Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Show Me Your Man Drawer!

Everyone has one, a tangled tardis of things which no longer work, are broken, or out of date, but you just cant bare to part with them as one day they might just be useful again.

Here is ours

Broken clocks, a slither of sandpaper, chargers for various electrical equipment that we no longer own, all different types of dead batteries which you cant throw away just in case they, with a combination of other dead btteries give you that tiny bit of charge that you need, old phones that aren't compatable with the chargers that re in there, one mitten, christms cracker prizes, and a single payslip from six years ago.

Go on, I've shown you mine now you show yours, there's no shame in it, everyone has one.

To get you in the mood here is in my opinion one of the funniest comedy sketches that I have heard.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Natural Consequences - The proof is in the Pudding

Zane will soon be two years old and he is fast becoming a typical toddler. He knows what he wants and he wants it now! We have been blessed with a very calm and placid boy, I think it is mostly his personality but partly because me and Gary are very relaxed, don't get stressed out with things and generally go with the flow and it has rubbed off on him too.

So far we haven't had "tantrums", I do hate that word, because tantrum suggests it is negative behaviour, when it is just frustration that the child doesn't have the emotional maturity or intelligence to be able to deal with rationally like we as adults have learnt over time, even some adults still have tantrums, they shouldn't be ignored or punished, support is needed to work through the emotions and provide emotional literacy for the future. We have had situations that look like they could potentially head towards a meltdown, but with distraction and validation of emotions we have managed to avoid frustration on Zane's part and ours.

I am keen to avoid power struggles with Zane. As I see it, yes I am his parent, but I'm not here to control him, I am here to guide and enable him to have a happy life, he is also a human being with his own thoughts and feelings which have equal rights over mine. Please don't take this to mean I am a permissive parent as some people seem to think when they see how we react to Zane. He has firm boundaries for things which we think are important and we are consistent, but we don't sweat the small stuff which he will learn through modelling ours and other peoples behaviour. 

One tool that I have had stored in my parenting ammo for a while is natural consequences. A natural consequence occurs when parents do not intervene in a situation but allow the situation to teach the child, adults should refrain from saying anything, particularly variations on the "I told you so" theme. If parents intervene by lecturing or by dispensing additional punishment, they risk destroying the natural learning situation by creating power. Of course there are situations where natural consequences would work but it is inappropriate to use, such as when a child runs into the road, you don't want them to learn not to do it by being run over so you intervene, as it is your job as a parent to ensure that your child is safe. Or there are times that you should adapt the consequence, the natural consequence for a child that doesn't brush their teeth is that they will get cavities, but the result will be delayed so not effective, so the consequence should be relevant, such as a child who doesn't brush their teeth shouldn't be allowed sweets until they learn to brush more effectively. Here there is a logical connection between the behaviour and the consequence.

I have been using natural consequences for a while to get into practice, even though Zane hasn't been old enough to understand fully so I have used my judgement for when to intervene as of course he is a toddler and thinks of here and now and doesn't have the capacity to think ahead to a different time and place, but I do. Today we have had a breakthrough and I have really seen how natural consequences work for us. Zane doesn't like to wear his coat sometimes and today was one of those occasions. We were going on a walk down the canal and it looked like rain was imminent but instead of forcing the issue and making him wear the coat which would result in a emotional meltdown because I wasn't taking his choice into consideration, I calmly and clearly said "I hear that you don't want to wear your coat right now, but I think that you may get cold later on so we will take it with us.  If you get cold tell me and you can wear it." Its a lot of words for a toddler to understand, but we have always spoken to him like an adult even though we don't expect him to fully understand, but it will all be stored and remembered for a later date.

So off we go on our walk, although it wasn't the nicest of days it wasn't windy and making it too cold. Zane was quite happy practicing his running and collecting leaves down the canal path to think about being cold, but I occasionally reminded him that I had his coat if he was cold, he was quite happy though, although I was cold and wearing my coat, I am not him and he might not be as sensitive to cold as me. After an hour or so he had slowed down and came to the pushchair and said unprompted "cold now, coat on mummy" whilst slinging his coat over his shoulder trying to get it on. Hearing this made me doubly pleased, firstly because he had made the connection between getting cold and putting his coat on, and secondly he had processed what I had said earlier and applied it to himself when he needed it. He was empowered to make his own choice and he felt free to change his mind at any point he wanted which I think is a good lesson in life.

So I have concluded from today's walk that instead of focusing on teaching kids a lesson and both becoming stressed and unhappy, you can focus on having fun and sharing joy, that's the desired outcome after all, the small stuff will sort themselves out.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review -

FDO_logo - transparent background small
I have been sent a great fancy dress outfit for Zane from, with Halloween being imminent they sent me a Vampire costume to try out.

When I first opened the package up I was very pleased to find that the costume came with everything that we needed, so no need to buy additional accessories. The costume comes complete with waistcoat printed top, black trousers, shoes, red cape and vampire headpiece, all for a price of £17.77. I think that is a very reasonable price for saying there is no need to buy anything else and it saves you the hassle of running round the shops to find a whole outfit.

