Family Time

This weekend my sister and her boyfriend came to visit. After a night of a few drinks, some fresh air was just what we needed to brush the cobwebs away, so we donned our coats and shoes and head outside.


Because we often have the children plus buggies when we go for a walk, we are quite limited to where we can go, but today H walked and we put Baby J in his carrier on Mr H so we could do a bit of exploring.


It was really great as there are lots of fields near us when we manage to get off the beaten track, and it was nice and quiet.


H loved the freedom to run but I think she loved having her Auntie L to run after more. They played chase, hide and seek and piggy backs and it was lovely to watch. I'm looking forward to the future years when both children will run after each other and we can all go on these walks more often.


As my family are over the Pennine's I don't always see my sister as much as I like, so I do cherish these moments together.


 
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
 

Sea Creatures

I seem to have had water beads sat on my worktop for weeks now! They have so many uses and I have been reluctant to throw them away. However I think Mr H has got sick of seeing them, so as one last playtime I picked out all the water colours (which took ages!) and created a little ocean scene for H.




I added her sea creatures to the beads, along with some shaving foam for effect and away she went.

H is still at an age where she needs showing to play sometimes, so I got into it myself and we made a story where the baby seal had gone missing and mummy seal tried to find it, encountering sharks and such along the way. She thought this was great fun and once I had taken my turn she was quite happy to reenact the story herself, with different animals.


She wasn't so keen on the shaving foam at first and wanted her hands wiping, but once I showed her that it didn't matter if her hands got a little messy she seemed to forget about it and got carried away in her play.


This was a very quick playtime to set up and kept her entertained for quite a while. It was also fun for mummy to join in!

Edspire 

Messy Play 
Today Ghostwritermummy is hosting Messy Play for Matilda Mae, so head over there and give her some love!

Kiddy Guardianfix Pro 2 Review

As Baby J is now ten months and quite a little chunk, I decided it was time to set about getting him a new car seat. He hates being strapped into anything, but the car seat in particular has been a fight for quite some time now, he tends to go rigid and screams, refusing to let me strap him in. He has never been a fan of rear-facing, I'm not sure if its because he can't see anything, or because H is forward facing, or maybe it's just car seats in general, but I decided to change him to forward facing.

After looking around for advice I found most parents seemed to highly recommend the Kiddy. It is not a brand I had heard of before, but as I wanted something lightweight, forward facing and preferably isofix, I found their Guardianfix Pro 2 fit the bill exactly. At first I wasn't sure about their innovative impact shield, over the usual 5-point harness, however when I read further I decided to give it a try.

Kiddy have actually been around for over 30 years. They are a company that pride themselves on their innovative products, and the impact shield is just one example of this. The impact shield is made of highly shock-absorbing materials and offers impact protection in the event of a head-on collision. The risk of dangerous neck injuries is reduced by the fact that the impact forces are directed into the impact shield, and this prevents the baby's head from being abruptly thrown forward or backward, as in a child seat with a conventional shoulder harness.

The Guardianfix Pro 2 is a group 1, 2, 3 car seat, suitable for children from the ages of approximately nine months to twelve years old (weight: 9-36kg, approx 20-80lb). It comes in 13 different designs, we chose a neutral colour of Denim. The breathable fabric is lovely and soft, plus it can easily cleaned when Baby J inevitably drops biscuit crumbs all over it!


Both babies having a try

First of all I found the Kiddy unbelievably light. As we will be swapping it between my car and Mr H's on a weekend, this was great as it makes transferring so much easier. Because it is isofix there is no messing around with seatbelts or trying to figure out complicated fixings. It is simply a matter of clicking it in place and go! What unnerved me a little at first was the impact shield. As it was a completely different way of strapping them in - you simply put the impact shield in place, fasten the seatbelt over the front and make sure it is strapped across the impact shield properly. And that's all folks!

Baby J was, and still is, not completely sure about the shield. It is quite bulky and he sometimes looks like his arms are stuck out awkwardly. However despite this he has fallen asleep every time he has been in it.

Even Little H had a turn and she too was in land of nod after a short time. I think as it is so different it will take a bit of getting used but I feel confident that it provides the best safety and fits our needs exactly.


