Healthy Raspberry and Lemon Yoghurt Muffins

Baby Food, Baby Stuff, Cooking

I love these muffins! Please note I have adapted this recipe for baking for my children and converted it to UK metric measurements for ease.

undefined


These are perfect as an on-the-go snack as well as for breakfast. They are easy to make with your little ones as you only need a spoon and two bowls!  And best of all they are healthy, using honey as a sweetener (you could switch to maple syrup for under 1s). The muffins have an addition of flaxseed meal to replace one egg whilst adding extra omega-3s, and uses less fat compared to conventional muffins thanks to the addition of greek yoghurt (which also keeps it moist). You can use fresh or frozen raspberries and switch it for blueberries if you wanted!

I have written the ingredients for 6 muffins only. This is because so many times I want to bake but with it only being me, my husband and one toddler eating plus limited freezer space, we end up with excess and eat too many! Of course if you want to feed more mouths or for sharing, you can double or triple etc the recipe.

Another thing to note is that we normally don’t cook with much salt but it is quite essential in baking to bring out the flavours. I would omit the salt for under 1s and just a tiny pinch of it for toddlers.

How To Make Yummy Muffins

Ingredients

Makes 6 muffins

– 150g Plain Flour (or white wholewheat flour)
– 1.5 tbsp Milled Linseed (or milled flaxseed)
– 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
– 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
– tiny pinch of Salt (can omit for small babies)
– 30g Butter (room temperature)
– 55g Honey (or maple syrup for under 1s)
– 1 Egg
– 60g Greek Yoghurt (room temperature)
– 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
– zest of 1 Lemon
– 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
– 100g Raspberries (fresh or frozen direct from freezer)
– 3 tbsp Turbinado sugar for topping (or demerara sugar/ omit)

iNSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Put 6 paper cupcake cases into cupcake tray.
1) Get one small sized bowl and add plain flour, milled linseed, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (if using); mix with wooden spoon.
2) Get one medium sized bowl and add butter and honey. Mix until combined. Add egg, mix. Add Greek yoghurt, vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice; mix. May look curdled at this stage.
3) Add dry ingredients to wet, mix until no more dry bits.
4) Gently fold in raspberries.
5) Scoop into cupcake cases (around 72g each). Sprinkle demerara sugar/ turbinado on top for crunch/ extra sweetness.
6) Bake for 20-24 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre.

Place onto wire baking rack after about 5 minutes to prevent tough cakes. Wait until cool and enjoy on their own or spread with nut butter on top.

Do let me know if you make them :)!

 

Standout Pieces In Our Teal and Copper Bedroom

Our bedroom and ensuite was renovated from scratch when we moved into our house one and a half years ago, but we are still adding pieces to it to make it ours! I’ve written about what changes we’ve made and my favourite features. Also I wanted to share the lessons I have learnt in the…

Playing with Bread And Toast

This activity cost me 20p and kept my child entertained for over 2 hours. It was so simple and fun that I thought I would share about it! I had seen an activity involving building towers our of toast somewhere, so I decided to pick up some cheap white bread the next time I was…

How To Fix A Split Nail With A Teabag!

So I went to paint my nails which had grown pretty long the last couple of months (did you know that nails grow faster in the sunshine due to more exposure to vitamin D?) when of course, one of my nails split… right down the middle… to the nail bed! Why does one nail always…

Playing with Bread And Toast

Baby Stuff

This activity cost me 20p and kept my child entertained for over 2 hours. It was so simple and fun that I thought I would share about it!

I had seen an activity involving building towers our of toast somewhere, so I decided to pick up some cheap white bread the next time I was at the supermarket. I found a reduced loaf for 20p so I bought it and used it a few days later when we had a free morning (okay, most mornings are free during lockdown!).

Playing with bread offered:
Simplicity (most people have bread at home or can buy it for cheap)
Creativity (the ideas are endless for what you can do with it!)
Sensory Play (Oscar loves sensory play and this included a lot of squishing, crumbling, crushing etc)

What you need to play

  • A loaf of bread
  • A Toaster or oven
  • Up to you! (knives, cookie cutters, cocktail sticks, paint)

Toast The Bread (Or Not!)

At first I had intended to toast all of the bread, cut the toast into shapes such as squares, rectangles and triangles, and have Oscar build towers out of them. I had hoped to stick the toast together using golden syrup. I toasted about 2/3 of the loaf and decided to first use that, and I’m glad I did because our play then took different directions and plus my first plan did not work!

