Olivia | 21 Months

Wow…it has been FAR too long since I last did an update about Olivia. Can you believe she is almost 2? It seems just like yesterday that I was announcing I was pregnant with her!

As said in the title, Olivia is now 21 months and I swear she has hit the Terrible Two’s a little early. Sometimes she can be a really loving and affectionate little girl but if she is not in the mood, boy will she tell you! She can throw the most crazy tantrum and her screeches are deafening!

However, when she is a calm and not being a pain, she is so lovely. She adores her brother – always asking for him when he is at school. Since I last updated you, she has started attending a playgroup once a week which she absolutely adores – she loves meeting up with all of her little friends, playing some games, doing some activities, eating her snacks and singing some songs.

How is she getting on with her milestones? We’ve started potty training her but letting her take the lead. She is now more often than not telling us when she needs to go so we try to get her to the potty before it happens. We’re not too stressed though – she’s still very young.

She’s got plenty of teeth now – she had none for ages and they all seem to have now sprung out of nowhere! She is also saying quite a few words now: Mummy, Daddy, Jack, Nanny, Water, Cake, Peppa, Po (from the Teletubbies), Apple, Baby, Okay, Thank You. She also says Please as Peas and You’re Welcome as You’re Waddle which is hilarious!

She has her loves and she particularly loves Teletubbies at the moment plus Ben and Holly and Peppa (as always!). She has developed an obsession with the film Frozen and has a real liking for a couple of Jack’s friends which is really cute. She is very independent, often stubborn and really knows her own mind.

She is most certainly a whirlwind and I know she’s going to be a right handful as she gets older as she is so strong minded now! She is adorable though and I love spending my days with her, especially when it is just me and her once Steve has gone to work and Jack is at school. I also love our days out as a family as she is really starting to ‘get’ things and enjoy herself more. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring.

The Merits Of Having A Bouncy Castle At Your Party

With Jack’s seventh birthday rapidly approaching, you can bet we are thinking of party options. We’ve done the big class party, we’ve done the little party with just a selection of his classmates and we’ve done the even smaller party with just three of his closest friends and he honestly couldn’t tell you which was his favourite.

Trying to find something to do this year that is both affordable and fun for the kids is key. We still haven’t worked out what we are doing for his birthday – will we be opting for the whole class being invited like two years ago or will we be choosing just a selection for something fun? Either way, we need to come to a decision soon.

Something I’ve seen a lot more recently at his friend’s parties is bouncy castles. Whether in the height of summer and outside or in the middle of winter in a sports hall, they seem to be growing in popularity – and Jack and his friends find them incredibly fun! There are companies out there that hire them out for such events such as Bounce Back Castles with so many different varieties of castle available to book – I didn’t realise there were so many to choose from!

But what exactly are the benefits of having a bouncy castle at your party?

They’re fun

It cannot be denied that kids absolutely adore bouncy castles. Jack would never get off them if given the chance. Him and his friends are always bouncing around on them and hate having to get off. Whether they are the main attraction at your party or an added extra to other activities, a bouncy castle is sure to be a very popular choice with party guests.

Amy Shamblen

They’re an affordable piece of entertainment

With so many varieties of castles available for hire, you’re bound to find the right one for your needs at the right kind of price. We all have set budgets for our childrens parties – and we don’t want to go over it! If you want something affordable that will definitely be in constant use, why wouldn’t you opt for a bouncy castle?

The entertainment factor is long term

As I mentioned, Jack would never get off if we didn’t make him! Castles will be in constant use throughout the party if you allow the children to do so – so the entertainment factor really is long term. One of our local pubs has a bouncy castle out in the summer – especially on the last day of term where we have a sort of picnic party on the local common, across from the pub. The castle is in constant use from everyone getting there around 1pm – and I’ve seen children still using it past 7pm – can you think of other party entertainment that has the fun factor for that long?

Think of the exercise

You may not think about it but all that jumping has got to be having a positive effect on your child’s health! They’re constantly jumping, running and trying to keep their balance. Some inflatables are suitable for adults as well as children so you can have a bounce too!

