Saturday, 29 August 2015

8 Potty Training Essentials

Our experience so far...

Potty training is in full swing! Ted has been doing so well and with it being a bank holiday we thought it was best to make the most of 4 days with us all at home to finally crack it. We did attempt to get him to use the toilet and scrap potty's altogether but it didn't feel right for him so a potty in the living room is what we settled on.

We decided to leave him without anything on his bottom half so that he could feel when he needed to go. Last week I tried him with the potty training pants from the Asda Little Angels Range. He liked them but they made him feel like he still had a nappy on and he was happy to wee in them rather than head for the potty. We want to keep them on hand though for car journeys and short trips 'just in case'.

Since having his nappy off this morning we have had both a wee and a poo in the potty without having to prompt him. Of course we checked every 15 minutes or so to remind him and see if he was ready but when he felt he needed to go off he popped and called us when he was done. He is so happy with himself and we take him to the toilet so that he can flush it away himself!

Here are our '8 Potty Training Essentials'

Potty Training Essentials


A Potty - Of course, unless you plan to use the toilet in which case a toilet seat (specially for toddlers) and a stool will be perfect. We got our stool from Ikea and the seat from the Aldi Specialbuys.

Potty Training Pants - Should you decide to use these, as mentioned before we just have them for car journeys etc.

Bed mats - These go under the sheets for added protection at night time. We actually used these before Ted started potty training in case his nappy ever leaked.

Spare pants and trousers - Once you have reached the stage where your toddler is ready to wear pants you might find there are still accidents. Keep a stock of pants and trousers close by and plenty in their nursery bag too!

Potty Training Books - It really does help for a child to be able to visualise the potty training process and how it works. Our Pirate Ted's Potty book was brilliant and helped Ted to get excited about learning to use the potty.

Wipes - Toilet roll isn't the easiest thing to use with potty training, there are a huge amount of specialist toilet wipes on the market but why waste your money. Keep your regular wipes to hand for teaching them the 'front to back' technique and you will need them for those times when they don't quite make it and operation clean up is needed! We usually use the Aldi Mamia wipes because that is where we shop on a weekly basis but I actually like the Asda Little Angels wipes which have recently been supported by Mumsnet and are just as good.

Hand Towel and Soap - For good hygiene it makes sense to train your child to wash their own hands after using the potty. Making hand washing an important part of daily routine can be a fun thing for a toddler. We got Ted some special fun hand wash which is Bubblegum scented and I am off to get a Palmolive Aquarium bottle soon with a little turtle in which he will love. The Cuddledry Bamboo Hand Towel is a lovely little gift to make your toddler feel special and you can rest assured it is soft on their skin and antibacterial. We will be featuring a full review on the blog this week!

Finally one thing that is definitely needed is time and patience. This could take anything from a few days to a few months to get into a routine but keep at it and always remember to praise your child, they will be so pleased with themselves knowing you are proud of what they have achieved.



 *I have featured products I was sent as samples in this post but all opinions are my own

SOS Mummy Survival Kit

I was so excited the other day when a parcel I had been waiting to arrive (after missing collection from the postie) finally arrived. I opened it up to find a lovely bag stamped with the words SOS Shopping Bag and inside were lots of treats from the wonderful people at TENA.


Having worked with TENA in the past on a few campaigns I was delighted to work with them on the SOS Mummy Survival kit. This kit was designed to help Mum's overcome life's daily obstacles.
"For mums, our daily routine is never as simple as we’d like it to be. Whether we’re battling tired feet from running after our tottering toddler, or skipping a hair-wash day as our four-year-old can’t quite get the hang of dressing themselves in the morning. Whatever obstacles mums might face, light bladder weakness certainly shouldn’t be one of them!" 
The kit contains lots of handy aids to make day to day life that little bit easier. In my kit were...



SOS Shopping bag - Perfect to pop in the car for those emergency trips to get supplies, I hate using carrier bags so this was welcomed to add to my reusable bag collection.

Hand Sanitiser - This is going to be a welcomed addition to my handbag this summer. I usually rely on baby wipes when out and about as hand washing and drying often means getting soaking wet with a toddler and can be a lengthy process. This gel offers instant reassurance that all the germs have been busted in seconds!

Dry Shampoo - I am not ashamed to say I probably use this stuff once or twice a week. I have such long hair that I put off washing it for as long as possible. An hour to wash and blow dry is a rarity for busy Mums so this stuff is a must have.

