Saturday, 1 October 2016

Willow the Pillow: A Review

We've had a little visitor at the beingmumtoday residence and I have to say he's been made very welcome. We were sent a beautiful toddler pillow case from the lovely folk at Willow the Pillow and F has decided that he is very much hers and has found him a place in her reading corner.

Willow the Pillow is more than just a pillowcase he's a little character, promoting blissful sleep and friendly companionship. As parent we all love sleep despite how little of it we actually get and to have a product which talks about resting and sleep to a child is great - F might actually listen to Willow rather than me when it comes to bedtime.

From a mummy point of view the pillowcase is beautifully soft and I love that it is made from 100% Organic cotton and printed with eco friendly water based ink. The packaging is minimal and again eco friendly. I love the design, simple and very very cool - I'd happily have a little family of Willows dotted around my house.

What I also love about Willow the Pillow is the ethos, a small start up company making something unique and individual. Making more than just a product and instead creating a real concept bringing the product to life. Their fabulous website tells the story of Willow and you can follow his travels on there as well as on Instagram and Facebook.

F loved her sleeping pillow and I have to say I agree.

We were sent a little Mini Willow pillowcase but all words and opinions within this post are my own.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Stand up beside the fireplace.........

There's my big girl, so so ready for her first full day at Reception, and here's me, so not.......

This is the Beginning of an adventure for you D there is so much ahead of you, you'll learn so much, grow so much and I hope you'll have an amazing time

Im not so confident about me however, I'm not ready to not have you here with me all day, I'm not ready to not make you lunch, have impromptu park visits or snuggle together watching a film while your baby sister naps. I'm not ready for you to spend more of your day at school than with me.

I'm going to miss you, my first baby, my biggest girl. I keep thinking back to those years before F came along, we were inseparable, my little Velcro baby, some days you only wanted me and secretly I loved it. We did everything together and had so many little adventures, then  F came along and we became a little gang, I felt awesome with my girls either side of me - 2 hands , 2 babies - now one of my hands is empty.......

but I promise you despite the tears, my heart is so full and so proud.

So there it is, the day my baby got a little bit bigger.................

Sunday, 4 September 2016

My Nametags - A Review

Every year as the new school year comes upon us my twitter and Facebook feed are full of fed up status's of mums and dads drowning under the never ending job of labelling their children's school uniforms. Whether you are sewing, writing  or ironing labels onto the massive pile of dresses, shirts and cardigans it is not only a massive pain the derriere but a painful reminder that summer is over and your baby is now heading to school. 

Well this year it's my turn and like everyone I have a substantial pile of grey, white and red to label with my biggest babies name and class but thanks to My Nametags I can feel at least a little smug in the knowledge that the job only took me and D a few minutes to do. 

These brilliant little tags are literally stickers which stick to clothes, shoes and equipment and do not come off - we've worn them, washed them and they're still stuck fast - brilliant idea. 

The website has a massive selection of designs and you can choose what text you want to add. From design to delivery was super quick and they look brilliant. D loved helping me put them on her clothes and we have plenty of spares for replacement stuff throughout the year. 

We were sent a set of Nametags labels for the purpose of this post but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Little Dish 'Pots and Pies' Review

Freya is 2 in a month and we are starting to see glimmers her fussy side creeping into mealtimes, I tend to give her the same meals we all eat and to be honest the same meals we have all eaten for ages so when we were given the opportunity to try some of the new Pots and Pies meals from Little Dish I thought it would give us a chance to test that emerging palet with a few new tastes.

The Pots and Pies range are a nutritionally balanced selection of rice, pasta, traditional pies and mash topped pies. Hillary, the founder of Little dish is a mummy herself and created the brand 10 years ago when she found that you simply couldn't buy nutritional, healthy and most importantly tasty meals for toddlers. She works alongside nutritionist and fellow mummy Lucy Jones to ensure that all Little Dish meals meet the needs of her early days - healthy and delicious!

The Pots and Pies range is a brand new selection of meals and each
  • is made using 100% natural ingredients
  • is low in salt and contains no aded sugar, additives or preservatives
  • provides at least one of a child's recommended five-a -day
  • contains a source of Protein
  • only ever contains British meat and sustainably sourced fish

I wouldn't normally opt for ready meal type dinners for the kids due to the issues with high salt and sugar but knowing this isn't an issue for the Little Dish meals it makes then a realistic option and for the convenience of having a nutritionally balanced meal available at short notice Im feeling optimistic. 