Let the experimenting commence…

Golden Syrup and Toast

I had hoped to spend the morning building cute toast buildings and towers with Oscar but this didn’t work. The golden syrup did nothing to stick the toast together. Another idea would have been to use cocktail sticks but 1) I didn’t have any and 2) it may have been a bit tricky for Oscar to put together himself. After my ‘glue’ idea failed, we moved onto other things.

Bring on the cookie cutters

Oscar + Cookie Cutters = Pure Joy

I’m not sure about your child but my son LOVES cookie cutters. Lucky for him I have about 100 cutters in my growing collection… and when he sees them it’s like Christmas. He loves baking with me and loves his play doh cutters, I totally understand because I love them too.

Not so easy to cut toast using cookie cutters!

I got out the cookie cutters and we began experimenting with them, I realised that most of the cutters I had did not work well with the toast at all! Maybe it was the shape or perhaps due to the amount of toastedness my toast was… but the cutters did not work well with the toast at all! Luckily, we then took out the slices of bread I hadn’t toasted yet (phew, I was glad I had saved a few!) and used the cookie cutters on those and we managed to get some shapes so he was pleased. It was fun to experiment and discuss why it worked with the bread and not with the toast. We talked about the texture change from bread to toast, using vocabulary such as: crispy, soft, flexible, crunchy, burnt, spongy, crumbly. I love any activity where we can talk a lot about what we are doing and I love hearing Oscar using new words or think of his own to describe what we are doing.

time for bread art with The humble knife

bread art
Funny bread man we created along with his name and ‘2’ for Oscar’s age

I took out the knife (Oscar loves knives, perhaps because his daddy is a butcher or because he likes to cut things up; probably both). I cut out random shapes (he helped cut some too with me watching over) and asked Oscar to make something with it. He is into drawing and making faces at the moment so he immediately put together some eyes, ears and nose with a body. I then helped a bit of the way by adding a mouth and other shapes which he used for arms and legs. He took one of the slices and ripped them up to make ‘fingers’. I held back from being anal about the shapes not having straight edges and ripped some more for fingers on the other hand of the man. He loved his creation and was so happy with it! Please excuse the below photo of him with no shorts on- there’s no time for bottoms when you’re busy playing :)!

So happy with his bread art!

Sand and Snow bread

As most toddlers do love creating a mess, I let him have some messy play next. I showed him how to make ‘sand’ from the toast by rubbing two pieces together. We laughed at the scratchy noises it made and he loved watching the ‘sand’ fall down. We practiced writing some letters and numbers in the ‘sand’. Next, to my surprise, Oscar got some bread and began ripping it up and then rubbing it in between his hands to make ‘snow’! I loved how he had seen my idea and used it to try out something with the leftover bread. He had so much fun ripping it up, and me not shouting at the mess he was making!

So much fun with bread and toast!

Hedgehogs, magic tricks and cleaning up

Occasionally I am pretty good at stretching out an activity to use up time and to let Oscar concentrate more on what was in front of him rather than going from toy to toy giving each one 30 seconds of attention each (which he does all too often). Also I find sitting him in his chair definitely helps with his concentration! We stuck small rectangles of toast into bread to make ‘hedgehogs’, and also cut holes in toast and poked other strips of toast in. We then discovered that if you folded a piece of toast it would slowly unfold itself into its original shape (before it breaks!) so we pretended to do magic shows with it. Then finally, we used the longer pieces of toast to scrape up all the little crumbs which was oddly satisfying. It was an easy clear up- I just scooped it all into the bin and hoovered the rest. If we weren’t in lockdown I would have saved some to feed some ducks!

Bread is life

So there we have it, I always knew that bread is life. Bread is the reason I became a baker in the first place (I used to not care about cakes at all *shock!*). But discovering the joys we can have with something as simple as bread/ toast was brilliant time spent with my little one (we have of course baked bread a few times before too which I will also have to document at some point!).

Some other ideas you could do with bread/ toast:
Paint it (I’ve seen people do this with food colouring)
Use as stamps (Cut out shapes and dip them into paint to create pictures)
Make funny faces with it for breakfast and eat it!

We love breakfast!

I hope you can have fun with bread and toast with your little ones using some of these ideas as another little way to pass time during these hard lockdown days! Aren’t we all running out of activities?!

