22 March 2015

Welcome to the world Little 3.

We have some exciting news here on Loving Life with Little ones, Little 3 is here.


After going almost a week overdue, my blood pressure started to rise and I began to feel a bit rough, I was suffering headaches and my body was showing signs of having had enough after 3 weeks of backache, braxton hicks, several false starts of hours of intense contractions that just tailed off on quite a few occasions and so it was finally decided that enough was enough and I was to be induced, Little 3 had been given an eviction notice. 

I went into hospital on Friday 13th March of all days but the delivery suite was full to bursting and so after lots of apologising from the midwifes and waiting around for hours we were admitted for the night and told they would start things in the early hours as rooms downstairs became available, well we never made it to induction Little 3 had his own idea!

I finally managed to drop off to sleep at 2.30 am as the lady in the next bed was snoring like a walrus very loudly and keeping the other 3 of us in the room awake. I woke up suddenly feeling rather wierd an hour later and couldn't drop back off to sleep, suddenly I began to feel some contractions and they really hurt, I had joked with Daddy about going into labour while waiting just a couple of hours earlier! 

After buzzing the midwife for some paracetamol and to let her know what was going on (16 minutes apart for the past hour), things suddenly hotted up very fast, they were now 8 minutes apart and lasting longer, I buzzed again and was given some codeine, I feel like I buzzed again within a just few minutes but I'm not really sure as from this point it all got rather fast and painful, they were every 2 minutes and not easing off in between, I buzzed again hoping they would give me something stronger as I felt I couldn't cope with the pain and by the time the midwife (actually 2 came running this time) came I was shaking, they both said something is happening they were 8 minutes apart 5 minutes ago and now like this, I was checked and 7cm, it was decided it was time to go to delivery suite NOW. 

The midwife took Daddy's number to call him in as I just couldn't pick up the phone, I remember being wheeled along the corridor as my waters broke, they were going to take me to a side room as delivery suite hadn't rung back with room, but just as we were passing the desk the call came that they had a room for me, I don't remember much of the journey, just a lift and swapping beds, I was handed the gas and air, the most wonderful thing ever, and told not to push, I had to wait for Daddy, minutes later he ran into the room and with just one push Little 3 shot out. Daddy had made it with a couple of minutes to spare! Unfortunately Little 3 had pooped in his waters, so look out for the follow up post later in the week about the problems we had with that! 

So there you go apparently my labour was 1 hour and 57 minutes according to my notes, Little 3 had obviously had enough of waiting! 

Little 3 made his appearance on Saturday 14th March 2015 at 7.47am weighing in at a healthy 7lb 14oz.



Welcome to the world, our little man x

Little 1 and 2 are very proud big sisters who love their new little brother and I can safely say we are all in love with him actually.



10 March 2015

Would you like to become a Vue Cinema official family movie reviewer?

Would you and your family like the opportunity to become a Vue Cinemas official family movie reviewers? 

To celebrate the release of the new Disney princess film out later this month, Cinderella, Vue Cinemas are hosting a competition for families and Mummy/Daddy bloggers to become Vue Cinemas official children's/family film reviewer for a year, the competition is open for all families to enter. The winner will receive an unlimited ticket to Vue cinemas for the year, allowing you to watch and review all family films of your choice with your children.

In order to enter all you need to do is send a Tweet on Twitter or share a Facebook status (140 characters or less) sharing your thoughts on a family film of your choice. This can be any film, new or old as long as the entry contains the hashtag #vuepeoplespundit.
For example a simple status saying how you loved Frozen or why you enjoyed Paddington Bear as long as it contains the above hashtag.

The competition is open now, you can find the link to the competition page here and final entries must be in by midnight on Thursday 19th March 2015.

After the closing date Vue will view the entries shared with the hashtag and then shortlist 25 of the best tweets/statuses to go and see Cinderella at its special preview screening on of the 27th March 2015 (or another date at a Vue cinema near you should you be unable to attend on that day) and then those 25 entrants are to write a short 250 word review of the film and upload it to Vue's social vote platform with an image.

They can then get their followers and/or blog readers to vote for them and their review. The person with the most social votes wins the prize of being Vue's Official Film Pundit and wins the annual unlimited pass for them and their children to see any family films to review for a whole year.

So what are you waiting for..... Good Luck.

