Persil Cook with the Kids Challenge

This Summer Persil started an initiative to encourage 100,000 parents to get in the kitchen with their kids and make some mess cooking together – “Cook with the kids”. To celebrate their new, harder working washing up liquid to take away the clean-up hell, they’ve compiled a handy list of tips as to how to go about your culinary creations and some simple, tasty recipes to have a go at with the little ones.

I was compelled enough to give it a go myself as I’m completely guilty of avoiding making anything with Bean that’s more exotic than a sandwich, he often gets halfway through baking before sneakily wandering off until it’s time to lick the spoon and I’m left to clean flour or icing sugar from. Every. Single. Nook. And. Tiny. Crevice. In. The. Kitchen. So obvs, we don’t do much baking anymore.

I know. I know. I’m terrible.

Anyway, I chose a simple cheesecake recipe which can be found here as it didn’t involve much fine white powdery ingredients that will go EVERYWHERE and we got to work and by talking through what we were doing and why, I managed to keep Bean in the kitchen for the majority of it.

bean cooking

bean cooking 2Rookie error: I didn’t have a loose-bottomed tin hence the baking parchment and pie dish. Oops. Other than me melting the butter for the biscuit base and giving the cream cheese a good whisk, Bean happily did everything, by himself.

We also made a strawberry coulis to pour on top of the cheesecake once it’d set which he attempted to smuggle several times. The outcome was pretty good for a first try from both of us, mess was minimal, only any action shot I tried to take of him eating the cake ended up with this face…

bean

We all really enjoyed the experience and it’s definitely spurred me on to be brave in the kitchen with Bean. To find more about the initiative, hop along here to get a free Cook with the kids pack and download the handy recipes and tips here.

Disclosure: we received a goody bag to share our experiences and talk about the initiative. All opinions and editorial is my own.

 

World Book Day With Miles Kelly

Recently I was asked by lovely book people at Miles Kelly if I’d like to take part in a bit of giving and receiving in the name of World Book Day – (6th March people, I do hope you have a costume for the kids, you just know that school is going to fling it upon you on the 5th). Sort of like a Secret Santa, only more books and less dodgy festive-themed socks.

I was told whom my book recipient was (that lovely Spencer from A Dad Called Spen) and off I searched the fab books that Miles Kelly has to offer to find them something he and his gorgeous children would love – I hope. Anyway. A few days later Bean and I received a book from our secret book giver! And a flipping good choice they made too.

bookday3

100 Facts: Oceans is a gorgeously illustrated book bursting with quizzes, projects and erm, facts. Detailing everything from how tides go in and out, the huge kaleidoscope of creatures that live in and on the sea, industries that are sea-based and pirates!

bookday1

Noah is completely fascinated with the book, when we first opened it he couldn’t sit down with it fast enough to drink all the pages in. He enjoyed reading it by himself and sharing it with me, always asking which fish was my favourite (Lion Fish) and telling me his (Parrot Fish).

bookday2

Discovering this book together on a miserable, grey, nothing sort of day, with pages brimming full of colour and interest and things to learn, made me really appreciate something like World Book Day when I hadn’t before. We can celebrate these awesome things made of paper and ink and magic and what they truly give our children more than anything else can. They ignite the whole wide world for them and bigger still, their imaginations.

Disclosure: I received this book for the purpose of this post and in conjunction to highlight World Book Day. And to our secret book giver – thank you, you made this little dude’s day.

Review – PaediaSure: Extra Nutrition for Fussy Eaters

Up until he was eighteen months old, Bean was a fantastic eater. He couldn’t get enough, and would happily devour anything put in front of him. From the simple to the adventurous, as long as it was cut up small enough for him to munch on, down it’d go.

Then he reached a year and a half old, and everything changed. Eating was a battle, six times a day. He grew suspicious of everything and would refuse the foods he loved only a few short weeks previously. I became frustrated and totally blamed myself. I didn’t know exactly what I’d done wrong but it must have been me. Bean was upset, because he didn’t like being sat with plates of food that he didn’t want.

And it went on… And on… He’d tolerate the odd thing here and there to pick at, buttered toast, a yogurt, a biscuit… Never an actual meal or anything of any substance, and not enough for a growing boy. Occasionally he’d eat something out of the blue that I never expected him to even entertain, and I’d think we’d have it cracked, we’d have found the holy grail. It’d last a few days tops.