Baby Molluscum Contagiosum

Baby Stuff

The reason for this post is because I could not find much help on this topic on Google for parents in the UK… I hope that sharing my experiences may help some other mummy who goes crazy over MC…!

Of course it came from a playgroup…

I had been taking Oscar to a few play groups a week ever since he was little.  I had heard about how babies would have high chances of catching something, but I will never forget how much I freaked out when I first saw babies sucking on toys, throwing them back into the pile ready for another baby to come by and slobber on.  And then freaking out more when I saw Oscar heading towards those toys and doing the same thing.  I honestly did not know babies explored the world so much via their mouth before Oscar!  So I’m sure you can imagine how grossed out and shocked I was.  I knew it would be good for his developing immune system though and this in part helped me to overcome my fear of germ spreading.  (Everyone of course has their own levels of germophobia and I didn’t realise until becoming a mum how high my level was!).

One day when Oscar was around 7 months old I was changing his clothes when I noticed a couple of weird bumps on his arms.  They didn’t look threatening at all though- normal skin colour, but quite raised looking almost like a white head (like it had something inside, but not hard and not quite pus-like).  I kept check on it and to my dismay these spots just kept increasing in number in clusters until it spread to all around his arms and torso, chest and back.  I took him to see a GP to discuss that along with his eczema (Oscar had been getting eczema since around 4 months old, coming and going along with the weather changes) as soon as I could.

Dot to Dot :(

What is Molluscum Contagiosum??

When the GP told me this thing was a virus with a horrible sounding name – Molluscum Contagiosum, I was horrified and upset.  I could also pretty much pin point which play group he must have got it at (a not particularly clean set up, and many babies were grabbing Oscar that day- and vice versa).  It turns out that MC is actually a very common skin virus and will clear by itself.  Since Oscar’s bumps were not itchy or painful to him and didn’t really affect him, there would be no treatment and the doctor said it should go away by itself in up to 2 years time…. Come again?! 2 years!  This made me very upset, especially as the weeks went by and more bumps kept appearing and we didn’t know when it was going to end.  I was so glad he got this while young as he wasn’t very aware of it.  It was unsightly to look at (although it seems nothing compared to eczema and other skin conditions) but it didn’t affect his quality of life and for that I am so grateful for.

 

Well the weeks went by and between his MC and eczema and another virus he caught during our move which left his whole body covered in bumps (a virus similar to hand, foot and mouth but much more severe we were told), we were constantly putting creams on him and trying new ones out.  I wanted to do a post about which creams worked for us and which didn’t because I could not find any help for this myself online.  I did find other posts where some mums used quite strong medicated creams to essentially burst the spots then treated them with tea tree oil etc.  I didn’t want to do anything so invasive but I wanted to alleviate his itching (after a few months they did start bothering him and caused him to scratch at them).  So here are some of the tips I thought I’d share:

How We Managed MC

  • We kept him in long sleeve tops all the time to prevent infecting others.  We were careful around pregnant ladies and those with weaker immune systems.
  • We tried Aveeno.  We normally love this brand so much for dry skin, we use the Aveeno Baby Daily Care Gentle Wash and Soothing Relief Baby Emolient Cream normally, but during this time it didn’t seem to help with neither the eczema or his MC so we stopped using it.
  • The MC would not look so bad one day and then the next day it would look angry and I would be worried again.  This went on for so long then after some time I decided to switch his bath products to Oilatum brand.  I felt his skin felt more moisturised after this and we are currently still using the Junior Bath Additive and Head to Toe Wash.  We go through the Bath Additive quite fast!Oilatum Bath Additive and Head to Toe Wash
  • When Oscar’s eczema got really bad (along with worsening MC), I made oat flour by simply blending oats, and added a cupful each time to his baths. I felt his skin retained moisture better after his baths with oat flour in and I do think it helps to calm his skin.
  • Lastly I tried a new cream recommended by a local pharmacist called isomol gel along with calamine lotion and… I don’t know if the MC was just finishing running its course… but by golly it worked. The bumps turned red but a different red (see photos below) then eventually disappeared after a few days. I couldn’t believe it!  (By the way you should be able get these items at any pharmacy in the UK pretty easily).
    Isomol Gel and Aqueous Calamine Cream

So of course I have no proof which helped in all of this: if it was the Isomol Gel, the calamine lotion, switching to the Oilatum brand bath products or the adding of oat flour to his baths? It could also have just been time for MC to leave Oscar’s body and give him his lovely baby smooth skin back.  All I know is that it left after 5 months and not 2 years like the doctor said so I’m really happy with that.

