Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender Review and Instant Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Long time no speak! Honestly it has been a fair while since I blogged and this is mostly because life has been so busy. I have settled well into my new job and it has been a huge learning curve. Balancing one child with 3 days of work was relatively easy but with two to juggle and working a tad further away from home than I was I have struggled to get into my stride. 

That said I am now relatively comfortable with our routine and feel a bit less chaotic. I will write up a full post soon about how I have managed with returning to work/our family routine but for now I wanted to share a review that has been long overdue. Callie has been eating solids for around 4 months and is doing really well, you can read more about why and how we weaned her early here



During her weaning journey we have discovered lots of new products but one I was sent to try out has stood out above the rest. I did a few Facebook live videos when it arrived which I have inserted below but will talk you through our first impressions.

The Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender does what its name would imply, it steams and blends food making it a perfect way to cook baby food in minutes without all of the pots and pans. It is relatively small so takes up minimal room on the worktop and is surprisingly quiet to use (ideal when you don't want to wake a sleeping baby!).


 


The instructions are simple to follow...when baby brain allows (as you will see from the testing video below) and it comes with a little book of recipes and a weaning guide which I found really helpful. The first recipe I tried was Sweet Potato Puree (I skipped carrots as I am a rebel) and it went in a strange direction when I chucked iron water everywhere but turned out well in the end! 



We have made some great recipes in the Steamer Blender since we have had it and also used it to whizz up our baby friendly meals too for Callie to enjoy lump free. I even made an instant berry frozen yogurt which I will share at the end of this post for those hotter days (we have had a fair few this week!).


I love how simple this gadget is to use compared to a lot of other blenders. There aren't lots of fiddly parts to wash up and it comes with two handy pots with lids to store the food in which we use all the time. I actually use the steamer setting to cook food for both the kids dinners and even made Ted some soup in it last week which he loved.

Overall very impressed and if you are looking to wean your little one in the next few months do pop over to the Tommee Tippee website as the Wean Together area has not only a huge list of simple recipes but the chance to win your very own Steamer Blender! 

Finally here is our recipe for Instant Berry Frozen Yogurt

- 1 cup of mixed frozen berries
- 1/2 cup of natural yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of honey


  • Pop it all in the Steam Blender, programme for 30 seconds and hit the blend button. 
  • Blend in 10 second intervals until you get the texture you need.
  • Pop into a bowl and serve! 
*This can be stored in the freezer but remember to take it out 10 minutes before you need it so it is spoon-able. 

I would love to see some pictures of your little ones weaning journeys so please do tag me @lateforrealityblog on Instagram and click that follow button to see more of the foods we are loving for our tiny troublemakers! 



P.s here are the Facebook live videos of me taking the steam blender for a test drive.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

I went to Blog On 2017!


Last weekend I attended a blog conference for the first time in ages and it was great! I say great as I totally bypass puking on the train from MK to Manchester, turning up an hour late to the launch party after two 19 year old boys helped me find my way to the venue and then leaving 30 minutes later because I missed all the food and good drinks. Of course all of that made 100% better by missing my train on the way home and sobbing to a stranger who helped me find an alternative train home. 

Yep the rest was great though!

All jokes aside I had a fair few hiccups that weekend but I made it home from Manchester  in one piece and after the horrific events of the past week I count myself extremely fortunate.


So, Blog On MoSI. My first of the Blog On conferences and it was a great event. Held at the brilliant Museum of Science and Industry, the one day event was really sociable as well as having a great range of sessions. I sat in on Youtube Planning with the lovely Colette Burgess from We're Going on an Adventure, Photographing People with Hayley Willis from Shutterflies Photography and Facebook with Ciara from My Fussy Eater.


I met up with some of my best blogging buddies some of whom I have known for 6 or 7 years and others I met when I was pregnant with Callie and have supported me through the past year or so. It was so good to catch up with them all and meet some of them face to face for the first time. That is what I love most about blog conferences and I actually skipped one of the sessions just to allow myself some time to talk to the brands and my friends.




The brands at the event were great, super friendly and really wanted to get to know me as a blogger. Often at larger events it is all about sales but they weren't there to make sales they were there to build relationships so that we can collaborate in the future. I got to meet a few PR's I have been working with in the past and exchanged details with some new ones which will hopefully mean new products to share with you guys!