N.B The Little Ones and I received tickets to see the new Cinderella film ourselves in return for this post.

7 March 2015

Making an eggbox crocodile

Little 1 seems to be getting one piece of homework to do over the holidays (as well as the usual reading, spellings and tricky words to learn), this past half term it was a jungle themed creation to go with their topic of 'Animal Kingdom' this term. I had an initial thought of doing some kind of puppet show using a shoe box and animals on lolly sticks after she had enjoyed making a fish tank along the same lines before then I saw a blog post (sorry, I can't remember where) where they had made an egg box crocodile, I showed it to Little 1 and she really wanted to make her own so a crocodile it was.

With it having been pancake day I had a big egg box ready to use and had the idea of making a little pond too. We set to work making our (her) creation, first we cut the head piece off and taped a hinge so that the mouth could open and painted the top half green, then when that had dried a bit we painted the bottom.



While the green painted crocodile was drying we made the pond. I had a very shallow box and lots of blue tissue paper so instead of painting the box we used the tissue paper to make it look like ripples on the water, I watered down some pva glue and we dabbed it on so as not to tear the paper and covered the box.



In my craft box I had some coloured foam and some plastic daisies so we set to work making a couple of lily pads and some fish complete with googly eyes to add to the pond.




I then remembered some green shredded paper that I had left from another craft project that could look like reeds or algae so we stuck that on too and voila our pond was complete.



The following day when the crocodile was fully dry we painted the inside of his mouth black and added a foam tongue, some googly eyes and sharp teeth. I have to say he looked quite good and Little 1 was very pleased with her crocodile and couldn't wait to take him into school to show her teacher.




4 March 2015

Our car seat dilemma - part 2- Can we fit 3 seats in our car?

So I wrote earlier in the week about the car seats that we currently use and the fact that with baby number three on the way that we needed to figure out if we needed to get a bigger car or could we fit three car seats into our current car with a little planning- you can read that post here.

As I said we have a Renault Megane Scenic which is quite a roomy 5 seater car with space in the back to comfortably fit the two child seats we currently have and an adult in the middle, we hoped as the back seat was so roomy we would be able to buy a slim fitting high backed booster seat for Little 1 to move into so that Little 2 could have her Britax Evolva car seat and Little 3 the Britax First Class Plus seat that she was in. 

I have said before that I will not compromise on car seat safety and took it upon myself to do a little (ok, a lot) of online research before we made any decisions or expensive new car purchases. I am of the opinion that simple booster seats are NOT all that safe for a 5 year old, Little 1 simply does not have the weight to hold the seat steady and there is no protection for her at all in the event of an accident, just watch the crash test clips online and you will see what I mean. I am not saying that I don't think they are suitable at all, for an older child who just needs a little boost they are probably just fine, I just think a high backed booster seat is much safer and is the only thing I will consider for Little 1 at the moment.

I spent a week of evenings looking online at what was available to us to suit her height and weight, I read countless reviews and joined a well know ratings site to see what they had to say too. The width of the seat was very important to us as it had to be slim to fit in the back of the car with the other two seats (both being quite wide themselves) and I came up with a shortlist. Several of the seats I would have really liked like the new Britax Advansafix were out of our price range and others were just going to be too wide even though I really preferred them like the Britax Kidfix and the Donio Monterey so it would come down to trial and error and what would fit unfortunately. I was going to have to compromise on the safety of the seat to fit three in our car but there was no way I was going to just get a cheap booster seat or the cheapest high backed booster out there having read the poor safety reviews.

Armed with my shortlist of narrower seats to try we headed over to a top mother and baby store and enquired about trying a few car seats in the back of our car. As soon as I mentioned fitting 3 seats in the back, the shop assistant said it couldn't be done safely, something about having to have 3 inches between the seats so they didn't touch each other in a crash and some alarming thing about the middle seat being forced up through the roof in a side on collision, whaaaat?!! I know several people who have had three in the back at the same time, surely they didn't all have huge cars! She wouldn't even come and look at our car and instead offered us the solution of seating Little 1 in the front seat and deactivating the airbag.