I opted for a selection of meals, some which I knew F would like and others which were bit of a gamble as she either hasn't had them before or hadn't necessarily enjoyed them.


Packaging is great, colourful and instigated conversations about what was in the meals and what vegetables she would be eating. I personally loved the little pots and the easy pull lid is exactly that - no burning your hands trying to slice it off with a knife!

We tried the spaghetti and meatballs first and as predicted this went down a storm, pasta is a staple in our house and F ate the lot. The Pasta bolognese was the same and having tasted a bit of both meals I can understand why - they both has a good flavour and lots of texture.
F wasn't keen on the fish pie we tried and I must admit I found the pie a little watery But her big sister however loved it and finished it off for her. 

The Little Dish pots and pies range will be priced at £2.30 which is a little more than I would like to pay for a child's meal were I making it fresh at home but for the convenience it's a good price to know the meal you are giving them is good quality and they'll eat it! 

You'll find the range in all major supermarkets alongside other foods in the range such as the healthy pizzas which I have tried in the past and the girls loved. 

From a personal point of view ready meals will never replace coking from scratch for me but I would be lying if I didn't admit that there is a place for them from a  convenience point of view and to know that I can have the same convenience with the children from time to time but be confident that the meals are healthy makes life that little bit easier, which as a mum of 2 under 5 is always very welcome!

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.” 

Friday, 26 August 2016

Just left my job...........

I'm sat on a train from Euston on my last day commuting to London, and I'm feeling it all - sad, anxious, excited.... After 10 years working for the same university in central London I've left my job to start up as A self employed childminder.

After having the girls work felt completely different, I still loved my job and I feel privileged to have worked in a job where despite the frustrations there are days when you leave feeling like you have made a genuine difference to someone's life but I really started to feel torn. 

After having the girls I realised what I really wanted was to be working within the early years sector, I loved watching my own girls learn and develop and to be honest was continually astounded by how amazing these little people are - the extent to which young children can learn, grown and understand the world around them is inspirational and to be able to be part of that learning and to encourage and be part of that progress is a real privilege 

It hasn't been an easy process, undertaking the training with a 1 and 4 year plus a job in London is a challenge in itself. I'm experiencing massive delays with my local police force for my DBS clearance and Ofsted's own registration process takes forever. That and the fact that every step and stage of the training and registration costs a small fortune but I will get there!

It's so disappointing that the process is so time consuming, as someone who has used childminders there is a real need out for good quality, reliable and flexible childcare there yet it seems like there are constant obstacles in the way of those trying to set up.

So all of this means that sadly I wont be able to get working as soon as I want and Poor Mr R will be working his butt off to keep us afloat but it'll be worth it. Seeing how happy my big girl is to have her mummy at home with her is a very big reminder of why I'm doing this and what we can gain as a family as a result. 
I have no doubt a bit of me will miss London, miss the little bit of child free time I get when working, not to mention the regular salary but there is a much bigger adventure ahead for me and my Girlies and can't wait!

Friday, 5 August 2016

On one of our very rare child free meals we recently went to Jamie's in St Slbsns and I had a fantastic fish stew, in fact all the food was predictably fantastic!

We were recently invited to try The addition to Jamie's in St Albans - Jamie's Pizzeria so we're very happy to agree and even took the smalls with us this time!

On arrival we weren't entirely sure where to go as the Pizzeria is directly next door to the existing restaurant but we were soon shown the way and shown to our seat

The restaurant had a great decor and felt really relaxed, it's attached to the main restaurant (with shared toilet facilities) so felt a little unusual but the welcome was warm.

Having young children, other than the menu there are two things I look for in a restaurant which I hope will make it possible for me to 1) actually eat my food while it's hot and 2) pretend that eating in a restaurant is a lovely stress free experience and we enjoy every second of it. The highchairs and the activity packs!
Thankfully Jamies Pizzeria uses Stokke highchairs which along with the ikea ones are pretty much the only two which Freya can't escape from (well they make it a little harder) this meant that there was at least a 50/50% chance she would stay sat down long enough for us to order and eat the starters. The activity packs were also good - colouring crayons etc, possible a little old for Freya but she's generally happy with some colouring. 

