Books, books, and more books…

One of my original plans when starting this blog was to get involved in children’s books a lot more. Reading has been a huge part of my life, and I am usually found with more than one book on the go. We were reading to Bea before she was born, and it is one of her favourite activities to do before bedtime. Her tastes are forever changing and evolving, but it makes me incredibly proud to see her walking around with various books and getting really excited about them! Yes, inevitably this involves a lot of repetition, but I think this was to be expected! I have definitely expanded my knowledge of children’s books in the last twelve months, and we need a fair few more shelves as a result!

To date, I’ve only managed one book review in eighteen months. That’s pretty poor, and way under what I’d hoped to do! In the next month I will be doing two reviews of books from Sweet Cherry Publishing, who got in touch a while back. This also means I’m involved in a blog tour for the first (and second) time this month! The aim is to review children’s books of all ages over time. Check out the Instagram and Twitter pages for more reminders of specific dates as I’ll be retweeting the offcial banners and stuff. Check out the snazzy hashtag #Febbookary as well for more conversation about reading.

In a brief attempt to get my book reviewing back up to speed, I’m going to do some speed reviews of some of our favs…

1. Where’s Mr Lion?

This is a big favourite with me, purely because Nosy Crow have solved that problem of the crumpled flaps we’ve got on all of our Julia Donaldson books. I’d never seen felt flaps before, but they are far more satisfying! There are some bold, colourful illustrations and some nice simple repetition that is easy for your chatty little one to get involved with! There’s also an engaging mirror at the end, which in our experience leads to a tongue poking out or turning the book to see mummy/daddy in the reflection!

2. The Bear and The Piano

This was one of the first picture books we bought for Bea. Lucy and I loved the story of a bear discovering an unusual gift for piano playing and his heartwarming return to his friends and family. Bea has gone through phases of liking this, and is now at the stage where she has the patience to sit for a bit longer and simply listen. There is even a version of this with sounds- we don’t normally buy repeats of things but may make an exception!

3. The Hat Trilogy

My sister introduced me to these when my nephew was tiny, and I had to get them when zbea was born. Jon Klassen is up there with my favourite illustrators(I would love a print for her room some day…), and I can’t wait till Bea is old enough to get the moral- if you steal someone’s hat, things aren’t going to end well…ok, maybe there’s something more meaningful at work there, but it’s the perfect opportunity to try out a few voices. The crab in the book pictured (That’s Not My Hat) gets me every time, it looks so guilty!

4. Each Peach Pear Plum

An oldie, but a goodie picked up in a charity shop. Bea has fallen in love with it over the last month and always joins in with the rhyming words on the page. As I mentioned in the ‘Beactionary’ post, I am loving every new word she discovers and uses! Getting her to point out all the items and things too is awesome to see as well.

5. Blown Away

I think we got this at the same time as The Bear and The Piano. Rob Biddulph has a clean, modern style of illustration and gets a surprising amount of expression into a range of animals in a short space of time. Lots of extra details to spot over repeat readings and a lovely rhythm to the book make this a joint favourite! His ‘Odd Dog Out’ was a recent library pick and had to be smuggled back! His daily post it notes for his daughter are both inspirational(ie, I’d love to do something similar) and so varied!

So there you have it. A glimpse into some of our bedtime reading! Keep your eyes peeled for more bookish things in #Febbookary and comment with your favourite reads!

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The Beactionary

The last half of 2017 wasn’t the best for the blog. I’m hoping 2018 is a bit more productive, and there has been so much to write about that has already been and gone!

I thought I’d use this first post to catch some important things before they slip away…

Continue reading “The Beactionary”

5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot

Today, we went for a baby photo shoot with Barrett and Coe photography in Norwich. I’d love to claim that this is down to the glowing success of the blog, with offers coming in from everywhere for this, that and the other, but I’m going to honest with you- we won a raffle prize for a free portrait session. Here are some of the things that might be worth considering when taking your baby along to one of these (hindsight is a wonderful thing…): Continue reading “5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot”

#ParentingIsAwesome

Ok, in my last post I mentioned that I would explain the meaning behind the hashtag that sits under the title of my blog page. Originally, the strapline was ‘a (relatively) positive look at parenting’ as I felt a lot of what I’d heard about parenting was pretty negative – focused heavily on logistics, lack of sleep and how your life isn’t your own any more. Continue reading “#ParentingIsAwesome”

Babyproofing the house: Round 1

So you may have caught our last Milestone Moment. Bea has been threatening to move under her own steam for some time now; it’s finally happened.