It got bad before it got good

 

These are just some images to show the MC a few days before they eventually went down and then faded away.  It turned a different kind of red and we knew there was a change happening. Then within a week it was gone! Hurray!

I hope that if your child gets this that you can try some of these methods and see if they work.  I would love to hear any results because I actually have not met any other babies with it yet although it is apparently very common.  Wishing happy healthy skin to all bubbas!  They go through so much!

ames sig

Free Food for Babies

Baby Stuff, Lifestyle

Being a stay at home mum I do always appreciate a freebie especially for my baby! Here is a page where I will update whenever I find a freebie around town or online, hope it will help others not to miss out too 🙂

Free Fruit in Tescos

IMG_7066

Our local Tescos has a section where children can take a piece fruit for free while you shop!  We don’t always shop at Tescos as I generally shop around but I always appreciate this because it a) keeps my Oscar from getting really bored, b) keeps his hands busy, c) fills his tummy up with something good.  Thank you Tescos!!

Free Ella’s Kitchen Pouches at IKEA

IMG_7619

We are currently in the process of buying a house and that means many trips to IKEA.  Who doesn’t love an IKEA meal?! When I was young this was SUCH a big deal (also because we never ate out!) and for now it is still a nice break from the norm even when my husband is an amazing chef 🙂 The extra bonus now is that you get a free Ella’s Kitchen pouch with every adult meal purchased! 2 adult meals means 2 pouches. One for during the meal (along with other food we bring along for Oscar), and one for when he throws a tantrum during the shop… perfect!  Thanks IKEA 🙂

Free NUTELLA and other goodies using Shopmium

Screenshot 2019-04-16 at 20.31.53

I heard about this from another mum so I am just passing it on.  Shopmium has saved me nearly £32 so far in free foods ranging from baby food pouches (Babease and Piccolo), baby snacks (Kiddylicious and Fruit Bowl), baby porridge (Nestle) to other foods like crisps, cat food, chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits, ginger beer, frozen veg and fish, oat bars etc.  There are loads of potential things you can get for either free or for a really good discount like 50% off.  It just depends if you are near the right supermarket stocking that item.  The items are sometimes new products that have just been released so it’s exciting being the first to try it.  

You simply find the product in the store, send a photo of your receipt using the app, scan the barcode of the product, then get cash paid into your Paypal/ bank account within a couple of days.  Just make sure you do it before throwing away the receipt… which has happened to me a couple of times… doh! 

You need to download the app and if you use my Referral Code: w3yw5 you will get a free tub of 200g Nutella (obviously for YOU and not for baby)!  I hope you UK shoppers take advantage of this as it really is one of my favourite apps :)!  

I will keep updating this if I find some more brilliant freebies 🙂 Enjoy!

ames sig1

 

The Times I Cried

Baby Stuff

Right, this year has been emotional.  No doubt the most emotional year ever.  Everyone told us how time would go by so fast that first year… it’s a cliché but also SO true!  Some moments that have made me cry this year:

 

 

 

 

I cried when he cried

IMG_1554.jpg

Those fists and the red nose and the bottom lip… newborn cries at their best.

At the beginning my chest would hurt so hard with his cries.  Especially when I was alone or in the night, it felt a bit like anxiety.  I guess it’s the maternal instinct wanting to end any suffering of your offspring at all costs.  I will never forget that feeling of wanting to stop it so badly and sometimes just not knowing how to.  I found out later the solution was always boob…

I cried when I put away his clothes

IMG_6489.JPG

This kid has way more accessories than I’ve ever owned.

I packed away his 0-3 months clothes into a box, then before long I was packing his 3-6 months, and then his 6-9 months… I never realised how wardrobe management would be such a big part of this year.  I get sad that it’s going so fast yet happy he’s growing big and healthy.  And mostly I’m shocked at how much more clothes he owns and wears than me!

I cried when he got his first tooth

IMG_8346.JPG

The only photo I could get of his teeth was when he was crying!

Oscar got his first tooth at 6.5 months.  It made me realise he was no longer a baby and his smile would never be the same.  I thought I would hate seeing his teeth because I wanted gummy smiles, but then I started falling in love with his cute toothy pegs and I love how his smile is changing all the time.

I cried when he kissed me

IMG_7065.jpg

Kisses for me, save all your kisses for me.

