Sunday, 5 June 2016

Open Farm Sunday...

I spotted a post about Open Farm Sunday on Facebook and as we had no plans for the day, we decided to pay a visit to our nearest participating farm, Court Farm. I had envisaged a few people pottering round a farmyard looking at cows and sheep but we were treated to so much more! It was immediately obvious that so much hard work had gone into organising the day, the heaving car parking was well thought out and we were handed a program and map on arrival. There were information signs near all the animals so we could engage Honey in discussions and answer some of her questions. 

As well as the animals, we also saw some farm machinery up close and sampled some of the produce stocked in the farm's shop. Honey was fab and tried a range of cheeses, some interestingly flavoured chocolate, spicy crisps and some honey yoghurt. We also bought lunch from the on site burger van who were selling delicious burgers and hot dogs made from meat produced at the farm.

We had a lovely time and the experience was the perfect length to keep Honey interested and engaged. We will definitely be looking out for Open Farm Sunday next year and hope to see some of you down on the farm too!

Honey wears... Turquoise tunic by Mini Club @ Boots




Saturday, 4 June 2016

Go Gadget Go...

Back when Honey was small, I created the Mummy Likes... page to round up my favourite baby buys. They're all still great products but here are some of my top buys/tips that may be appreciated by second time parents:

Sterimar saline spray: It's so much more reliable and doesn't have to be repeatedly pumped like the Calpol version, just be sure to buy the version suitable for newborns. Ace had his first cold at just 2 weeks old so knowing about this was invaluable.

White noise: Whether you use hairdryer/vacuum cleaner, an app (we love Sleep Bug) or a toy like Ewan the Dream Sheep, white noise has a magical, calming effect on babies and usually sends ours off to sleep in seconds.

Bedside crib: As we only have two bedrooms, it's not realistic for Ace to move into another room at 8 weeks like Honey did so for everyone's comfort and safety, we purchased a Chico Next 2 Me crib. It attaches to the side of our bed, providing easy access for feeding, cuddling and nappy changing but can also be zipped up to create a stand alone crib if required. It folds up into a travel bag if you want baby to sleep in a familiar environment when you're away and the ends also move up and down which is great if baby is congested.

Poddle pod: We bought this when Ace had his cold as I'd heard it was designed to make babies feel like they are still being cuddled. Ace napped happily in it right from the start and it helps to have a portable bed downstairs during the day. We have also bought the next size up, which Honey has comandeered for now!

Pyjamas: At 9 months, someone gave us a pair of pyjamas for Honey and I discovered that they were so much easier to deal with during the night! No poppers to fasten wrongly and baby's top half stays warm while you change the bottoms.

Giant muslins: How did I ever manage without these? I use them as blankets, swaddles, to wipe up sick, I even used one to dry Honey off after an impromptu dance in some fountains!

Slings and baby carriers: We have a range of slings which have been invaluable since day 1 this time, in fact I can count the number of times Ace has been in the buggy on one hand! Have a read of our Sling Meet and Vija posts if you want to know more about baby wearing.

Rucksack changing bag: For total hands free slinging. These are usually larger than your average changing bag and leave you able to hold hands with number 1 and carry shopping. 

Buggy Board: If I'm heading into town to try on clothes then baby wearing isn't always the most practical option so having a buggy board helps to keep Honey where I can see her when we're near busy roads and I haven't got a hand free to hold hers!

Activities: Look out for courses and classes suitable for toddlers and newborns, they often offer a price per family rather than per child which helps to make things more affordable. We also started taking Honey to the library a few months before Ace was born so she could get used to the layout ready for when we start taking Ace to Bounce and Rhyme. The idea is that she can occupy herself reading and colouring if she doesn't want to join in with the singing.

Special things: Remember to get some special things for number 2 as well.  I had a dribble bib made to match a gorgeous sling that my colleagues bought us and amongst all his secondhand clothing and equipment, we have also treated him to some new bits and bobs like the fabulous Mama Designs cellular blanket (which I am totally in love with).

There's an ever growing list of baby gadgets and gizmos I can't wait to try with Ace, including the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine (for when we switch to formula in a few months) and Baby nails (to avoid injuring his tiny fingers again, yes again, I've already done it twice) so watch this space for more updates to the list!

Honey wears... Denim shirt dress by Next
Ace wears... Jeans by Mini Club @ Boots





















Please mind the gap...

This post is about the age gap between my two children and why I'm totally in love with it. I'm definitely not saying that people who choose a larger or smaller age gap are wrong, I have no experience of either so can't comment. 

There are two years and 10 month between Honey and Ace and it feels like the most perfect thing ever. Honey is super helpful with things like nappy changing (getting nappies, wipes etc, not actually wiping up poo... Yet). She asks questions about her baby brother and takes in our answers ready to share with anyone who will listen. Lately, she has become a 'baby whisperer' and interprets Ace's different cries then suggests milk/nappy/sleep accordingly, it's the cutest thing! 

There are lots of things that we saved to use again with our second child, Ace has a pink bouncerBumbo and changing mat (not that he's bothered) and he has also re-worn some of the more gender neutral sleep suits and vests bought for Honey when she was small. We put Honey's baby books and toys away well in advance of Ace's birth so that she had time to forget about them and she wouldn't feel like her baby brother was suddenly taking all her stuff away from her!

Honey taught us a lot about being parents, about how to best care for somebody who can't communicate yet and how to help them make their needs known. We used some basic baby sign language (learnt at Sing and Sign class) when Honey was really small and in my opinion, this helped to build her vocabulary and encouraged her to speak at an early age. We also worked hard teaching Honey how to dress and undress herself, put her own shoes and coat on, get herself into her car seat and tidy up after herself so now we have a very independent little girl which helps us out massively when Ace needs our sole attention for feeding, changing or putting in the car. 

Babies are brilliant whenever they come along and every family has their own adventure waiting for them. I'm loving ours and can't wait to share more of our experiences with you all!

Honey wears... Stripy top from H&M
Ace wears... Stripy gro by Bob and Blossom