I tried the outfit on Zane straight way, and he really looked the part. The trousers and top were a good fit for saying the size was Toddler 1-2 and Zane is a large 22 month old. There was still plenty of room in the trousers and the sleeves were still long on him. I loved the cape, it is silky and has a nice shimmer to it, I only wish that it was held onto the top with something other than Velcro or more of it, as it made the cape easy to pull off, although the outfit still looked great without it. The only problem that we had was that Zane didn't like the headpiece, but that is down to his personal preference, he doesn't even like to wear hats. One thing that I noticed whilst reading the details on the website was that the outfit is dry clean only, which I don't think is great for children's outfits because I can imagine that at parties they get jelly and ice cream down them and they wouldn't be so simple to clean. don't just do children's costumes, they also do adults with a wide variety of choices such as theme fancy dress, movie, music and TV characters, and Hen night and Stag Do. The adult costumes are still a very reasonable price too. Have a look on their website to see their full range, I'm sure you will find something you like.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I feel lost......

I've lost my phone, or rather Gary has lost my phone. We know where it is though, its in a scrap yard, in his car, which is now cube shaped. I have never lost a mobile phone before and I feel lost. Its bad enough when you don't wear a watch and feel naked without it, but who needs a watch when you have a mobile phone. I now don't know the time, what the weather is like, or what my Facebook friends are doing. I cant spend every idle minute on baby forums or google-ing everything which I don't know to find the answer in seconds. I am twitchy, when there is a spare minute I reach for my phone, but its not there, life is dull.....

Until this afternoon. A normal Saturday afternoon catching the bus into town and as usual the buses are really early and you miss it, or its late and your waiting around and two come at once. Today it was early so we had a 15 minute wait. Usually Zane would happily look at the many cars and ambulances that go past the bus stop, and I would point out vans and have Facebook on my phone having a nose. Today I didn't have my phone so I thought how bored I was going to be and time would go so slow! Within 5 minutes of waiting and watching the traffic I spotted two colleagues walking down the street and we stopped for a chat. Me, being social without it being in front of a screen! Usually I would be too engrossed in my phone to even notice people passing by. I caught up with some interesting people who I hadn't seen in a while, we had  great chat and caught up, and in actual fact it made time fly, before I knew it my bus had arrived, it was a refreshing change, so in conclusion social networking actually stops you being social in real life, and I can honestly say that I am happier after having a face to face conversation with two people rather than looking at what my 200+ Facebook friends are up to.

I don't know how long I can last until I crack and buy a cheap phone or beg someone to lend me one until my insurance sends me another one. Hopefully I will remember the positives of not having the Internet at my fingertips and maybe use it a bit less, or at least start to look out of the window to see what the weather is like rather than looking on my phone.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Review - Little Dish New Addition

Little Dish have sent me the new addition to their toddler meal range to review with Zane, Chicken & Two Veg Pasta.

Little Dish was founded by mum of two Hillary Graves in 2006. It is the only brand offering a range of fresh, natural meals for babies and toddlers made from 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar, so you can be sure that by giving your toddler a Little Dish meal they are getting a healthy alternative to home cooked food.

Chicken & Two Veg Pasta is a combination of bite sized pieces of  British chicken, carrots, broccoli trees and pasta swirls with cheese sauce. The meal is the perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats as well as a great source of calcium.

The meals are simple to cook, just pierce the film and pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, cool to desired temperature and serve. The first thing that I noticed was when I pierced the film the smell came through instantly, it was delicious, and it smelt even better once cooked. I knew instantly that if it tasted as good as it smelt then it was going to be a hit.

One thing that I really like about Little Dish meals is that they actually look like a proper home cooked meal, I have bought meals before for Zane and they haven't looked like something which we would all eat together, which is important to me as we have always fed him what we have eaten and with these meals each element is as easily recognisable as home cooked food. The pasta is just like what we use at home, the veg is perfectly cooked, not too soft and not too firm, and the pieces of broccoli and carrots are obviously brocolli and carrots but perfectly sized so that they aren't daunting. I always taste meals for Zane before giving them to him as I wouldnt feed him anything which I wouldnt eat myself. I could have eaten all of it! The cheese sauce tasted great, cheesey, perfect consistancy, and it didnt mask the flavours of the chicken and veg. There was enough of each element to get a forkful of everything each mouthful. It was a great combination and the flavours went really well together.

Zane really enjoyed eating it too, he loves anything with cheese in like his mum so as soon as he tasted it he didnt stop eating. He can sometimes be a little picky about veg but he ate all of what was on his plate, I think the size of the pieces contributed to his enjoyment, as at home he has much bigger pieces but with the ones in the meal being smaller he wasnt phased at all.

I would really recommend Little Dish Chicken & Two Veg Pasta, it went down really well with my toddler. The meal is available to buy in Tesco from 5th October, andOcdo later on in the month, and will retail at £2.49.

If you would like to find out more about Little Dish and the rest of their toddler meal range take a look at their website

Friday, 30 September 2011

I'm Back!

After a short while away from Blogging I am back! I can't really say that much has happened over the last month except a crisis of confidence and feeling lost within my own identity be
cause of the therapy that I am having because of PTSD due to Zane's birth. Its very hard work this therapy lark with days of lost sleep and emotions all over the place but the end result is worth it and each session makes things clearer.

