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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Potty Training Tips & Dry Like Me Pads

I have been tentatively attempting potty training in the last couple of weeks, because Chunk is nearing two and a half years old and with it being (very) warm weather I thought it might be an ideal time.

The odd mum at some of the groups we go to have noticed he wears a nappy and acted shocked that he is not trained yet (urgh I avoid competition in those places) but it did make me think that I should try it properly, as I have only done bits and bobs for the last year with him, letting him guide me. But part of me thinks- hang on, are these women saying this because he does look like a three year old as he is so tall?!

So whilst I have been trying it, I have been keeping it in the back of my mind that he is still young, especially as boys tend to take longer to get to the stage of being ready to toilet train than girls, so I am not putting pressure on myself.

I began by researching advice, and thankfully came across Dry Like Me's Potty Training Live
They are giving advice and support to all potty training parents for a whole month and it's brilliant!

It's the second year they have run this, and it began on 14th July. Last year they helped 800 families get through the rollercoaster of potty training doing this 4 week programme. They give a lot of advice and offer support through their Facebook page.

Useful tips I have learnt through their advice so far are:

1. Wait until your child is able to communicate in a basic way (e.g. ask for a drink/snack) and take instructions, and until they have good physical balance (e.g. can walk up stairs).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Single Parent (Dating) In The City: Why Do Some Men Use Serious Dating Sites For Casual Sex?

Intrigued by the question in the title?

Yes as part of my monthly Single Parent (Dating) In The City feature for BrightonMums I have spoken to a number of men to try and answer this question.

See the results here.

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Competition: Win Dry Like Me Potty Training Pads

The makers of Dry Like Me potty training pads are running Potty Training Live at the moment, and to celebrate they have kindly given me some of their products to give to you lucky readers!

Dry Like Me Potty Training Pad Range

They have created pads for Early Days training, Night-Time pads and pads for toddlers well into their training (Original). They are designed to slip into their pants as a layer of protection, whilst they are getting used to trying to stay dry in their underwear. I am testing them as we speak and will be linking to my review in the next few days, so keep an eye out!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

#My3Things Positive Parenting Motivator: Week 2

Cannot believe this is my second #My3Things already, the weeks are going too fast at the moment!

As you know from last week, I want to value myself and my parenting a bit more, so I have created this and a linky to help me to do this.

Each week I will list three things that have not gone so well that week, three things I want to focus on improving next week, and ending the post with three things I've done really well. The reason it's in this order is because you should always end on a positive! 

It's not about telling yourself off, or criticising, it's about self improvement and recognising the skills and good things about us which we always ignore. Yes it starts by looking at what wasn't too good, but this is so you can reflect on why these may have gone wrong and then look at how to avoid this next week- we learn from our mistakes!

The linky is to keep me and you guys motivated if you want to join in, thank you so much to Being Tilly's Mummy for joining in with my first linky last week, it was so good to read similar feelings and daily life issues as my own!

3 Things That Were Not So Good This Week

Friday, 25 July 2014

42 Days Of Summer Fun

I love Choc (left) and Chunk loves Raspberry (right)
Despite Chunk not being of school age yet, I still find it difficult to find things to do, because a lot of the groups we attend close during the summer holidays, prices of activities go sky high and there are SO many more families and children going to the same places at the same time which can be a major put off.

So when I saw a new summer holiday challenge from Brit Mums and McVitie's I decided to give it a try!

42 Days of Summer is about finding fun things to do during the summer with your family. Due to my low (aka non-existent) budget, I have thought of some free, but fun activities for Chunk and his cousin Curly to do, so hopefully you may also be inspired by them.


Our Pirate Ship Water Tray
It amazes me how much my toddler loves water. Thankfully water is quite low cost and you can access it whatever the weather!

At nanny's house we have a great pirate ship water tray that the boys can spend hours playing with, and it is full of toys that help their motor skills which is always a bonus.

Aqua beads can be fun; I bought some cheap ones from eBay and the boys enjoyed watching them blow up in size. I put some in their pirate ship water tray, but also have plans to use them by themselves in a washing up bowl, as it is such a lovely feeling just moving your hands through them as they are cold, squidgy and colourful.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

#RealMumsAllBran 5-Day Challenge: Embracing My Tummy!

Take the Challenge!
All Bran have set us mums a fun challenge to help improve our tummy for the better, and it involves eating yummy cereal!
According to the lovely people at All Bran, 90-95% of our happy hormone (aka serotonin) is made in our guts. Research of 1,000 women by the company* found that more than half of them (52%) were experiencing digestion issues such as wind and bloating often and this is where their cereals come into play; Eating fibre every day is one of the easiest, and tastiest, remedies for these digestion issues.
To test this, Kellogg's All Bran have set mummies like myself a challenge which involves eating their new cereals for 5 days. I am a HUGE cereal addict, so I didn't need asking twice to join in with this!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

#My3Things This Week: A Positive Parenting Motivator

After writing a letter to myself at a parenting course recently, it got me thinking about how as a parent I tend to only focus on my failures and faults, which really isn't good for old self esteem and confidence!

So in a bid to start valuing myself a bit, I have created a new, weekly post called #My3Things.
You guys are all welcome to put your three things in the comment below so that we can keep each other positive and motivated for the week ahead.

Each week I will list three things that have not gone so well that week, three things I want to focus on improving next week, and ending the post with three things I've done really well. The reason it's in this order is because you should always end on a positive!

