Monday, 19 January 2015

SMA Nutrition Introduce B.A.B.Y

People always tell you how time flies when a little person makes their appearance into the world, but nothing can prepare you for just how quickly the time comes to pass. Those early baby days went by so very quickly, each day presenting a new adventure into the un-predictable journey of being a new parent. There were times when I didn’t know whether I was coming or going, and even one occasion where I found myself in the shower… Still wearing my bra!

The adventure into parenthood for me was a magical, tiring, amazing and exhilarating experience all rolled into one. Each new milestone filled me with so much pride I felt like I could burst, but then that could have partly been down to the broken night’s sleep… The lack of sleep combined with the demands of motherhood soon had me searching for answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. I found the personal experiences of other parents such as my own Mum, a great source of information to help answer all of those questions that were springing into my mind.

SMA Nutrition have recently launched their B.A.B.Y (Baby Advice By You) Campaign, with the aim of building up a library of personal advice from real Mums. This means that the advice being shared is based on their own personal experiences, from ladies who can relate to those long nights, and know all about the military operation that ensues when it comes to leaving the house with a baby!

In those first few weeks after bringing Leo home, I was really lucky to have a fantastic support network, always someone to pose a question to or just to give me a pat on the back, and let me know that I was doing a good job. This is exactly why I think the B.A.B.Y Campaign is so great, the advice being shared will be accessible to Mum’s during those un-sociable hours during the night, offering information and support whenever it is needed.

I am really excited to be involved with the B.A.B.Y Campaign and I will be sharing my own personal piece of advice with you, and encouraging you to share yours via the SMA Nutrition Website. By sending in your piece of advice you will be entering a competition, terms and conditions can be found here. Competition starts today and all entries must be received by no later than midnight on Sunday, 1 February 2015.

The entries will be judged by the B.A.B.Y Panel of judges, including celebrity Jenni Falconer, fellow blogger Metropolitan Mum and myself. The panel will be putting our heads together and reading all of your personal pieces of advice. Once the competition closes we will be picking our top 10 favourites, who submitted the very best pieces of advice to visit London, so that they can enjoy a fabulous makeover and get to record their golden advice on film! The recorded videos will then be added to The SMA Nutrition You Tube Channel  along with the rest of the library! Plus, each winner will also receive a £250 voucher for a local spa of their choice.

I am really looking forward to reading everyone's entries as motherhood is such a unique journey, that’s different for everyone who travels along its winding road. Maybe you have some advice that has been passed down through the generations? Or maybe you have some fantastic advice for travelling with a baby? We want to hear about your experiences and what advice you would give to someone who is just starting out on this rollercoaster adventure. 

My personal piece of advice is a simple one, but one that we found very effective during the transition from Moses Basket to the wide open space of the cot. You can view my short vignette below.

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Second Nursery Meeting

It has been a year since Leo started nursery, and in that year my little man has done so much growing up. You can see it in the way he conducts himself, to how he handles situations that present themselves to him, and in that short year he has transformed from my toddler into a little boy, a preschooler.

This last year has been one where I seemingly have to fight his corner and speak for him to the many people who are putting him behind where he should be. It is no secret that I have been fighting a losing battle since Leo’s 2 and a half year check, with conflicting opinions from various people, and no one really offering me a direct avenue to explore. I have fought for Leo to have his eyes and hearing tested, and pushed him into every appointment I possibly could in order to get to the bottom of the concerns expressed to me, because although I don’t share these concerns I have to action them.

The nursery have Leo 20 months behind developmentally in terms of his speech and how he conducts himself with other children, speech therapy have a variating opinion of their own,  the GP says he’s absolutely fine, the health visitor now puts him between 4 and a half to 5 years of age…So you can see why I have been at a loss with who to listen to. I am going with what the health visitor has said, because she saw Leo exactly like I do, although there are still people who don’t agree with her assessment.

