Tuesday, 31 July 2012

An indestructible way to keep your memories safe?

I don't know what I would do without my Samsung Galaxy camera phone. Unlike my digital camera it's always close to hand so rather than running to grab it and missing the moment I can snap away happily capturing precious family memories.

But about six months ago the unthinkable happened. My precious laptop caught the plague and all the photos and videos I had taken and uploaded from my phone disappeared into a black hole. I hadn't backed them up. *Screeeeaammm!*

When my new laptop arrived I realised that backing up my files was a priority and I bought a hard drive to store everything so that the unthinkable couldn't happen again. It seems pretty robust, even though I have dropped it a couple of times, but I'm trying to be extra cautious with it. Even so, I have to remember to DO the back-ups. So far I've remembered a fair few times but I'm not doing it weekly as I originally planned. What would be better is to back them up on my phone so that I know if the worst happened, the photos I've captured are still available to be uploaded again.

So when Samsung sent me their new 16 GB micro SD memory card for my phone and told me that it was practically indestructible I was VERY interested. Interested, intrigued and a teensy bit...well...sceptical. Practically indestructible? The temptation to prove them wrong was almost irrisistible. So guess what? I didn't resist it. *Evil chuckle*

Popping the memory card into the phone was simple enough, although figuring out how to store pictures on it was almost impossible. Thankfully there was a to help me out.

And then I devised four simple tests to see just how indestructible this little memory card is....

Test one: the drop.
Opps, butter fingers. I seemed to have dropped the memory card on the floor.

Let's see how it fared. I pop the micro memory card into the adapter that it came with to allow me to put it into my laptop and view the files. Everything is still there. Hmmm...

Test two: the stomp.
Opps! I seem to have dropped it again and stomped on it. No, not stepped. Stomped. With all my preggy weight.

Check the files again. Yep, still ok.

Test three: the car.
Ok, just imagine I dropped the memory card on our driveway and didn't noticed. And just imagine I got in the car and ran over it. Opps!

No way it can still be ok, right? Wrong. All there. Grrrr....

Test four: the water.
Right. *Rolls up sleeves* If I can't crush it, I'll drown it. Opps! Dropped in a mug of HOT water. Glug, glug.

I left it to dry for a while on a sheet of kitchen paper, my fingers twitching to test it. In it goes... and yes, you guessed it. All still there!

Wow. Well what can I say? I threw everything I had at this little micro memory card and it passed with flying colours. I have to say I'm impressed. And at only £9.44 from it's well worth the price for the peace of mind that whatever happens to my phone, my photos will be safe and sound.
Disclaimer: I was sent the Samsung Micro SD Memory card to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own. Tests were not conducted in laboratory conditions but in my own home. And heck, it was great fun too!

Top image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Silent Sunday

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Guest post: Preparing for a New Baby in the House

There are few life events more exciting and terrifying all wrapped into one than bringing home a new bundle of baby. That is to say, except maybe bringing home a newborn baby to a household that is already run by a headstrong and tumbling toddler. Bringing home a newborn when you already have a toddler at home elicits anxiety for many different reasons. Not only are you bringing home a baby, you'll have two wild and crazy kids to deal with now and you can never know exactly how a toddler will react to being an older sibling. But, of course, by preparing a little and educating yourself and your family on this big life step, you can relieve some of that stress. Ease that transition into a two child household by following these tips and tricks for preparing your toddler for a newborn sibling.

Introduce and Educate
Before the baby is even close to arriving you should introduce that subject to your little one. You don't want the new baby to be a big and noisy surprise. Talk with your toddler about the baby. Let him or her touch your pregnant belly and explain that the baby is inside. Even if you don't think your toddler understands, starting the conversation early is important. Do your best to educate your child (and yourself) on the concept of having a sibling. Check out any children's books on the topic. This can be a fun and nice way to introduce the subject. Rather than only focusing on the concept of a "new baby!", talk about things in terms of your toddler becoming a big sister or brother. This helps your toddler understand their place in the event and wards off feelings of jealousy.