Home life has been lovely, we have a new addition to the family, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Jager. We got him when he was 6 months old and I hope that we are giving him a better life than where he was before. He is very much loved by all of us, even the chickens who scare him and peck him on the nose if he gets too close. He is very loving and so patient with Zane who isn't exactly an angel with him but is getting better and I think they are pals which is what we wanted.

So what do I have in store? I have a couple of reviews to write up, some news and general thoughts and feelings on issues that are relevant to us.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

And the Winner of the Little Dish Favorites Cookbook is ...........

Well Done Danielle!!!

I will be in contact shortly to arrange posting the fab cookbook to you.

Keep an eye out for more giveaways coming shortly!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

GIVEAWAY! Little Dish Favourites Cookbook

I am pleased to announce my very first giveaway, one lucky person could win the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook, which has over 60 simple recipes suitable from weaning onwards.

The cookbook is fantastic, and something I wish I had a year ago when we were introducing Zane to solid food. The book has lots of tips and information, and the recipes are easy to follow, simple and suit a wide variety of tastes. Some of the recipes include home made fish fingers, chicken enchiladas, meatloaf, and burger with hidden vegetables for fussy eaters, I can guarantee that you will find something to inspire you.

All you need to do to win this fabulous cookbook is Like me on Facebook, Follow Me on Twitter and leave a comment on my blog to say that you have entered.

The giveaway will be open until 12 noon on Saturday 20th August, and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Review - Little Dish Childrens Meals

I have been sent a cool bag full of Little Dish goodies for Zane to try. Little Dish meals are suitable for children from 12 months, and are made from 100% natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar. Something which I was very impressed with is the fact that the chicken and beef used in the meals are free from antibiotics and growth hormones, and the vegetables used are free from pesticides. As free range chicken owners and organic gardeners this is something very important to us, as we like to know what we are eating and that it has been produced/reared in the most natural way.

We were sent six different meals, Chicken Risotto, Pasta with Cheese, Peas & Broccoli Trees, Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie and Pasta Bolognese. The meals were so simple to cook, just pierce the film and pop into the microwave for two minutes and then its ready to eat once it has cooled down to the required temperature.

As always I try the food for Zane before he eats it as I wouldn't feed him something which I wouldn't be willing to eat myself. I was most impressed, the meals were all delicious, none of them were bland and they tasted just like something that I would cook myself. Zane was very happy to eat them. I was a little worried as he was going through a fussy phase before I received these meals to review so I was hoping that it wouldn't affect the results but the change seemed to inspire him to eat. His favorite meal was Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, I was amazed that he cleared his plate, ate all of the meatballs when he usually isn't too keen on meat, and when he had finished he was trying to scoop the sauce off the plate with his hands, he didn't want to waste a single bit. The meal which he wasn't so keen on was Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, which I was surprised at as it was my favorite, I thought it was the tastiest of all the meals and Zane usually loves salmon, the only thing I could think that he wasn't keen on was the distinct flavour.

Something which I found very novel was the picture to colour in on the inside of the cardboard sleeve. Perfect to keep little one's occupied whilst they are waiting for their dinner too cook and cool. In our case it even kept Daddy out of trouble for five minutes.

What I loved the most about Little Dish meals is that there is a whole load of goodness in such a convenient meal. I would have no worries or ingredient scanning if I hadn't been so organised throughout the day and needed to get Zane his dinner quickly. I sometimes feel guilty if I have to serve him a microwave meal but with these I know that there are no added nasties and only good quality ingredients are used. Something which didn't suit us was the portion size, it is very generous so that would be a positive for most people, but for us Zane seems to be intimidated by a plate full of food and doesn't eat it so well. This was fine once I had realised though as I could adjust the size that I served him and my taster was increased, they really are good enough for adults to eat!

You can buy Little Dish meals at Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Waitrose Deliver,, and Boots. You can find out more about Little Dish on Facebook and Twitter or on their website

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Skip Treasures

Gary is a skip rat, he loves having a look at what people have thrown away to see if there is anything which will be useful again, and save us some money. A few months ago whilst out he spotted a skip so went to have a look. He was amazed to find a Belfast sink in perfect condition. He asked permission to take it and carried it half a mile home. His arms were aching so as soon as he got back he dropped it right my the garden gate,and that is where it stayed.

We filled it with flowers and we love it, it looks great in its position.

I bought the flowers for a bargain price at our local corner shop. Next Spring we plan to plant wild flower seeds to give a real natural effect, like the sink has been dumped and beautiful flowers have sprung up.

The sink is a lovely feature in our patio and it inspired us to have more flowers in that area. Now we have a little oasis which is very calming and relaxing. Doing this area has been a god start for making our mark on the whole garden, and I am already looking forward to next spring.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Doing My Bit For The Economy.

Since the recession I have been passionate about supporting local and small businesses. This is important to me for personal purchases as well as in my job in Facilities Management. Within the procurement process at work I always research local businesses first to see what they offer, and bigger businesses second. I find that there is a massive gap between small and large business in terms of customer service and satisfaction. When I use a big business I always feel like a number or another figure on their target sheet. When I use a small business I mostly get personal service, and I feel like my custom means so much to them that they put their all into my purchase. I have worked in customer service for my whole working career and it is something which is important to me so I pay special attention to how my custom is dealt with.  I have such a sense of satisfaction when I find a new small business that is excellent at what they do, and for myself because I am supporting the local economy and doing my bit towards stabilising our country.