The Guardianfix Pro 2 grows with the child and lasts from nine months to twelve years, which means that although it may seem a big cost up front (aren't all car seats?!), it is one you will not have to do again for a number of years. The seat adjusts to fit the child, from the head restraint that can fit to height and width, to the leg extension which can be adapted as the child grows.

All Kiddy car seats are EEC approved, and comply with the latest European safety requirements. They also meet British Standard 5852 which affects fire retardency of the fabric covers, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that these seats have been thoroughly tested.

I am more than happy with this car seat and would definitely opt for a Kiddy again. It is lightweight, easy to use, stylish and most importantly it is safe. Check out their Facebook page for more from Kiddy.

*I have been sent this product for free to review, however all opinions are my own.

My First Book Club

I have always been a huge reader, when I was little we used to take five or six books on holiday for me, only to be hunting through whichever Spanish town we were visiting for an English bookshop as I'd finished them all. There are many a holiday snap of me, nose deep in a book. As I've got older I've not found the same time to dedicate to a good book, however I do find once I've started one I have that same addiction to the written word and can often read a book in a day, neglecting my household chores and often meals!

Of course with two small children I do have to prioritise so my reading has been put on a very noticeable back burner - I have dusty piles of books my mum has passed on to me, yet to be touched. So when I heard about Britmums Book Club I thought it would be a great opportunity to make some time for me and find a few minutes here and there to explore a good book.

March's offering is Honour by Elif Shafak. It is not a book I would have chosen for myself, but that is the beauty of a Book Cub - those unexpected treats. I have to say it pulled me in from the word go - "My mother died twice" - an intriguing opener.

A tale of culture, shame and family it twists and turns, taking us through the journeys of each character and travelling from a small Kurdish Village in Istanbul to London in the 70's to a small prison cell. The book centres on a Kurdish family, in particular twin sisters Jamila and Pembe, and their upbringing in a strong Muslim community.

I found the narrative jumped around a bit, which was a little confusing at first, however once I got used to it I found it helped me distinguish one story from another. The book follows several characters from their family and gives each individuals perspective on the story, which helps you empathise with each one despite their actions. The theme of family was one I felt was a key part to the book and I often found parallels to my own life. Issues such as how a mother raises her son, feelings of being an outsider and how that is dealt with we're particular poignant to me.

I finished the book in a few days, which I only do when I really enjoy something. Although I felt that the end was left a little bit open and some characters I would have liked to hear more about, it gripped me from the beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

*I have been sent this product for free to review, however all opinions are my own.

Oatso Fun

The other day my friend came by with her little girl, so I decided to use our Tuff Spot to set up some playtime fun. I had bought a bag of value porridge oats a while ago so I dragged it from the back of the cupboard and opened the packet out onto the Tuff Spot. And it was that simple - I added a few cups, spoons and trains to interact with and left them to it.

The Next Challenge

As I fast approach the end of my twenties I have been having a think about some goals I would like to set myself. In the last ten years I met my husband, gained my degree, settled across the Pennines, got married, got a dog, bought our first house, moved to New York and then California, had our two amazing children, bought our beautiful home, had my eyes lasered, made some amazing friends, visited some amazing places. In fact, writing it all down, I achieved a lot!

So now it is time to set the next challenges, starting with the first. I have always wanted to do some sort of mountain walk. Watching Gary Barlow & co climb Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief a few years ago really triggered something and since then I have been trying to do my own climb. After I feel pregnant with Baby J it went on hold, but now the time has come.

So I have signed up to walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks for Alzheimer's Society. I thought this was starting off small, but now the pack has arrived and I have seen the suggested training programme it seems it is now such a small feat. But I am up to the challenge.

I chose to support The Alzheimer's Society. Alzheimer's it is an illness that has affected my husband's family greatly. In 2000 his Nan sadly passed away after suffering from it for several years and in 2006 his Grandma was then diagnosed with it. She is doing OK and has managed to remain in her home, however it is awful to watch someone lose their memories and I know it affects my husband greatly.

Alzheimer's is a terrible illness currently affecting over 800,000 people in the UK. Whilst it mostly affects the elderly, up to 10% of sufferers are under 65.

So now I am asking you for support. Whatever you can be spare - a few pennies is enough - please donate them to my Just Giving page. Not only will you be helping me achieve my goal but the money will be helping those who suffer with Alzheimer's. Please click this Just Giving link and with a couple of clicks you can make a difference.

