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    Baby, Living Arrows

    Living Arrows 2017 // 3/52

    This year I am joining in with What the Redhead Said‘s project Living Arrows which is all about celebrating childhood.

     “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

    -Kahlil Gibran

    Each week I will be posting a picture of Dexter showing what we have been up to or something new he has learnt.

    It has been a very quiet week for us this week, we haven’t been out much at all. However, it has been nice to stay in and let Dexter practise his new skill of crawling which he learnt last week. This week’s photo shows him practising standing. I always like to spend a few minutes a day practising a new skill; in the past we’ve done tummy time, sitting, crawling and now it’s time for standing. I am using the beautiful wooden walker he was given for Christmas by his Uncle Billy. Dexter is able to stand for a few seconds, supported by the handle. In the coming months I hope he will use this gift to take his first steps. After we have done a few minutes of standing practise, I build a tower with the coloured alphabet blocks and let Dexter knock it down. Hours of fun!

     

    Living Arrows

    If you want to take part in Living Arrows, check out the linky here.

    Check out previous weeks installments here.




    BLW, Recipe

    BLW Recipe // Potato Croquettes




    This potato croquettes recipe is another one I came up with to use some of those pesky purees I’ve got in my freezer. Of course, if you don’t have purees stacked away, you can use fresh veggies to make these up. This recipe takes a little longer than my usual ones, but they’re well worth the wait. I made a batch of broccoli and potato croquettes and cauliflower and potato croquettes, enough for us all. They go great with a bit of chicken in a roast dinner or served at lunchtime alongside some carrot batons and some meat. The following recipe makes around seven potato croquettes.

    Potato croquettes recipe perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). Come check out my easy to follow recipe to make delicious and healthy potato croquettes.

    What you’ll need to make potato croquettes:

    1 egg, whisked with a fork

    20g breadcrumbs

    20g cheese

    100g mashed potato

    3 cubes of vegetable puree

    a dash of paprika (optional)

    Potato croquettes recipe perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). Come check out my easy to follow recipe to make delicious and healthy potato croquettes.

    Method

    1. In a bowl add veggie puree (I used broccoli for one batch and cauliflower for another) mashed potato, cheese, breadcrumbs, an egg and any herbs or spices you wish to add.

    2. Combine all ingredients until a sort of dough forms.

    3. Use a table spoon to scoop out some dough and roll in your hands to form a ball. Repeat until all the dough has been used,

    4. Refridgerate the balls for half an hour.

    5. When ready, preheat oven to 180C and bake the croquettes for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

    6. Leave to cool before serving.

    Potato croquettes recipe perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). Come check out my easy to follow recipe to make delicious and healthy potato croquettes.

    These croquettes come out nice and soft and they’re super easy for baby to pick up. I loved how the broccoli ones came out bright green catching his attention on the tray and the cauliflower ones (which I added paprika to) came out a lovely orange colour. Dex liked practising passing the balls from one hand to the other before devouring them!

    Potato croquettes recipe perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). Come check out my easy to follow recipe to make delicious and healthy potato croquettes.

    Let me know if you try these and what baby thought. I love to hear from you guys, so leave me a comment!

    Check out more of my recipes here.




    Baby, Pregnancy

    Gender Disappointment: Is it Normal? Why Am I Feeling It?

    Yesterday marked one year since we had our 20 week scan and found out we were having a baby boy. Up until this point, I had no idea what we were having but deep down, I really wanted a girl. When the sonographer told us it was a boy, I held back tears. How terrible is that? Here was a medical professional telling me I had a healthy baby boy and I was feeling upset. I later learned that this is called gender disappointment.

    Is Gender Disappointment normal?

    I asked some of my friends if they had ever felt the same way and it turns out it is more common than you think. I was told stories of how they were convinced it would be one sex to be told it was another and stories of how they dreamed of having a little girl after multiple boys. Of course, all the women I spoke to told me how ridiculous they felt now, a year later, with their gorgeous healthy babies who they are so grateful for.

    I think a gender disappointment can come from the fear of the unknown. Fear that you will struggle to raise a child of a certain sex. Maybe, you grew up with only brothers and prefer hanging out with guys. It can feel so bewildering to wonder how on earth you will cope with a baby girl. What will you talk about, what games will you play?

    Guilt is the secondary emotion that comes with gender disappointment. All the women I spoke to talked about feeling horrendous that they’d dared to be disappointed when they were carrying a healthy baby. We need to be careful that these emotions don’t turn into perinatal depression and that’s why I think its important to talk about it.