It eases the stress

Even if you have other activities going on alongside the bouncy castle, it is a relatively stress free piece of entertainment for the kids. Of course, an adult or two need to be around to monitor the children but you don’t have to worry about kids getting bored or causing mayhem – they’re more than likely too busy having fun bouncing around!

A bouncy castle is definitely something we are considering for Jack’s next birthday – we need to get it all sorted very soon. Have you ever had a bouncy castle at your child’s birthday party?

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Back To School with Moj Moj

We were sent this to help us in getting back to school. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

We were recently sent a fantastic back to school bundle to help us get ready to get back to school and to also talk about our dreams and aspirations for the year ahead. Jack has one dream for the year ahead – and it is something that we have already seen in practice in his classroom – he wants to learn more to do with history.

My child is a proper little history buff and has spent the summer watching Horrible Histories on Netflix and reading his Horrible Histories books. He’s decided his ‘superpower’ in class is History as it is something he loves learning about and he already knows a lot.

Jack got sent a lovely variety of options -some aren’t really his thing such as the bow which he is passing on to his sister but it was such a lovely selection to get him ready for back to school.

Now if you don’t know about Moj Moj, they retail at £3.99 at Smyths. They are super squishy characters who are a lot of fun. They have fun, collectible themes and seeing as Jack loves squishy toys, were the perfect gift for him as he geared up to get back to school.

We received a lovely rucksack, a gorgeous water bottle, a ruler, some erasers, an alarm clock, a bow and of course, some delicious sweets – as well as a few Moj Moj packets for us to open. As we opened, we discussed his hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

History was his main one but he also wishes to continue being good at sports, he wants to still have fun and play with his friends and get to make more friends. All really good hopes and dreams, right?

Moj Moj have over 95 different characters to collect and we were so happy to start our collection with these six fabulous characters – we had three packets and you get two characters in a pack. As you would expect from collectibles such as this, there are rare and ultra characters to collect – will you get them in your pack?

Jack is now settling down into Year 2 quite well and is soon to be starting his after school clubs back up. He would like to say thank you to Moj Moj for his back to school package, he really appreciated it.

Now You Are Going Into Year Two…

Jack,

It doesn’t seem possible you’re now in year two. That you are in the final year of infants school. It seems like just yesterday you were starting nursery at this school yet here you are four years later.

I’ve tried explaining to you that year 2 is going to be a little more structured than previous years – less learning through play – but I don’t think you quite believe me yet. You’ve relished your first piece of home learning – just as you have done every year as you already knew what it would be – decorate your home learning book!

You’ve been enjoying school  lunches – as always, and especially on a Friday – and are still getting used to having your Daddy now working at the school. It must be very strange.

You’ve taken to year 2 since you started a few days ago like a duck to water and can’t wait to learn, it seems. You’ve moved up to level 18 in your reading and when asked what you thought your subject strengths were, said History – I can’t wait to see how you get on with your learning this year. It will be interesting to see what your favourite subject is by the end of it.

I hope year 2 is everything you want it to be – this time next year, you’ll be starting at the junior school!

Love Mummy xx

What Are The Best Baby Apps For New Parents?

Welcoming a new baby into the family is always such a  wonderful and unforgettable experience — but the journey isn’t always easy. Knowing what to do and when to do it to look after your little one can be tricky, especially if you’re a new parent with no prior experience.

There is some help out there though. Just by using your smartphone, you can get advice and guidance on everything to do with being a new parent — from feeding tips to nearby play groups where you can meet other new mums and babies.  Why not check out this guide to the top new parent apps and make life as a new mum or dad that little bit easier?

Ovia Parenting — Baby Tracker

This is a one-stop app for all things ‘new baby’. With the Ovia Parenting app, you can track your child’s development using a checklist, share precious photos of your newborn with your family and friends and you can read new articles on children’s health to keep up-to-date with the latest in children’s welfare.