Oscar kisses with an open mouth and duck lips.  I began realising it wasn’t accidental as he would give me eye contact before slowly bringing his head closer, lip-to-lip before planting his whole open mouth on my lips.  It’s the cutest thing ever (despite the slobber!) .  He is being trained up on kisses and cuddles and I think it’s going well so far :).  My favourite thing is when he takes a break from playing to give me a kiss and then carries on with his toys.

I cried when he first crawled away from me

IMG_4725.JPG

Oscar on his usual rage against the Dewey Decimal System on our library trips 🙂

We were at the library for our weekly Baby Bounce class.  He used to sit on my lap during all the songs (our favourite song being: ‘Who’s this sitting on my lap?’).  Then one day at around 7 months, he was able to crawl off and play with the toys in the centre and not even go by me once.  I cried inside- if I did it publicly I’m sure I would’ve got a lot of eye rolling.  But it was another sign of his development and independence… and the fact that he will not always need his mummy.

And then there’s the usual TV about children with illnesses, super talented children and just babies in general that just make me think of Oscar and realise there can never be enough photos, never enough cuddles, he is a miracle and so special and the days will and do go by so fast.  It’s also so important to capture those cute things he does because after a few days he will probably stop doing it and move onto something else.  Is there anything that made you cry during those first months that probably seem ridiculous to anyone who isn’t a first time mum?  Do share :)!

ames sig1

 

 

 

Bepanthen Vs. Sudocrem? Nappy Rash Ointment Review

Baby Stuff, Reviews

I think that most people with tattoos have probably heard of using Bepanthen as a repairing aftercare cream.  So I kind of chuckled at having to use the product for its actual purpose: a nappy rash ointment.  I happily received my samples of Bepanthen from The Insiders a couple of weeks ago and I was happy to try it out because I had been using another brand of nappy rash cream (Sudocrem) ever since Oscar’s birth.  While I was happy with Sudocrem, I hadn’t used any other brands so I thought it would be interesting to see the differences.

Our samples of Bepanthen from The Insiders - thank you!

When Oscar was about 2 months old he started getting nappy rash.  I had no idea it was nappy rash for about a week!  It looked nothing like what a ‘rash’ in my mind looked like to be honest, there were small white bumps (slightly like white heads) around the bum, but it wasn’t red and I didn’t think it looked sore.  After a few days without going away, I asked my GP who confirmed it was nappy rash afterall.  I honestly felt like a failure of a parent letting my little boy end up with these horrible spots on his super soft and sensitive newborn skin!

I was using Sudocrem at the time but never really knew how much I should be applying to be honest.  After increasing the amount used with permission by the GP it did go away after a week.  I hadn’t thought to switch brands either at the time as I had bought such a gigantic tub of it too so I’m glad it did do the trick in the end and when I think back now I think I wasn’t applying enough of it at nappy changes.  That is my only experience with nappy rash so far and it has not returned since then, luckily!

The Differences??

sudo vs ben.JPG

Now since I can only compare Bepanthen with what I have been using this whole time, I have made a short list of differences I discovered:

  • At home we use the tub of Sudocrem and after trying the tube with flip-top cap of Bepanthen I did feel it was more hygienic using a tube.  However I do prefer a big pot of 400g over many tubes of plastic of 30g each (though these are perfect for the changing bag).  I have since found that there are also tubes of Sudocrem 30g at a pricy £4.19 (Boots) compared to Bepanthen 30g at £3.36.  The biggest available tube of Sudocrem is 100g for £9.99 (yikes) compared to Bepanthen 100g at £7.29 (best price I found is on Amazon here.) However there is the 400g Sudocrem tub available at £5.99 (great value!)- why the tube costs so much more I do wonder! (best prices on Amazon here.)
  • Sudocrem is a lot thicker to apply on, and feels ‘drier’ compared to Bepanthen which is slightly stickier but goes on thin.
     

  • Sudocrem has a distinctive smell to it (perhaps a tiny bit medicinal but nothing bad), whereas Bepanthan is scentless but pleasant.
  • Both creams are pretty thick.  But Sudocrem does kind of go into my nails and I have to wipe at it to get it off.  Sudocrem is more likely to stain clothing but it comes off in the wash of course.
  • Sudocrem can be used to dry out spots (we have tested this before at home with success!).  We also were recommended by our GP to use it to prevent eczema rashes getting infected.  According to Google, Sudocrem is also good as a face mask, insect stings, chaffing, makeup primer and sunburn amongst other uses.  When I looked up other uses for Bepanthen, it said that the antibacterial properties are good for general healing and as a general moisturiser.  I also found out that it is not so good for tattoo healing any more (for a few years now maybe) due to the change in ingredients, so it is better to use specific tattoo healing products instead (we like Tattoo Goo).
img_1769.jpg

The mini samples we received of Bepanthen did not have a very child friendly cap, I was terrified Oscar would grab it and eat it as he puts most things into his mouth!