Time to delve into the world of babyproofing. Here are the results of my initial foray into Google:

Mother And Baby Reviews : I’m still none the wiser after reading these.

Parent Guide : The Holy Grail of all babyproofing knowledge. Seriously, well played Google. A friendly, well-written and more importantly, really clear set of comparisons.

Childproofing on Pinterest : As with anything on Pinterest, far too easy to get lost in something completely irrelevant but some nice infographics to get the point across.

Baby Centre UK : A very, very thorough list of some fairly obvious things. Perfect for the overly anxious.

Mothercare : Not a very well laid-out page, but lots of everyday things mentioned if you can pick them out.

Parents.com : One of those annoying slideshows with adverts everywhere. Didn’t get past the snazzy whale-shaped bath seat on page 1.

After flicking through those, we’ve decided to go with these.

I’ll let you know how they go…

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Milestone Moment: She’s crawling!

I’m going to be honest. The last couple of months have been full of ‘Milestone moments‘ in our family life so far. I’ll see if I can retrospectively remember them all in other posts, but the idea of these posts is to mark the occasions I know I’d otherwise forget!

Bea has always been pretty headstrong when it comes to getting about. She has been attempting to walk for what feels like a couple of months now, and gets incredibly frustrated if our backs are caving in and we take a break to stop holding her hands whilst she legs it round the house, giggling maniacally. However, rolling and crawling haven’t really been part of her agenda till recently.

It was a bit of a surprise to get a message of ‘So, she’s crawling’ on Thursday lunchtime (day #303 by the way)!

More importantly, Beatrice was very happy to show off her skills when I got home!

#gamechanger

She’s not quite going at the pace I read recently (a quarter of a mile in the time it takes to make a cup of tea…really?!), so we’ve got a bit of time to adjust to her newly-discovered talent! More on that later…

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Designing a New Nursery

What was wrong with the first one I hear you all cry? Designing your baby’s nursery is an exciting, challenging and potentially stressful part of preparing for your little one’s arrival. When Lucy was pregnant, I was very keen to get it just the way we wanted it. Hours were spent poring over Pinterest and Google images (as everyone no doubt does), and all the style tips were generally ignored. We wanted something calm and neutral, no particular theme and that was about it really. Oh, and I really wanted to paint something exciting on the walls. Continue reading “Designing a New Nursery”

Happy Mother’s Day!

March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!

If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Milestone Moment: First Swimming Trip

Determined to get my blog goals for the week done! Time for number three. You can check out one and two on the respective links if you haven’t done so already!

Last Saturday, the three of us went on our first public swimming outing, and also our first time swimming as a trio. Bea has been going to lessons for what seems like forever now – I think from around 8 weeks old? – and loves going in the water. Occasionally, I get to go along to the sessions and see how she’s getting on, and frankly I’m amazed at how fearless our little girl is! She also gets picked out for the demos as she is a really calm baby…(slightly proud teacher daddy moment there, sorry!) One memorable week involved her being picked out, only to be dunked about half a metre under the water and taken about a metre along. She came out looking vaguely flustered and slightly confused, but that was about it! I’m a poor swimmer, and hate going underwater, so I’m certainly going to have to face my fears a bit. Lucy, a particularly strong swimmer, has tolerated it till now, but I can’t really show Bea that it’s scary to go under at an age where she’s really responsive to our emotions and reactions!

Our trip out

Anyway, we decided to finally take her out ourselves. Swimming nappy and little swimming nappy cover thing in hand, we set out to a local pool at Wymondham. I’ve nicked all their pictures off of Google because I wasn’t going to go around a swimming pool taking photos!

For anyone who’s Norwich-based or thereabouts, this is a really fantastic place to take your little one. They were friendly and knowledgeable on the phone, so we could be prepared before we left, the place is bright and airy, and the family changing facilities are spacious and clean. We were really, really surprised as I think our expectations were a fair bit lower!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre changing rooms

There are two pools once you’re in: a main one for adults, and a shallower learning pool. This learning pool is still a fair size (see below), and is something like 0.7m deep. It was also warmer than I thought it would be, though make sure you pay attention to your baby’s needs as they feel the cold a bit more than you!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre pools

Daddy V. Mummy

I think it’s fair to say I fell into the habit of pushing things a bit further than I probably should have. I think this can be a fairly common phenomenon, but must stem out of whichever parent spends more time with their child. Without meaning to, Beatrice certainly got mouthfuls of water in my care, whereas she was generally much better off in Lucy’s well-trained hands! Obviously this can happen to either parent, but I was certainly less sure in what Beatrice’s water skills were. In this case, I underestimated her ability to keep her head up when on her front (whoops!). I must point out, no babies were harmed in the writing of this post though!