Bio Oil - I have tiger stripes, most of us do. I am not ashamed of them but sometimes, when wearing a bikini (crikey that's a sight for sore eyes!) I wish that they weren't as prominent. I am hoping this miracle oil will help to fade them slightly so I can make room for more when we get round to baby #2.

Gel Cushions - The wildest night I have had in a while involved free mocktails at a local bar in a pair of Converse All Stars but hey, sometimes those Converse can give me sore feet too! These little cushions will be great when I brave wearing heels next and will keep me on my feet for ever more.


TENA Lights - For those Oooops moments! These have been named as ‘Mum’s Hero Health Product’ by Prima Baby and Pregnancy and are great for Mum's who suffer from slight bladder weakness from having children.

Take a look at them for yourself, and free samples can be ordered online at www.lightsbytena.co.uk

Chocolate Tea from Teapigs - This isn't actually as awful as it may sound. It has a mild fruitiness that you get from dark chocolate and is a welcomed change to the usual English breakfast tea.


Personalised Apron - This is a gorgeous present for me. I only own one apron so adding this to my collection was fab, especially as it says Jade Loves Blogging on it!


What would you put in your Mummy Survival Kit?
 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

'Almost Free' Fun Activities For Kids

The summer holidays are in full swing and as parents of school age children you could very well be feeling the pressure. Although Ted is in nursery through the Summer I can imagine how expensive the school holidays can be. Keeping Ted occupied on my days off without spending any money can be a real struggle so I have come up with a list of my 'almost free' activities for kids. 

These activities are only 'almost' free because they may involve a little bit of petrol or a few ingredients but I can guarantee they will waste a few hours and keep the kids amused.

Visit the Local Park

Unless you live right out in the sticks the likelihood is that you have a park near you. Our village has one, so does the next village and the next one and so on. Towns and cities will have bigger parks and some will be more exciting than others but we all have them. They are free to use and you can really make the most of them by taking lunch out with you, packing a ball or some garden games and inviting friends. We walked to our local park yesterday and a group of about 4 or 5 families had pitched up. They had their picnic, games and friends and were having a great time!

Get Baking

If you are not a confident baker yourself then pick up some pre-made cupcakes with the weekly shop, you can pick these up for under a pound and let the kids go wild decorating them! Butter icing or royal icing are super easy to make and you can get creative with the colours. I love this 4 Piece Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit from OXO. It makes decorating cakes so much easier than using a piping bag and is brilliant for little hands. They are also really easy to clean as you can turn the silicone bottle inside out to get into all the nooks and crannies!



Visit the Library

Our local library is in the next village so this could cost you a bit of petrol money/bus ticket but is completely free once you are there. The children can pick up a library card, browse a huge selection of books, CD's, DVD's and Games and lots even have activities running through the holidays. For smaller children the libraries are often linked to the Spurgeon's or SureStart centres for group sessions. Why not make the trip educational by setting the kids a challenge or a quiz that they need to use the books to answer or who can find the silliest story name. 

Home Summer Camp

Set a tent up in the garden along with everything you would need for a camp out. Get them to invite a friend over and either sleep out under the stars or just pretend for the day. Toast marshmallows and make smores while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. 

Our den in the garden

Be a...............for the day! 

Pick a profession like a photographer, farmer, builder, fireman etc and find activities centred around those roles. 

  • Let them explore the local area capturing photo's of wildlife and plants. 
  • Plant your own flowers, fruit and vegetables. 
  • Get your DIY on and build something or let them help you design and revamp a room in the house. 
  • Give them a health and safety checklist and ask them to point out possible dangers in the home and your town. 

Think outside of the box and let them try at being mini-grown-up's for the day!

Ted being a Builder for the day!

Finally while all this is going on you can have a bit of time to enjoy as hot cuppa for a change. If you are out and about the best way too keep your drink piping hot is with a travel mug. I take mine everywhere with me now, it saves me money too as I am not shelling out for hot drinks wherever I go. I have the OXO Good Grips Travel Mug and it's no spill lid is brilliant when you are on the go. It holds a full mug of tea and keeps it hot for over an hour.




I would love to know what other 'almost free' activities you have been up to with the kids so please let me know your suggestions in the comments!