The tracker is more personal and private than Facebook or Instagram, and new parents love being able to invite friends and family to follow their babies’ updates and videos knowing that privacy is there! You can even get a family calendar where you can log all those key development dates and check-up appointments so everyone knows where to be and when to be there. Being a customisable app, Ovia Parenting can be completely personal to you and your baby. If you’re feeling unsure about anything, you also have the option of asking anonymous questions to a community of other parents and children carers via the app. So handy when you’ve got a wealth of questions to ask.

Sound Sleeper: White Noise

One of the trickiest parts of new parenting is getting used to your new sleeping pattern – or lack of it. While some babies drift off easily, others need extra help and getting newborns back off to sleep after waking up in the early hours is exhausting for mums and dads. That’s where the Sound Sleeper: White Noise app comes in really handy.

You can choose from a wide range of soothing sounds to make falling asleep simpler for your little one — including modern and traditional lullabies, as well as white noises such as ‘rain’, ‘womb’, ‘fan’, and others. There is also a handy sleep tracker mode that will monitor your baby’s downtime and help you develop and maintain good sleeping habits.

The app was developed by new parents and designed with first-hand experience of tackling the issue of bedtime. It turns on at the sound of your baby’s first cry — meaning you don’t even have to switch it on in the middle of the night which is very handy when you’re incredibly tired — and you can even record your own sounds if you know there’s a special tune or noise that helps your baby sleep.

DadPad

Many apps are aimed at new mothers, but fathers are just as in need of help and guidance when it comes to taking care of a newborn, don’t you think? If you’re a new dad and are feeling unsure or apprehensive, download DadPad for tips and peace of mind!

You can scroll through and select the concern you’re most worried about or just get a refresher on key, baby-caring activities — like bathing and holding your newborn. There are loads of advice articles, including ones to help you support your partner and look after yourself, and there are tips on bonding with your new addition to the family. Since parents, midwives and healthcare professionals have all been involved in creating content for this app, all you learn will be useful, relevant and accurate.

DadPad is part of the Maternity Transformation Programme’s Better Births strategy, so information you receive via the app will relate to your local health authority or NHS Trust which is fantastic.

Baby Monitor 3G

Being able to watch over your baby without creeping into their nursery and disturbing them sounds like an ideal scenario for many new parents — and it’s possible with the Baby Monitor 3G app.

It delivers quality audio and video, and the Baby Monitor 3G app is available on your phone, tablet and desktop, letting you keep track of every noise and movement your baby makes for your peace of mind. It takes less than a minute to set up, you just need to place one device in your child’s room and keep the other near you to start watching over your little one via live HD video. The app works from anywhere. You even have the option to talk to your baby, too which is ideal when they need soothing back to sleep by the recognisable tone of your voice.

So many have already downloaded Baby Monitor 3G. It has even won the AppStore Best of the Year award in several European countries. Did you know you can even create an activity log for your baby’s sleeping habits and play lullabies to them via your device’s music library?

Mush

Claimed to be the ‘number one app for mums’, Mush is a godsend for new mothers who are keen to find support and friendship from other local parents. Being a new mum can sometimes feel isolating, as your whole day seems to revolve around  your newborn. With Mush, you can make a profile in just a minute before scrolling to find nearby mothers that you can connect with and arrange a get-together.

If you have a question or concern, chances are many of the other new mums on Mush do, too! From what double buggy to buy to fit your family, to how to make the transition from milk to baby food; this app lets you ask questions and get first-hand advice from other users. Or you can simply browse the range of advice articles to help ease your concerns.

Hoop

If you have children aged between 0 and 11 years, the Hoop app is most definitely for you. Keeping babies entertained is one thing, but if you have older kids, finding the perfect activity is even more difficult – incredibly difficult, in fact.

Using the app, you can find everything from toddler groups and dance workshops, to messy play venues and soft play fun for all ages. It brings together all the kid-friendly activities in your area and separated into recommended ages, you can scroll through more than 70,000 listed venues until you land on the perfect one for your family. There are also plenty of free options listed on this app, too. The app is already used by around 750,000 families, this app is a must for busy parents who need child-friendly entertainment fast!

Get downloading today and make life as a new parent a little simpler!

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