Britmums Live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

I wasn’t really intending to go to Britmums Live 2016 this year. With a 9 month old baby that’s just starting to cruise furniture and speed crawling, it felt like he was a bit too young to leave. A lovely opportunity presented itself and after a bit of back and to, it was decided I would grace lovely London and catch up with all things blogging. I absolutely love London, having worked there for a number of years, and I get very wistful for it whenever I visit. It is still just as amazing and fabulous as ever and although we would never really bring our kids up there as our entire family is up North, it is such a fantastic place to visit and it always reminds me I should come much more often.

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016

Britmums Live 2016 was just as crazy busy as ever. It had a different format for the very first time but I’ve previously always gone for one day only so it didn’t make much difference to me. This is my third one now so I’d prepared myself for how intense it would be. It’s always really overwhelming for the first half hour when you’re presented with a whole sea of bloggers and everyone is talking at breakneck speed and hugging. You soon get swept away in it all and eventually calm down when you see your blogging buddies and start to become a bit more confident for the day ahead. There is just SO much hugging and meeting new people and I love that. I wrote a whole post about things that happen at blogger conferences and, if you’ve never been then you can have a peek here. I don’t know about anyone else, but with me, there is always that one blogger I absolutely love but end up walking straight past them from just pure nerves. I have done that to one particular blogger two years in a row. This year I kicked myself for doing it. If I see them again I am totally rugby tackling them and saying how much I love their writing. I’ve also been the blogger who has stared a bit too long at someone with admiration. Sorry.

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I was sponsored by Johnson’s this year and they had a very knowledgeable team that had flown over from the States and France to answer any questions people had about their products, as well as just to give people a bit more background on what happens behind the scenes. We are huge Johnson’s fans, as is Baby E, who will joyfully try to put every single baby wipe into mouth, looking very much like a pleased little puppy. I’ve never given much thought to how things like wipes are even created. I just trust Johnson’s make reliable baby products and well, that’s it. So it was really interesting to learn about the sheer time and effort that goes into making products for babies and the rigorous processes that have to be followed to ensure everything is of a high standard and completely safe for what is their most precious demographic; babies. Did you know, on average, it takes about 24 months to create a product from design? There are stringent health and safety and testing processes too, one of which includes making sure that the products are tested against approximately 80 allergens. Then there’s a whole science behind making sure the product scents are right for babies and are not overpowering or clash in any way. I hadn’t realised Johnson’s work with health care professionals such as midwives, but it does make total sense for a company that works so closely with babies. I learnt so much about something I usually take for granted . I’ve never heard the words “wipe technology” before but it showed how much importance and passion the company put on something that comes across as such a straight forward product.

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I spotted their new washcloth product on their stall and it’s something I am going to try out. They are washcloths that can be used without water and ideal for in between baths. They are larger than the usual wipes that we have seen on the market and look ideal for when we’re out and about, especially right now where my baby led weaning baby likes to get very very messy.

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When it comes to going to the break out sessions, I always always want to go to two things that clash with each other and that’s one of the downsides of these types of events. But then I’m not sure how else you’d cram so much into one day. I loved Charly’s photography session (from PodcastDove). It’s so nice just to sit and take it and appreciate the amazing photos that passionate photographers take. I think it injects a lot of enthusiasm in nervous amateurs and makes me want to drive both my boys about and then become very trigger happy. My Little Z is like most 5 years olds and loves pulling faces at the camera so I’m going to experiment with shooting in continuous mode so that I can capture that split second where he’s genuinely laughing. The baby isn’t too hard to photograph right now but I know that’ll get more challenging as time goes on. YouTube collaboration was really interesting. I am not the best vlogger and my channel has 3 lonely videos right now. I have good intentions but not much time right now with the crawling baby. It’s definitely something I will ponder about though. Basically, the point of the whole thing was that collaboration really does bring you a lot of traffic, you should definitely consider it!

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Britmums live 2016

Britmums live 2016 3

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All in all it was a hectic but wonderful day. It is just so good to see everyone and its always been far too long. I took away some good tips that I need to sit and remember to implement. It also reminded me why I love my blog and has given me the little boost I needed right now where I’m struggling to juggle it all with a new baby. I now just need more hours in the day which I’m hoping will come soon….ish!

* Blog post sponsored by the JOHNSON’S brand. The JOHNSON’S brand paid for me to be able to attend Britmums and also provided samples but all opinions are my own.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Baby E at 9 months old

The baby is the grand old age of 9 months now and, like every single month, I wonder how it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. We now have a baby who is a total koala bear cling on and has realised his parents can leave him and walk away. Everything is a bit uncertain to him all over again and you can see in his face he thinks twice before going to someone. He’s still very much the charmer and will hold his hand out to total strangers so that he can stroke their cheeks. Not many are safe, and most melt instantly. You can see their broodiness hit the roof instantly, man or woman, as they lean in to let him. They then attempt to hold him which goes well for all of two seconds before he realises he’s not in his parents arms anymore and freaks out. I predict it’ll be another month or so before he’s confident enough to go to others again.

