A good deed for Christmas

In the build up to Christmas I always take a few minutes to think about those who are less fortunate. Last year should have been my best ever Christmas. Arthur was born 6 weeks earlier and I was in my own little bubble. It ended up being not as I had planned. 3 weeks before Christmas my mam was taken into hospital and then 1 week before Christmas we found out that her cancer had come back. The day we found this out, our family dog who we had for 14 years had a huge stroke and sadly we had to get her put to sleep.

My mam was discharged from hospital, just in time, and we finally put the Christmas decorations up on Christmas Eve. All of us just wanted it to be over. This year I am going to try so hard to make Christmas special and I’m starting some traditions for Arthur. But at the same time it is out first Christmas without our mam. The thought just kills me.

So, brining me back to the title of this blog…A good deed for Christmas. Every Christmas my mam would donate to charity on behalf of my sister and I. She would always say they need the extra money more than we needed the extra gifts. And she was right. This is something I want to continue and do for Arthur. Of course I’ve got him some presents but now I feel like I’m almost finished, but not quite, buying for him. So I have stopped and donated the rest of the money to St Benedict’s Hospice Christmas Appeal in my mams memory. They did a fantastic job looking after my mam and if I can help 1 other family then I will be a lot happier this Christmas. Because I have donated to the Christmas Appeal they have sent me a card with my mams name on and we are going to their ‘Light Up A Life’ Carol Service on Sunday where the Christmas Tree lights will be switched on.

I have also been getting a lot of messages from friends asking if Arthur wants or needs anything for Christmas. Truth is, he doesn’t. It was his birthday in November and he has ssssooooooo many toys (half he doesn’t play with) and a wardrobe full of brand new clothes. So instead, I have asked them all to donate £5 to the hospice as well. I emailed the hospice to tell them what I was doing and asked them if they could print a certificate for Arthur once all donations have been made. I plan to do this every year and then when Arthur’s old enough and we talk about my mam, I can show him all of his certificates and tell him how he helped.

Here are some other ideas for a good deed at Christmas:

  1. Post a message on Social Media saying you are not sending Christmas Cards out this year and instead donating the money to charity (something else my mam started doing).
  2. When buying your children presents, spend £10 less on them and donate it to charity.
  3. If buying Christmas cards, get them from a charity or select the ones where a % of profits is donated to charity.
  4. Do you know someone down the street with no family and who lives alone? I know I do!!! Why not send them a Christmas card? Or buy them a £2 box of chocolates? Or take them a piece of Christmas Cake? Knock on their door instead of pushing it through the letter box. It will take 2 minutes, cost next to nothing and it will mean the world.
  5. You know your children will be getting lots of new toys for Christmas so why not have a clear out before hand and donate the old toys to a charity? There’s loads of other places you can donate toys too. I give Arthur’s to the hospice. They have a play room for children to go to when they are visiting. It’s such a scary place for a child so a playroom they can go to and be a child again is just amazing.

All of the above are either free, or cost a few pounds. I will be doing everything on the list this year. Who’s in?

Imagine if everyone did 1 good deed this Christmas!

Getting rid of a cold!

 

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Any one who follows my Vlogs or on Instagram and Facebook will know we are having a bit of a tough time. Arthur had Croup over 6 weeks ago and I ended up in A&E twice with him. Ever since he has had a cough and a cold that keeps coming and going. I’ve done pretty well in avoiding it (even though Arthur loves putting his dummy in my mouth) until this week. And my god have I caught it this week.

It started on Saturday when I was at Motorcycle Live in Birmingham. And by Sunday I felt ssssooooooooo rough. Sunday night I went to bed at 8pm and I was still awake at 3.30am coughing. I was actually sick from coughing so much. I took paracetamol, cough medicine, rubbed Viks on my chest and put my head over a steamy bowl of Olbas Oil and NOTHING made me feel any better.