Conclusion?

It was tricky because there are pros and cons with both products.  We enjoyed Bepanthen and Oscar did not experience any nappy rash the past two weeks having switched products.  I think maybe his bum did appear slightly more moisturised at nappy changes with Bepanthen, as in, it appeared to stay more ‘wet’ for longer.  I liked the tube which is perfect for the changing bag as I said.  And while the Sudocrem tub doesn’t seem that hygienic (if you keep double dipping into the tub), this can be avoided once you start working out how much you need to be applying (thicker than I thought was needed!).  The tub is convenient to open with one hand and have one hand on a wriggly baby.  I like the multiple uses of Sudocrem (you can read here about other baby products I love that serve multiple uses).

I would say I might like Bepanthen slightly less due to the stickiness but I do not hate it.  I also have since experienced a tube I’d forgotten about and it turned into a hard paste which made it more difficult to apply.  Sudocrem tube-version is more expensive than the Bepanthen tube (30g) but the big tub of Sudocrem is a lot more value over the 100g tube of Bepanthen.  You could say Bepanthen needs less product for each application but I think it still works out that Sudocrem is better value for money if you are buying the big tub and using it for the other things it is good for as I listed above.

All in all, I think I will be keeping a tub of Sudocrem on my changing station at home and a tube of either Sudocrem or Bepanthen in my nappy changing bag from now on (probably dependent on what deals are on at the time!)!! 🙂

I would love to know what nappy rash products you use and what you like about them?  I have also used the Aveeno barrier cream before and quite liked that too!

Nappy rash free since month 3!

Nappy rash free since month 3!

ames sig1

Healthy Raspberry and Lemon Yoghurt Muffins

I love these muffins! Please note I have adapted this recipe for baking for my children and converted it to UK metric measurements for ease. These are perfect as an on-the-go snack as well as for breakfast. They are easy to make with your little ones as you only need a spoon and two bowls! …

How To Make Beeswax Food Wraps

I’ve finally been able to write up about making our own beeswax food wraps… over a year since we made them!  Where does the time go?  We’ve attempted making beeswax wraps twice now and while this post comes late, at least I can let you know how successful they’ve been and how they have been…

Ring Spotlight Security Camera (Battery Operated) Review

I couldn’t wait to try* the Ring Spotlight Security Camera because although we have the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, we wanted both the back and front of our house to feel protected from unwanted intruders.  Having two Ring devices also meant we could easily view the displays using one app!  Here are my thoughts after…

Oscar And The Baby Box

Baby Stuff

35971078_1899268780131338_2370395740607348736_n

I found out about The Baby Box from my midwife at my first appointment in the UK.  I had no idea what she was talking about to be honest- a box for my baby to sleep in??  But she told me to go online and do a quiz and that it would be sent to me for free so I thought why not.

What is a Baby Box?

babyboxThe Baby Box idea is a Finnish tradition that was started by the government with the aim of reducing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  It was proved highly effective, with Finland going from having one of the highest infant mortality rates in Europe to being the 5th lowest in the world.  It has been in practice now for over 80 years and The Baby Box Co. have been introducing a similar scheme with an emphasis on safe sleep education to the UK since 2017 I believe, plus 51 other countries around the globe.

The box is intended to provide a safe sleeping place for your baby’s first six months of life.  It is quite literally a box made of durable cardboard with a foam mattress, to be used in the same way as a Moses basket.  Unlike a Moses basket, it is placed on the floor as it has no stand, but this also makes it more easily transportable.

In order to receive the box you need to first pass some questions online to do with safe sleep practice.  Jonny and I set aside some time to watch the educational videos and answer the quizzes at the end of each section together.  It was quite horrible to learn how SIDS, or ‘cot death’, affects 200 babies a year in the UK, but at the same time, we were grateful to be provided with these resources so that we could be more well-informed on the matter.  In addition to information about safe sleep practice there is also lots of other content available on the website regarding the safe care of infants, breastfeeding resources, tips and advice for new parents in general etc.

