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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Autumn outfit with Jojo Maman Bébé

Squidge with his trike in his autumn Jojo Maman Bébé outfit

Squidge has recently started to go up into the next size clothes. This means I get to shop for him which I absolutely love. I buy most of his clothes from a combination of John Lewis, Jojo Maman Bébé, Zara, Mothercare and Asda, and in my search for his sized 2-3 A/W16 wardrobe, I’ve managed to pull together some really cute outfits, which over time I’ll be featuring on here.

This time he’s in full Jojo Maman Bébé and I couldn’t love the outfit more!  Just as a caveat I will say that yes, Jojo clothes aren’t cheap (just as John Lewis and Mothercare aren’t), however they are fantastic quality and do last really well.  

Squidge on his trike in his autumn outfit

The only clothes we’ve had any issues with have been the head hole size of the little bird collection in Mothercare - Squidge has a big head and most of the right sized clothes for him in that collection struggle to go over his head and some of the quality of the Zara baby clothes haven’t been great (prints wearing away, thin quality t-shirts and sharp bits poking out of snap fasteners (yeah… might have to stop shopping there after reading that).

Squidge running with a branch in his autumn outfit

For his outfit I picked the gorgeous fox leggings (£10) (I’ve bought him loads of leggings in the past from places like Zara but they’ve also been baggy on him as he’s very slight). I love the quality of these, they’re really thick and warm, and also really stretchy, they fit around his nappy perfectly too.

His top is also from their A/W16 collection and features a London bus (£15*) (he LOVES busses!) – again it’s lovely quality, warm, quite thick but not too thick. In the current Autumn weather I’d have him in a short-sleeved vest underneath (he’s still in vests, not giving up that for a while).

Squidge sitting down and playing with his toys

I paired up the outfit with his Jojo Maman Bébé wellies – I’ve been buying him these since he could walk, this is his third pair – I absolutely love them! They’re great quality and IMO, not crazy expensive (£16).

Isn't this just the perfect little outfit for Autumn? <3
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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

5 tips to get your toddler to eat

Squidge is by no means a good eater, far from it. But recently I’ve been trying some new things and had some success, so I thought I’d share my tips for getting your toddler to eat.  Of course there’s a massive caveat on this, that what works for Squidge, might not work for your toddler. But if you’re like me and willing to try some different things, it can’t hurt to give it a go.

Experiment with shapes

Toddlers like things to remain the same… within reason. If you’ve always cut carrots into batons and suddenly change to discs, you’re likely to incur a full on toddler meltdown.  It goes back to caveman times – they know what to trust, and suddenly if it’s a different shape, they can’t trust it.  However, toddlers do also like fun!

Make cookie cutters your new best friend

Oh my gosh, this was a revelation to me! I had the idea one day to use the smallest star from a cookie cutter set to cut Squidge’s sandwiches up – the result, he loved it!  It does seem wasteful as there’s lots of sandwich you’ll throw away, but before doing this, he’d take 1-2 bites of a sandwich and that’s it, so it’d all end up being thrown away, this way he’s eating at least half of it, so actually less wasteful.

I experimented by getting some other shaped cookie cutters and it worked really well. Now he regularly has little star and flower shaped sandwiches/toast/cucumber etc and loves it – he eats more than he used to, and more variety, thanks to it being in fun and appealing shapes.

Try egg shapers!

Ok, I’ll admit I haven’t tried this yet, but I have ordered them from Amazon. They’re little moulds that you put a raw egg into, seal it up and then boil it. The egg then takes on the shape of the mould to something cute like a bunny or car.

Think bitesize

Another mistake I made was not cutting things up small enough. Food became daunting and would make him not interested in it. A sandwich cut into quarters was still too big, so I started making things more bitesize. Toast is cut into 2cm squares, sandwiches are tiny flowers, everything is bitesize. As a result, he eats lots more and can graze on it.

Experiment with texture

Don’t be afraid to experiment with texture, but on a small toddler-sized-mouth scale. Squidge really likes the Annabel Karmel pasta shells, they’re small and easy to swallow but still taste like pasta. I make it up with some finely grated cheese, and either some double cream or garlic and herb Philadelphia, some poached salmon and some boiled bits of broccoli and it’s one of his favourite meals. I don’t make it for him often as I don’t want him to get bored of it, but he’ll usually eat it all. It’s a great way to get a few extra calories in him too with the addition of the double cream.

I hope these tips work for you, let me know if you give any of them a try, and feel free to leave a comment below with your tips :)

Monday, 22 August 2016

Why you should ignore the Tots100 scores

tots100 screenshot

I see a lot of people getting upset or ebullient when the tots100 rankings get updated each month, I used to be one of them.

My old blog, Makeup-Pixi3 has been as high as 202, but you know what? It means nothing. I currently have 3 blogs, this one and 2 that are inactive. You’d be surprised just how well the inactive blogs rank in the Tots100, even my blog that hasn’t been updated in over a year and gets almost no daily views!