I wasn't keen on this idea myself, deactivating the airbag for us was not a simple affair of a button on the dashboard or a little key thingy on the side as in some of the newer cars, it actually meant taking it to a dealer and paying to have it deactivated. I didn't like this idea for several reasons, firstly I didn't want any of my children in the front of the car really anyway (I feel the back is safer). Secondly, where did we then stand on the car insurance front and what about selling the car in a year or two, we'd have to pay to have it turned back on. And thirdly, the Little ones are only in the car on weekends/holidays as Daddy uses the car for work in the week, what about the protection of other people in the front of the car? Daddy takes my brother, Uncle M, to and from work every day so he is in the car 10 trips a week as well as the odd bloke Daddy gives a lift to from skittles each week, what if there was an accident?

I began to research this online and didn't really like what I was reading about airbags and having a child in the front seat. We then happened to go to a big police open day thingy near us and I popped into the road safety team stand to have a chat with them about it. The first thing the man said was 'Don't ever do it', he told us that unless you physically remove the detonator from the airbag it can and often will still go off in the event of an accident, even if it is deactivated. He said that sometimes they can explode in an accident as they can't do what they are supposed too meaning the whole dashboard can explode, he said never to deactivate an airbag and told us to talk to the firemen. The echoed what he said and said they had seen some terrible things so that was it decision made, there was no way Little 1 was going in the front seat with or without the airbag.

We started to think that we were going to have to get a new car sooner than we had liked and I began to look into 7 seaters. It wasn't really a financial option for us at the moment so we decided to pop into another well known store that sold a range of children's car seats and see what they had to say. They listened to what we said and allowed us to try several of their high backed booster seats in the middle of our car with the other two car seats set up as we would have them when Little 3 arrives (the Britax First Class rear facing on one side, and the Evolva on the other.) We knew that our rear seats can be removed from the car and run on runners so we slid the middle seat forwards 6 inches to give a bit more room for the wings of the seats. The first two seats were too wide and the side wings got in each others way but the third seat we tested fitted well and the wings didn't touch, we were also able to plug in the seat belt without losing the skin off our knuckles, although Little 1 won't be able to do it herself as it is a tight fit.

This was the seat that we bought, it isn't fancy and is quite slim so I am not sure how long Little 1 will fit comfortably in it but it is a high backed booster with plenty of padding and not one of the ones with the naff safety ratings, so I am happy. We shall be changing our car in year or two anyway so we can get a better seat then if needs be. Little 1 loves the idea of being in the middle and able to look out of the front window and pass things to her siblings, so car seat dilemma sorted, three children safely secured in the rear of the car and we didn't spend loads of money, phew.

(I will add a picture when the car is on the drive so I can take one!)

Have you had any trouble fitting child seats in your car? could you fit 3?

2 March 2015

Our car seat dilemma - part one

Back in the summer when we were just a few months into this pregnancy my thoughts turned to the logistics of fitting 3 child car seats into the rear of our car, three children in car seats all at different stages, did we need to purchase a new car in the new year before the arrival of Little 3 to fit them all in? We currently have a Renault Megane Scenic which will need to be replaced in a year or two anyway but could we fit everyone in and make do for a year or so while we saved up for a 7 seater car?

I am hot on car seat safety and will not compromise on the safety of our children unless I really had to in an emergency, it is just not worth it and I would never forgive myself if anything were to happen. I like the idea of rear facing for a bit longer and keeping the child in a 5 point harness and a seat with side impact protection for as long as possible.

When Little 1 was born in 2009 she initially used the infant carrier that came with our travel system and clipped into a base safely installed in the car but that is when the problem started. Every time she was put in the seat in the car from only a week or two of age (not when it was attached to the pushchair) she screamed and I mean screamed for the whole car journey until she either fell asleep or we arrived at our destination, I used to sit in the back of the car with her and sing or hold her hand and try to stop it, it must have been very distracting for Daddy driving. It wasn't until one day when she was about 2 months old and had fallen asleep in the seat that I realised her chin was on her chest and she was breathing a bit funny, being a small baby (born less than 6lbs) I realised that the angle of the seat was too steep and we needed something else, she must have been trying to tell us she wasn't comfortable. We quickly went out and bought one of the seats with great reviews (at the time, but still a good one now!) a Britax First Class Plus which covered from birth until age 4 and was rear facing until around 15-18 months. At the time extended rear facing seats were not on the UK market or information readily available on the subject and as a first time mum I didn't really know anything about them. 