We have a little cruiser on our hands who will cruise any piece of furniture to get to food. This baby is the total opposite to his big brother and absolutely loves food. He will swipe his brothers food quite regularly. Not that the older brother cares too much. It means we’ve been a bit more adventurous with baby led weaning and tried a lot more things than we did with Little Z at that age. Where his brother is a chatterbox that loves attention, this baby loves his own space a lot more and isn’t too fussed with big groups of people. I think we have two very different characters on our hands and we can sometimes see myself and the Other Half in them respectively.

I’m hoping the cruising goes on for at least a couple more months. So far, he’s not braved letting go and toddling off but, at this rate, he might be walking before his birthday. Which is when it all changes again!

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Photalife

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

BREXIT – 8 Reasons why we shouldn’t leave the EU

1. Leaving the EU won’t “solve our immigration problem”.

More migrants come to the UK from outside the EU than they do from inside the EU. The government has had a number of years to control the borders when it comes to non EU migrants. Brexiters keep saying we need to take control of our borders but if the government isn’t able to clamp down on the numbers coming from outside the EU, what makes them think they will have success with the EU ones?

Where are migrants flocking from to Britain

This is from 2015 and taken from this article. You can read more about that here.

Here’s another view. You can see that migrants from the EU form about a 3rd of the total. Leaving the EU will transfer camps like Calais to Dover. That’s a huge cost in itself.

Migration to Britain

2. We actually need immigrants. And their money.
One of the reasons that the government hasn’t cracked down on migration is because they bring in a LOT of money. Migrants from the EU alone have contributed £4.96bn to the economy which is more than they have taken out. There has been criticism that our public services are suffering. However, the budgets on investing into our public services are determined by our government, not the EU. The Brexit campain keeps focusing on the pressures on our schools, surgeries and hospitals. All the cuts to those budgets have come year on year as part of our austerity and recession programmes. It is not something dictated to us by the EU.

3. If we leave the EU, we will STILL have to pay a fee to the EU to use the single market.
A lot of people keep saying “If we leave the EU, we will turn into Norway”. Norway isn’t part of the EU but they have to pay a substantial fee to the EU to make use of some of the trade routes that are controlled by the EU. The amounts are similar to what Britain currently pays. They basically end up paying, without much say. Us leaving the EU will put us in a very similar situation.

4. The money we save by leaving the EU has not been promised to the NHS.
Brexit campaign leaders keep using this as a huge golden carrot. There is even an advert showing a poorly old lady waiting in a huge waiting room full of pesky foreigners. Of course the money could be directed to the NHS but no-one can promise this. The people who keep saying this include Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage. None of these people are in charge of our country. It is all just theory. Given that we’d still have to pay the EU a fee, a la Norway, there isn’t actually any money to be saved.

5. 3 million jobs will be at risk
There are currently 3 million jobs attached to the EU trade that will be at risk if we leave the EU. There are 0 plans to combat this currently. Some Brexiters think it is a small price to pay for our long term gain but there are no long term gains documented either. There has not been one debate or speech outlining what the plans are for those that are at risk.

6. Protection laws may be subject to change.
There are lot of laws that govern Britain that come from the EU. One of the biggest include Health and Safety directives within the workplace. The government has in the past said how it would prefer to make it’s own laws in this are. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we don’t currently know what that would include, what kind of limits it would impose on our working hours and what, if any, advantages / disadvantages we’d see from it.

7. There is NO Brexit plan
If the majority do vote in favour of Brexit then it will take up to two years before it take effect. There is currently NO Brexit plan. At all. Hundreds of areas need to have very detailed handover and transitions and it would require a bit of an army of good people to do it. There is no phased transition. It will literally be in or out. If you picture how long it is taking for the Tories to put in place their way of working from what Labour did then you’ll know we’re now in Year 5 and there is still a massive way to go. There is NO way we will do it in 2 years flat.

8. This is is going to affect our future generations.
This is not your bog standard general election type of vote. This is potentially a huge change for all of and generations to come. There are countries such as Switzerland that are not part of the EU but have negotiated for over 8 years to come to an agreement with what they can and can’t get from the EU. Being part of the EU has being an integral part of our society and lives and they are not just a body that sits taking money from us bully boy style. Granted, there are massive improvements that need to be made and the leaders that be need to sit down, like Margaret Thatcher did (where she successfully negotiated a huge rebate for us) and sort of the issues that need sorting. Threatening to just leave and go at it alone won’t help anyone in the long term.

