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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Squidge | 2 year update

Tredegar house on his 2nd birthday

My gosh, 2 years.... 2 YEARS! How is my little 6lb 9oz baby now 2 years old? Oh Squidge, could you please slow down your growth, it's so hard to keep up.

Normally when I do a Squidge update, I'll compare one month to the previous one. This time, I'm comparing year 1 to year 2 (you can see his previous update here).


Fast asleep in the morning

Fast asleep in bed at night

Oh, isn't sleep a mystical creature!  For the most part (I can't believe I'm committing pen to paper with this) he's a good sleeper.  Just recently (the last 3-4 weeks) he's regularly been waking up at night, but not unhappy, just needing the blanket to be put back over him, or needing a little cuddle. The biggest issue has been in getting him to sleep at night. During the day he's become really easy to get to nap, it takes about 10 mins at most and he'll sleep for 1-2 hrs (usually closer to 2). But when it comes to bed time at night, it's taking us between 1-2 hrs to get him to sleep. 

Typically he's not upset or screaming, but shouting for us.  We *have* to go in, as he'll have thrown his dummy/teddy's and blanket out of his cot and simply won't fall asleep without them. It's his way to get us back in his room.  And often, if I put him down, only Daddy will actually be able to settle him and vice versa.  So as a result, it's unusual for our evenings to begin before 9pm.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I treasure every single moment with Squidge, good or bad, and never take a second of it for granted. Would it be nice to have more evening? Yes, but there's time for that when he's older. I didn't have him not to spend any time with him.


Eating breakfast

Last year I talked about him being on the lean side and struggling to get food in him - basically nothing has changed. He's still very lean, and he's still not a great eater. I have a couple meals which I know he'll eat, but I don't like to make them too often as I don't want him to get bored of them. He really likes veg again which is great, he loves broccoli and carrots, especially with a little gravy.
He loves fish, chicken and pasta and of course, chocolate :) Whenever we eat something, he'll look at us making mmmmmh? sounds, wanting a taste, which of course, we always share with him (unless it's something he can't have). 


Lying in the day bed

Yep, still going through that, but his teething symptoms are different now. He'll just be feisty and biting on things, or hard to settle. With a dose of Nurofen he'll turn into a different child as it takes the edge off.  We'll still give teething gel too. I think he's just got one set of molars left to come, maybe 2, it's hard to tell as it's the far back ones.


Blowing bubbles

Well, things have improved since his last update, understandably! He's a proper little chatterbox now! There's lots and lots of words he says really clearly and LOTS of words he only says part of (like bus is 'bu'). His walking and running is great, he doesn't fall over so much anymore, but hey, he's been walking for over a year now. 

His understanding is fantastic, he basically understands everything that's said to him and in front of him. And today he counted to 4 - he was moving little metal cars and counted, one, two, three, four! Totally unprompted :) 

The terrible two's have well and truly hit with daily screeching tantrums and displays of a strong-willed little boy. Also this week has brought on a new word 'okay' he uses it like yes (but he can't say yes yet).  We'll be sitting having dinner, and he'll be saying 'daddy' (as in, he wants to sit on Daddy's lap), so I'll say 'You want to sit on Daddy's lap' and he'll say 'okay'... so cute!

There's a million other things he's doing but my mind fails me right now!


Walking with Grandad Roddy

For TV, he absolutely adores Hey Duggee (yay!), he also really likes Thomas the Tank Engine, Postman Pat and In the Night Garden - they're his staples.  Recently we also had Adventure Time on and he really liked that too.  For films, he's LOVING the Minion film (he loves minions!), he also likes Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Wall-E, and all the Studio Ghibli films.

For toys, he has 2 teddy's in his cot with him, rabbit (which is covered in lint) and baa baa (his sheep). He loves playing with his BRIO and cars, and really likes activities like drawing and sticking (with stickers) oh and playdoh, he LOVES that.

He's had an absolutely cracking year - he's such a good boy, not very naughty. He's only had a couple accidents, one in the bath where he bit right through his tongue (his tongue got embedded on a tooth!) and he also fell and hurt his private parts (which bled... that was only a couple weeks ago). But other than a few colds, he's been absolutely fine.


Monday, 10 October 2016

The Big Hair Do | Ken Picton

Ken Picton

A couple weeks ago I found myself having the pampering of a lifetime. I was sat in a back massage chair while having my hair washed with the most fantastic smelling shampoos (Kerastase) and having a head massage, talk about bliss!

Hair styling

After that, I had my hair styled by an absolutely fantastic stylist.  She started off by putting soft luscious waves in my hair with the straighteners, but since my hair is so heavy she upped the anti with a curling wand which was great as the curls lasted all the next day too :) 

All this happened while I had a cocktail in hand (King of Italy - Prosecco, Amaretto with a sugar cube at the bottom) and delightful canapés. 


After having my hair done (it seriously smelled amazing!), I had my nails painted by the lovely Bianca with Essie nail polish. I went for my classic go-to red 'A list'. 

Self wales blogging tribe selfie
My south wales blogging tribe

The big hair do was a nationwide event which pulled together 100 salons all over the UK to host a pamper evening where consumers, press and bloggers could sample their local salon's services and have a nice evening out. They even put together some pretty impressive goody bags - ours included a GHD paddle brush (this has replaced my old paddle brush and is a gazillion times better!), a full size Essie pro nail polish and some lovely hair care products.

Good bag contents
We had an absolute blast, it was so lovely being pampered and having time to catch up with my local blogging friends and super lovely to experience the Ken Picton salon for the first time. I'll definitely be back soon!
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* The gifts and services were complimentary

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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*Post contains a PR sample

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.
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