24 May 2017

BABY // ELLAS KITCHEN FINGER FOODS



Ah weaning, yet another stage of parenting where you sit there, mouth wide open in complete confusion wondering where the hell to start and coming up at a loss at every corner. Baby things are confusing enough and there are a thousand different ways to do things which makes things even more confusing. Baby Led Weaning or Traditional Weaning or a mixture of purees and finger foods? You find yourself drowning in sippy cups, suction bowls, heat sensitive spoons and other things you never knew existed.

Here are a selection of foods from Ella's Kitchen that I have reviewed with the help of my youngest squish, Lily bean.

We have always been big fans of Ella's Kitchen in this house, I remember the Pack-o-snacks and Puffits that Eloise used to love back when she was weaning (6 or so years ago, damn I feel old). I went down the BLW route with Eloise so I didn't use the pouches with her but we decided that we wanted to go down the TW route with Lily when she hit 6 months, so it was pouch and mashed up veggies galore to begin with.

She is now 15 months old and moved onto finger food completely at 12 months old although we did sort of introduce them at about 10 months old. I wasn't confident enough to introduce them properly earlier because she tends to gag and choke on things a lot due to her lip tie and even now I still cut most things up into bite sized pieces.



CHEESE + TOMATO & VANILLA + BANANA MELTY HOOPS

These are a firm favourite. They're a little bit bigger than a cereal type hoop and melt quickly when introduced to the slobbery gum fest that is the mouth of a babe. Lily loves them and finds them very easy to pick up, she has even developed her very own style of eating these where she sticks her finger in the middle like a ring and then sticks it in her mouth faster than lightening with an "om". I did think the vanilla and banana ones sounded a bit weird to start with and after trying one I'm still not sure but Lily loves them and I guess that's what matters. The cheese + tomato ones on the other hand are what I call "adult level nice", I could eat a pack myself and don't mind so much when Lily shoves a half chewed one in my mouth/eye/general facial area.

The packet comes with a resealable sticker to stop them going soggy (not that they last that long in this house). I particularly like how they show the actual size of the hoops on the packet, it makes me feel more confident buying them knowing exactly how big they are and makes it far easier to judge whether they will be right for your baby etc etc. All the paranoid Mum questions are answered. I like it.









CARROT + PARSNIP & STRAWBERRY + BANANA MELTY PUFFS

These scared me to begins with because they look pretty big, I was quite worried she would try sticking the whole thing in her mouth (which she did end up trying) when we first tried these quite a few months back I would cut them up (I'm uber paranoid). She has these whole now and nibbles them (three at a time). They are very "puffy" so melt really quickly in the mouth which makes me panic sightly less when she tries to shove 6 in a once.

Again, they show the actual size on the packet. Top marks for helping the panicky ones Ella's Kitchen. They're basically a taller, fatter, healthier, cheese puff. The bigger size means they're easier for littler babies to hold so would be good for those wanting to go down the BLW route.


VANILLA + BANANA BABY BISCUITS

These really surprised me in terms of shape. I'm not really sure what I was expecting but they're a bit like fig rolls shape wise. They're softer in texture than a normal biscuit which means it's easier for them to chew with no molars/teeth in general. About the same height as the melty puffs but not as melty and they come in little individual packets which is super handy for chucking into the depths of a changing bag for use as tantrum distracters. The packet is also bright yellow so there is a strong chance you will actually be able to spot it amongst the random baby crap (literal and otherwise) that's been thrown inside and forgotten about for over 6 months.

Everything is made from organic ingredients, super healthy and we are yet to find something Lily doesn't like which is a winner in my book. Plus most supermarkets tend to run offers across the range quite frequently, there is always at least one shop running an offer so it's extra easy on the pocket. All the points from me!

Lily gets through quite a lot of baby snacks so you can probably expect some more reviews like this in the future. She actually likes helping me do blog stuff when it involves food, a girl after my own heart. 

21 May 2017

SUNDAY POST // CROCHET


I started crocheting back when Eloise was about 1, I was about 20 at the time and because having a child ages you approximately 50 years I felt like it was acceptable to start up an "old lady hobby". I taught myself how to crochet flowers by watching about a million YouTube videos and eventually got the hang of it. And by 'it' I mean flowers. That was all I could crochet. A granny square is meant to be the easiest thing to start with but could I get my head around that patterns? Could I fuck. I gave up after a while and got bored of making flowers and so they sat in a shoe box for about 3 years before getting lost, never to be found again.

Fast forward to my pregnancy with Lily, I randomly picked up some cheap, baby pink yarn from a charity shop because I had decided I would attempt at least a hat. Somehow this time it just clicked and I made a (shit) hat, then a cardigan with one arm and eventually my first ever crochet blanket (which I still haven't finished off properly haha). Since then I have made a fair bit with my favourite project being my Sophie's Universe blanket which took me around 2 months to make. I'm incredibly proud of that blanket.