Sources and References
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12176663/EU-Facts-how-much-does-Britain-pay-to-the-EU-budget.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12173888/Michael-Howard-David-Camerons-reform-bid-has-failed-its-time-to-go.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11622718/Immigration-nation-where-are-the-Britains-migrants-coming-from-and-why.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11619276/Yet-more-promises-and-new-laws-wont-solve-Britains-problem-with-immigration.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29910497

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/19/how-does-the-eu-impinge-on-british-sovereignty-and-if-the-uk-vot/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/04/21/what-would-brexit-mean-for-european-security/

5 year olds and birthday cakes

It’s been back to school this week and Little Z has skipped happily back to school in the sunshine. It has been a glorious week for the most part with some thunderstorms chucked in. Weirdly, we had very little rain until the end of the week and so it’s been SO humid. It’s the one or two days of the year where I wish I had air conditioning in the house so that I could glue myself to it.

I somehow pulled some muscles in my back and kept finding it hard to breathe. Every medical place I rang wanted to send an ambulance and after repeatedly insisting I wasn’t having a heart attack I popped along to urgent care. The NHS is a wonderful thing and the lovely doctors did some scans to rule out any chest infection and confirmed I have indeed done something to my back which was affecting my breathing. Thankfully, a lot of rest this week has sorted most of it out although I still need to be very careful with it.

Little Z has been learning all about the Queens birthday and mistakenly thinks she’s 19 and 90. I started to correct him but then let him believe her Majesty is still a young un. He still thinks she’s really old though, and couldn’t understand why his school were celebrating her birthday with cheese sandwiches and sausage rolls but had not one birthday cake. He has a point.

She's 19?

It’s also Mr Not my year offs birthday today and I had bought a lovely cake a few days in advance with the intention of hiding it until the big day and all of us yelling “surprise” on his birthday eve. Little Z was extremely excited to be let in on the big secret and couldn’t stop touching it. In fact, he was so excited that about 30 seconds of the Other Half coming home that very day, he yelled “Daddy, come and look at your surprise cake!”. So we all enjoyed birthday cake a couple of days early and it was delicious.

Baby E had a valiant attempt at smashing his fist straight into it. Thankfully, he failed but did manage to swipe some from his brothers plate and shove it straight into his mouth at lightning speed. I get the feeling a lot of food will be swiped from Little Zs
plate in time to come.

Birthdays!

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

OneDad3Girls

What can my baby see? (And how much can we sneak about?)

When Little Z was born I was pretty clueless about all things baby and assumed he could see us properly right from when he was a newborn. We spent a lot of time thinking he was smiling up at us and searching us out across a room. “Oh look, he’s looking. Oh look, he’s smiling at me”. That sort of thing. It was only a bit later I found babies can’t actually see that much when they’re born and they rely heavily on their sense of smell and touch in the beginning. Their vision develops as they get older, with their central vision a lot clearer than the periphery vision. I should have known all this, I’m sure I learnt it in biology at school but when you have a cute little baby smiling up you then you’re going to take the credit for it aren’t you?

Did you know? A newborn sees shapes, light and movement, but only in shades of grey.

What can a baby see

What can a baby see

This time round with Baby E we were a bit more knowledgeable and as he’s gotten older he’s been nick named “the little cling on”. He is currently going through separation anxiety to the highest degree and doesn’t like us leaving his sight for even a couple of seconds. We tend to distract him until he’s immersed in some toy or having fun in the jumperoo and then try to quickly sneak off to do that urgent errand very very quickly. Of course he quickly realises that all is not as it should be and, as long as he can’t see anyone, is ok for a bit. It’s when he’s little eagle eyes spot us moving about like quiet ninjas in the kitchen that he screams blue murder until he’s found his glued-onto-hip-koala position again. I had a little fun with this tool and smiled to myself when I found Baby E can actually see quite a lot now that’s almost 9 months old. So really, there is no escape. We wait patiently hoping separation anxiety passes by quickly.

Vision Direct has launched an online tool to show parents what their baby’s sight might be like as he or she grows older. Using the simple interface, parents can quickly shift from a newborn’s first view to the fully developed vision of a 12 month old child. This nifty little tool lets you drag the little icon so that you can see what a baby would see at a particular age.

What can a baby see at 6 months? Did you know: A 6 month old baby can move her eyes quickly to follow moving objects and is beginning to understand object permanence.

What can a baby see at 6 months

What can a baby see at 6 months

At 10 months this will be what Baby E’s vision is like. At 10 months old, a baby’s eyes will be the colour that they’ll stay when she’s grown up; give or take a shade or two.

What can a baby see at 10 months

As you can see, our sneaking about days are very numbered indeed. We are going have to learn more ninja moves to sneak about. Possibly throw in some camouflaged outfits too.

