeks.

The boys have both coped brilliantly with the move so far. Obviously Gabe doesn’t really know what’s going on but he’s been managing pretty well and even slept through the night for the second time in his life the other day! Toby has been fantastic too – he’s been loving hanging out with his grandparents and especially helping my dad in the garden. He’s been sleeping well too so I’m hoping that continues once we move to the new house and he’s sharing a room with his brother!

This month’s family photo was very last minute (so last minute in fact that we only took it yesterday) and was taken in my parents’ back garden. We’ve got a bench in our new garden and I’m planning on taking next month’s photo there and then taking a family picture in the same place every August. I wanted to do it this month but we just didn’t have chance and seeing as we haven’t even moved in yet I thought I’d leave it until next month.

So anyway, here it is…a slightly out of focus picture, with three quarters of the family looking at the camera, at the end of a very stressful month.

Me & Mine July 2016

The Me and Mine Project

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 31/52 (2016)

I have been taking part in the Living Arrows project for two and a half years now; this is my 133rd Living Arrows post! It is the one post that I always do every week even when I’m struggling to find time to blog and there have been a few times when it is the only post I have managed in a week. And so I was delighted when Donna asked me if I’d like to host the linky this week while she is on holiday.

If you haven’t joined in before, Living Arrows is about celebrating childhood. The project originally took it’s name from a poem by Kahlil Gibran, “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” and every Monday we share a moment from our week and invite others to do the same as part of this linky.

Each week I share two pictures from our week – one of each of our children – but you can share one or more pictures that capture a moment of childhood.

So if you would like to link up, grab a badge (you can find the code on Donna’s post here) and post around a photo of childhood from the previous week. I look forward to reading your posts and make sure you visit a few of the other posts that have linked up and leave a comment too!

Living Arrows
So first up, here’s a few of our favourite pictures from last week…
Very Much So
Odd Socks and Lollipops
Not Just Cake

And so to my photos this week…

Gabe is loving the new house

This one of Gabe (with photo bomb from Toby) was taken when we got the keys to our new house last week. Both boys loved having loads of space to run around and explore in the empty house. We still haven’t moved in, our stuff is all being delivered tomorrow so hopefully we’ll be able to get things organised(ish) and actually move in in a couple of days.
On Saturday we took a day off doing house stuff and went to the St Anne’s Kite Festival. Toby loved seeing all the kite’s and running around on the beach. I love this shot of him – it’s quite hard to capture a natural expression on camera from Toby these days. I’ll share some more pictures of all the kites soon too.
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I’d love it if you linked up your Living Arrows posts too:


Toby Goes Bananas

My Wild Ones // Lions and tigers and dinosaurs at Blackpool Zoo

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for months! Back in May, after we’d been to Center Parcs, we went to stay with my parents in Blackpool so we could look at some houses. While we were there we took the kids to Blackpool Zoo with my mum. I’ve had these photos sitting on my computer ever since and just haven’t had chance to do anything with them until now!

At the entrance to the zoo there is a dinosaur section and after getting over his initial wariness Toby loved them.

Dinosaurs everywhere

T-Rex

Toby, daddy and a diplodocus

Of course there were lots of live animals too…

Giant tortoise

Toby looking at the tortoises

Tiger Tiger

Mummy cuddles waiting for the tigers

Giraffe

Meercat at Blackpool Zoo

Three generations

Sealions

Gabe slept for most of the time we were there but as you can see he wasn’t too impressed when he woke up!

Gabe not impressed with being woken up

Toby enjoyed himself though – he definitely liked the flamingos…

Flamingoes

Big grins from Toby

If I’m totally honest, although Toby did like looking at the animals he had the most fun walking along these benches in front of the elephant!

Walking on benches

Elephant

Blackpool Zoo is just round the corner from my parents house and my mum is a member so I’m sure we’ll be spending more time here now we live so much closer. Maybe next time we go Toby will be a bit more interested in the animals and perhaps Gabe won’t sleep the whole time!

MyWildOnes

Toby Goes Bananas

Weaning with Bibetta and Messy Me // #messisbest

I have a confession to make – I love the idea of babyled weaning but I just can’t stand the mess! I will never be one of those mums who posts a picture on Instagram of their baby covered head to toe in spaghetti bolognese or yoghurt. However, I know that getting messy and exploring food is important for Gabe’s development so I do try and rein in my need to clean up every spill and drip whenever I can.

Gabe thinks that mess is best

Whilst working with Babymoov we’ve been lucky enough to be able to receive some great advice from nutritionist Julia Wolman. Here she explains a few of the reasons why, when it comes to weaning, mess really is best…

1. It’s fun

From experience, watching babies exploring their food in an unpressurised environment is usually accompanied by beaming smiles on their faces. And when they are happy and relaxed at mealtimes, they are more likely to enjoy eating and develop a positive relationship with food in the long run. As tempting as it might be to step in with a baby wipe, try to take a step back instead, and take pleasure in watching them enjoy themselves.