So the food...... The menu is fairly simple which I quite liked as it often means whats there is good quality and well cooked rather than a place trying to cover everything and not doing anything particularly well. We started with olives as both the girls could literally inhale them and some delicious garlic bread with rosemary.  
For mains we all ordered pizzas (there is a forno dish of the day for those wanting an alternative but we felt that as a pizza restaurant we wanted to try the pizzas on offer) The pizzas are really delicious, fresh and light with a definite homemade feel to them. The girls had the kids pizza which also came with a shaker salad which they loved. My cheese monster big girl complained about the lack of cheese on the pizza and to be fair she had a point but it's minor and I'm sure you could request extra if you wished.

We were probably too full for deserts but it felt rude not to try something so the girls had ice cream and we opted to share a chocolate brownie. This came with toffee popcorn and salted caramel ice cream and was seriously tasty! The girls ice creams were fine but they did come with an amaretto biscuit which they did't like and I thought was a bit of a grown up choice if I was being picky.

As an overview the food was great and I'd definitely recommend it, everything felt freshly made and we all loved our choices

Restaurant wise I did feel having the pizzeria as an attachment to the main restaurant left you feeling a bit forgotten. We booked at 4.30 on a Sunday so I appreciate it wasn't the busiest of times however during our meal we didn't have a member of staff within the pizzeria for the whole time instead they came and went from the main restaurant and there were times when we were entirely alone in the restaurant feeling a little bit like we were in the sitting room at a party while everyone else was in the kitchen.

As a result of this we felt a little flat when we left and both agreed that we'd definitely return for the food but we we didn't feel very well looked after and the dining experience itself was a little detached. I'd be interested to return at a busier time to see if the experience is different

We were invited to try the food at Jamie's Pizzeria but all words and opinions are my own

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Flying with Young Children, A Survival Guide

The one thing I was dreading most about our first holiday abroad as a family was the flight, it was only 4 hours but I literally had no idea how we would keep F the energetic, stubborn little mountain goat in one place for 4 minutes let alone 4 hours!

I planned, I researched and I purchased to try and ensure a smooth flight where I would at least emerge with my nerves intact and not have the rest of the plane wanting to shove my little darling into the overhead storage

As it turned out the flight was a breeze, the kids were impeccable and I couldn't have been more proud *smug* 

That said I know this wasn't without some careful planning and Im not going to be foolish enough to think it will be like this every time. So here are my top tips for preparing to fly with young kids and toddlers

1 - If your little one still naps, try and arrange it so they need to sleep during the flight, obviously you don't want to push them too far so that they scream the entire journey but we gave F a very early nap so that she would need another one later in the day and although it was only an hour it meant we had a little quiet time.

2 - We also used the airport time as a chance to let them run off some energy prior to boarding, there is usually plenty of walking opportunities and if you can, find a seating area where they can safely have a bit of freedom to stretch their legs as they will be sitting for a long time once you board

3 - Think about food - snacks can save a million situations so make sure you have plenty to hand. I took little boxes of raisons and things which would take a bit longer to eat to keep them occupied for longer. We also took a packed lunch with us as I knew there wasn't in flight food included and the stuff you can buy isn't exactly kid friendly. This meant that they also had a little plane picnic to keep them busy and kill some time.

4 - I was particularly worried about how the kids would react to take off, whether they would be scared, whether their ears would pop etc and again I worried far too much as they did brilliantly. we concentrated on looking after one child each and ensured they were occupied and positive during the take off and landing. We had sweets and dummies at the ready in case their ears popped and I bought them both a little soft dolly which I whipped out of my bag just as we were taking off and this acted as a great distraction. 

5 - Have plenty of activities ready to keep them occupied. I bought both the kids some new things which I kept hidden in my bag and bought out at intervals during the flight. My 4 year old had a new pencil case with an activity book, a small playmobile set and a new book. I also got my 19 month old a pencil case and drawing book, some toy cars and a book. F loves opening and closing things at the moment so this kept them both busy for a good part of the flight. 

6 - Finally whether you love them or loath them don't under estimate the power of electrical devices. We took both the Leap pad and iPad on the flight and had some of their favourite shows downloaded ready to go. Our return flight was at night and although my 19 months old slept the whole journey my 4 year old found it hard to drop off so watching a few episodes of her favourite shows while lying down helped her relax and they both slept right through landing and had to be woken up when we reached the airport. 

7 - Try to RELAX, I know that sounds easy but if your baby cries try not to be too bothered by those around you and just concentrate on ensuring you are both comfortable - rest assured yours won't be the only child making some noise on the flight and if you're lucky they won't be the worst! 

8 - If however they are - there's always GIN!