Our First Class Plus in newborn mode

From that moment on she never cried in the car and was much more upright, higher up and slept peacefully in the seat, we never used the infant carrier again in the car. She remained in that car seat rear facing until she reached the maximum weight for the seat rear racing at around 17 months, many of our friends asked why she was still facing backwards when they had placed their 9 and 10 month old children forward facing as soon as possible and I always replied because it was safer. She continued to use the First Class Plus forward facing until her sister came along when she was 2 years and 4 months old and we reclaimed the seat for her to use from birth.

I did some online research (3 years ago now) and we moved Little 1 into the next stage seat, another of the recommended and highest ranked seats (again at the time) that would last until she was much older and used a 5 point harness for a good length of time (again extended rear facing seats were not readily available and I still didn't know much about them so went with what I thought was the next best thing). The seat we bought was a Britax Evolva 123, this seat is forward facing and is suitable from age 9 months with a 5 point harness, however I would not put such a young child in a seat like that as it is very upright and personally I feel far too young to go forward facing. It can then be used from 18kg with an adult belt as a high backed booster until it is outgrown at around age 11. At almost 2 and a half when she moved into it, Little 1 was about the right age I feel for this seat, she was comfortable and it supported her if she slept and the seat offered excellent head and side impact wings as well as a decent 5 point harness that would last.


The only pic of the evolva I have! (a car picnic)
Little 1 still uses this seat (she will very shortly have to vacate it for Little 2 to use with the 5 point harness so that Little 3 can have the First Class plus from birth). At 5 years old she is still comfortable in the seat and has lots of room, she reached the 18kg weight limit for the 5 point harness at around Christmas just after she was 5 years old and we switched her to the 3 point belt, she is rather sensible in her seat but now she can move and loosen the belt herself she has a tendency to lean forwards to reach things or her sister and we have had to stop the car several times and tighten her belt. I have to be honest and say however I would still prefer her to be in a 5 point harness for a bit longer. The only downside we have found to the Evolva is that is is a very wide seat (also a big plus too), our car is quite big and you can still fit an adult fairly comfortably in the back between the two child seats but fitting three child seats in the back between these wide seats is another post!

I would have loved to buy an extended rear facing seat this time around, there are lots on the UK market now and many that Little 2 could be using too, I have seen one that even Little 1 could be using and another where she could be in a 5 point harness still for another good year at least but unfortunately, being a stay at home mum, we can not afford any of those especially when there isn't anything wrong with the car seats that we already have!

Check back soon for part 2 of our car seat dilemma, did we manage to fit 3 seats in our car?

28 February 2015

Little 3's nursery (gender spoiler)

So it really won't be long now before Little 3 makes an appearance, I am due in a week and have been suffering a lot in the last 2 weeks with backache and braxton hicks, rising blood pressure and waking in the night with some really uncomfortable sensations so I am hoping HE (yes we are having a little boy!) will arrive soon and not keep us waiting too long.

As we already have two gorgeous little girls, knowing that we will stop at three children and that we are having a little boy has made one Daddy very happy, he literally could not wipe the cheshire cat grin off his face after our 20 week scan so everyone knew what we were having just from looking at him when he returned to work afterwards! I had convinced myself that Little 3 would be another little girl, I was quite sure of it, and that was perfectly lovely (as I love my girls) but I know Daddy secretly wanted a son. It did actually take me a few weeks for it to actually sink in that we were going to be having a baby boy, I'm not used to boys! 

The last couple of months have been quite strange, nice but also like a kind of end of an era feeling, sorting through the girls old baby and toddler clothes and tiny girly bits and bobs. Some we have given away to a friend expecting a baby girl (it was hard to see some of the lovely dresses go I can tell you), others I have sold on ebay and others I gave to charity. I had a little fun in the January sales buying a few babygros, outfits and tops etc in the sales and picking up a few new bits we needed and the odd boy thing here and there using the money I had made so along with all the neutral things we already had, he will have enough clothes to get us through the first few months.