He didn’t lose weight. How that’s possible I don’t know. He must have been sneaking bogies and fluff when I wasn’t looking. However I don’t think it did his immune system any favours, as he was constantly poorly with something, and he’s moods were terrible.

Now he’s four and a half, we’ve sort of worked out what he will eat and what he won’t. We’ve tried the “make them try a new food X amount of times before they get used to it” stuff many times, and it hasn’t worked for us. He’ll eat things he can pick at and nibble, but dinner time is still a worry, he won’t touch anything where he can’t see all the components clearly in front of him, which narrows things down rather a lot. He suffers from digestion problems as his diet can be so erratic plus when he’s ill and for the few weeks after a cold etc, he’ll revert back to not eating whatsoever, which takes an enormous amount of encouragement and energy to get him back to where he was before.

I still worry that he’s not getting everything he needs, especially as he’s at school and needs all the energy, concentration and a healthy immune system to fight off the constant barrage of colds and viruses off.

I was recently sent a tin of PaediaSure Shake – A balanced nutrition for the fussy eating phase – by NetMums to review. Knowing how difficult the Bean can be, I knew it was something we had to try.

As if this is unlike anything I’ve ever given to Bean, I was keen to read up on it before giving the shake a go, so here’s what it’s all about…

What is PaediaSure Shake?

“PaediaSure Shake is a delicious supplement drink for children who are fussy eaters. It contains a balance of 26 vitamins and minerals. Especially designed for children, it contains protein, vitamin D and calcium to build strong bones, as well as iron to support brain development – all essential nutrients that every child needs to grow and develop.

PaediaSure Shake, alongside a healthy balanced diet, is there to help you get your child back on track. Make sure you read our practical 12-week ‘Back on Track’ Eating Plan for guidance to help your child establish healthy eating habits.”

paediasure

It was all sounding really rather good to me, plus a read through the 12-week Eating Plan, which is full of sensible, well thought out advice concentrating on a one tip a week to introduce new eating habits slowly and steadily.

So, to the shake. Very easy to make, just mix five scoops of the powder to water and you’re left with a smooth and creamy strawberry milkshake which the Bean took without question and happily sipped at saying it was like Lola’s pink milk from Charlie & Lola. He loved the delicious strawberry taste, which I can confirm is very yummy indeed as he was very keen for me to try it too and he finished the lot in double quick time.

We started the recommended 2 cups a day alongside a healthy diet at the start of half term a week ago. Bean hasn’t turned into Popeye with superhuman strength a week later, which obviously we weren’t expecting, but his tummy troubles have significantly reduced, plus with the help of the eating plan he’s more interested in food than ever before. Plus it’s given me huge peace of mind to know that he’s getting everything his body needs.

I’ve been really impressed with PaediaSure and the small but significant results I’ve noticed so far. I’ll definitely be using it again when I feel Bean needs something to supplement his diet and would definitely recommend it to other parents of children with similar eating habits to Bean.

PaediaSure Shake is suitable for children aged 1-10 years and can be purchased from boots.com For more information, visit fussyeaters.co.uk

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpickedby the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review. To find out more click the button:

Review: First Aid Manual 10th Edition

There was the time he swan dived off the bed when he was a few months old. He head-butted the door jamb a couple of months later. The numerous bumps and bruises later from learning to walk. The odd choking scare when he was weaning. Running head-on into other kids at soft play, resulting in more bumps and nosebleeds. The bead up the nose. The dozens of other panicked moments of sounding calm and collected, but inwardly panicking and thinking QUICK, QUICK, QUICK, GET THE FIRST AID KIT!

In my career pre-Bean, it just wasn’t necessary for me to be a qualified first aider, only for there to be a qualified first aider on site at all times, which was lucky, as she lived upstairs. And believe it or not, whilst running a busy pub, there really wasn’t that much call for it. The very occasional slip of a knife in the kitchen, or a foot caught under a barrel in the cellar maybe, but incredibly rare all the same. Luckily nothing happened while I was there that needed anything more than a bit of common sense, some ice and elevating the effected body part.

When I was pregnant I was utterly terrified of being responsible for a tiny, floppy, mini human who could simply stop breathing. Plus, seemingly, billions of other Bad Things that could just happen. Once I’d brought him home as a newborn, I refused to sleep for days, intently watching his tiny chest rise and fall, straining to hear every snuffle, every murmur.