I want to show my passion by sharing a small business which  have had a great buying experience with and I want to champion them.

I wanted some cushions for Zane so that he has a comfy area to relax in. I came across Towards Mayhem and saw that they made cushions and had a transport design. Zane loves anything with wheels so I knew that it would be a winner. I spoke to Michelle, the owner to tell her which one I wanted and also asked her if she could get a fabric with emergency vehicles as that as the current obsession. Within minutes she found a perfect fabric and posted me a picture as a sample. I loved it so said go for one of each material. The next day she posted me another picture of them made up. I was amazed at her speed, and the efficient communication. I received them the very next day, so from start to finish the process of choosing, making, posting and receiving was less than 48 hours!

I was impressed with the cushions when they arrived. Michelle knew how old my son was so she decided to design the cushion covers so that they easily slipped off for washing. The cover fits the cushion perfectly, it isn't tight or baggy, and the cushion easily slips in and out. The quality of the sewing is fantastic, and the covers have been washed quite a few times whilst I have had them and they haven't shrunk or lost shape. I cannot fault the product, or the service that I received, so I would highly recommend Towards Mayhem.

I should add Zane's reaction too. He loves them. I put them out before he woke up and they were the first thing that he went to when he walked into the living room. He loves pointing out what each vehicle is, and he has started saying the colours too. He loves to roll around on the floor with them, or just lie cuddled up on them watching the TV. I put them in his cot to sleep on and they haven't been downstairs since. I loves looking at them before he falls to sleep, and I like to think that they send him to sleep happy.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe Place

So I have told you about my Sentor, now I will tell you about my safe place. This is somewhere where my brain can escape to when I am anxious and it instantly calms me. I knew straight away what I was going to choose for this.

A few years ago we went on a tour of Holland, we didn't book anything but the flights, I had looked on a map for which town and cities we could go, and I had looked for an idea of where we could book hotels once we had got there. We landed in Eindhoven, and then over eight days we went on to Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Haarlem, and then Amsterdam. The Hague was one of the best places I have ever been to, but that is most probably because we went in October, when we left England it was wet, grey and miserable, and it wasn't much different in Rotterdam, but when we got to The Hague the weather was glorious, very warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky most of the time. We stayed in Scheveningen which is the area of The Hague that has a seaside. I didn't even know that there was a seaside there so it was brilliant to arrive on this glorious day and walk along the beach.

So back to my safe place. When I imagine The Hague as my safe place I remember the palace like hotel at the end of the main beach road, the dog leaping around in the surf without a care in the world, the three boats on the horizon that didn't seem to ever move from the same position, the chip van that did the greasiest chips ever and the biggest blog of mayonnaise but tasted Divine, and the unique statues which always make me smile when I think of them. I loved that place and would have happily stayed there for our whole holiday, I would love to go back their for our honeymoon if we ever get married I would get the same hotel and the same room. How we got the fantastic room is another story. As I said earlier on we hadn't booked any hotel rooms, once we got to The Hague we went to the Tourist Information who told us about the beach area, and that it was 15 minutes down the road. Fifty minutes down a very long straight road we were fed up. We said that we would book into the first hotel we came to as we were so tired and sick of walking. When we got there we asked if they had any cheaper rooms for that night and what are budget was. For an extra ten euros we got the penthouse luxury room! Compared to the flea pit in Rotterdam this was VIP quality!

Here is my special place.



Saturday, 30 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe "Thing"

When my counsellor said that she was going to install a tiger in me I thought, ok your nuts! When it came to doing it she explained that it was an imaginary support in my brain, and I can call upon it when I need it beside me. She said that it can be a person, an animal, a mythical creature, anything I wanted. Once she had explained it and I had got over the amusement I thought it was rather exciting, I had watched a film at the cinema a few years ago called Looking for Eric, where the main charactor has an "imaginary friend" which is Eric Cantona, and he eventually helps him be stronger and face his problems, the whole time Eric was at his side.

I was stumped, I dont have the best imagination for this kind of thing. First I thought Freddie Mercury, one of my idols, but then I remembered that his mental health wasn't the best so he might not be the best thing for me. I then thaught of a Sentor, half man, half winged horse. I loved it. I imagine it to be Mel Gibson like he was in Braveheart as the man, and for the horses body it is violet/blue with a body like peacocks feathers. He is very pretty, and very strong. You can't stroke him, he isn't friendly. He is aloof, and always ahead, leading the way and he never stops until he gets what he wants. Rather like the opposite to me, a doormat, who always puts her needs last, and gives up because i'm probably not good enough anyway.

I have been able to call up my Sentor when I have needed him, and he is good for getting to sleep when my mind is on overdrive. He quashes all of the worries so that they are no longer there and so I can drop off.

Here is a Sentor, not my Sentor, but a rather pretty one.

at adam resimleri arşivi, centaur, sentor, kentaur

Next time I will talk about my safe place, it is somewhere very special to me.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ten Things you didn't know about me!