I learnt a lot, laughed a lot and came home with more gifts in my goodie bag than I know what to do with. I may not be braving the 2.5 hour train journey there next time but I certainly will be going back. 

Thank you for having me Blog On!



Monday, 1 May 2017

Dear Boy At The Park...

Dear Boy At The Park,

Yesterday we had a lovely afternoon at Wicksteed Park with our friends. Ted decided to play on the climbing frames and despite being a bit wary (they were big climbing frames) we let him go off to play.

He was feeling brave, braver than I have seen him before and I have noticed his confidence is growing in spades. He decided to go down the 'big dark slide' and his pride when he mastered it was wonderful to see. He was having so much fun.

Feeling braver still he attempted the rope tunnel, the one with lots of square holes in and his little foot slipped through. He giggled as his shoe fell off and I watched him struggle for a few seconds before I stepped in to help. Putting his foot back through the hole and his shoe on I looked up to see a queue of children behind him. One of which was you. A child of 8 or 9 standing patiently. Watching me. Watching Ted and smiling. "Sorry his shoe fell off!" I said, letting you know we wouldn't be long.

Much to my surprise instead of turning and going to play on something else or clambering past him as I would have expected, you smiled again. "It is ok, I still do that sometimes too". You reassured Ted that it was ok, even bigger boys struggle sometimes.

I popped Teddy's shoe back on and was shocked again to hear such kind words from another child "Would you like me to help him?". Of course I told you that would be a lovely thing to do, it made me less anxious knowing he had some assistance up on those big frames and I took a step back and watched you both play.

I watched as Ted looked up to you, taking in each step you made and copying to keep himself on track. As you cheered him on from the side and clapped as he came down the "big dark slide" again and again. As you led him to another frame I followed to see how he tackled it and when he couldn't manage it because of his small legs you moved to a different one, despite clearly wanting to play on that one yourself.

You showed him how to climb down the tyre ladder and accepted when he wasn't brave enough to try himself. You listened when I used his name and called him it too building his trust. You were a leader and he listened. "Mummy, he knows my name!" Ted whispered to me. An beautiful smile filling his face.

When it was time for you to go you waited for him at the bottom of the slide to say goodbye and off you ran. I couldn't see your parents until you were out of the park but I wish I had seen them. I wish I could have told them what a special child you are. Because yesterday you helped Ted, you helped him see kindness in the world.

My son that often is hurt by other children, smacked or pushed in parks and soft plays but never hits back. The boy who cries to me rather than retaliates and questions "why do my friends always hurt me when they play?".

You showed him that not all children are boisterous, not all children are hurtful or aggressive. Some children are kind and it is cool to be kind.

I hope your parents know how special you are and may you continue to be kind-hearted.

Thank you,

This Grateful Mumma

X


Monday, 24 April 2017

Siblings - April 2017

This month I have have seen the relationship between my two grow. Callie watches Ted's every move, laughing if he does something silly and taking in all he has to teach her. Ted is so helpful and kind to his little sister, giving her toys and singing to her when she is upset. 

I catch him playing with her so sweetly sometimes and it melts my heart. I picked up these matching Cool Like Mama tops from Next last weekend as I do love a bit of Twinning. Ted was so happy to be wearing the same outfit as his sister and I think she looks pretty chuffed too! 

I can't wait to see how their relationship develops as Callie grows. They start nursery together in a few weeks and I really hope they will enjoy spending a few days a week there together before Ted starts school in September. 

I love my little Siblings!

 






The Me and Mine Project

Skinny Tan Review

I was recently sent a box of Skinny Tan products to try out. Knowing the experiences I have had with self tanning in the past I was curious to see if this much talked about tanning brand lived up to the hype. They have been featured on Dragon's Den and I have only heard good things so let me tell you how I got on! 



The packaging is lovely. I am a sucker for decent packaging and the colours and branding are great. I love the shape of the tubes and the little screw tops. So much less messy than the flip top bottles I have used in the past. 

I thought I would give it a sniff before applying to my skin and it smells amazing. Not biscuity and full of chemicals like other brands, more like a coconut/cocoa butter scent that reminded me of summer holidays. Off to a good start! 


I tried out the 24 Hour Bronzer first as this is their 'instant tan' which can be washed off. I prefer this type of tanner as it allows you a bit more control over the colour and you can start again if it goes a bit wrong. I tend to use these for nights out etc where I want a bit of a glow but can't be bothered waiting for it to develop. I really like this one as mentioned it smells great and blends nicely as a natural looking tan. 