Since I shared the results of Leo’s health visitor assessment with the nursery, I could see that they didn’t agree with it. Obviously if nursery still have concerns I want them to do everything possible for him, so I am pleased that our nursery leader called up our health visitor for a chat, I am again pleased that our health visitor confirmed her assessment first hand. They talked about why Leo could be measuring so drastically in comparison to the health visitors report, and avenues were discussed. The health visitor is adamant that Leo is shy and this reflects on how he is in the social environment, because she has witnessed first-hand that he has it all, and even his speech has come on in leaps and bounds.

On Friday I went into nursery and discussed the next steps for Leo, I explained that I had never shared the same concerns, but I wanted to action them and resolve them so that Leo could start school in September without this shadowing over him. The nursery leader explained that she couldn’t score Leo as highly as the health visitor because he does not perform to that level within the nursery environment, of course I was fully aware of this anyway and for me it’s not about Leo achieving the highest scores on a piece of paper, as long as he’s happy and moving forward I really could not ask anything more of him. I did have to comment upon the vast difference between how Leo is at home, and how he is at school, because even the nursery leader had told me that Leo was a different child the last time I had visited the nursery. I explained that Leo had been witnessed by the health visitor in exactly the same light I see him every single day. 

With my arrival at the nursery Leo ran up and gave me a big hug, and then he followed us into the little corner of the room where he began chatting my ear off almost instantly. The nursery leader was running through Leo’s progress charts with me and all the time Leo was stood next to use asking me questions, it was then the nursery leader said that she could now tick off the box demonstrating that Leo can and does ask questions. I think in the time I was there she ticked off quite a few boxes that had otherwise remained blank signifying that Leo can’t or won’t do those things at nursery.

We talked about the home visit and the nursery leader commented on how perhaps it would have been better to do it in the office environment, and how using the health visitors own tools would have been a better assessment than allowing Leo to use his own, but it was decided by the health visitor to just sit and observe Leo as he used his words, asked questions and did everything asked of him. I took this opportunity to express my own personal opinion, I personally believe that for one reason or another Leo doesn’t express himself in the same way within the nursery setting as he does at home. I think that he is reserved and keeps himself to himself because there are so many children or maybe he just likes his own company.

The discussion uncovered that nursery are coming around to my way of thinking, and have realised that Leo has selective hearing, at times a stubborn disposition and of course his own characteristics…Just like any other child his age. Apparently for a while they were unsure whether Leo understood the tasks being asked of him, but as I have known all along… If you ask Leo to do something that he doesn’t want to do, he will either ignore you, say ‘no I don’t want to!’ or tell you that he’s tired and will begin rubbing his eyes in a vain attempt to get out of it.

The example our nursery leader used to describe Leo’s mannerisms when it came to following actions was asking him to take his shoes and socks off. Leo looked at her and said ‘I tired!’ and rubbed his eyes while not complying with the task asked of him. They asked him again and this time threw in the incentive of being able to blow some bubbles if he did what was asked of him, so without even pausing…Leo took his shoes and socks off. It’s not a case of him not understanding what is being asked of him at all, it’s more a case of ‘Do I want to do this?’. If he doesn’t want to do something, he is excusing himself from doing it, and really he’s done a rather spectacular job if nursery have even considered whether he understands or not.

Another concern they have is that Leo doesn’t like or participate in Nursery Rhymes, and this is something I have always been aware of. He has never really enjoyed them and he used to tell me to stop whenever I broke into song… He knows them and he does occasionally recite one, usually Incy Wincy Spider… But for the most part he doesn’t like them. I am not saying that he doesn’t enjoy music though, he loves Christmas Songs and would more than happily sing Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer until the cows came home… He’s even been singing along to The Vamps – Somebody To You! So the mere fact that he doesn’t join in with nursery rhymes doesn’t overly concern me, especially if he is reserved at nursery, it may just be outside his comfort  zone.

Every child is different, this is what I have been saying all along, but it seems my child is being perceived on the basis that he isn’t loud, bossy, overly charismatic, confident and sassy in the nursery environment, when at home he is all of those things and much, much more. Yes he has had a speech delay, yes I believe that has held him back in certain areas, but now his speech is there and is growing by the day, I think it’s time to accept Leo for who he is. You can’t force a child to like nursery rhymes, talk, or play with other children if they don’t want to. They all have their own likes and dislikes for everything in this crazy world we live in, and Leo is no different. I think that in a class of 20+ children Leo’s voice gets lost amongst them,  although he loves the nursery I think he is still finding his feet and this is the way he does that.