It was brilliant to see Beatrice grinning away (gulps of water aside) and the fact that she is naturally starting to kick around. She also started splashing for the first time properly – I don’t get to see many ‘firsts’ now I’m back at work so this was awesome! She has a pretty strong arm too. Just make sure to hold on when they’re splashing, as you’ll inevitably be blinded at some point. I’m proud to say that she didn’t slip or fall out of my grasp

Will we go again?

Definitely! It was very easy, lots of space to float around in, floats and toys were provided, and Beatrice had a great time. Over time, I’ll definitely get over my fear over swimming under water and also get to know my daughter’s abilities in the pool a lot better.

Big thanks to @splashandgiggle for turning our daughter into a little waterbaby, she loves it!

Blog goal 3 down! I’m not sure if I can do goal number 4 by Sunday, but I’m going to find a way round that…when did you take your baby swimming?

Eczema! Eczema! Read all about it!

This is a difficult thing to write about. On the one hand, I know that eczema in babies is an incredibly common condition, and therefore this isn’t that big of a deal. On the other, it was out first real experience of her being in a state of constant irritation and (at times) pain, which is something all parents must experience at some point (note- I did not say she is a constant point of irritation! ). Therefore hopefully this is something people can relate to on some level. The last thing I want to do is to make our situation read like an X-Factor sob story!So, back in November, Bea developed a slight skin condition on her cheek. We were told it was infected, and had our first experience of syringe-fed medication. Needless to say, it didn’t go well, as she really didn’t like the foul-smelling goo- can’t say I blame her. It got worse, and other patches began to appear on her legs, arms and back. Her face was covered in weeping skin and it’s a miracle she didn’t kick off about it more. That feeling of helplessness is something that all parents must feel at some stage. We certainly felt that way a few times. A lot of reading up online was done (see my previous post for more on that!), which was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst there is a lot of advice out there, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the negative stories and panic. Offline, people have been brilliant in offering suggestions too (although I think we’ve had the same conversations with so many people now!). After a few weeks of getting nowhere with creams and moisturisers, we began to look for other solutions. Here are some of the practical steps we’ve taken, should you be reading this looking for advice.
Itchy Babyitchy-baby-logoOne of the first sites we turned to for help though was Itchy Baby. This is an incredibly useful starting point for anyone with queries about the condition. The main thing you get from visiting the site is the knowledge that there are so many possible factors for affecting your baby’s skin. There are some that are more common than others, but it can be a massively daunting prospect to take them all head-on! We decided that changing our laundry powder was the most obvious thing to do. Our first port of call was to change our laundry powder. Thanks to Itchy baby, we’re now using Ecoballs instead of washing powder. They’re quite loud and clunky, but work out at 2p a wash so can’t really be turned down! Alongside this, we’ve tried changing formulas, first going lactose-free, and now we’re on goat’s milk formula. It really is amazing how much is out there for babies! We’ve toned down the frequency of bath time, which thankfully hasn’t impacted on her overall routine. There have been many other considerations too, and we’ve looked into natural remedies too.
Where We’re Up ToThis week, things still weren’t improving and Bea was getting particularly frustrated. I got home on Wednesday to find my little girl wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy, with one slightly frazzled non-Egyptian mummy who’d spent a busy day with the NHS in one form or another. Actually, that’s doing Lucy a massive disservice. She has been fantastic and has done everything in her power (as no doubt every mum and dad do!) to make Bea happy and healthy. Because of her monumentous efforts, including a mad pram dash across Norwich, things seem to have taken a miraculous turn for the better (for now). Beatrice’s skin is on the mend, and is more or less back to what people expect of baby-smooth skin.I daresay it’s far from over and done with, but we’re in a much better place with it. We’re even much better at the syringe stuff now. Pinch cheeks, tickle under the chin. Looks horrific, feels really cruel, but it works…
Granted, Lucy and I are wearing protective layers to stop the emollient from ruining everything we own, and Beatrice is as slippery as anything once she’s caked up in her new combination of creams, but the effort is totally worth it. Bea’s attitude has completely changed back to the bubbly, giggly baby she was before Christmas, and is seriously enjoying her new found ability to sit up by herself! She was showing it off today whilst we enjoyed a lovely Sunday roast out in Reepham. Sorry for the long post, and for the cheesy title. I was quite proud of that pun and didn’t want it to go to waste. I’ll be sure to update you with more thoughts on how she’s doing in the future, and perhaps do a more succinct post with the various advice and products we’ve encountered. Have a good week!

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