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

 
 

*I was sent the OXO Good Grips products for review but all opinions and ideas are my own

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Trolley Bags Review

Supermarket shopping can be stressful at the best of times with a toddler in tow but doubly so when you are in a shop like Aldi or Lidl where you have to pack your shopping in to bags after you have been through the checkout. 
We are big Aldi fans as I am sure has been mentioned multiple times on the blog and have managed to slice our weekly shop time down to 30 minutes but a good (stressful) 5 minutes are added just packing the shopping into bags. We have Ted trying to take things out of them as we are putting them in, other trolleys trying to get around us and no room to get things out of the trolley to repack it.
Therefore when I discovered Trolley Bags I was really keen to see if we could save ourselves time and stress off our weekly shop….

These unique reusable shopping bags are easy too pop in the boot and interlock to give you a nifty little handle. The bags velcro together and have a bar across the top which rests on the top of your trolley leaving the bags open and easy to fill with your shopping.
We find these so useful, our food shop is a lot less stressful and we don't have lots of different bags littering the boot of the car. The only issue we have is that Aldi trolleys are a lot smaller than other supermarket ones so the bags don't have as much room as they could have. We also have Ted's seat which takes up the room as well but in a regular trolley without a child they would be perfect.  


We are only a family of 3 so don't buy nearly as much shopping as some bigger families so I would be keen to see how this works for them. Overall though the bags are super strong and really handy. We probably would have gasped at the price tag of £16.99 but since using them they are actually worth investing in and we will continue to use them in the future. 

Finally here is a picture of Daddy being 'SuperDad' carrying all of the bags at once into the house...because that's what Daddy's do! 





*We were sent a set of bags for this review but all thoughts are my own.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

My BritMums Live 2015 Experience and Feedback Video

BritMums Live 2015...it happened...over a month ago and finally, today...I blog about! 

There are so many amazing blog posts about the event which you can check out over on the BritMums page. I thought I would just let my pictures do the talking. Keep reading to the end for my survey feedback video too!

Here are my BritMums Live 2015 highlights...

Meeting the Twirlywoo's
Listening too Ella Woodward - Deliciously Ella
Meeting these babes! Catching up with lots of my blogging besties
and some new friends too!
Breaking a Guinness World Record.
Listening to my friend and blogging hero Lucy Heath - Capture By Lucy.
Spending time with these two gorgeous ones, 
Mrs Shilts and Mrs Bishop.
Consuming this lot...
Exploring London!
Being inspired!


My Feedback from the BritMums Live Survey
One thing I didn't really mention in the video, mainly because it wasn't asked, was how I felt after the event. Perhaps a question like "What did you bring away from the event?" would be suitable here. 

I unfortunately came away utterly exhausted and hit a brick wall when it came to my blog. I felt like my blog wasn't quite up to scratch and had a huge dose of writers block. It has taken me well over a month to get back on the horse and I still feel like I don't have a sense of direction. I found so many of the speakers have a niche subject whereas my blog is a bit of everything. I am not  a 'parent blogger' or a 'craft blogger' I don't write about one set thing so how am I expected to find my 'brand' and market it when I don't really know what my brand is?

All of these thoughts were totally overwhelming and I decided to take some time out, take a small step back and then get back in the game. You will be pleased to know I am going to keep writing and am pretty sure my mish mash blog of anything and everything will streamline itself some day but for now I am doing what I love and hoping you love reading it! 

Finally...and on a more positive note I wanted to give a huge high five to my sponsors Hippychick for helping towards my attendance for the event. It means a lot to have great brands supporting me so thank you! They have a great post over on their blog this month about transitioning your toddler from their cot to a bed so do pop by for a read when you have a sec.


Cloud b Twilight Buddies Review

A few months back we had a really bad few weeks with Ted's bedtimes and I thought my toddler had broken me. We were searching for anything that would make our lives a bit easier and were sent a great toy from Cloud-b called the Twilight Buddies Giraffe. It is an adorable little nightlight which projects stars onto the walls.


Glowing light changes from Blue through to Green and Amber too!
This snuggly little fella aims to ease your child's fear of the dark and projects real constellations. He has a 45 minute timer so that it isn't going all night and runs in a cycle of 3 different colours (Blue, Green and Amber).


This wasn’t the answer to all of our problems unfortunately as Ted really wasn’t bothered about laying and watching the stars to help him get to asleep. He still takes over an hour to go to sleep at night but on a plus side he rarely wakes in the night which is brilliant. I mean we have the occasional 3 o’clock wake up once in a blue moon (we literally have a blue moon now too!) but most nights he wakes up with us at 6.30-7.00.