Phobias

The other day we went to our local reservoir to feed the ducks. It is a well-known spot for this activity and as a result the ducks are very tame and VERY huge! I chose a spot that wasn't used as the main feeding location, thinking maybe not quite so many ducks would flood to our feet and maybe they wouldn't be quite as...eager. I was wrong.

An Essential Giveaway

Regular Hollybobbs readers will know I was thrilled to announce that the online baby brand The Essential One are sponsoring me to attend this years UK Parent Blogging Conference, Britmums Live.

I have owned several outfits by The Essential One and have always been impressed by the high quality, super soft feel of the brushed cotton and I am yet to find a bobble on any of them yet - now that is impressive in my book!


Recently The Essential One launched their new maternity range, which has already been hugely successful. From nursing tops to super soft pyjamas, the range is practical, stylish and comfortable.


So, it is with great pleasure that I am hosting a fantastic Essential One giveaway. The lovely team have offered one Hollybobbs reader the chance to get their hands of one of their lovely new nursing tops!


The ultimate breast feeding top, they are super stretchy and designed to be worn from day one of your pregnancy. They give you comfort and discreet breast feeding and look great too. To enter simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Please ignore this everyone, this is just my Technorati code RRPGVQC5M7AN 

Lullaby

Have you heard of SIDS? Silent Infant Death Syndrome takes the lives of 290 babies every year and whilst it is most common in babies under twelve months, it can affect older children too. FSID's is the charity who support parents who have lost children to this tragic illness and fund research into further prevention. Their over-arching aim is to reduce the number of unexplained cot deaths to below 200 by 2015 and to halve it to 150 by 2020.

Today marks the next chapter in FSID's campaign - they have decided in order to encourage more families to seek the help they offer that they will now be known at The Lullaby Trust. They hope the new name will be a gentler name that will help families feel more able to access the information and services that they provide.


In honour of this event, several bloggers have written posts on the theme of lullabies (click the image above to view the other posts).

Garden Envy

Yesterday we visited our good friends who moved house not long after us so are also in the throws of settling in. Unlike us their house is about five years old and reasonably established - it also came with a good size, mature garden filled with flowers, a pond, a summer house, a vegetable patches and even frogspawn! Jealous? Moi? Yup, more than a smidge.


Frogspawn always makes me smile

Rainbow Spaghetti Play

Since I found my inspiration via The Imagination Tree, I have been meaning to give this one a shot for quite a while and had high hopes as its looks so fab.


The Light

I'm not really sure how to write this. Like my mind, this post is sure to be a confused, addled mess. But I feel the need to record some things.

Like shame. Shame that today I screamed at my two year old daughter because she refused to put down J's juice when I had asked her to what felt like a million times. Shame that I cannot hold back my frustrations and anger when I have battled with two hungry, tired, over-excited, demanding babies all day.

Guilt. That I cry in front of the children, leading H to ask with sad eyes, 'what's wrong mummy?' Guilt that I do not appreciate the blessings I have been showered with. Guilt that I do not cherish their short baby days enough.

Fear. Of the dark cavern that awaits me. One I have trodden before and that I know what lies within. One that I swore I would never ever let myself fall into again.

And hope. Hope that I don't scar my children. Hope that I can still be the best mum the I can be. Hope that I do not fail my husband; my strong, supportive, ever-loyal husband. Hope that I can hold our family together despite anything that comes at us. Hope that I will one day, in the not-so-distant future, be free of all the ropes that hold me back so tightly every day of my life.

Each and every day I hunt for the light - a small chink of happiness peering through the cavern. I hold onto it like an anchor, keeping me true. Keeping me sane. Keeping me me.

Kiddicare Aintree

Last Thursday I was invited to attend a bloggers event at the latest Kiddicare store. After opening several branches down south, I was beginning to wonder if we would ever see one up north, so I was excited to hear about the new store in Aintree, Liverpool. Many moons ago I went to university in Ormskirk, not far from Liverpool, so the journey there was like a trip down memory lane!

The Hunt Begins...

Today we had a mini Easter egg hunt for H. Baby J was supposed to be joining in but he refused to be woken from his nap. In the end it was probably a bit too cold for him, and to be honest H was so fast he would barely have had time to get off the starting block!

The hunt begins!

Found one!

The gnomes are good hiders

A chicken!

Searching with Grandma


The ultimate reward




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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