    Gender disappointment is quite common among women who are pregnant. This post aims to examine why women feel it and how to get over it.

    Why don’t we talk about it?

    Gender disappointment is not something that is openly discussed and it doesn’t surprise me. So many couples struggle with infertility or have experienced miscarriages and still births. It feels pretty disrespectful to say that you are disappointed that you are having a girl when really you wanted a boy. After all, aren’t you extremely lucky to be carrying a baby at all? However, gender disappointment is a valid emotion and it is normal to experience  it, especially if you’ve spent weeks dreaming about the beautiful pink theme that you have planned for your nursery. Talking about it will help, whether that’s with your Mum, partner or even your GP. Bottling up emotions and feelings never helped anybody.

    When will it pass?

    For most women I spoke to, it passed pretty quickly. For some women it lasted a few weeks; for some up until birth. But, once that baby was placed in their arms, any negative emotion they may have felt disappeared. Don’t forget nature is on your side. When you go into labour, your body will start releasing something called oxytocin which is the ‘bonding hormone’. This is why we feel such a rush of love when our babies are placed in our arms, no matter what the sex.

    My story

    Although I was so disappointed when I found out I was carrying a boy, I didn’t let it show and didn’t tell anybody. As the weeks wore on, I got more and more used to the idea. I started going out to look at baby boy clothes and toys. I watched films and started relating more to the mother-son relationships.

    At around 27 weeks, I had to go for a growth scan because my fundal height was measuring small. While I was in the room, the sonographer told me the baby was hiccupping. I’d felt these little spasms in my belly before, but hadn’t realised what they were. I suddenly felt a rush of love and was so excited to have my little boy.

    Looking back to my 20 week scan, the sonographer had struggled to show us our baby on the screen because he was so curled up in my pelvis and the whole thing had felt rushed. In addition to this, she had hit my stomach quite hard, multiple times as she tried to get the baby to move.  Not exactly helping the negative emotions I was already feeling.

    This third scan had been a much nicer experience: she had taken her time measuring his body parts and let me watch the screen as she did so. I was also alone in the room for this scan (my husband was in work) and it felt so nice to be able to bond with my baby boy alone.

     

    I believe my feeling of gender disappointment had come from not really understanding how I would be able to bond with a son. I am an only child and didn’t really hang around with boys as a child. I suppose I was looking forward to having a girl so I could do her hair and teach her about make up. As a friend said to me, it’s more likely you will want your baby to be the same sex as you. Typically, men want little boys and women want little girls. What’s crazy though, is that I am more interested in stereotypical male gender things than female ones. I love football, going down the pub and drinking pint (or I did) and I’m crap at doing hair and make up!

    If I have another baby, I won’t be bothered about what the sex is. I understand now that having a boy doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be into male stereotypical things and the same goes for having a girl. I initially wanted a girl so we could share beauty tips, but technically I could have a girl and she could hate anything associated with the female gender! We can’t forget that just because we give birth to one sex, it doesnt necessarily mean that they will choose to identify with traditional gender roles.

    Did you feel gender disappointment when you were pregnant? How did you cope with it?




    Gender disappointment is a very real emotion for so many women and can manifest itself during pregnancy or at birth. This is my story of gender disappointment and how I overcame it. #genderdisappointment

    Living Arrows

    Living Arrows 2017 // 2/52

    This year I am joining in with What the Redhead Said‘s project Living Arrows which is all about celebrating childhood.

     “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

    Each week I will be posting a picture of Dexter showing what we have been up to or something new he has learnt.

     

    This week, Dexter has learnt to crawl. He has been shuffling around for a couple of weeks now, dragging himself along the floor, but now it’s serious. He can now get from his bedroom to the other side of the lounge within a couple of minutes (we live in a flat on one level). So far he has explored the bathroom (he loves the cold floor), both bedrooms, the hall and the lounge/kitchen. He hasn’t found our ensuite bathroom yet, but he’s close. Dex is totally obsessed with the door stops hidden behind each door and examining the hoover which is pretty hilarious because he HATES it when I hoover! I am enjoying letting him have free reign of the floor and exploring his new surroundings. I am forever picking up bits and pieces as we go around, so it’s been a great lesson for me in what not to have lying around with a baby nearby.

     

    Living Arrows

    If you want to take part in Living Arrows, check out the linky here.