After some begging on my part I have been tagged by Blog By Baby to do a post about Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me. Now I am stumped! Not really, I'm sure I can think up something interesting.

  1. I am scared of Crane Flies (Daddy Long Legs) because they are just so jumpy and unpredictable. Also flip flops because I am scared of falling over and my toes getting hurt, and rabbits and their tickliness.
  2. I have never broken a bone.
  3. My idol is Freddie Mercury. I know all there is to know about him.
  4. If I could be anyone in the whole history of the world I would be Jay Z, all that money and Beyonce, he has got it all, and it is all through his own hard work.
  5. My favorite food is cheese, I am disappointed that we can grow most things in our garden and allotment, but we can't make cheese. We need a smallholding so I can have some cows and a mini cheese factory.
  6. Apart from salty things especially corned beef, my other pregnancy craving was the colour yellow. I would get a strange feeling come over me when I saw a yellow garage door near where I live.
  7. I used to be a very good football player, I had trials for Nottingham Forest Ladies when I was 15. I had to stop when an unsporting player tackled me and stamped on my knee, leaving my knee permanently damaged, and I still have the marks on my leg where the sole of her boot got me.
  8. Mine and Gary's "song" is Crazy Love by MJ Cole because of the line "Some say that love unreturned, Ain't nothing more than a obsession". He wrote it on a rubber in science class at school when we were 15, I still didn't get the hint!
  9. My secret crush is Jeremy Kyle, shhh!
  10. I used to have pretend friends when I was little, two mice called Pindy and Dora. I once stood up on the bus and shouted at my mum because she sat on them, I was furious!
Well that was easier than I thought. To spread the smiles that this post has given me I am now going to tag two of my favorite blogs The McCaskie Clan, who's blog inspired me to get started on mine, and my fellow cloth nappy lover Love In The Nest.

Introduction to my Therapy

I have been thinking about blogging about my therapy for a while but I have held back because it is a very personal thing. I am going to tell you about it in baby steps, as much as I feel comfortable for now.

I am seeing a counsellor for PTSD from Zane's birth. It was very traumatic, he wasn't coming out, the doctor tried vontouse but every time she pulled his heart rate went to zero. It became critical and the consultant literally put his hands up there and pulled him out. It turned out that he had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, and every time the doctor pulled she strangled him. I didn't see Zane for three hours after he was born as he was rushed to SCBU. I felt like I was watching over my life for five months after the birth, it was like the pethidine had never worn off. I had been having daily flashbacks of the birth for 17 months when I read someone else's story, they said is it normal to have weekly flashbacks? Everyone who responded said no, they must go to the doctors. I thought, my goodness, they are saying that when she is having them weekly, sometimes mine are hourly! I decided that day to book into see the doctor about it.

I was referred to a counsellor, initially I saw one that didn't specialise in anything in particular. He felt that as he was male and couldn't understand about birth trauma as good as another woman could, he was going to pass me on after a couple of sessions. It was a shame because he was very friendly and gave me some good advice. I was passed on to a lady that specialised in PTSD, and she had it herself a few years ago so she knew how I was feeling and had a good understanding.

We spent a couple of sessions just talking about the past, and she wanted me to briefly tell her about my birth and the flashbacks. I find it really hard to talk about them. I feel sick when I am asked to describe it, I have a big knot in my stomach and chest and feel like I have a massive stone weighing me down. I managed it, and then my counsellor talked about the condition. She said that with PTSD, usually a traumatic event from earlier on in life can set the stage for fully blown anxiety and PTSD, and my stage was the badly managed birth. Coincidentally my most traumatic event in childhood was very similar to the part of my birth that I have the most flashbacks about.

My counsellor decided that I could have a choice of two therapies. The first was intense talking about issues and events, she explained that this could be traumatic in itself and could make me very distressed. The second option was EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This was explained to be quicker and less distressing, so I went with that option.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing events. According to the theory, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm usual cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli of the event are inadequately processed, and are dysfunctionally stored in an isolated memory network. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering influence and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

So are you boggled like I was? Well what actually happens is that firstly the counsellor installs new software in your brain. Firstly a safe "thing" like an animal, person, anything you want it to be. Your imagination can run wild, but I found that what I chose was something I would never usually think of, and its characteristics are very apt for why my personality needs it. The second piece of software is a safe place. This can be imaginary or a real place that you have felt safe. Once these have been decided on and described the counsellor uses a lightbar which has flashing lights running all the way across it. As you follow the lights with your eyes the counsellor calmly describes them back to you using the same words as you did. At first I thought whats the science behind this? How is watching lights going to stop me have flashbacks? Well in simple terms your brain does its filing when you are having REM sleep, and following the lights simulates that experience for you brain. As the counsellor asks you questions and you respond, it reprocesses the information into the right part of your brain so it is no longer lingering.

Once I had my first full session using the lightbar I was a bit confused, the counsellor would tell me to get into my safe place, and then think about the traumatic event, and get right there like I was reliving it again so I felt all of the same feelings. I then had to follow the lights and say how I felt, or whatever popped into my head. Then we would just repeat that over and over again until I didn't feel anymore. The therapy is exhausting, after half an hour I am yawning and ready to go to bed, and the next day is terrible, I am an emotional wreck, crying most of the day. It is all part of the processing though, and I am starting to feel a little better.