A few days later I had the chance to get a nice shower in peace so I used the Pre-Tan primer which was lovely too. A gentle exfoliator with crushed walnut shell in (no blasted microbeads here!) which gently rubbed off any dead skin cells ready to tan. I also used the Exfoliating Prep Mitt to make sure my skin was extra smooth and actually it felt great to give my skin a good scrub.


Allowing my skin 24 hours to settle I decided to use the 7 Day Tanner the next day so avoided moisturisers before applying the tanner. The 7 Day tanner is contains Almond Oil and Gurana to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and cellulite. I applied it as best I could although I do need to pick up a tanning mitt before my next application as it didn't go on as smoothly as it would with a mitt. I also missed a patch on my back I couldn't reach but you live and learn! 

The tanner has a bronze guide which allows you to see where it is when applying but this isn't the finished result...trust me I looked awful until I washed the bronzer off. 

So I popped my (Christmas) onesie on after application so as not to get it all over my sheets and went to bed. The next morning I woke up with lots of patches but after a quick shower with just water (no soap else the tan may not work as well) all the patchiness had gone. I was left with a lovely sunkissed glow. 
Top - After Application      Bottom - Next day after removing residue.
The colour wasn't as obvious as I expected but that suited my skin tone as I would have looked awful with a dark tan. I think it made me look healthier and definitely gave me a bit of confidence. I had some issues on my tummy where I have regrowth from unwanted hair in pregnancy but nobody needs to see that. So overall I was really happy with the results. 



I do think Skinny Tan is a bit more expensive than I would normally pay for a tanning product which is probably why mine have always been so awful. However if you are used to spending a lot on spray tans etc then this is a lot cheaper. The prices are all on the website if you want to take a look. They also have a pre-season sale on where you get a free Tanning Mitt and Exfoliator Mitt with 2 bottles of the Dark Mousse. 


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Pop N Jump from Summer Infant Review


Anyone who has the slightest bit of experience with 5 month old babies will know they are wiggly bundles of scrumptiousness. They are adorable but my goodness can they move! Not quite able to sit, roll and crawl properly but more than happy to stand up, ALL.THE.TIME! 

I am absolutely covered in bruises on my thighs from Callie using me as a human springboard. She loves jumping up and down on my lap but I am having to rethink my wardrobe choices to account for the black and blue circles dotted across my upper legs. Not fun! 

With that all in mind you can imagine the joy I felt when I was offered the chance to try out the Summer Infant Pop 'n' Jump. This nifty fold up baby bouncer, gym, entertainment zone is perfect and my legs want to say a huge thank you.


Who am I kidding they are totally not my legs! Anyway this new toy has gone down a storm. Callie loves it, I love it, my frigging legs love it...it's awesome! 

Ok so I may be being a bit silly but in all honesty this is one of the best products we have reviewed on the blog. I have always wanted one of those expensive ones that sounds like kangaroo...you know the brand I mean but they are so large, much larger than they look online trust me I saw some at the baby show a few years back. They are heavy and cumbersome and once they are there...they are there! 

With the Pop n Jump the best selling point is the foldaway option. It folds down neatly like a camping chair, into a bag and can be chucked under the stairs like we do out of the way. It means when bedtime rolls round I can hide all evidence that children even exist in the house and pretend we are FREE.



I was adamant all Callie's large would match my colour scheme in the house, she has a pink and blue floral baby seat which suits my living room. So when the Pop n Jump arrived it was a bit of a shock with all the colours but honestly kid's love bright colours and it can be put away when I want my grown up living room for a few hours. 
 

I love the design, the polka dots and stripes are great fun and it has a woodland animal theme which is very cute. Callie loves gnawing on the bumble bee and reading the story about the hopping frog. 






Look at those little feet! The legs of the Pop n Jump can be adjusted for when they get older, little Pops only has small legs so the lowest setting is only just supporting her at the moment but she actually jumps in it which is so funny to watch. She goes a bit crazy in it and it keeps her occupied while I get things done around the house. 

This weekend we had some gorgeous weather so took it to my Auntie and Uncles house where she played while the family cooed over her. It meant she had her own space which she needs sometimes, she hates being fussed over too much and I knew she was safe just watching everyone. 