When I think back to my early years at school I can re-call myself being exactly the same, I was quiet and reserved, and this followed me throughout my school life. I had my friends but if I was in a class without my circle of friends I would revert to being that same quiet young girl. I guess to an extent I am still like that to this very day, so it stands to reason that Leo will have inherited my social traits. Casting my memory back to my reception year at school, I can re-call them calling me out for shrugging my shoulders. If I was asked a question I didn’t know the answer to, I would simply shrug. That to me was my way of acknowledging a question that I couldn’t answer and closing the subject matter… When I told the nursery leader this she said that she could picture Leo shrugging his shoulders the exact same way.

The final discussion of the afternoon with Leo’s nursery leader was the impending school term, she said that the feels going up to school may set Leo back further, what with new children and new teachers to contend with. She went on to say that it is only now that they feel they are getting to know the ‘real Leo’ and this may be the same case in school, and it will take until the end of the school year for a teacher to get to know Leo, and then he will be moved on again and the process will repeat itself. I don’t really know how to feel about this? If this is the general opinion now, I would like to think that there may be some extra support in place to help ease Leo into his new environment in order to prevent him falling through the cracks and being over looked at school because he’s more reserved.

It would seem that although one battle has ceased, we will have a whole new one on our hands come September, but I will make it my mission to make sure that any additional support Leo may need in school, is there and ready to help him be all that he can be. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Teksta T-Rex Review

Over the Christmas break we were sent a new Teksta T-Rex to put through it’s play paces, Leo and I were both really looking forward to getting our hands on him and seeing what he could do. Teksta is a robotic dinosaur that responds to your voice and even boasts hand gesture technology that allows you to command him to walk, move his hands, tail and stop him in his tracks. This clever robot has so much going on that it is bound to keep the kids and big kids (parents) entertained for quite some time.

I remember Teksta from my childhood back when it was just the original robotic puppy, but now the range has grown and has different options available, the Teksta Kitty, Teksta Scooby Doo and the Teksta Puppy. We opted for the T-Rex as he is so different to any of the other models, and Leo is a big Dinosaur fan. So when T-Rex arrived we decided to get him out to play straight away,  getting him out of the box didn’t take long at all and was simply a case of cutting a few strings to release him.

In the box you will find T-Rex, his bone and instructions on how to get him all set up and ready to play. The next step was to install 4 batteries, 2 in each of T-Rex’s feet, these don’t come included which would have been nice due to the cost of the product but luckily we had some ready to install.

Once the battery installation is complete it is time to turn your new T-Rex on for the first time, and to do this you simply have to push the button on his chest. As you press the button you will notice that T-Rex’s eyes are now lighting up and he is letting out his very first ‘ROAR’! T-Rex’s eyes will light up in different sequences during gameplay depending upon what you are asking him to do. Teksta has two different modes in all and you can alternate between them by pressing the buttons on the top of his head. The button on the right will make your new dino sing and dance, and the one on the left allows you to talk to him and for him to talk back to you.

Thanks to T-Rex’s artificial intelligence program, he can roar, cry, whine and change his eye patterns to represent how he is feeling at any one moment. He has state of the art sensors that allows him to know whether he is being petted, spoken to or played with just like a real dinosaur… Only you don’t have to worry that he may gobble you up… And of course not to mention that Dinosaurs have been extinct for a rather long time now…Teksta T-Rex really does feature the very latest in Robotic Technology.

T-Rex walks around and roars, Leo watched in amazement but didn’t want to get in the way of him as he stamped about. It did look like T-Rex was going after Leo at one point and Leo darted away in order to avoid contact. It was quite comical watching Leo lurch so quickly before hiding behind the table with just his head visible as he couldn’t take his eyes off Teksta. One of the first tricks we got T-Rex performing was the eating of the bone, he take it into his mouth and chews, then he throws half of the bone back out of his mouth before letting out a rather big burp. This had Leo giggling, and he didn’t seem quite so nervous around him after that.