I got up on Monday morning and Arthur was actually a lot better but I felt dreadful. I dropped Arthur off at nursery and I was working from home. Before I started work I tried to get rid of the germs in the house to finally beat this cycle of colds and coughs in the house. Here is what I did:

  1. Used antibacterial wipes on all touch points throughout the house. These included door handles (inside and outside) light switches, plug switches, kitchen doors, taps, oven handles, baby gate. You get the idea.
  2. Cleaned bathrooms from top to bottom. The bathrooms are generally cleaned a few times a week anyway but I was on my hands and knees and scrubbed every inch of every bathroom.
  3. Washed everyone’s bedding. Again!
  4. Washed Arthur cot. He stands up in it and bites it.
  5. Put clean towels, tea towels and hand towels out. Again!
  6. Opened the windows for an hour. It’s surprising what some good fresh air can do.
  7. Cleaned the door handles on steering wheel of the car.
  8. Cleaned the leather couch.

As you can see, I was on a mission. I’ve also been making sure Arthur and I are getting plenty of Vitamin C and drinking lots of water. Every day I am going to continue to walk around with the antibacterial wipes because I still feel awful.

Has anyone else got any ideas of how to beat the winter cough and cold?

Things to do with a 1 year old!

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Entertaining a 12 month old can be quite hard work. In the last 6 weeks Arthur’s had Croup and constant colds and coughs so we’ve been trying to get as much fresh air as possible to try and get rid of all the germs and to (hopefully) help him sleep better on a night.

Here are my top things to do:

  1. Get wrapped up on go for a big walk with Arhur’s trike.

So I wanted to get Arthur a trike for his birthday last week and they were all a fortune. I was looking at the ones with a 5 point harness and comfy seat and a little cover thing for sun/rain protection. Then I saw one in Decathlon for £27.99 and got him a little helmet to go with it. Truth is he absolutely loves it so I’m so glad I didn’t spend a fortune on one. I didn’t think he would sit on it that long but he actually cried when I lifted him off it after an hour! The pictures are on his birthday weekend with his Granda, Uncle Patrick and Auntie Tatie (Katie).

2. Find some free/cheap baby groups.

Chances are your local church hall has a baby/toddler group where they ask for £1 and you get a free cuppa. If nor check your local Sure Start Centre. There’s also an app called ‘Hoop’ that lists all sorts of thing that’s going in in your area.

3. Messy play.

If you value your carpet/flooring you need a big plastic sheet for this. Or alternatively I use Arthur’s paddling/ball pool. I put angel delight/edible paint/homemade slime or anything I can get my hands on and strip Arthur down to his nappy and just let him get messy. This is a great one in summer in the garden too.

4. Fun Shack

You will need paracetamol!!!!

Our local Fun Shack has a soft play area for 0-2 year olds. Arthur would rather be outside but it’s great on a rainy day.

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5. Enrol in some adult and baby swimming lessons.

They don’t need to cost a fortune. I know some companies charge around £150 for 10 lessons but go online and find your local Everyone Active Centre. You sign up and pay 18.75 per month. This works out at approx. £4.30 per lesson and the group I go to is for babies aged 5-36months. Once they get to 36months they will just get moved into the next group. To go swimming on your own is £4 so I think this is really good value for money. Swimming is great for babies and drowning is one of the biggest causes of death in babies and toddlers so it’s a great idea to start swimming lessons ASAP.

6. Arrange a play date!

Talk to another mam every week at baby group? Ask her if she wants to come round for a coffee for an hour. Kids are a lot less work when they have another human the same size as them to play with. They might actually be distracted long enough for you to finish your coffee while it’s still hot.

If you don’t want to invite them over then arrange to meet in a park or at the Fun Shack. A bit of adult conversation now and then makes the day a hell of a lot easier!

 

So there you have it. My favourite things to do with my 12 month old.

What my 1 year old eats in a day!

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I’ve worked really hard to make sure Arthur isn’t a fussy eater. When I first stated weaning him, I only gave him veg puree and refused to give him fruit so he wouldn’t get used to the sweet taste. It worked. He now eats anything. I also refused to give him anything but milk and water. He has NEVER had juice and he got his first taste of cake and chocolate on his 1st birthday and if I’m honest he wasn’t really that fussed about it.

Here is what he had to eat and drink today:

7am – approx. 7oz of whole cows milk

8am – Weetabix with whole cows milk, banana and half a slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter.

10am – half a pear and a drink of water

11.30am – avocado, smoked mackerel, boiled egg and wholemeal bread. Then he had an orange and a few teaspoons of greek yoghurt for pudding along with a bug drink of water.