That's enough for now. Next time I want to tell you about my safe thing, and safe place. They are very special to me.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review - Limited Edition Baba + Boo Cloth Nappy

This review is from my review blog, but as the content is relevant to this blog I thought it would be a good idea to copy it over.

Baba + Boo was born when Eve wanted to use cloth nappies on her daughter but found that the nappies that were on the market were expensive. She decided to use her skills from her previous job as a buyer to source excellent quality nappies at a  fraction of the price, and also funky designs. The company has quickly expanded and now Eve designs and produces her own nappies and shoes. All of the products are of excellent quality, and have been produced under strict codes of conduct so you an be assured that they have been produced ethically.

The lovely Eve has sent me her new Limited Edition Green Camouflage cloth nappy to review. I love cloth nappies, and I also love green camo nappies, I have three of them, so I was very excited when I received the parcel.

The nappy is suitable for children that are between 10lb- 37lb, so it is a birth to potty nappy, and it has a high rise so it is a good fit. The outer fabric is a printed poly/cotton with a waterproof lining, and it comes with two microfibre inserts. The nappy is fastened by poppers.

My first impression of the nappy was fantastic, it had an extra popper on either side that meant no wing droop, which has started to become a problem for us with some of our nappies. The material was very stretchy and the inserts were thick, seemed like they were very good quality, and they also had poppers down the middle so I could change them into a boy fitting for more absorbency for up front.

When the time came for Zane to wear the nappy after it had all of its prewashes I was a bit worried. The insert could only go as far as the poppers, all of my other nappies can be stuffed right up to the waist band. I was a little apprehensive and thought he might have a wet tummy within a short time. I put it out of my mind and we went out to play. The fit was lovely, Zane is a big boy for his age, and is easily pushing the top of the weight limit for the nappy but he still had lots of room left to grow into. The nappy wasn't a slim fit, but it wasn't that bulky either, and I used both inserts as Zane is a heavy wetter.
When we were playing I observed how he moved in the nappy, it was very flexible, probably one of the most flexible nappies that we own. His walking and playing wasn't affected, and the best bit was that he wasn't waddling! He put the nappy through its paces going down the slide, sitting in his sand pit and running up and down the garden. At no point did he have a builders bum, or gaping between the legs, he looked really comfortable. When it came to changing the nappy easily lasted three hours, it could have probably lasted longer but it was time for bed so we couldn't carry out a longer test. Daddy was testing the nappy with us and he was very impressed with the design, and fit, so if you need to try and persuade your other half to try cloth nappies, then Baba + Boo could help you.

The Baba + Boo Limited Edition nappies retail at £9.75 each, which I think is very reasonable for the quality that you are getting. Take a look at the Baba + Boo web page to see the rest of their funky designs, and also the rest of their lovely products.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ten things I love about You.

  1. I love your curious nature, inspecting everything that catches your eye.
  2. I love your blond curly hair, I never want to get it cut.
  3. I love that you have the same colour changing eyes as me.
  4. I love your silly sense of humour.
  5. I love your passion for anything with wheels and an engine and that you can tell what vehicle is going past outside just by the engine noise.
  6. I love how affectionate you have become.
  7. I love how you can dance better than me already, and you can't help but dance every time you hear music.
  8. I love how proud you make me whenever people say how lovely you are.
  9.  I love your placid but playful personality and your sweet sensitive nature.
  10. I love every second we have together, you are a joy to be around and my heart feels like it could burst, I couldn't possibly love you anymore, but each day I do.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What's the best fruit?

Free fruit!

For the last week we have been picking blackberries off of our Brambles everyday, only a few at a time but it was really exciting for us being able to do this. I may have said a few times previously but apart from our parents house's we have only lived in apartments, so having a garden is still very novel for us. We have lived here for eleven months now so every week we notice a real change in the garden, something that we have never seen before, this past year has been amazing and eye opening.

In our garden we have two plum trees, and an apple tree. I have always hated brambles and cut them out when I saw them but over the winter Gary has been training them to run up the side of our garden. I thought he was mad, I didn't get why he was doing it, but it clicked last week. The brambles were full of blackberries! We have been picking them off everyday and then putting them in a tub in the freezer so we (Gary) can make an apple and blackberry pie once the apples are ready.

Today has been a warm day so I suggested that we go on a walk to get some fresh air. We walked over the recreation field behind our house which was being set up for a waterways festival soon, and then onto the canal path. There were more narrow boats along the canal than I had ever seen on their before, it was a lovely site, and even more special for me as it is one of my dreams to live on a narrow boat, such a simple care free life. Whilst we walked, we talked about what our boat would be like when we win the Euro Millions, notice how I say when, I like to be positive!