My London-themed Box

IMG_8905

Looking especially tiny but not especially happy!

My baby box arrived quite quickly, just a few days after we’d completed the test (it didn’t take long to complete everything, around twenty minutes).  The designs are all different and randomly selected so I was delighted to find my box had a London theme print with iconic places such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye (I am a Londoner after all!).  Inside the box was a zipper bag with a cotton muslin cloth and information, then there was a mattress with mattress sheet.  The box seemed well made and sturdy and there are warnings for you to always put it on a flat surface on the ground.

I was eager to try to use it after Oscar was born and thought it would be a perfect solution for having a place for him to sleep downstairs as our Moses basket was not so easy to move around.  It would be a dream if Oscar could sleep in it while I got on with housework or cooking, and then I wouldn’t need to keep running up to check on him.

I was worried the cats would jump in it, which they did sometimes (not when Oscar was inside luckily!) And being on the floor, I just made sure it was away from doorways incase somebody came by and fell on him or something!  I never left the room alone with him in it and if I did need to run to get a drink I would close the door incase the cats came in.

Did it work?

IMG_9034
I think for any other baby, the Baby Box would have been a great place for them to stay in for daytime naps.  Unfortunately our Oscar was not a napper from day one (unless it was on me).  Where I would hear stories of mums having to wake their babies up for feeds, it felt like my baby was always up, refusing to nap and demanding endless feeds  (he only really started napping from 8 months…!).  So in total, I think Oscar really slept in it only a handful of times, but for those times where he was able to settle and sleep, it was perfect and I was so grateful for this box!  I did hear comments from others who thought it was ugly and weird to have a cardboard box and they just threw it out which saddened me as other families would have found it useful.

After it became apparent he wouldn’t nap in the day (I did of course spend many hours of many many days trying to get him to nap in his Moses basket or bouncer too), I did eventually give up trying and we re-purposed the box into a toy box which we are still happily using.  Even though Oscar rummages through the box quite often the sides are still pretty intact.  I would probably consider using a Baby Box again if we were to have a baby number 2 but I’m not sure how clean I would be able to get this one by reusing it again, considering it is made of cardboard.   I was lucky for Oscar to never have had a leaky nappy in it because I’m not sure it would hold very well if it were to go through the thin mattress onto the box!

I think we were very fortunate to have this initiative rolled out to Ipswich Hospital because I don’t think it is available in every area in the country yet; you can check on the website if it is available from your hospital or not.  You can also buy one if they are not available and some options have many useful things inside for a newborn so it could make a nice gift for someone expecting.  I think it was a brilliant money saver for us not having to buy a downstairs cot and we are still using it months on for his toys.  I especially like that the cardboard can be recycled afterwards too!

Did you use a baby box for your baby?  I’d love to hear how you got on with it and what you made of the scheme!

ames sig1

 

My Favourite Value For Money Baby Items

Baby Stuff, Lifestyle

Being value-for-money for me means that the product is of good enough quality to either be used for a long while or have multiple uses, and so buying baby things has been so hard for me knowing that it’ll only be used for a few months!  My favourite ‘buy once and use it often’ items so far have been:

BABYBJÖRN Bouncer

baby bjorn

When I was researching baby bouncers I found that some only lasted til the baby was 9kg.  There are soooo many types, ones that bounce on their own, have music, toys attached etc.  I found this one and just fell in love with the simple design (I mean his toys around it are bright enough already); it was easy to clean, and it lasts from birth- 2 years old.

  • I have loved watching Oscar grow into it and learn how to bounce it on his own.
  • At the beginning it was so handy having a light seat to carry around the house to put him in when I was attempting a shower or wee (although some days I just went without either for too long a period at a time!).  Even now it’s a safe place to put him in while I change otherwise he will be climbing/ crawling around everywhere giving me stress!
  • At the beginning it became a place for him to nap for brief periods, used on the more reclined setting, although we did try to use the Baby Box too which was a better flatter surface for napping… not that he did much napping >_<
  • There is an attachment bar toy available and you can buy additional seat covers which I think would be great to get a new style for baby number 2 one day 🙂 I found the best deal here for this bouncer on Amazon.

Oil Diffuser Lamp

oil diffuser lamp

This was actually a gift sent from the States by my amazing friend Annie, along with other goodies including 6 essential oils to use it with.  It has been one of my most used items EVER since, and I’d recommend it to anyone (thanks so much, Annie Pie!).