In terms of T-Rex’s walking I found that he sometimes falls over but for the most part he walks nicely and handles carpet well, there is so much play value to be had out of this toy and Leo is really pleased with it (Even if he does like to mainly sit and watch me play with it!). The play value factor can be opened up further by means of the App that is available on iPad and Android, the App is free to download and can be incorporated into play by pressing the left hand mode button on T-Rex’s head so that he can interact with you. The fact that the App is available on both Android and iPad is great, as Leo has his own Samsung Tab which has meant that we can install the App directly on to hid tablet. The app is only available on tablets, and we couldn’t download the app to my iPhone.

The Teksta T-Rex is suitable for children aged 5 and up, Leo is 3 and a half and he enjoys to play alongside me. To play completely independently I would say 5 and up is a appropriate recommendation. T-Rex retails at £60.00 but it currently on offer at Debenhams for £30.00. This for me is a very attractive price and in turns get’s one very sophisticated toy that will keep old and young entertained during game play.

Over all we have really enjoyed the Teksta T-Rex and look forward to continued play.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Teksta T-Rex for the purpose of this review, all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

42 Months Old

Your 42nd month saw Christmas arriving and you turning 3 and a half. We had quite an eventful month on the whole, from the magic that sparkled throughout the month of December to us coming face to face with your health visitor for the first time since your 2 and a half year checkup last January. That was an enlightening experience that didn’t go at all how I expected it to… Of course even with the Health Visitor assessment there are still people who are expressing concern over your speech. I have to give the nursery leader a call a little later to discuss our health visitors assessment, but they really cannot be seeing what I see. I am going to have to discuss the reasons as to why you perform differently in the nursery setting, and for me it comes down to you being a little shy…

Your speech has exploded this month which has really been the icing on the cake, you have been coming out with all sorts in the last 4 weeks. From telling me ‘You disgusting’ to showing your appreciation for food ‘this is delicious’ you have been putting more of your widening vocabulary to use. You even went as far to say ‘Mummy your weird!’. One aspect that has certainly developed is your ability to throw a strop, boy have you perfected that art now! On a recent trip to the Birmingham Frankfurt Market you decided to inform us ‘I go now, I walk away’ and off you plodded! A better example would be Christmas Day when something didn’t go quite your way and you decided to say ‘I don’t like you Mummy! I slam the door!’ and with that… you did!

You’re having full on conversations now and it is so amazing to hear, you tell tales on your cousin and tell me about what you did or didn’t do at school. When I told you that you were going back to school after the Christmas break this pleased you greatly, but you quickly threw in ‘No forest school Mummy, I hate it!’.

It seems surreal to think that 2015 is the year that you, my little baby boy start school! It really has come around so quickly, and it won’t be long before we hear whether or not you got into our chosen school and starting to purchase the uniform in preparation for September, you know something big is in the pipeline and we have been discussing ‘big school’, but for now you have asked to stay at ‘little school’ as you call it.

We went on a number of adventures throughout December to help us celebrate Christmas, Ice Skating, you performed in your very first Nativity Play, and took a trip to the Snow Dome to play in the real snow! We even a day trip over to Clearwell Caves to visit Santa Clause. Clearwell was beautiful and you came face to face with the man in red himself! You didn’t give Santa time to contemplate whether or not he was going to sit you on his lap, oh no! You ran right over and jumped straight up, and there you sat cuddled up with him as he chatted away to you about Christmas. You told him that you wanted a Nintendo DS and he looked at me and said that you would most certainly have one underneath the tree on Christmas Day! Thankfully he fulfilled his promise to you, and there under the tree was your very own 2DS!

This year has been the very first year you have truly got the magic of Christmas, and looking at Christmas through your eyes this year has been a beautiful experience to behold. Christmas Eve saw you resisting sleep through all of the excitement and you hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa as he darted across the sky! We did actually spy him you know after our trip on the Polar Express, as he flew across the night sky, but he was up so high he looked just like a star shining brightly overhead.

We will have to keep an extra special eye out next year!