    Living Arrows

    Living Arrows 2017 // 1/52

    This year I am going to join in with What the Redhead Said‘s project Living Arrows which is all about celebrating childhood.

     “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

    Each week I will be posting a picture of Dexter showing what we have been up to or something new he has learnt.

     

    This photo was taken in Walton Hall Gardens on 2nd January. It was our first trip out as a family for 2017 and the first time ever my husband carried Dex in the Baby Bjorn. It was a crisp and frosty wintery day, great for blowing off the cobwebs and starting afresh. After this photo was taken we went to a pub for a meal. I love these days you spend as a family enjoying good food and beautiful surroundings.

     

    Living Arrows

    If you want to take part in Living Arrows, check out the linky here.




    Days Out

    Days Out // Walton Hall Gardens





    Walton Hall and its gardens are situated just outside Warrington in the North West of England. Shamefully, I’d never heard of them until yesterday when they were mentioned in a Facebook group as a great place to go for little ones.

    The gardens are open all year round from 8am until dusk- even Christmas Day! As well as the beautiful landscaped gardens, there is a cafe, picnic areas, crazy golf, children’s play areas and a children’s petting zoo.

    The gardens are easy to find by car and are also on a local bus route: the X30 stops outside the Walton Arms pub, a five minute walk away.

     

    Walton Hall Gardens are situated just outside Warrington and provide a fantastic day out for families. Come and read about how to get there and what to do.

     

    The car park costs £2.50 per car (£3.50 on weekends and bank holidays) but entry to the gardens is free.

    We chose a very crisp and frosty bank holiday Monday to visit. It was quite busy without being overwhelming. We used the carrier to take Dex around the gardens, but there are paved paths so a buggy/pram can be used.

    I was most excited about visiting the petting zoo. Dex is becoming more and more aware of his surroundings and I thought it would be nice to show him some real life animals. I wasn’t disappointed. There were goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas and a range of exotic birds. The sun was very low and it was so cold that I don’t think Dex took much in but I loved it! The zoo is pretty small but there’s plenty to see and the kids seemed to love it.

     

    Walton Hall Gardens are situated just outside Warrington and provide a fantastic day out for families. Come and read about how to get there and what to do.

     

    We had a wander around the gardens and over to the Heritage cafe. The cafe serves sandwiches and hot and cold drinks. Unfortunately, there was a rather large queue and the coffee machine appeared to be suffering with some difficulties so we abandoned the idea of sitting in the warm with a coffee. It is worth noting that there are plenty of tables to sit at (including some with couches) and also high chairs available which is great for people with babies (like ourselves). The cafe also takes card payments which is good if you used all of your change on parking.

    The toilets are situated just around the corner from the cafe and include a baby changing area- always good news when you have a baby who chooses to poop at the most inconvenient of times!

    All in all, we had a lovely day out at Walton Hall gardens. It will be lovely to go back when the weather gets a bit warmer and maybe take a picnic to share.




    Have you been to Walton Hall Gardens? What did you think? The Honest Father proposed to his fiancée here a few years ago. Check out the funny story here.

     

    Walton Hall Gardens are situated just outside Warrington and provide a fantastic day out for families. Come and read about how to get there and what to do.

    You can visit their website here. Walton Hall Gardens are situated at:-

    Walton Hall and Gardens,

    Walton Lea Road,

    Higher Walton,

    Warrington, Cheshire,

    WA4 6SN

    BLW, Recipe

    Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Banana and Oat Pancakes





    My pancake recipes have been such a success (especially this sweet potato one) that I thought I’d try a new adaptation: banana oat pancakes.

    Recipe for banana oat pancakes. these pancakes are perfect for baby led weaning. All the ingredients you need to make delicious, tasty BLW pancakes.

    You can read my basic banana pancake recipe here, but this recipe has a few more ingredients.

    What you will need to make these delicious banana oat pancakes:

    1 banana

    2 eggs

    2 tbsp / 30g oatmeal

    1 tbsp peanut butter

    1 tbsp / 15g  flaxseed (optional)

    4 tsp coconut oil

    Method:

    1. In a medium bowl, mash a banana with a fork until it makes a thick paste. The riper the banana, the better.

    2. Crack two eggs into the bowl and combine with the banana until frothy.

    3. Add the oatmeal, peanut butter and flaxseed if using. Thoroughly combine.

    Recipe for banana oat pancakes. these pancakes are perfect for baby led weaning. All the ingredients you need to make delicious, tasty BLW pancakes.