I always meant to do a first aid course, having a hospital just five minutes up the road, there was no excuse not to. Alas, as it does, other things got in the way and it’s still something lingering on my to do list, years later. Having a partner who is a first aider, having worked in security for a number of years, saving people’s lives with stab wounds, head injuries etc, made me complacent quite frankly.

Aha. But then this little beauty arrived… Now in its 10th edition, the best-selling First Aid Manual, published by DK, is the only up-to-date, illustrated guide on the market that covers every aspect of first aid. Endorsed and authorised by the UK’s three leading first aid societies: St John Ambulance, St Andrew’s First Aid and The British Red Cross, this comprehensive guide is the official training manual used in first aid training and is still the only guide written and endorsed by all three voluntary organisations.

First Aid Manual book jacket

Flipping through the pages, as a total novice when it comes to these things, I’m taken aback by just how clear the book is set out, from the colour-coded index right at the start and all the way through the entire contents of the book. Everything is clearly marked and easy to find, with lots and lots of photos to walk you through any situation.

More very welcome features of the book are that there are different instructions of what to do in certain emergencies involving adults and children as obviously body parts are located in different places etc. Plus the very thorough start of the book, detailing little things such as knowing what to say when you call 999 and what to do while you’re waiting for the emergency services, can be the difference between panicking or keeping your cool when it matters the most.

I’ll absolutely be recommending this book to other parents, as a book to buy, hope you never actually need to use but feel comforted that you’ll be OK should the occasion ever arise. It’s 288 pages of everything and anything that could possibly go wrong, surpisingly compact and perfect to throw into the glove compartment of your car, your suitcase to take away or just in the medicine cabinet by the first aid kit. A total must have and not only for parents but for anyone.

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

This is a Netmum’s sponsored review. To find out more click the button:

Right On Time

When are we going to the woods, mummy?

When is it lunch time?

Is it morning yet?

In an ideal world, the vast majority of the way we spend our day is governed by that four little word – time. Even more so when you have kids. From timing your contractions, to feeds and naps to making sure they get to school on time and don’t go to bed too late.

As a mum to a small one, I have a rota in my head, constantly updating, whirring incessantly, squeezing in the unexpected chore there and rescheduling that. Without my somewhat neurotic tendencies, my fear of being late and get everything done right on time, I’d be truly lost without having the time on me. Either in the form of my watch reassuringly strapped to my wrist – you can find all your timekeeping needs at The Watch Hut – or obsessively pressing the home button on my phone so I grab a glance at the those  comforting numbers.

The only problem is that my son and I don’t share the same ideals about sticking to the plan. He’ll happily have his lunch at 9.30am and he’ll get up at 5am in the morning if he could. He’s my little maverick, ticking away to his own beat, and I’m the minesweeper, nervously treading around him trying to damage control.

C’mon darling, time to get your uniform on for school.

Time for bed, mister.

No, no, it’s not time to get up yet, sweetheart, too early.

When you’re a parent, there’s hundreds of uncertainties, mini dramas, last minute birthday parties and doctors appointments, but the one of the only things we do have that’s a guarantee is time. It’ll be ticking away, whether we make the most of it or not, whether we’re always late or perfectly punctual. The kids won’t be kids forever, we’ll always look back wishing we’d done XY or Z, so to insure I make the most of it, I’ll keep checking my wrist, and cramming in everything I possibly can.

This post contains paid for content.

Review – Skyhigh Trampoline

A while back I was completely dumbfounded to be offered a Skyhigh trampoline to review from Big Game Hunters’ Trampoline Shop. A 10ft one to be precise. With summer fast approaching, and summer holidays for me to pluck activities and fun out of thin air, I jumped at the chance, or shall I say, bounced at the chance!

Complete with a safety enclosure, the trampoline arrived very promptly, what I wasn’t expecting was erm, how enormous it’d be and that it would require two delivery men, plus a sack barrow to get through my door! Yes I know, 10ft is rather large, but there’s a slight difference to seeing 10ft typed down in my email inbox and see it in the flesh, towering over Bean, stuck in my porch!

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Next I had to build the thing… With a very bouncy and excited Bean ready to pop in tow. The instructions advised putting the trampoline together would be a two person job, but with a mother’s desperation to avoid a meltdown from my four-year old, too much coffee and being more stubborn than is actually good for me, I summoned superhuman strength and lugged the box through the house, into the garden and set to work.