Sophie's Universe. I used mostly Stylecraft yarn with a few random ones thrown in.

I've made 9 cardigans, 4 scarves, 8 baby blankets, 3 kid blankets, 2 CALS (still not 100% what CAL stands for), 1 Teletubbies graphgan (for Lily, who naturally decided she wasn't that bothered about them as soons as I had finished making the sodding thing), 1 pair of slippers, various toys, 3 shawls, 2 cushions, countless hats (although most of those were for neonatal units) all within the last 2 years and probably other stuff I've forgotten about. Some with patterns, most without. Only 1 thing being for me haha.
Pretty good going for someone who could crochet a pissing granny square a few years ago. I normally hate anything I make myself but for some reason, with crocheting I normally end up half liking the finished product. I can always see bits I could improve on or colours I should have changed but 9/10 I can be happy with it which is a huge thing for me.





Yet another blanket I made for Lily, Sophie's Garden in the middle, the rest is my own pattern.


Behold, the only thing I have every made that was for myself. A scarf. I don't remember the pattern but the yarn was Stylecraft Carnival in Rio.




Midway through Sophie's Universe. 


16 May 2017

#IAMASLUMMYMUMMY



Firstly, yes, that is a glass of Rosé between my tits. Now we have that cleared up, it has recently come to my attention that once again The Daily Fail have fucked up and written something that ended up resembling a dog turd on fire. Awesome work guys. The last bit was sarcasm by the way, I see you find it rather difficult to understand so I thought I would point it out so you didn't get confused.


What the actual fuck is it with people constantly Mum shaming? Just shut the fuck up. There is a fine line between having an opinion and being an arsehole and the delightful woman who wrote the article well and truly falls into the latter category. 

She starts by talking about the 18th century and judging by her attitude she must have been born around that time too. She then goes on to say:



"confessing to their gin-soaked shortcomings as mothers, and writing books documenting how terrible they are at parenting and which storm up the bestseller lists?"

Now is it just me or does that STINK of the green eyed monster? Because funnily enough two of the Mums she happens to be bitching about are Katie Kirby, author of Hurrah For Gin and Sarah Turner, author of The Unmumsy Mum and The Unmumsy Mum Diary, amazing books, best sellers, loved by all. And then there is her, Anna Mangan, the author of a book entitled "The Pushy Mothers Guide" which has a review on Amazon that calls it "utter rubbish" and another that says it has "no substance". Awks.


It then goes on to bitch some more about how terrible these "slummy mummies' are for admitting that they do actually get annoyed at things their children do and that sometimes parenting is fucking well hard. The writer then goes on to say:


'To me, it all rather smacks of that annoying child in your class at school who bragged that she hadn’t done a jot of revision but was secretly beavering away and achieving amazing results."

Right, so now she's bitching about calling your kid annoying and then calling kids annoying. It is at this point I become rather suspicious that it is actually her that is soaked in gin as she appears to be shitting through her fingertips in order to write this bullshit article.


Why is it so bad that Mothers are being honest about parenting? Admitting that it isn't all sunshine and first smiles. Or hugs and kisses and cute little drawings that they've written "i luve yew' on in bright orange crayon. Sometimes it is fucking hard and feeding your kids fish fingers every now and then isn't fucking neglectful. Neither is swearing. Or having the odd Gin and Tonic. Parenting is actually, really fucking hard and quite frankly, I would much rather be a #slummymummy than a pretentious high horse dweller who is okay with shitting flowers over baby shit and toddler tantrums and making new Mums feel like they've failed because no one talks about the shit parts THAT HAPPEN TO FUCKING EVERYONE. So, Daily Mail, kindly piss the fuck off you bunch of wank puffins. Thank you and goodnight.




BABY // MY BABYWEARING EXPERIENCE

When I fell pregnant with Eloise and was plunged into the 'what the fuck is that' world full of baby products I'd never heard of before. I never really looked too much into baby wearing at first. I don't think I properly wore her until she was about 5 months old. I was a bit of a pram whore if I'm completely honest, I went through about 5 with Eloise in the first 2 years (and now there's me with a shitty old florescent pink piece of crap I hardly use that cost me a fiver off a Facebook selling page.)

The first baby carrier I ever owned was one of those foam filled things that was chunky and uncomfortable and shit in general on so many levels. I used it about once before retiring it to the back of the hallway door at my Mums house (it's probably still there actually) which was more than likely a good thing as they are more often than not, terrible on baby's hips. Especially the cheaper ones.

My next venture into baby wearing came in the shape of a bright pink Baba Sling. Eloise was about 5 months old at the time and I hated it immediately. I tried a hip carry and it felt really unsupportive and like she was going to topple out of it at any second. For a younger baby I could see it being more useful, especially for breastfeeding out of but even then I'd feel quite uncomfortable doing anything in it because it offers very little support to a more wiggly baby. The Baba Sling also resigned itself but this time to the depths of the garage, never to be seen again.