It's not about telling yourself off, or criticising, it's about self improvement and acknowledging the skills and good things about us which we seem to ignore. Yes it starts by looking at what wasn't too good, but this is so you can reflect on why these may have gone wrong and then look at how to avoid this next week- we learn from our mistakes.

I don't want my son growing up to only focus on the negatives, and due to me being his main role model I have to show him how to see the positives by showing that I do this too, so here goes!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Family Photo Fun with Abigail Eaves

Whilst we have had some lovely, sunny weather, me and my sister decided to update our family photos now that the boys are a year older and have lost their baby faces (sob!).

The photograph that I fell in love with at the shop launch
At a recent shop launch I was invited to, I bumped into the rather talented lady, Abigail Eaves, who did all of the shop's fashion photography and we got chatting. She explained that she does various shoots from fashion, corporate, weddings to family and newborns.

I asked if she would be interested in photographing Chunk and my nephew Curly, and we agreed to meet on the beach a few days later.

I don't know about you, but when Chunk was first born, I spent a lot of money that I didnt have, on photographs in dingy studios with rather arrogant photographers that would only give me 10 minutes of their time. Now that I look back, I can see the photos were not great quality and I was basically mugged off.

I also don't really like the fake, unnatural photos that studios can produce, with our cheesy, pasted-on smiles and the plain white or black background, so I was pleased that Abigail was a lot more versatile and creative.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Attempting DIY: Trying Out Playdough SuperGlue (aka Sugru)

Before: My Collapsed Shelves
One of the downsides of being on my own is that I am absolutely pants at DIY as common sense was not something I was born with, but as I have no gorgeous, practical man I have to give it a try! 
My latest attempts have included fixing a book shelf, which has been overloaded by my social work practice books for a while and has finally buckled quite literally. The plastic pieces that support the underneath of each shelf have bent too far and now the shelves have just collapsed.
I cant afford to buy a new book shelf, so wanted to look at ways to fix it, which is how I came across Sugru.
It's literally a playdough superglue for adults (sounds fun doesn't it?!) so to activate it, you just roll it around in your hands like you playdough and then mould it onto whatever you want to glue or protect.
It comes in various colours, and I was lucky enough to be sent some samples of some of the colours including white, blue, black and red.
I was dubious about it, as I couldn't see how a small blob of playdough-like glue would be able to hold up book shelves containing very heavy books, but I still gave it a go.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Letter To Myself

I've been attending a positive parenting course, because for years I've referred families to these through my role as a social worker, and I've seen how much you can learn so thought I would give it a go.

Due to parenting all by myself, I make all the decisions, I do all of the boundaries, punishments and rewards, and to be honest it's really hard going at times. I constantly question whether or not I'm doing the right thing, and I often feel I'm not parenting to the best of my abilities.

Now Chunk's two, some quite horrific tantrums are coming out, and since being at nursery he has picked up some rather aggressive mannerisms from some of the children, so attempting to work on these with him all day, every day can be really draining.

The course is about parenting children age 2 to 12, and you get a book to work through during the sessions and then keep so you don't forget it all!

At the recent session, they asked us to write a letter to ourselves, telling us what our qualities as a parent and a person are, as well as including any little tips we had learnt from the course so far. The idea was to talk to our 'future self' as they will be posting the letters out to us a few weeks after the course has finished. Therefore they want us to tell ourselves what we hope we have achieved and what strategies we hope we are sticking to, as well as just giving ourselves a pat on the back for all the hard work.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Single Parent (Dating) In The City: Is Age Just A Number?

This month I've been speed dating with Classy and Glamorous events after I wanted to compare dating men younger and older than me.

Check out how I got on in my monthly Single Parent (Dating) In The City column for here.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Toy Review: Go MINI Power Boost Racer

Despite still being OBSESSED with dinosaurs (we have quite a collection of toys, films and books now!) Chunk is starting to get back into his cars again- it helps that I've shifted his toys around and put his garage in the lounge, as it had started to gather dust in his bedroom!
So when he came back from nursery a couple of days ago, he was very excited to see a parcel had come in the shape of a brand new car.
We were kindly sent the brand new Go MINI Power Boost Racer from the Golden Bears' Go Mini Range It's not even in the shops yet (End of July 2014) so Chunk is one of the few toddlers selected to try it out.
The Power Boost Racer is a large, motorised MINI for children aged 3-7 years, which drives by itself at the speed of the child's choice. There are three lights on the top of the car and each light comes on the more times the button is pressed; If pressed once the car goes at it's slowest speed and only one light comes on, and three presses equals the fastest speed.
Once the speed is selected, the car drives a short distance and then does a cool handbrake turn which Chunk found hilarious. It also makes some pretty good car sounds as it drives, and revs up as you press the button.
Chunk loved it, and I won't be surprised if the batteries run out pretty fast as all I can hear whilst I wash up is the rev of the engine and then it speeding down my hallway.
See him try out the car for the very first time on this little video clip I made:
I like the colour and design of it, as it looks well made which is helpful for motorised cars as my son tends to always point them in the direction of a wall or piece of furniture.
If your child loves cars, then I would definitely recommended getting one of these when they go on sale, and they can be found on the Golden Bears website here.
The car was given to us in order to write this review. No payment was received, and all opinions are honest and my own.
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