2. Learning through sensory play

Any early years’ practitioner will confirm that ‘a play opportunity is a learning opportunity’. This theory can also be applied to mealtimes. When a baby squashes a chunk of potato, s/he is learning how solid foods can, under pressure, turn to mash. When they rub their fingers in yogurt they are learning how runny textures feel. When they throw food on the floor they are learning about the forces of gravity!

Research from the University of Iowa suggests that playing with food may improve a child’s learning abilities, specifically in relation to developing early vocabulary. The study, published in the journal Developmental Science in December 2013, looked at the mealtime behaviour of 72 toddlers. It found those who were allowed to explore foods, for example, through touching, poking or throwing them, were more likely to name them correctly.

Weetabix is messy

3. Increasing familiarity

Babies need to feel comfortable with and trust that new foods are ‘safe’ before they will put them in their mouths. So it follows that if they don’t know how a food smells, or feels, they may be reluctant to taste it. All too often parents may interpret this response as a baby not liking a certain food, when really, they just don’t know enough about it to want to try.

4. Fine motor skills development

Around nine months, babies usually develop the ability to use a pincer grip, whereby they can pick things up using their thumb and forefinger. Before this age they tend to grab using their whole hand. Allowing babies the freedom to explore smaller pieces of food with their fingers will help to develop their pincer grip – try blueberries, peas, sweetcorn, raisins or rice
(NB. always supervise your child and never leave them alone during eating).

5. Hand-eye coordination

Whether using spoons or self-feeding, when babies do it themselves they are learning how to get food into their mouths. And while most of it may go anywhere but their mouth at the beginning, with practice they’ll quickly work it out!

In order to help me embrace the mess of weaning we were sent a couple of products which at least will make the clean up a bit easier!

Mess is best with Bibetta

First up is the Bibetta Ultrabib with sleeves – this really is a complete coverall bib. It’s made of durable and wipe clean neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made of), the sleeves are a thinner more flexible material with elastic cuffs, and there is a pocket at the bottom to catch any dropped food. There is a strong velcro fastening at the back, and so far at least Gabe hasn’t managed to wriggle out of it! This is a great bib for keeping any mess off clothes, there really is nothing getting through this one. The only thing I would say is that the Ultrabib is quite small so don’t expect it to fit your toddler but it fits Gabe fine for now and would be perfect for the early days of weaning.

Gabe enjoys exploring his dinner

The second product we were sent was a Messy Mat from Messy Me. Having a mat on the floor that you can easily keep clean not only means you avoid any nasty stains on the carpet but it also means you can pick dropped food up and give it back to your baby which makes for much less waste too.

The Messy Mat is made from hard wearing oilcloth. It’s a great size for under the highchair – big enough to contain most dropped food and spills. It’s really easy to wipe clean but can also go in the washing machine occasionally if you feel it needs a more thorough clean. I love oil cloth and Messy Me make all sorts of products from this great material – everything from bibs and aprons to highchair cushions and covers.

Messy Mat is great for play dough

We actually already had a bigger mat that we were using to go under Toby’s chair as well as Gabe’s highchair so I put the Messy Mat on the table as a table cloth instead. It has been working really well to keep the table clean at mealtimes – although Toby doesn’t drop his food on the floor too much any more he still has plenty of spills! It’s also been great for protecting the table when Toby plays with play dough or does any other drawing or craft activities.

Weaning seems to have been a slow road with Gabe so far – various bouts of illness and teething have really affected his appetite and what he is willing to eat. The last week or so though he seems to have been much better and he’s really enjoying feeding himself too so I’m just going to keep repeating #messisbest to myself and let him get on with it as much as I can!

 

The Bibetta Ultrabib with sleeves has an RRP of £10.99 and the Messy Mat from Messy Me has an RRP of £24.00

 

**Disclosure: We were sent the featured products in return for this review but as always, all opinions are my own.

 

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 30/52 (2016)

We are still living in limbo at the moment – it’s over a week since we sold and moved out of our old house in Scotland but we haven’t yet got the keys to our new house. If all goes according to plan we’ll get them later today but then unfortunately it’s going to be another week before the removals company can deliver all our stuff that they’ve got in storage. So until then we’ll still be staying with my parents and hopefully getting some decorating done and giving the place a good clean before we move in.

We’ve been trying to keep the boys occupied while we’ve been staying here and getting out somewhere every day. At the end of last week we went up to Cumbria to meet up with Barry’s parents for lunch and a bit of a walk along the coast. Toby had great fun climbing on the rocks and of course found himself a stick. I’m not sure what he was doing here though; casting a spell maybe?

Toby casting a spell with his wand-stick

It’s been hard work keeping a constant eye on Gabe this last week – there’s so much of our stuff everywhere at the moment and of course he want’s to get into everything. His absolutely favourite thing seems to be this crate that we brought with us – it’s full of the kids’ food, snacks and plastic plates and bowls and he just loves pulling everything out. We’ve ended up with quite a lot of broken breadsticks and crushed biscuits this week! This isn’t perhaps the best photo, but I love that it shows what a cheeky monkey Gabe is becoming, or has already become!

Gabe raiding the snack box

The lovely Donna who hosts Living Arrows is on holiday next week and so has asked me to host the linky for her – please do stop by and link up and hopefully I’ll have some exciting pictures in the new house by then!

Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas