30 January 2016

Little green sheep mattress protector review

Have you heard of  The Little Green Sheep company, makers of the Snuz pod, well they have just won Gold at the 2016 Mother & Baby Awards in the Best Sleep category with their Little Green Sheep mattress protectors.

Little 3 was lucky enough to be sent one of these lovely mattress protectors to try out. When I opened it I found a supersoft thick Organic cotton mattress protector with a 100% waterproof and breathable layer sandwiched inside. It looked and felt great quality and not at all plasticky as some of the mattress protectors that you can buy.

We have the cot bed size one 70x140 cm which as you can see fits Little 3's cot perfectly. I was a little concerned that due to it just laying on top and not being fitted onto the mattress, in order to allow for better air circulation, that it might move around under the sheet but my fear was totally unfounded. Little 3 is a serial wriggler and moves all over the place in his cot during the night, upside down, round and round and even his night time antics didn't move this mattress protector once it was covered with a fitted sheet.

I like the fact that as it is not fitted it can grow with Little 3. When it is time for him to move to a single bed and through those potty training years it could easily fit onto a single size bed either down the middle or turned around and tucked around the sides, this makes it very versatile and well worth the money.

Happy chappy after a good nap
Little 3 has continued to sleep soundly in his cot and that means the mattress protector gets a big thumbs up from us, it is there doing its job, just in case.

We received our mattress protector in return for this review however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

25 January 2016

A den kind of day

Wednesday is usually a quiet day in our house, Little 2 is often quite tired having been to preschool on Monday and Tuesday and with Little 1 at school we take the opportunity to play together while Little 3 naps.

Last week she wanted to build a den, 'a big one with your washing thingy, with an upstairs Mummy'. So out came the big arier and an armada of pegs and blankets to turn the corner of the sofa into a den, we made her a bed 'upstairs' on the sofa and she gathered her special things to play with.

I am not quite sure why she had a ribbon around her head but that piece of pink ribbon was from one of my birthday presents months ago and she regularly wants it around her wrist or waist to make her 'look pretty'.

Little 2 can be funny when it comes to taking photos, sometimes she will say no and then I won't or just ignore the camera completely and others like today she wanted me to take pictures of everything, all the toys and her lunch as well as a request to video her dancing. 

She is a funny little girl my little 2, she makes me laugh and is a joy to be around. We played camping in her den and I hunted for the spiders she kept spotting (bits of fluff). As Little 3 was asleep she was allowed to have a picnic lunch in the den which she enjoyed, she stayed in that little space all afternoon until it was time for the school run.

Little 3 was quite happy to explore his zoo and attempt to get his whole self into the toy box once he had woken up, he was not allowed anywhere near his sisters den!

I did have a little video of Little 2 doing her dance, apparently it was her wave dance and she spent much of the afternoon randomly breaking into little dance bursts but blogger is deciding not to show it on my finished post so it isn't there sorry, I tried, hate these technical glitches! 

20 January 2016

A regular dose of E numbers

These past few days Little 2 has been having a regular dose of E numbers, E124 to be exact, it is bright red in colour and she has been having it 4 times a day for the past 6 days and will continue to do so for the next few days too.

Before you begin to judge me and pick up the phone to complain about my competence as a parent. No, I am not feeding her junk or letting her drink cherryade or anything like that, in fact quite a lot of those things do not contain artificial colours anymore. Little 2 is taking antibiotics, the funny one I can not pronounce, phenoxymethylpenicillin (ha that was actually in my spell checker!).

It all started with a slightly pale looking quiet Little 2 on Wednesday last week, a complaint about a sore ear and a temperature check warranted a dose of paracetamol and the following day a soaring temperature of over 40 degrees meant a visit to the doctors by lunchtime. She didn't have anything wrong with her ears, she had mahoosive bright red inflamed tonsils and was swiftly diagnosed with tonsilitis, the poor thing.