We finished the nursery a couple of weeks ago and I just wanted to share a few pictures with you. Before it was a nursery this room was the office with two blue walls and 2 green walls and blue curtains so once we had found out that we were having a boy we decided not to repaint it (as it was done not that long ago when the extension was built anyway). We had a neutral jungle themed nursery for Little 1 and 2 which was pale green and pale orange and was used by both the girls and then redecorated into Little 2's girly bedroom last year. The jungle bedding and curtains etc didn't really go with the blue of the room and I had seen some blue and green nursery things that I liked in a catalogue so we decided to not use the jungle things this time and just set up a little boy's room instead hoping not to have to redecorate until he was a bit older.








Wall stickers, Rug, Sheets and matching sleeping bag (not pictured) all from Vertbaudet.
Blanket and cuddly toys - from our old jungle nursery originally from' Babies r us'
Storage Unit and boxes, chest of drawers- Ikea

This Little one will also be wearing cloth nappies - there will shortly be a post on that - I couldn't resist sharing a photo of my new nappy stash, all ready and waiting to go too!



26 February 2015

Alfie and Grandma- A book review

It is no secret here on my blog that the Little ones love books, both girls have a shelf of them in their rooms and there are also many downstairs, we take the time every night to read several bedtime stories to our girls and often a few in the day too. Little 1 has taken to reading in her reception year at school like a duck to water and wants to read us her school book every night still, several months on from starting school which I love. 

You see, I love books too. I usually have one on the go on my kindle and will often go up to bed and read, usually for a lot longer than I had intended or for just one more chapter and end up regretting staying up so late as I try and drag my bleary eyed self out of bed in the morning! As a child I loved to read, I always had a book on the go and had many a favourite author and must have read hundreds of books. We were recently asked to review a book by an author who I remember from my childhood days, Shirley Hughes.

Shirley Hughes has been illustrating children's books for many, many years and wrote her first book in 1960, many other successful stories followed including her 'Lucy and Tom' books and the 'Alfie' series both of which I used to read myself. In 1999 she was honoured with an OBE for her outstanding contribution to children's literature and has won numerous other awards for her writing and illustrations too.

This is a little video of Shirley Hughes introducing her character 'Alfie' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3m6ibi6G0k

Her latest book, which is being released today is another from the popular 'Alfie' series titled 'Alfie and Grandma', it's a lovely collection of three stories about Alfie and his Grandma and would make a lovely gift for that special grandparent to share with their grandchild this coming Mother's day (March 15th this year).



Nanny came over to read the book to the Little ones for the first time, the girls have a close relationship with her and I thought it would be lovely for them to share the book together. They all snuggled up on the sofa and read the stories about a lost pet, Alfie saving the day and having an explorer adventure with his Grandma. 


The stories are lovely and well written, the girls listened intently as Nanny read to them, you can see by their faces how much they liked the stories. The book is also full of beautiful illustrations which capture their imagination and help to tell the stories well, there was lots of discussion about the pictures and we have re read the book several times in the past few days so I can see it becoming a new favourite here.


Alfie and Grandma is released today in the UK, If you would like to purchase the book you can click below to follow this link to Amazon:-
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alfie-Grandma-Shirley-Hughes/dp/1782955151

N.B We received a complementary copy of the book and an 'Alfie' activity pack in return for this post. I do not receive anything from you clicking the Amazon link in this post.

23 February 2015

What to do with a toddlers used birthday cards

Now that I am nearly 9 months pregnant, I have been finding it a little hard to do some things with Little 2 in the day while her sister is at school, it has become increasingly difficult to sit on the floor and play with her for long periods of time as I totally seize up and my hips and back really hurt on getting up so I have tried to think of short activities that she can enjoy to keep her entertained and mummy can do with her while sat more comfortably at the table.

I have also been thinking about how much she loves getting messy, being creative and how much she wants to be a big girl and use scissors and gloopy glue on a daily basis. I thought of this so simple activity using her left over birthday cards that we could do together and as I predicted, she loved it.

The pictures tell the story it was so easy, we cut out all the lovely pictures on the front of her birthday cards, she started to do it herself but didn't find it very easy on the tough card. I couldn't find the proper children's scissors (the ones she is holding had quite big finger holes) so I ended up doing it for her as she got happy using lots of glue and sticking the pictures on the paper and a few sequins I had too.






I love the fact that something that took only 10 minutes and very little effort on my part really meant a lot to her, you can see how engrossed she is by the look on her face and how pleased she was with her creations.

What quick and simple activities do you do with your child that we can do too?