A lovely week in the sunshine

A lovely week

We had vaguely planned to go to the Lake District this week during half term but, as our plans very vague, and the Other Half had to work it didn’t happen and I was slightly worried about how I’d entertain two kids for a whole week all by myself. Granted, the baby doesn’t really care what we do when we go out but the thought of juggling a baby who now wants to crawl everywhere, plus a 5 year old who wants to do something fun permanently was a bit daunting and I wasn’t too sure how to fill our days.

It turned out to be a fun filled week with walks out in the sunshine, trips to the cinema, trips to see grandma and grandad, trips to collect germs at soft play and trips to eat our favourite foods. Routine went flying out the window in about 2 nano seconds but the sunshine was just too lovely and it’s been odd to see it hang about the North for so long, whilst it’s rained in the South. Obviously, I’m not complaining. By Friday we were a bit exhausted by all the fun and ended up having a very lazy day just lounging about in the garden and later lounging about in our favourite fish and chip restaurant. We need to get back on track with routine rather quickly now and I can’t believe we’re now entering the last long stretch of school before the summer holidays start. I am so looking forward to those 6 weeks. I have no clue how to entertain two kids for that long but there will be a fair amount of “winging it”. We’re also driving up to Scotland in August and I cannot wait. Hurry up holidays!

A lovely week

A lovely week

Photalife

Half term and when I met Darth Vader

Half term and when I met Darth Vader

Half term is here and the sun has come out! We have no last minute holiday plans this time as the Other Half has to work. Boo hiss! So, instead, we have days our planned for most of the week and some much needed lounging about scheduled in. It feels like it’s come around really quickly this time but our Easter holidays were so late this year that I think that’s why. Not that I’m complaining. Any school holiday is welcome in our house. Little Z has had a good term and his reading and writing is coming on nicely. He is now writing in sentences and in dreaded cursive. It takes some concentrating to read what he’s read as the tails on all his letters are quite extravagant but I’m hoping they calm themselves a bit by the end of the year. He’s also learnt how to repeatedly run across the playground and finish by skidding on his knees, Dirty dancing finale dance style. I was very much hoping to keep his last two pairs of good trousers going for a few more weeks but there are more new trousers in our destiny for this school year. How is his reception year almost finished? I can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly. And what a transformation in just a few months.

The baby has decided to stop sleeping for a few hours each night and seems to be showing signs of teething all over again. We have 0 teeth so far so I’m hoping this means some will start popping out soon but I’ve been told it can take up to two years for even the first ones to make a show. CBeebies is helping us in the early hours when he’s very ratty and I’m developing a love / hate relationship with Duggee from Hey Duggee. Right now, I would happily smash his banjo to smithereen and then explain I’ve not slept very well the last week. I’m sure he’d understand. The poor husband is trying to slot in a lot of late hours of working too so we’re all looking a bit bleary eyed.

Despite our zombie like state, we popped out to wander about the Trafford centre today and to catch the big Optimus Prime truck, which was there for one day only. We were very excited to find a lot of the baddies from Star Wars had popped by too and we’re raising money for the Manchester children’s hospital. I’m not sure if they were on some kind of intergalactic community service but we went slightly trigger happy taking photos of them all. Little Z looked ever so slightly bored. I met Darth Vader, on the other hand and I think it was the highlight of my afternoon!

Darth vader

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

OneDad3Girls

When the second baby is in a huge rush

My mum always told me stories of how my brother, who’s 18 months younger than me, started walking when he was 8 months old. Apparently, he would watch me and wanted to follow very quickly. I always thought she was exaggerating. Until now. 
This week Baby E has tried to stand up whilst playing in his new toy car. He’s just about hit the 8 month mark and seems to be in a huge rush. Not content with his new found crawling skills, he’s now trying to stand up at every given opportunity and, at the moment, mostly manages to lean up firmly on his knees. I now think he may be walking within the next couple of months and all of a sudden I don’t feel ready.  

Little Z didn’t walk until he was 13 months old and, back then, it was me that was in a hurry to reach this huge milestone. It would look so cute, a little baby learning to toddle with a huge smile plastered across his face, landing on their nappy bums. Then getting up and trying again until they became more and more confident in their abilities. What you don’t anticipate is that they turn into little hurricanes that destroy everything at shin level.  
This time I’m in no rush at all. It feels way too soon and like my little baby is trying to catch up to his big brother at the speed of light. The crawling stage is tiring but so lovely to watch. All the new and wide eyed exploring and the unique way in which every baby learns to move about. In the case of Baby E I think we may speed through the stages straight to toddling. Things are already being moved higher and higher in anticipation of the next big stage. When he’ll be officially known as a toddler. I am very tempted to hide any toys with a bit of height away to stave off the attempts to stand at least for a little bit. So that he (and I!) can enjoy the crawling stage just a little bit longer.  
  

Photalife