After a throat swab and armed with not one but two bottles of bright red antibiotics we went home, apparently this particular type of bacteria needs a regular 10 day dose of antibiotics to kill it. Upon first inspection these little bottles seemed harmless enough, bright red liquid that smelt strongly of strawberries, couldn't be much worse than the banana flavoured counterpart could it. Oh how wrong I was.

'The red stuff'
She willingly took her first dose of medicine and I made the mistake of putting it in a syringe and giving her half to start with, the poor child shuddered and looked like she had sucked hard on a lemon, it took another 5 minutes to persuade her to take the rest which didn't stay in long (good job mums have the reflexes of a cat in these situations, my carpet was saved from the inevitable red stain that would probably have followed even if my hands were red for a few hand washes afterwards!)

The rest of the day was a case of having a cup of water to wash it down and a chocolate coin on standby for consuming the stuff after 5 minutes of asking, bribing and persuading her to take it. I happened to lick my finger after one dose and ugh it was a cross between the taste of chewed paracetamol and eating an orange after brushing your teeth and that was only one drop. Poor Little 2 had to take the stuff 4 times a day for another 9 days.

I rang the gp to see if there was an alternative, it was horrible to see her gagging on every spoonful and I felt like a horrible mum making her take it. They told me although it is supposed to be given on an empty stomach that I could mix it with just a tiny drop of milk to make it more palatable so we did and it worked, it then tasted just like strawberry milkshake with a little bitter kick at the end. She has taken it fine since.

'It's pink milkshake-honest!'
They only thing with phenoxymethylpenicillin having to be taken on an empty stomach means that it does wicked things to a three year old's behaviour. Within 5 minutes of a dose of the red liquid Little 2 goes wild, she may have been feeling a little poorly and quietly watching a dvd before but now she is bouncing around the room wielding a Barbie like a sword ya-haring at the cat.

She has been pretty mad this week and done some very out of character things under the influence of E124 now that she is feeling better and not wanting to watch Disney dvds all day. She has terrorised the cat chasing it around the living room which she would never normally do and even bashed her brother over the head with a toy car when she normally wouldn't dream of doing that, both times she burst into floods of tears when I told her off and said she didn't know why she had done it, she has been stroppy and argumentative too.

3 more days of medicine to go and then hopefully her behaviour will return to normal, my chilled out Little 2. It is funny what these small things can do to children, perhaps they should rethink using artificial colours in medicine, there are alternatives.

Has your child had these antibiotics, did it affect them like this too?

15 January 2016

Little 3 gets the all clear

A couple of days ago we attended yet another hospital appointment relating to Little 3 and his heart. I won't go into lots of depth as I have written all about it in the past in this post- little 3-a hearty update which explains it all from the beginning. 

But basically Little 3 had an ectopic (irregular) heartbeat while I was pregnant with him and the doctors were sure it would go as soon as he was born if not before, but it didn't.

Last July Little 3 had 24 hour heart monitoring as he still had an irregular, though improving, heartbeat and he would go very pale and a little grey while he slept which worried us and concerned the doctors.

4 months old attached to the monitor

We were told after the results came through that nothing of concern was recorded, Little 3's heart was maturing and the faulty impulses that had been causing the irregular beats were occurring much less often.

Well, after this week's appointment we are extremely pleased to say that his heart sounded totally and utterly regular and no trace of an irregular heartbeat was found. He has now been given the all clear.

Our gorgeous little boy is healthy and we are very much relieved and pleased that there will be no more hospital appointments too. Yeah.

11 January 2016

Finding affordable family summer holidays our way

If you are anything like me you have this years holiday plans well underway and even sorted. By the end of the year we have a few ideas of where we would like to go, the Little ones have voiced their opinions this year too, and by January I have usually browsed the internet and a few brochures, found a few nice spots, checked out any bargains and we have made our booking ready to save up the balance before we go.

I am a stay at home mum and with one income we are on a budget when it comes to things like holidays, short breaks and days out. Little 2 has now almost passed that magical age of 3 years old when she can get into places for free or cheaper and now with Little 3 we do need somewhere to stay with at least 2 bedrooms, ideally 3 as it is always a horrible squeeze with a travel cot in most caravans and holiday bedrooms. Holidays are therefore something we have to budget for and we have to go to places that are affordable to us.

Before the children and up until Little 1 started school we would most years treat ourselves to a couple of UK family breaks in low season, one week at the beginning/middle of September and a short break or occasionally a week around mid May or late June time, this way we got to go away as a family twice a year and during reasonably nice weather. Being able to go during term time meant we could take advantage of the cheaper rates and term time deals to allow us to afford to do this.

This year will be the second year that Little 1 has been at school and she will soon enough be joined there by her sister too. Now that we are restricted to school holidays we are finding it increasingly difficult to find a nice UK family holiday not at a vastly inflated 'school holiday' price. Last year we had a week away to Somerset during May half term as July/August were simply too expensive and grabbed a bargain end of season weekend at Legoland in October half term to treat the girls and simply because we needed to get away and have some fun for a few days.

In the last few days several holiday brochures from well known UK holiday companies and places we have stayed in the past have landed on my doormat and each is the same with the term time holiday prices 2-3 times that of the dates we used to be able to go away. This means we have to look around to find somewhere we can go as most of it simply costs too much.

Why do these school holiday dates have to be so much dearer than other dates? I know people want to go away in the warmer weather and most places have more events, activities and staff in the holidays to deal with all the holiday makers. So yes it is probably more costly to run a holiday park in the summer and people are going to pay more to go away in nice weather so raising the price is somewhat justifiable but is more than doubling or even trebling the cost of a week away from one week to the next just because 'schools out' really necessary? 

Most families with school children can not take up off peak rates and short of taking children out of school have no choice but to fork out the cash for their families to enjoy a break, time together and some family fun. The thing is the holiday companies are laughing as fork out is what we do, we pay it and nothing is going to change is it unless someone big out there steps in to limit or prevent this price inflation happening.

The type of holiday perfect for us is a simple family getaway, we like to holiday by the sea as the Little ones love trips to the beach whiling away the day paddling, building sandcastles and sandwiches on the sea wall or at the very least somewhere with access to a pool we can go for a dip at the end of the day. We like places we can go for walks with lovely scenery, run around on the hills with the wind in our hair, places to visit and have picnics on the grass and somewhere with an animal park or a few rides that we can take a trip to. We would love to go abroad but the cost of flights for 5 and the children all needing passports means it is something out of our reach at the moment. 

I don't want to give away all my methods to find an affordable family holiday as then there wouldn't be any bargains available for us, but there are methods to save and bargains to be had if you are prepared to look for them. 

There are some big UK holiday park companies and without naming names I can instantly think of three big popular ones, these are a great place to start, find an area you want to go and take to the brochures and websites to compare the places available to stay. Look at what the parks have to offer and think what you want. We tend to have busy days out and use the accommodation as a base, with tired young children after a day out we tend not to use much evening entertainment so often select a cheaper 'sister' park near to a big one, that way you can still use the facilities of the bigger park if you like. It is often cheaper too, to choose somewhere to stay just a few miles down the road of the main town or a little way out from the coast but do factor extra petrol into that one as you will have to drive further to get to places.

Once you have found somewhere you like, always check direct too. I have sometimes, but not always, found that you can get the same holiday cheaper on the parks actual own website than through the holiday companies so it pays to check and book direct if necessary.

If you are not bothered about the facilities and convenience of what a holiday park has to offer then check out local holiday cottages and places for rent too. I use a site where places are listed by the owners giving all the pictures and details you need including prices. We have found some huge bargains on there. Last year we stayed on a farm in a converted stable block, 7 berth cottage, oak dining table, huge rooms etc and passes to the hotel up the road so we could take the girls swimming. The owners were lovely and we'll definitely go back one day, the girls loved this place running out the door to say morning to the cows and having the play area and garden all to themselves.