Once the canal changed from having houses backing onto it, to being more rural with rough hedges all along it Gary noticed blackberries, we couldn't help ourselves and picked off the ones that were ready. We were really pleased at our find, and carried on walking. All along the path we kept finding big juicy blackberries which we stored in the hood of the pushchair which made Zane very curious. After getting really stuck in, Gary was risking life and limb to get the fattest ones high up, we were going to such lengths to get them and they were only blackberries! We couldn't believe how many we got, the hood was full when we decided to turn back. We must have had about half a kilo's. It was amazing that such a simple, free activity was so pleasurable, and I think the key to happiness is appreciating the small things in life.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Reserved Peronality?

I am currently having counselling sessions for PTSD relating to Zane's birth. I am very interested in psychology so I find the sessions really fascinating and insightful. Today we talked about how siblings can have different personalities and so react to things differently, or perceive things differently. My councillor said that we are born with our personality and temperament, and I was born with a reserved personality. So what do you think, do I look like I have had a reserved personality since birth?

Me with my Dad and two big brother on holiday, most probably Weymouth or Paignton.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Developmental Leaps

So Zane is now 19 months old and he seems to be going through another developmental leap, or a wonder week. These developmental leaps come at predictable times throughout the first few years of a child growing up, and can be when the child's brain is doing a significant amount of processing for a new physical or mental milestone. Mental Development is when the brain grows, adds new functionality, and matures. As it does (in stages, on nature’s schedule) the cranium grows, neurons are added, and successively higher perceptual functions emerge.

Whilst a child is going through a developmental leap they can show many signs such as being more grouchy than usual, being unusually sensitive, increased crying, sleeping patterns change or become disturbed and clinginess. The are many more signs but the could be as individual as your child is.

It is important to fully support your child through a developmental leap, it can be a scary time, they don't understand their emotions or why they are behaving in a certain way so we need to assist as parents to label how they are feeling, which will give them the words to help make the connections, to enable them to communicate how they are feeling in future, and also give them the love and comfort that they need during this period.

I know when Zane is going through a leap because his sleep is very disturbed, he goes off his food, and his speech regresses. Regression is common, the brain is going through a lot of changes and some well honed skills are put on the back burner. When Zane was between 12-13 months he went through his biggest leap so far. He has been able to talk since he was 9 months old and quickly developed a large vocabulary, but just after his first birthday he went from saying around 50 words to 15, and his most common words seemed to be forgotten. It was a worrying time for us, I had started looking into Autism as he was showing a lot of classic signs. Then one day I caught him walking across our front room when I wasn't looking. The little monkey had been walking in secret. Soon after all of his words and more came back to him, he started making eye contact more and he would acknowledge people, point and wave. It would seem his brain was just concentrating on learning to walk and as soon as he had mastered the skill he was back to his usual chatty self.

Developmental leaps typically come at the following intervals, give or take a few weeks.
  • 5 weeks
  • 8 weeks
  • 12 weeks
  • 17 weeks
  • 26 weeks
  • 36 weeks
  • 44 weeks
  • 53 weeks
  • 64 weeks
  • 75 weeks
I have found that being able to predict when these leaps are coming you can prepare yourself mentally and physically before it arrives. If I know its coming it isn't a shock to the system and I don't get the confusion of wondering where my placid, clever little boy has gone, and I can get a few early nights in so that the sleep deprivation isn't so bad when I am waking three times a night.

For me the last few months of leaps have been the hardest, I found parenting pretty easy when Zane was less mobile and less aware of self. Once he hit around 15 months we realised that we needed to handle him in a slightly different way and boundaries needed to be enforced and kept consistent to avoid confusion. Once we got back into our swing of our parenting a toddler it was easier again. It would seem that whilst he is constantly learning and developing, so are we as parents.

So this last week I have found myself sitting on the sofa at 5am necking strong coffee after a rubbish nights sleep with a kicking fidgety toddler in my bed. Whilst I am sitting bleary eyed Zane is running around playing, and wanting to go outside into the garden. It is worth it though, every time he learns a new word or a new skill I burst with pride, I just have to keep repeating the mantra of "this phase will pass", and it does.

Some points of reference which I have found very useful over the past 19 months are This site is very in depth and has been a godsend to me. For our next child I think I will get the book to learn more. This site explains it all in a simple way on one page. Very useful if you are losing your sanity and quickly want to know that what is going on is normal and expected.

Friday, 15 July 2011

How to Strip Cloth Nappies.

I have thought that recently my nappies have started to still smell of ammonia after washing. I have had this before and I adjusted the way that I wash and it got much better, it turned out that I needed to use more detergent and rinse a couple of times after the main wash so that all of the extra bubbles washed out. I have continued to do this but they started to smell again so I needed to take action.

I did some research and I came across stripping. I had heard of this before but never looked into it as I hadn't thought my nappies needed it, but they definitely did now, the smell was putting me off using them. After researching it made sense that stripping my nappies was the best course of action. I have been using them for over a year now, and quite a high proportion of them are preloved so I think it was sensible to strip for general maintenance. As I use a full dose of detergent a build up would be more likely, plus they have been wicking recently.

There are three popular ways of stripping cloth nappies.

The first method is manually cleaning with dishwasher liquid.

* Fill a bath up with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
* Soak all nappies, wipes, liners, boosters, and inserts over-night.
* Scrub the surface of all nappies with a scrubbing brush and neat dishwashing liquid.
* Soak the scrubbed nappies over-night again.
* Wash and rinse all items in the washing machine over and over again until no more bubbles can be seen
* Hang everything on the line to get as much sunshine as possible.