  • During the birth, I used it to diffuse lavender oil in the delivery room as it’s supposed to help with bringing on contractions as well as being calming.  The colour changing lights also gave me something to focus on during those tough hours.
  • After Oscar was born it was used in our room as a night light while he was still in his Moses basket, and it is now is in his room so I can see where I’m going when I go in for the night feeds.
  • When I do yoga I move it to whichever room I want and put on some oils to give myself a spa experience, and sometimes I put some oils on to diffuse before guests are to arrive so the house smells more fresh and inviting.

I can basically see myself using this for years and years and love that it also purifies the air.  I just wouldn’t put oils on when the baby is in the room because I read some articles about it being too much for the little ‘uns liver to process.  You can find this one here on Amazon.

Fisher-Price Kick ‘n’ Play Piano Gym

playgym

There are a gazillion play mats out there, ones that do so many things and loads of designs so it can be hard to decide what to go for.  We went for this one because it seemed to have a fair amount for baby to look at without taking up loads of space:

  • The piano is a lovely feature and those tunes still get played to this day and I don’t think we’ll ever get them out of our head!  I loved it when Oscar worked out how to kick with his feet to get music.  The piano can be removed so he could play it somewhere else when he was done with the mat.
  • The dangly bits still provide entertainment for Oscar.  There’s a mirror which you can take off, a see-through hippo, elephant with fabric ears and spinny wheels, a crab with a spinny ball and a crinkly zebra.
  • You can remove the arch and attach the toys around the edge of the mat for tummy time.

This play gym has definitely been one of the most used items and I’ve loved watching him go from hating it to discovering the little details as the weeks went by.  Although he doesn’t stay under it anymore as he’d much rather be tottering about, I sometimes just leave it out and he will pass by and play with one of the toys which is sweet.  A play gym is a great buy and I think he will still get some use out of it for a few more months at least.  This one was from Argos.

Sock-Ons

sock-ons.jpg

These are basically one of the best baby inventions ever.  I’m not sure about your baby but given the chance, Oscar has been proven to escape any and every sock wearing situation.  This has been especially annoying if he has managed to kick them off his tootsies while we were out and about in the pram.  So long sock, never to be seen again.  These sock-ons go around your babies socks and make sure they stay on all day; definitely a wardrobe essential which will save you money in the long run from not having to buy lots and lots of socks like we did at the start, and you can find them here.


iPad Pro

ipadpro

Before moving from Hong Kong back to England, we decided to take advantage of the fact it’s a tax-free port and bought an iPad Pro.  We have never needed one before as we have our iPhones, MacBooks etc.  But Jonny described a romantic scene in his head of him reading the morning paper on it over breakfast, and said he could read stories to Oscar on it with him on his lap, and that I could draw on it using the Apple Pencil when I was relaxing, we could use it for travel to watch shows and look up things in hotels… it wasn’t a hard sell.  Although we’ve not really used it for many of those purposes yet, we have used it for the following:

  • It was our White Noise Saviour!  We didn’t have to buy a ‘Shaun the Sheep’ or other teddies with weird heart beat sounds because we could just download an App and leave that running those first few weeks when getting him to sleep was just not fun.
  • Crying/Distraction techniques: playing ‘Five Little Ducks’ on Youtube over and over again gives him a break from crying much!  I have listened to this SO many times… my fave version is the first song here.  I prop it in front of wherever he is and I get a moment to calm myself down.  He’s also incredibly cute when watching the little ducks.
  • Family-Sharing Apps: Jonny and I obviously have our own separate accounts for most things on our own devices.  Having a shared iPad got us to start signing up to shared accounts to make keeping track of things easier as a family.  So we view our shared email account on there, track our spendings, put in important dates for the family calendar which sync to our phones, and we had some baby apps on there too to look at together during pregnancy.  It’s become like our portable ‘Family Computer’ and helps to organise our family life a bit better.
  • Games: this will apply more when he’s a bit older but we have tried a few apps where he has to press down and stars will trail his movements or there are fish swimming about where he presses which he finds quite fascinating.
  • I LOVE using it for drawings (whenever I get the chance) and I have used it for simple messages for Oscar to pose with for pictures!  No need for paper and pen… we are helping the environment, right?!?

I would love to hear of any other items you guys have used from baby’s birth to older months, and ones that have been multi-functional!  Drop it in the comments 🙂

ames sig1