In the August 2016 charts, this is how they fared…

Tots score = #343
Hasn’t been updated in 2 months
Gets about 250 views a day to various posts that do ok on SEO

Tots score = #754
Hasn’t been updated in over a year
Not on it’s own domain (.blogspot)
Almost no daily views (less than 10)

Tots score = #665
Posts regularly
Similar views to Makeup-Pixi3

Each of my blogs on Tots100 has the same social media links, so they link off to Instagram (about 1200 followers), Pinterest (nearly 30k followers), Twitter (6k followers), YouTube (just over 1000 followers, inactive, not uploaded in over a year).

It seems so silly that mummy-pixie is ranked #754 out of over 20,000 parenting blogs in the UK, yet it hasn’t been updated in over a year and no one reads it. I know bloggers who post great content several times a week and rank worse than that, they have a decent DA, good social metrics.

So please, when you see your rank go down, or not do as well as you'd like, just remember how silly it all is.  If an inactive blog can rank really well when it hasn't been updated in a very long time, you know the algorithm is very silly. Just keep blogging about what you love and putting the same great content out there.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Natural birth | Life after an epidural

Mummy and Squidge's first photo
Before you have a baby the Drs and midwives talk through your pain relief options as part of your birth plan, you don't have to decide what you want, but it's good to have an idea and prepare yourself mentally.

I'd always been adamant I was going to have a completely natural birth with no pain relief, if my mum could do it, so could I.  But as the pregnancy progressed and with all my health issues (gestational diabetes, asthma, supra ventricular tachycardia, underactive thyroid...) we realised that towards the end of my pregnancy, I was going to be induced.

Typically women who are induced are in labour (the whole process) for a lot longer, so I knew to do this without any pain relief would be crazy, but I was going to try my best.  Well, on the Friday (day 1 of induction) I had some co-codamol, but that's it - I'd been having regular contractions but in dilatation hadn't progressed.

This is the only pain relief I had until I was put on the drip about 7pm on the Sunday night.  After dealing with some pretty awfully painful contractions I asked for gas and air.  This really helped - I was off with the fairies when I was having it, but it didn't stop the pain.  So then I asked for pethidine... this really was amazing.  It gave me my first bit of proper sleep since Thursday night, and boy did I need it!

Later that evening as the pethidine wore off, I asked for an epidural. I knew the risks, they'd been clearly explained, but I didn't care, I knew I was a long way off (only about 2-3cm at this point) and completely exhausted after 3 days of this.  The epidural seemed to go well, but to be honest, it's all a bit of a blur.

At 3:48pm the next day, Squidge was born via venteuse delivery. I remember one of my proudest moments ever was being wheeled from the delivery suite down to the ward with Squidge on my chest. I felt like the proudest person ever, I did it, I gave birth to this perfect little boy. He was lying on my chest looking up at me, nothing could have been more perfect.

Now it's 22 months later, he's a thriving intelligent little boy who does all the normal toddler things like refusing to eat, throwing tantrums because he has paint on his hands. And me? Well I'm trying to lose the weight I've gained since having him, I'm battling pretty severe back pain but all in all I'm ok.

There is one symptom I still have though, something apparently caused by the epidural. That's loss of sensitivity in my bladder. I've had no 'accidents' or anything like that, no leakage, but I only get the 'I have to wee' feeling when my bladder is really full, and if I'm sat down, I don't get it at all. It's not something I ever thought about, not something I thought was even possible. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot that could have gone wrong and I'm truly grateful that I'm a pretty normal functioning person, I guess I just didn't expect to be feeling the side effects of the epidural this far down the line.

Did you have any long-term side effects from your epidural? And if you did, would you have one again?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Potty training a-go-go

A smiling Squidge

Sunday was a special day.

We spent the day playing in the sand at Barry Island beach, Squidge jumping with the waves in the sea with Daddy while I look on. We had friends over in the evening while we sat in the garden with the outside lights on and eating pizza. It was a great day.

But that’s not why it was special. 

When we got home from the beach, we all needed a bath/shower. We started with Squidge, he had his usual play and usual screaming fit when we wash the soap off his hair. I then wrapped him up in a towel and we want and sat in front of the TV all snuggled up while we watched some Postman Pat. I said to Squidge ‘tell me if you need a wee wee and I’ll put a nappy on you’ – he didn’t respond.  A few mins later I put one on him anyway, and bundled him back up and cwtched him like a baby for about 15 mins while Daddy had a shower.

Daddy came down, swapped and I had a shower.

Then about 15 mins after I came back down, Squidge stands up and says ‘wee wee’ (it’s not unusual for him to say this). Then he said potty, grabbed his potty and sat on it (fully clothed). We said ‘you want to wee on your potty?’, he nodded, so we took his dungarees off, and then his vest (he also insisted on having his socks off! lol). He then sat down on the potty, concentrated and had a wee!!!!! We were amazed (as was he!), what a clever boy!

At 22 months old, he told us he needed a wee, got his potty out, sat on it and had a wee! We were so incredibly proud and amazed. I know this is just the beginning, and he might not want to do it again for a while, but it looks like he’s telling us he’s ready for potty training, so wish us luck!
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