This method is very time consuming but gives brilliant results. It makes the nappies and boosters look like new and they no longer smell. The scrubbing and soaking in the bath gets rid of all of the hidden muck in the nappies that you can't see, so you know that they have had a really thorough clean, the evidence will be in the bottom of the bath.

The second method is using a dishwasher tablet in the washing machine.

* Put all PUL items in the washing machine
* Add 1 dishwasher tablet to the drum of the machine with the nappies
* Set machine to wash items at 60 C on a good wash cycle
* Set machine to do an extra rinse one first cycle has finished
* Hang items on line to expose to sunlight.

This method is good for ease of use and is very simple for someone like me who doesn't want a lot of faff when doing something for the first time. It isn't the best method for stain removal, but it is fantastic for smell busting. This could be a good method if you haven't got much time and are hanging out to dry on a very sunny day, as the UV rays will bleach the stains away.

The last method is a vinegar soak.

* Soak all items not containing PUL in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water over-night.
* Rinse out the vinegar in the washing machine.
* Hang items on the line to dry and expose to sunlight.

This method is excellent for eradicating smells and is also quite good for stain removal. It is also pretty simple to follow, not as simple as a dishwash tablet, but still pretty easy. Vinegar is a natural grease remover which is brilliant for getting rid of a detergent build up, it is also very good for putting in your washing machine on an empty wash to get rid of the excess detergent in your pipes and drum. The downside to this method is that as my stash is mostly pocket nappies and as vinegar can erode the elastic and PUL I couldn't put my whole nappies into the wash, so they are not completely stripped. Something to counteract this would be to use a squirt of washing up liquid in with a PUL wash as it is also a grease remover, but milder than vinegar.

I decided to go with the vinegar method and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. The inserts are very fresh, they don't have any smell at all which is perfect. The only negative that I have is that the method took longer than I thought it would. I started at just before lunch and my machine was still rinsing at 8pm. There were an awful lot of bubbles so that shows how much of a build up there was, and also how well the vinegar was working. The inserts are not as white as I thought they would be, maybe I was a bit too hopeful there, and they are drying on the line now so I will see the end result in a few hours.

I am very pleased that I took the time to strip my nappies, it feels good to know that I am maintaining them and also I know that they are fresher against Zane's bottom. I will definitely do the dishwasher liquid method when I have a lot of time, it seems to produce brilliant results and I would like to know that they have had a really thorough clean.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Review - Real Easy Nappies by Hip Hip Baby!

BabyKind Real nappies Home

I have been sent a nappy from BabyKind to review with Zane. BabyKind are a family run business based in Wales, who supply a wide range of cloth nappies, cloth nappy trials and kits, and offer expert advice. They don't just supply nappies though, they also sell organic toiletries, bandana bibs, clothing and shoes, wool toys, Mooncup, and many more items.

BabyKind sent me a Real Easy Nappy by Hip Hip Baby!, Real Easy Nappies are an All in One/Pocket nappy hybrid. Usually All in Ones aren't the fastest to dry, this nappy though has a pocket and the three layer organic cotton pad inside flaps out to enable efficient washing and quick drying. Sewn into the fleece inner is a microterry soaker pad which is two layers thick, so you have five layers of absorbency! The waterproof outer is very stretchy for a better fit, and also has a comfort leg design which stops chaffing and red marks. You can get nappies with an made of soft polyester cloth, or soft  Minky which is lovely to stroke, both types of outer have anti wicking technology to stop wetness spreading around the edges.

Once the nappy had been washed up to full absorbency we gave it a go. This nappy was the first all in one that I had tried so I am not practiced in stuffing the insert in when it is already attached to the nappy. I found it a bit difficult to get it straight and flat at first as the insert is quite thick and wide, it scrunched up at the front of the nappy, but after taking a little time it was nice and flat, it was a bit like putting your duvet in the quilt cover, you get there quicker with practice. When putting the nappy on it stretched really well over Zane's bum and it was a lovely fit. I was a bit puzzled by the poppers at first as they are diagonal, another first for me, but once they were done up I was very pleased with the fit of the nappy. It fit really nice around his legs and tummy, I felt confident that the nappy would perform well because it was a snug fit and not tight at all. I was amazed at how slim it looked on him, I thought that as the insert was quite thick, and along with the sewn in pad made me think it would be quite bulky, but it wasn't at all.

In terms of absorbency I was amazed again. I never hold much hope for brand new nappies on their first go as they haven't been washed a lot to reach their full potential, but this nappy surpassed all of my expectations. I changed Zane after 4 hours and his bottom was dry, there were no leaks, and no red marks. I can see that these nappies would have great potential to be an option as a night nappy. As you stuff the flip out insert into a pocket there is space for additional boosters, and because the nappy is very slim already it wouldn't add too much bulk.

You can buy Real Easy Nappies from at the very reasonable price of between £10.99 - £12.99 depending on the size of nappy that your baby requires. Their website features a lot of products other than nappies so it is well worth checking it out, you are bound to find something that you like.