2.30pm – He usually has a snack at this time but today he slept through because he was up a little earlier this morning and wouldn’t have a nap yesterday. I would usually give him some cucumber/carrot sticks.

4.30pm – chicken, bacon and leek risotto with some cottage cheese mixed in. Broccoli and cauliflower finger food. Then he had a banana and some water.

6.30pm – approx. 7oz of whole cows milk.

 

I always make sure he has lots of fruit and vegetables every day and that he has one portion of oily fish every week. I always try and mix up what sort of meat I give him as well instead of just sticking to chicken and he’s tried every single vegetable that you can but in average supermarket. His evening meal is usually whatever I’m having.

 

Thanks for read

 

ing 🙂

Baby Swimming Lessons

I loved the idea of baby swimming lessons before Arthur was even born. He’s my first baby and I had an image in my head of him being a few days old and taking him swimming. Him lying in his back looking so peaceful and me cooing over him. Turns out I was massively naive and I have absolutely no idea how mams go swimming a few days after giving birth. I’m not sure if you can get adult swim nappies like you can for babies? And even then I don’t think it would do the job.

Anyway, instead I decided to book him his first chapter of swimming lessons for Christmas and they started in the February. By then he was 12 weeks old. In my not so expert opinion, this was a great age to start.

Arthur absolutely LOVED it. I got him a little wetsuit so he wouldn’t be cold even though the company I booked with only use pools suitable for babies meaning the water is quite warm. There were 8 mams and babies in my group, all babies were around the same age as Arthur. We sang songs, splashed about and every mam had a stupid grin on her face watching how much fun our little babies were having.

The lesson lasted half an hour which was perfect. Any longer and the babies would get fed up, tired, hungry and would make the next lesson a not so positive experience. After the lesson, we all headed to the changing rooms to get ourselves and babies dried and dressed. Now this is a nightmare. There were only 2 cubicles which meant we all had to get ready in front of each other. Now this doesn’t really bother me but new mams with post pregnancy bodies can be a tad self conscious. I’m not sure how they could get around this apart from to change venue to somewhere with better changing facilities. There was also nowhere to get the babies ready apart from the floor. The wet floor. Our best bet was to wrap babies in a towel and put them on the floor while we get ready. Then put baby in new dry towel and get them dried and dressed on your knee. If you get baby ready first then chances are you’re going to have to put dry baby back on wet floor while you get ready which, let’s face it, would be counterproductive.

As I’m sure you know when you go swimming you’re always hungry after. The same goes for babies. I was the only breastfeeder in my group so everyone else gave their babies a bottle and were on their way. I used to sit and feed Arthur for about an hour after the lesson finished. So a half an hour lesson turns into a full half a day mission. Apparently babies sleep well after swimming. Arthur didn’t. When he was a baby baby he always refused to sleep during the day apart from when we were in the car and This didn’t change if he’d been swimming or not.

So the 10 lessons finished and I didn’t really want to fork out another £150 (yup that’s £150, not a typo) for another 10. I was a single Mam, on maternity leave with rent and bills to pay. I just couldn’t afford it. I did still continue to take Arthur to our local pool (£4 entry) about once a fortnight to make sure he didn’t forget anything he had been taught.

Then I was talking to another fellow mammy who lives down the street and she told me that Everyone Active Centres do adult and baby swimming lessons for a fraction of the price. Who knew? There’s about 4 Everyone Active Centres within half an hour drive so I quickly phoned them all and managed to get us a space on a Saturday morning at 9am. The lessons are good. Really good in fact but I think you need a bit of confidence being in the water with your baby first which is why I would recommend one chapter of the mega expensive lessons. I’m a confident swimmer but having your baby in the water with you is just a totally new experience. But these are great to move on to. Arthur loves them and we still sing songs and play silly games. It works out at just over £4 per lesson and you pay monthly in advance. You get a free bag and towel when you sign up too! The changing situation is exactly the same but Arthur’s used to it now and lies patiently, wrapped up in a towel on the wet floor while I get ready.

Anyone thinking of taking their baby swimming then go ASAP! The younger they start the less likely they will be to kick off and it’s so worth it!