Next up was the Connecta AKA my first non rubbish carrier. I remember debating on whether it was worth blowing the best part of £70 on as Eloise was about 10 months at the time and had just started walking and as she was my first baby I was under the false presumption that she would actually walk places soon (you can all laugh at me). I ended up spending so long umming and ahhing I just thought 'fuck it' and bought it one day after spending even longer trying to decide on a print whilst accepting the fact it was FOR Eloise technically to avoid any purchase guilt. 

I got it, figured out how to breastfeed in it and gushed over the prettiness and quality of the fabric. I got the standard size if I remember correctly and due to the fact breastfeeding actually helped me lose weight first time around I found the straps super long and I couldn't tighten it enough over my scrawny 6 stone something body (I know right). I tried and tried but I couldn't get it high enough to be comfy so it was always hanging and eventually my back decided it hated it and my heart cried. If you're tiny then go for the petite straps which I had no idea about at the time. They also stock Liberty of London prints which are beautiful beyond words and I absolutely need one.

My next venture didn't happen until my second baby, Lily, when I ventured deeper into the confusing depths of baby wearing in the form of a wrap. My lovely Ben bought me a stretchy wrap for my birthday which conveniently happened to be a couple of weeks before Lily was born. Top timing there. By far my favourite baby wearing majig ever.



Once I got my head around how to wrap it (YouTube and baby wearing pages on Facebook are your friends) it was the most comfortable thing ever. I could wear it under a coat and put baby in it once I got out of the car or what have you so no fucking trying to wrap it in a car park. I could breastfeed in it too which is always a bonus. I wore it around the house and it kept tiny arms wrapped up and out the way enough for me to actually do things whilst breastfeeding. Lily would calm own the second she was put in it and I loved it. Problem with stretchy wraps is once baby gets to a certain weight (around 3 months if you have an average sized baby) they begin to be less awesome and more baggy and the more wiggly baby is the more unsupportive they become. For the newborn/first few months (or 6 if you have a teeny baby like me) then I would really recommend getting a stretchy wrap. Doesn't have to be a fancy one, I think mine was off Amazon and definitely under £20 but invaluable if you have a baby who point blanks refuses to be put down.



I went for another wrap after the stretchy, slightly more expensive this time coming in at £45. I bought (Ben bought) a beautiful rainbow woven Little Frog wrap which is very fitting as Lily is my rainbow baby which made me love it even more. Now this is where it gets fun. It's a bit harder to wrap than the stretchy because you cant get away with putting baby in after and the endless different wraps you can do is quite overwhelming at first. I have mastered the Kangaroo Carry and this is the one I'm most comfortable using as it's pretty much the same as the stretchy wrap style. Don't get me wrong, when I first looked at the instructions I sat there with a gormless look on my face whilst whispering 'what the fuck' for a good 5 minutes.



I did have a bit of trouble holding Lily whilst doing it and mastering the 'seat' but once it clicks you'll look back and wonder how on earth you didn't get it. Comfort wise it's by far the best type of sling for support, I have hypermobility syndrome (super flexible everything in a bad way, pain and dislocation central basically) and I find that once it's on, it doesn't pull on my shoulders much at all compared to my Mai Tai. It feels much more secure in terms of preventing baby escape; Lily tries pretty damn hard sometimes and with my other carriers I feel like she *could* fall out. Obviously this would be unlikely but this of *feels* more supportive and secure. You can also buy a fleece wrap for it for those colder days and the horrid winter schools runs. 


Last but not least it's my cheap as chips rubbish Mai Tai off eBay, by Palm and Pond. It's great for just chucking them in and off you go but it's really not comfortable (understatement if your baby weighs more than about 15lbs) and this is the one that worries me a bit lately in terms of Lily leaning out of it. Realistically, she's not going to fall out but the Mum side of me sees it a bit like she's leaning off a cliff. She is 15 months now but only 20lbs so not a big baby at all.



The leaning also completely knackers my back and my shoulders are usually agony after wearing her in it these days. I also find myself holding her for more support now she's bigger (as you can see in the photo below haha) because I feel like it's a bit short and skinny on the fabric side of things. It does have tie straps which I prefer to buckles because buckles make me overly paranoid (again, Mummy paranoia). The little pocket on the front is good for money and phones (also snacks). It has a little hood that poppers on to the back which is a bit crap but the thought was there. All in all it's served me well but it's also a bit shit if I'm honest.


So that's my experience so far with baby wearing. I have since bid goodbye to the Palm & Pond and have bought a Connecta so expect a review on that soon. I bought a standard size with regular straps again but I'm hoping it'll be fine now I weigh more than a flea. I'm am embarrassingly excited about finally getting another decent carrier that I can put on easier on the days my arms don't want to play ball with the wrap. Now here's hoping it doesn't get "left by the bins" like a worrying number of my parcels get dumped.