    4. Heat an oil with a teaspoon of oil and ladle in a quarter of the mixture.

    5. Spread the batter out with the back of a spoon so it is quite thin.

    6. After a couple of minutes, flip the pancake and fry on the other side.

    7. Repeat a further three times.

    8. Eat and enjoy!

    Recipe for banana oat pancakes. these pancakes are perfect for baby led weaning. All the ingredients you need to make delicious, tasty BLW pancakes.

    I served these banana oat pancakes on Munchkin White Hot plates so I knew when they were cool enough to serve. These are so soft that they break up as soon as they go in your mouth. Dex loved the taste and ate two of the pancakes while I ate the other two. Of course, you can freeze them or keep them in the fridge for the following day if you wish.

    Let me know if you try them. They are so delicious!

    Recipe for banana oat pancakes. these pancakes are perfect for baby led weaning. All the ingredients you need to make delicious, tasty BLW pancakes.

    Nutrition (per pancake):

    Calories 160

    Fat 10g

    Protein 5g

    Carbs 13g

    Fibre 3g




    Mummy in a Tutu

    Check out some more of my yummy BLW recipes here.

    Review

    Review: Baby Wings Dummy Clip





    Dexter has taken a dummy since he was a couple of weeks old. We found it useful to settle him in those early days, as well as trying to stretch out time inbetween feeds as he got a little older. A lot of people have their opinions of dummies, but they have worked for us, despite causing a couple problems along the way.

    I tried a plethora of different brands with Dex, but he has only ever really taken to MAM dummies. I was given some beautiful dummy clips as a present when he was a newborn, but none of them were MAM compatible, so were never really used.

    When we were given the opportunity to review Baby Wings dummy clips, I jumped at the chance. They are described on their Amazon shop as being a universal fit. I was excited.

    Baby wings dummy clips review. I was excited to receive these baby wings dummy clips to review this week. These universal clips are excellent.

    The biggest problem we have encountered is when I am driving and Dex drops his dummy. Invariably, it lands outside of his reach. Sound familiar? There was one particular unpleasant journey from Liverpool to North Wales where I had to pull over four times to try and retrieve the dummy and pop it back in his mouth. It’s not nice for either of us when he is screaming his head off because he can’t find the blasted thing. It wasn’t exactly safe for me or the other road users either!

    The other problem comes when he drops the dummy when we are out and about and I haven’t brought a spare. Yep, I am not the most organised of Mums, even now, seven months in.

    I was hoping that these Baby Wings dummy clips were going to help solve my problems once and for all.

    The pack Baby Wings dummy clips retails at £6.49 on their Amazon shop and for this price you get three beautifully designed clips. The clips come in three different unisex designs in blue, red, green and white. They are made with polyester so feel very strong and are machine washable, which is great considering how mucky babies seem to get. (Although it is recommended people hand wash them to preserve the life of the clip, and reserve machine washes for deep cleans.)

    Baby wings dummy clips review. I was excited to receive these baby wings dummy clips to review this week. These universal clips are excellent.

    It took me a little while to understand how to undo the clip (baby brain I hope!) and once I’d figured it out I was impressed with the plastic grip. I love that it cannot rust and has no sharp edges. I was also confident that Dex wouldn’t be able to figure out how to unclip it, considering it took me a few minutes to work it out.

    My favourite bit, as already mentioned, is the fact that these clips are universal. I can fit any of my MAM dummies onto them as well as a few other bits and bobs such as his favourite MAM teether and a small pram toy which keeps him entertained in the car.

    Our first trip out in the car to Walton Hall Gardens with the Baby Wings dummy clips was a success. The drive took around 45 minutes and there was no crying from Dex because each time he dropped the dummy, it was in reach for him to pick up. This didn’t stop me getting lost on the journey of course, which is why it took 45 minutes instead of half an hour! But I can only expect so much from a dummy clip…!

    Baby wings dummy clips review. I was excited to receive these baby wings dummy clips to review this week. These universal clips are excellent.

    I’m so happy that we now have these Baby Wings dummy clips in our lives. A lot less stress for me, and a dummy always in reach for Dex. It’s win-win!

    You can purchase Baby Wings dummy clips through their Amazon shop here

    Disclaimer: I received a pack of Baby Wings dummy clips in exchange for writing a review on the blog. All views and opinions are my own and were in no way swayed by the free product.