The Twilight Giraffe is really just a new toy in Ted’s mind. He likes watching the stars but they don’t have the soothing effect we had hoped for which is a shame. He loves pointing out the different colours and we hope as he gets older we can start to show him the constellations which will be a nice calm bedtime game.

For us the soft glow helps when we are putting him to bed as we would normally have the landing light on which is quite bright. Unfortunately as it lasts for 45 minutes we get a harsh reminder of how long it takes Ted to settle at night! 

After lots of “I need milk”, “I have a tummy ache”, “I need to go to Nana’s”, “Daddy cuddle me!”, “Pweeeeeease me come downstairs!?” we then hear “Oh my lights finished!” and that’s it another 45 minutes have passed!

I think this is likely to work for a lot of children, Ted is particularly stubborn but most children would feel calmer just having a nightlight in the room. This makes a nice little gift and the Twilight Buddies come in lots of designs including the original Twilight Turtle.
Twilight Turtle



*This product was sent for a review but all opinions are my own.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

This Summer's Essentials!

How glorious has the weather been lately?! I had almost given up hope of the sun ever getting his hat on but have been pleasantly surprised. We have spent so much time in the garden lately I wanted to share some pictures and a couple of awesome products that we have been enjoying in the garden this Summer.

I will go from biggest to smallest for this one starting with a Bouncy Castle! The awesome people at ToyzWorld sent us a bouncy castle to try out for a week and Ted was made up. His little face when it arrived was priceless and along with friends and family he gave it a thorough test run!

We got to try out the Bebop Turret Castle with Ball Pit, it is suitable for children up to 6 years so Ted's GodSister Bella came over for a play one day and then my cousins had a go while they were over for a family BBQ. It is so quick to put up, I managed it completely on my own and once I had worked out I needed to tie one of the air holes to allow it to inflate with the electric blower we were good to go!

 
I am not going to lie it does come in quite a large box and a smaller one for the blower which was kept in our kitchen for the week we had it but if you have the space they are a great investment for a big family. It can cost £100 just to hire a castle of this size for the day so at £269.95 for your own to keep I really think this is a good deal.
 
The ball pit was a welcomed addition too, we used our own balls although most of the balls ended up on the castle itself after Ted and my cousins Harrison and Lilly were done with it!
 
We have been spending a lot more time in our garden with the warm weather and dinner picnics and baths in the paddling pool have become a regular thing. I reviewed for Bean Bag Bazaar last year when we were sent one of their giant outdoor/indoor bean bags which are amazing so when I was able to try out some of their new outdoor cushions I snapped up the chance.
 
 
I chose a set of 4 cushions, two in the Aqua which matches the beanbag we reviewed and two in a gorgeous Red and Geometric pattern. I fell in love with the pattern first as I have a bit of a thing for geometric print at the moment and thought the bright colours would liven up our normally quite drab back garden.
 
They are waterproof and durable, surprisingly not 'sweaty' which is often common with waterproof products. I love how comfy they are too and as you sit on them the excess air puffs out and they mould around your body. Ted plays with them all the time, stacking them up or using them to make his blanket dens that little more luxurious!
 
They were a big hit with my family at our garden party and I think they will see us through many a summer. They are £9.99 for the plain colours and £14.99 for the patterned ones.
 
Another few things we have been loving this Summer are Ted's Chad Valley Paddling pool which we were sent last year as part of our Summer round up but sadly the weather turned before we were able to use it. Many a bath has taken place outside this week and Ted is really enjoying cooling down in his pool in the evenings.
 
 
 
We also have been eating a lot healthier as part of my low calorie diet and despite a couple of weeks of junk we have integrate a lot healthier food into our diets. I am now using coconut oil in my cooking which is a hell of a lot better for us than other oils. I was sent a jar from Monkey Nutrition along with a packet of Psyllium Husk which I am yet to be brave enough to try but I will let you know when I do and what we think of it.
 

The coconut oil does have a coconut taste I am not going to pretend it doesn't and being a coconut fan it doesn't bother me. In fact I find it adds a nice element to curries and stir fry's but Joe doesn't like it at all. He has put his foot down and won't have it in his food no matter what the health benefits. I guess you can't please everyone!
 
I did make a delicious egg fried cauliflower 'rice' dish last week and used the coconut oil and it was so good! I will pop the recipe up when I get some time! If you are looking for vitamins, supplements or healthy ingredients to perk up your regular food then Monkey Nutrition is a great site.
 
I can't wait to enjoy a lot more of the Summer and hope the sun visits where you are too!