Naptimes… Well I guess they had to go eventually right? We had a good run, well over 3 years and I am thankful you kept it up so long. But they seem to have kicked the proverbial bucket… It’s been coming for the last couple of months, but as I sit here writing this post I cannot for the life of me re-call the last time you actually did have a sleep in the afternoon… It really is the end of an era. I guess I can no longer use your afternoon nap to have a lazy hour to catch up with Netflix and a box set!

I get the feeling we are going to have a rather busy month ahead of us, I am going to have to call nursery and potentially arrange a meeting to discuss why exactly their reports don’t align with our health visitors, I may potentially call our health visitor too… You just have to keep doing exactly what you are doing, because little man you are a super star. An actual shining super star! I know sometimes I may come across as hard on you, but that is only because I want the very best for you. I feel incredibly proud at being able to take you out and about and get complimented on how well you behave. If we go out for dinner you sit beautifully at the table and wait so patiently.

I really am proud of everything you do and everything you achieve. Keep shining bright little man and we will show everyone else that they can eat your star dust!

Until next month Little man…


The Festive Season with Netflix

2015 is upon us and the glitter of Christmas has already been packed away giving way to the dismal bleak January days, but with that said the memories and magic of Christmas are not to far away from our thoughts and that is ultimately what lights this month up.

Leo is now 3 and a half, his understanding of the festive period has exploded this year and he has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in everything that has been going on. We have spent cold evenings curled up in the light of the Christmas Tree and watching family films on Netflix. I came across a film in December that really put a smile on my face, and I couldn't wait to sit down and watch it with Leo. The Cannon version of Hansel and Gretel. As a child this was my favourite film, my Mum had recorded it off the television well over 20 years ago, and I watched it over and over again. It's a film I have thought about over the years, and couldn't quite believe it when it fell into my lap. Leo sat next to me and it was so lovely to show him a film that I once loved so dearly, and it was apparent to see that he to was really enjoying it.

There have been so many great films that we have enjoyed with Netflix over the festive season:

- Mickey's Magic At Christmas

- Mickey's Twice On A Christmas

- I'll Be Home For Christmas

- The Muppet Movie

Christmas can be a stressful time, what with all the last minute preparations and not to mention December being the ultimate month for the lurgy, it sometimes feels like it's one thing after another. Netflix very kindly sent us out a Christmas Survival Kit to help get us through the festive season, they covered every base imaginable and I was really thankful for the goodies once my very own Christmas lurgy set in...

In the survival kit they included:

- A Netflix USB Charger - This little beauty was a godsend, I know keep it safely in my handbag in case my phone or iPad need a bit of juice while I am out and about.

- A pack of A4 Batteries - I don't need to tell you how useful these came in Christmas Day!

- Bear YoYo Snacking Fruit Bars - These made a great alternative to all of the chocolate I felt necessary to demolish over the Christmas period. 

- Sellotape - Because it's inevitable that you are going to run out what with all of the gift wrapping! Suffice to say Netflix were the angel on my shoulder Christmas Eve!

- Jo Malone Candle and Bath Oil - When you are feeling under the weather, nothing quite beats drawing yourself a bath and relaxing by the candle light... Although Christmas was a really busy time, I still found half an hour to do just this!

- Nurofen Tablets - This may have been the most practical part of the survival pack for me, and with the lurgy they definitely helped! 

Thank you Netflix for the very practical Christmas Survival Kit, not to mention the added treats. It really helped me cover every base and thankfully persuaded me to sit down, put my feet up and catch up with 90210. 

Disclaimer: I was sent everything I needed to get started watching Netflix for the next 12 months. I have not been paid to write this post. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Celebrating The New Year King Julien Style!

Celebrating 2015 King Julien Style!

With Leo being so young still we knew it wasn't going to be realistic to let him stay awake until midnight on New Years Eve, so when Netflix asked if we would like to celebrate the New Year King Julien style, we were really excited to oblige. 