Check your dates, if you don't have to take a specific week in the holidays it can pay to check dates and prices before booking time off, we have found that sometimes the first week of the summer holidays is a tad cheaper than August although this doesn't happen often. It can also be a good idea to look at any associated travel costs before deciding when to go. We are going back to the Isle of Wight this year, at the girls request, and found that the ferry is much cheaper to come home on the Sunday, so we asked the owner of the private caravan we found (on the same holiday park direct was £100 more) if we could stay an extra day and she said 'yes' so although we are paying for an extra night and it actually then costs the same as travelling home on the Saturday we get to be on holiday for 8 days instead of 7.

Do you have any ways to find a great holiday deal or know of any great family getaways, we'd love to know.

5 January 2016

Little 3 at nine and a half months

So having realised I haven't written an update on Little 3 in ages, I thought I'd best fill you in. The last month hasn't been that great to be honest, Little 3 has just had one illness after another and it has taken its toll on us all. He has had several colds, a chest infection, a weird tummy thingy that Little 2 and I had too where I was starving all the time but when I ate I got horrible tummy cramps but was otherwise fine and the roseola virus, each with only a day or two of being well (therefore happy and sleeping) in between. 

Daddy and I have been tired and drained from the lack of sleep having had a clingy unwell baby as well as excited girls on their Christmas holidays and the festivities going on but at least Daddy had over a week off  so we could tag team with Little 3 and grab some much needed sleep where possible. 

There has been one huge positive that has happened this month too though and that is that Little 3 is on the move and not just crawling he is cruising as well!

Little 3 had been getting around by rolling and pushing himself backwards and spinning around for some weeks, he was getting a bit frustrated that he couldn't get anywhere fast and suddenly one Sunday he just got up on all fours and did a robotic kind of slow crawl, the following day he had mastered it and was off, that was just as he turned 9 months old, a week later he was cruising the furniture too. Having looked back through my camera I realised I haven't got any photos of him doing his early crawling they are all of him standing up, he only crawls to get somewhere now as he'd rather be upright!! 

Now that Little 3 is on the move he has found a clever way of moving things around with him, wherever he is he can be found crawling around with something in his mouth. He is often with a toy moving it from one place to another, it is quite funny watching him try to get big things onto his mouth, he has learnt to bat them across the carpet instead and is getting quite good with his aim now!

He also has me in stitches at times, crawling on his hands and knees obviously isn't enough, he has been walking on his hands and feet too but usually ends up falling forwards doing this. He can not crawl on our wooden kitchen or hall floors so as soon as he reaches the threshold he is up on his hands and feet to move.

This month Little 3 has also gained 2 new teeth and is now sporting 8 pearly whites and boy does he have strong jaws, we have all learnt not to put our fingers, or anything for that matter, near his mouth as you will not get it back without a fight. There have been a few sore finger moments where I have attempted to hook something out of his mouth and ouch it really hurts when he bites!

December saw Little 3 celebrate his first Christmas but unfortunately he came down with the roseola virus the day before Christmas eve and was rocking an all over body rash and over 40 degree temperature for the whole of the Christmas eve/day and still quite unwell Boxing day and the weekend so he was not able to enjoy it fully. Between doses of medicine he was happy to tear open his gifts and explore his new toys from our laps though and we did make it out to see family for a few hours to share the festivities before bringing him home early for bed. 

Aside from all the illnesses Little 3 has certainly developed into a loveable cheeky little boy this month and is becoming less of a baby now. He loves to explore and make a lot of noise with banging things and his musical instruments, he is also obsessed with rolling balls and opening/closing doors and the safety gates when his sisters leave them open. 

Little 3 also makes me laugh as he has some wicked facial expressions all with his eye brows and eyes, He gives me that cheeky know it all look or raises his eyebrows as if he is laughing while flashing a sly smile. I can tell he is going to be a cheeky monkey and melt everyone at the same time, he is so scrummy.

At 9 (and a half) months Little 3:

Crawls, pulls to standing and cruises a little

Has 8 teeth

Screams for attention

Loves balls, cars, musical instruments and opening/closing things

Says Hiya, Dad and Ta

Is (when well) sleeping so much better and finally in his own room (last week)

and gets chatted up by old ladies, supermarket cashiers and passersby as he flashes his gorgeous smile at everyone from the pushchair!