The instructions were easy to follow, and even putting it together alone really wasn’t that bad. In total I think it took me about five or six hours – with regular breaks to fetch snacks, toys, ask the neighbours for Bean’s football back – to complete it. Not too bad at all I don’t think!

What can I say, it was love at first bounce for Bean. I was a little nervous how he’d take to it, as he can be very unsure of himself and never having been on a trampoline, I thought he might baulk. Thankfully this wasn’t the case, with the safety enclosure fixed onto the trampoline frame, Bean felt secure enough to start jumping around all by himself. His face lighting up, grinning from ear to ear and giggling like a loon as he began bouncing was completely priceless.

bounce

I originally thought maybe the trampoline might be a tiny bit too big for Bean, but I’ve come to realise I like the fact that he can grown into it, rather than buying a smaller one and him soon growing out of it. He has plenty of space to throw himself around on and play, plus there’s enough room for his friends and older cousins to play with him on there when they come to visit. The Trampoline Shop have a simply vast range of different sized and shaped trampolines, whatever your needs might be.

Also, on a totally boring note, but one I feel I should include, ya know, I’m good like that. I was worried that once I’d dragged the trampoline into a nice shady corner of the garden, I wouldn’t be able to move it again to mow the lawn. No ma’am! Not the case! When it’s time to cut the grass, or you want to move the trampoline into a different spot, it’s actually pretty easy, much simpler than lugging it about in the box when it first arrived!

All in all, Bean and I are incredibly happy with the trampoline, he’s had hours and hours of fun on it, and I may have, just maybe had an evening or two laying on it with a glass of wine once he’s in bed. Perfect!

I was sent the trampoline for the purpose of this review. However all words are my own and my opinions are completely honest.

Sins

In a nutshell, shit you have done as a mum, but would never admit to, without a gun in your face. But I’m off my bloody TITS on Cold & Flu remedies, so I may be feeling a little bit bold.

Let’s DO this:

You tried your own breast milk.

You also might have squirted breast milk at your OH. In the face. In a moment of passion.

Your baby fell off the bed / sofa / table / kitchen worktop. Or possibly, all four.

Found 3 week old apple cores / banana skins / half eaten biscuits in your handbag.

Lost the fucking RED BOOK.

You tasted your kid’s baby food and entertained the idea that that celebrity baby food diet was actually viable. For about 3 minutes.

The first time your baby hurt themselves and they were bleeding, you VERY nearly called an ambulance. Maybe.

When your child drops their dummy in the street /  a supermarket / the local playgroup, when you REALLY should take it home and sterilise it to fuck, a quick suck on it yourself seems to suffice. Because now you’ve apparently got mega neutralising saliva since becoming a mum, right?

You get pissed off when you meet another kid with your child’s name, but console yourself in thinking “Yeah, but mine’s better looking.”

Absent mindedly wondered what Cbeebies presenters are like when the cameras aren’t on. Alex = annoying, Cerri = demanding, Katy = epic bitch etc.

When your child cries during the night, you MAY have possibly pretended to still be asleep a few times, so your OH can deal with it.

You pretended to like all those baby clothes your relatives and friends bought for your kid, but took them to the charity shop the next day.

Used some of your child’s birthday money to buy a takeaway / bottle of wine / gin. And never replaced it.

Have decided to cancel your Sky subscription, but reverted back once you realised it would give your child an awful lot more free time.

Use your child as an excuse when your late.

Use your child as an excuse when you forget to return a phone call / text / email.

Use your child as an excuse when you don’t feel like going out.

Skipped pages from their bedtime story so you can finish it quicker.

Had them sleep on their mattress for a full 2 weeks before you twigged that WASN’T a special water proof cover and was in fact just packaging.

Felt a bit wrong when you put their belly button clip in the bin.

Bitten their nails when they needed cutting.

Had to Google Hand, Foot and Mouth disease to determine that they won’t be taken away by government officials in bio hazard suits and masks. Like E.T.

Pretend that you like their artwork.

Said “Oh, you won’t like that one,” when they choose rubbish chocolate at the shops, because you want to steal some of their chocolate buttons / Milky Way/ Freddo.

Accidentally “lost” that annoying talking toy THAT NEVER FUCKING SHUTS UP.

Got any sins to add? Go on, repent dear children.