Netflix wanted to help younger kids to party into 2015 with King Julien's 'New Year's Eve Countdown'. With a little help from King Julien and friends, they created three minutes of high-energy, music-filled fun that lets kids celebrate the New Year no matter what time of day! This worked out really well for us as it meant that Leo got a sense of the fun that bringing in the New Year is all about, but still got to bed on time. 

Netflix very kindly sent us a box full of King Julien party pieces including hats and party blowers, so at 6pm on New Years Eve, we presented Leo with our party preparations and handed over the all important party blowers! 
Having attended the King Julien Screening in December, we were more than ready to party hard with King Julien again, and Leo was so excited by all of the festivities that he could hardly contain himself! 

How to prepare for the big night
1. Draw inspiration of the Mahiki party in December! Boy does King Julien know how to party! If you didn't make it you can catch up with the first few episodes of All Hail King Julien here.
2. Prepare your party music playlists in advance 
3. Find a disposable camera for the kids to play 'paparazzi', it will keep them occupied and is a great way to capture the night! Just make sure to have your own camera ready to capture the “New Year’s Eve King Julien countdown” so you can play it back to the kids in later years
4. Share your party countdowns with us! social to #KingJulien #StreamTeam
5. Don't forget to Have Fun!
Here is a short clip of  Leo and I counting down to the New Year, just before Leo was put to bed and waved a fond farewell to our 2014 adventures.

Thank you Netflix, we had a great time!

Disclaimer: We were invited to party with King Julien and sent party goodies and a camera to share our evening with you. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

NOWTV Watch-Along #MyOnesieland

Christmas is always an exciting time that presents opportunities to do things together as a family, and over the past few weeks that's exactly what we have been making the very most of. Just before Christmas we were invited along to take part in the NOWTV #MyOnesieLand watchalong of The Muppets Most Wanted, along with anyone who owned a NOWTV box and a Sky Movies Pass could tune in from 3:30pm and join in the fun from the comfort of their own front rooms.

NOWTV very kindly sent us out a generous hamper full of tasty treats that we could indulge in while enjoying the movie, and they even included a festive onesie each for the occasion. So with the movie start time drawing ever closer, we all transformed into our Christmas Onesies ready to snuggle up and watch the latest edition of the Muppets. Leo was dressed festively as Father Christmas and I a Christmas Pudding... And Luke... Well he was an elf of course! Even if he did manage to avoid the camera...

Leo had been really excited about our movie date, and was even happier when the popcorn and many goodies appeared. As the film started I began joining in with the many people chatting away over social media using the hashtag #MyOnesieLand and it was great to see that everyone was having a lovely time. 

I wasn't sure what I would make of The Muppets Most Wanted but it became apparent very early on that each of the songs were as catchy as the next, and I can't help myself singing along to 'The Big House' each time I heat it... And since Leo has now watched this film into oblivion, it's a good job that I rather enjoyed it! 

Half way through the film I had to start getting ready for a a rather swanky party, so while still very snug in my onesie, I began curling my hair and applying my makeup. I couldn't help but make a small comparison to Miss Piggy what with my blonde curls complete. 

About The Movie

'Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe's most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine-the World's Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog-and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais' 


I have been using NOWTV since early last year with just the Sky Movies Pass via YouView, but back in July I picked up a NOWTV Box from a local supermarket and decided to give the Entertainment pass a trial run. I am now a avid viewer and really enjoy the user friendly apps and love having access to the latest box sets and movies. 

Setting up NOWTV is really simple and takes a matter of minutes to get up and running, and works via internet connection to give you access to all of your favouite shows and movies on demand. You don't need to sign up with a contract, and you can simply purchase the passes each month, or the pass of your choice. 

The Entertainment pass offers you 13 awesome channels that you won't find on freeview, from Sky1, Sky Living, ABC, Fox, plus many more and at only £6.99 a month. 

The Sky Movies Pass offers you the latest releases and boasts over 800 movies that you can watch at your leisure at £9.99 a month.

The Sky Sports Pass is one that we haven't personally used. but it gives you access to all of the big games and events from £6.99 a month.

For more on NOWTV and their packages visit

Disclaimer: We were Sent a NOWTV Box and goodies to take part in the NOWTV #MyOnesieLand Watchalong. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.