    BLW, Recipe

    Baby Led Weaning Recipe: Banana and Peanut Butter Oat Cookies





    I had one lonely (very ripe!) banana left in the fruit bowl and was debating what to do with it, when I realised Dex hadn’t tried cookies before. I struggle to make porridge fingers, I don’t know why, they just don’t work for me, so I am always thinking of ingenious ways to incorporate oats into Dexter’s breakfasts without having to spoonfeed him porridge.

    Banana and Peanut Butter Oat Cookies recipe. An easy breakfast or snack to offer for baby led weaning. Healthy and nutritious.

    These banana and peanut butter oat cookies are delicious, soft, and healthy. I didn’t add any sugar to sweeten them and they definitely don’t need it. They come in at 73 calories per cookie, so they’re also a great addition to a lunchbox as a healthy snack. This recipe makes nine cookies, but you can just double the quantities to make more.

    What you will need to make these banana and peanut butter oat cookies:

    1 banana

    60g rolled oats

    3 tbsp peanut butter

    1 egg

    Banana and Peanut Butter Oat Cookies recipe. An easy breakfast or snack to offer for baby led weaning. Healthy and nutritious.

    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 180C

    2. In a bowl, mash a banana with a fork. Crack in an egg and combine. Add in the oats and stir together. Finally, add the peanut butter and mix until a sticky dough is formed.

    3. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and dollop tablespoons of the mixture on to it. Flatten each dollop with the back of your spoon and shape into circles.

    4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cook for longer if you want a crispier cookie, but 12 minutes will suffice for a soft cookie suitable for BLW.

    5. Leave to cool for a few minutes before consuming.

    *




    I let my husband try these before offering to them to Dex. Let’s just say Dex was lucky there were any left for him to have for breakfast! They are soft on the inside and are extremely moreish. I offered Dex three in total and accounting for scraps he probably ate the equivelent of two cookies. He is currently going through the leap 6 and is categorising everything, this meant he turned the cookie around and around in his hands, trying to figure out what it is. He put it to his mouth to take a bite and the cookie broke up. Dex was then able to pick up the smaller bits to consume. A plastic scoop bib in invaluable for collecting bits of dropped cookie so I can pick them back out for him to eat.

    All in all, a huge success! Let me know if you try these delicious banana and peanut butter oat cookies. I’m going to make a big batch of them and freeze for easy access to breakfasts and on the go snacks.

    My friend Kris made these cookies and posted about it on her blog. She also made two videos showing you how to make them!





    Why not have a look at some of my other BLW recipes here?

    If you liked this post then you have to read my guide to the must have products for baby led weaning!

     

    2016

    2016 // Quiz of the Year





    I’d like to thank Sian over at Quite Frankly She Said for tagging me in this 2016 quiz of the year. I’m quickly doing this post before 2016 comes to an end in a mere four hours. I have done an Alphabetical Review of the Year here which you can also read. On with the questions…..

    What was your highlight of 2016?

    My highlight of course is the birth of my son Dexter. He came into this world at 3.07am on 20th May weighing 8lbs 3oz. You can read all about the birth here (if you are that way inclined.) Its been incredible to spend the last seven months watching him grow and develop into his own little person.

    Name one thing you are most likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

    The year of Brexit. I am going to remember how gutted I was when the news came in. Dexter was a month old, sleeping in my arms. I cried. For him, for me, for our country. I hope Dexter will have all the opportunities I had to travel and live freely across Europe despite the result. 2017 will give me the answer to this question.

    Sum up 2016 in one word.

    Changing.

    Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry with you through 2017.

    Let baby lead the way. I’m so glad I chose to do baby led everything. I feel like Dex is such a relaxed and content little baby because of this.

    Do you have any new years resolutions

    Not really because I never stick to them. I am going to resolve to stop banging my head on the light switch dimmer everytime I go behind the cot to pick up the dummies though!

    How are you seeing in the new year?

    We are going to get a takeaway, watch a film and then get in the balcony to watch the fireworks across the Mersey.

    What would you most like to do in 2017?

    Get pregnant, buy a house and go back to work. Not necessarily in that order.

    What are you main goals for 2017

    I wrote a whole post on my goals here but the main one is finishing saving for the deposit for a house.

     

    Thanks again Sian for the tag. I won’t tag anybody else as 2017 is literally here. See you on the other side.