On Sunday we were tidying the garden and enjoying some more lovely weather so we popped the additional sunshade up to protect her and she played to her hearts content watching her big brother playing. It was nice to be able to eat dinner and get gardening done not having to worry about her either being on the grass or bored in her chair. 


Look at her face! She looks so happy. 



Not sure the tree stump was designed as a teether but she gives it a good old nibble most of the time she is in there. She also loves to use her nails to scratch the canvas fabric and make funny noises. I think she discovers something new to do every time she is in there.



We are so pleased with the Pop n Jump, it will last us a long time and is now on offer at just £49.99 (rrp £69.99) so would make a great present too. Huge thumbs up from us (except Callie who has hers in her mouth constantly!)



*I was sent this product sample for review purposes, all opinions are my own.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Weaning Our Baby Early - Our Journey So Far

The weaning stage has begun! Despite the NHS recommendation to wait until 6 months before starting to wean your baby, we decided to start weaning Callie at 5 months. She holds her head well, sits up unaided for a short period of time and has shown an interest in food. She can also move the food to the back of her mouth and eats well. For me that is a good enough sign that she is ready to start on solids so we went for it. 


We started with fruit, which upon reading a post on Veg for Victory with Ella's Kitchen I realised this may have been a mistake but not one we could go back on so actually I have been winging it for the past couple of weeks. I did what I had with Ted and that was to spoon feed her smooth puree starting with one food and gradually introducing a new taste every day ensuring we left 4 hours before bed times to be safe in case she had a reaction. 
 

Callie's first taste was of banana. We mushed a little bit up in a bowl and she loved it. She had also had a tiny lick of cucumber which she wasn't overly keen on (like her Mumma). After banana I then tried a banana and apple pouch knowing that the banana hadn't bothered her and introducing a new fruit in. Apple was a hit so we moved onto Apple and Pear, again introducing another new fruit in and progressed from there. 


When we were kindly send some Veg For Victory pouches of Peas, Parsnips, Carrot and Sweet Potato I decided to try going back to the start and giving her just veggies for a while. This went down like a tonne of bricks! She hated the pea puree, gagging on it with every mouthful, the same with carrot. I tried mixing it with some fruit to make it a bit sweeter and even added some Carrot Baby Rice to change the texture up but she was not having it! 




It was as I feared, this little monkey had developed a love of sweet things in just one week! 

Alex from Lamb and Bear suggested only offering sweet foods when she had eaten some of the veggies so I did that. She managed a few mouthfuls of veggies, fighting me all the way so I gave her some fruit which she demolished (typical!). I then remembered I had a 4 Month (stage 1) pouch of Chicken and Vegetables that I had picked up on my weekly food shop. I gave it a go and much to my surprise she loved it! 

I had her grabbing the spoon as I was feeding her and finally I had worked out what she needed. Flavour. She enjoyed the variety in the meal and not just one vegetable all the time. There are only a few brands that do actual meals like this for Stage 1 so I am waiting until she is 6 months before I will start giving her a bit of what we eat but I am convinced she is going to love it. In the meantime I will continue to offer vegetables as it is suggested babies take 10 tries of something to know whether they like it. Her brother is a great eater so I am hoping she will follow suit and will try everything for me before writing them off completely. 



I decided on spoon feeding Callie as opposed to baby led weaning because a. I was scared she would choke and b. it is messy as hell! I know the second reason is a bit silly but honestly I am not sure I could cope with her slinging food around the room just yet, least not things like porridge. 

While we are on the subject of porridge, Callie has it every morning for breakfast. Some days it is apple porridge and others it is a Rusk mixed with some of her milk. She loves breakfast, literally wolfs it down and it is so good to see. 




I have only been giving her a couple of tablespoons of food at each meal and we currently (2weeks in) only do breakfast and dinners with the hope to increase portions and meals once she is 6 months. This is when I will introduce some finger foods too. 

She currently is still on 7oz bottles every 3/4 hours which generally means she has 5 bottles a day but this can vary depending on how long she naps for in the day and also if we are out and about and she is happy playing I let her lead me. We have always fed on demand so are sticking with her to guide us. 



I am enjoying this weaning journey and actually just going with the flow. It is so easy to be swayed by what other people say nowadays and someone will always have an opinion on how you do anything as a mother but I try to ignore it. Callie is enjoying solids and I think weaning her early was the right decision for us and her. 

Please hit me up with some baby friendly recipes or pouch suggestions and don't forget to pop over to Instagram to follow Callie's weaning journey!