Give Lots of Attention
It's important to give your toddler a lot of attention during the time you are preparing them for a newborn. While it may seem logical to try to get your youngster used to having less of your attention because soon you'll be on newborn baby duty, this isn't always the best policy. Yes, your toddler is going to have to get used to having less of your undivided attention, but don't start that right away. In the start, your toddler needs lots of love, lots of attention, and lots of understanding. One of the biggest issues parents run into when siblings enter the picture is their young toddler becoming jealous of all the attention the baby gets. Share aspects of the pregnancy and process with your toddler so that they can feel like they and the baby share the world's attention.

Encourage Independence
Independence is key. Your little one can actually be a wonderful helper around the house when you will be tending to baby duties. Involve your toddler in everything you do (where it is both safe and possible). Let your toddler help you do chores and teach them to care for some of their own needs on their own. This can be a really fun time for a toddler preparing to become a big brother or sister. Thinking about potty training and other independent activities is important to do early on. Obviously, sometimes timing isn't going to work out perfectly. But, if you have a newborn on the way, think about working with your toddler on potty training, sleeping in their own bed, and other little independence steps.

Understand It Takes Time
First and foremost, enjoy the exciting ride. This is a scary, exhausting, and wonderful time - don't miss out on the adventure. Try to be understanding of your toddler's feelings when the baby comes and try to realise that little speed bumps are bound to happen - things will eventually stabilise. Accept that you've done the best you can to prepare yourself and your family for this new adventure and let things take their course. Just as you have developed a relationship with your new baby, so has your toddler. Let the two of them get to know each other on their own terms from time to time. And enjoy.

My thanks to Nadia Jones for this guest post. Nadia is an education blogger for an online education website and a freelance writer on all things academia. Nadia uses the written word to share her knowledge on accredited online schools and the latest news in the educational world. Though Nadia's mind is always preoccupied with topics of education, she spends much of her time thinking and writing about how education and learning tactics can help tackle difficult life challenges. She can be reached at .

Image credit: Microsoft Office

Monday, 23 July 2012

One of life's certainties

There are some things in life that are certainties. England will lose an important football match if it goes to penalties, your baby will pee on you if there isn't a nappy within easy reach, your toddler will spill food on your best dress on the only day that you don't have baby wipes in your bag.

In our family, Sudocrem is one of those certainties in life. It heals nappy nash, soothe cuts and grazes and once there's a baby in the house there's always a little (or large!) pot somewhere within reach.

We are a Sudocrem family. At least three generations of us have used Sudocrem which is unsurprising really when you consider that it has been in existence for over 80 years. Sudocrem was invented by Thomas Smith, a Dublin based pharmacist in the back of his chemist shop in 1931 which means the first babies to use Sudocrem would now be octogenarians (the phrase 'if it ain't broke...' springs to mind). It was originally called Smith's Cream and renamed in 1950 as Sudocrem antiseptic healing cream.

Sudocrem is still manufactured in Dublin but now there's two new products in the range and we were lucky enough to be sent them to review last week. Sudocrem Kids and Babies Moisturising Mousse is certified hypoallergenic and free from artificial colours, perfumes, parabens and other preservatives. It contains camomile and aloe vera and uses Proderm Technology® which apparently means that as well as moisturising it also adds a protective barrier just beneath the surface of the skin. Cool.

We tried out the mousse after bath time. Curly Girl liked the packaging and immediately focussed on the family at the top of the bottle, pointing out that there was Daddy, Mummy, Curly Girl and her baby brother. 'I guess any of us can use it,' I said. This led to a slight pout as she'd already claimed the mousse as her own! I shook the bottle and pumped out a golf ball size amount for both of us.

'It's just like foam, Mummy.' She said. There's no fooling this child.

'How does it make your skin feel?' I asked.

'It makes my skin all soft... and fluffy!' Hmmm...

The mousse did feel light, it dissolved into her skin quickly (except perhaps in the places where one of us was slathering it on in handfulls) leaving only a slight tackiness on her skin until it had fully dried. Oh and there is absolutely no smell. None. Not even a faint whiff. THIS is important. Why? Well it's not so important for Curly Girl now that she's three, but when she was a baby strong smells irritated her and the perfume in some products can cause problems for babies' sensitive skin, so this new mousse will also be perfect to use on Peanut when he comes along. One product for a toddler AND a baby. Yes please.

The second new baby in the Sudocrem family is Sudocrem Sunscreen Mousse. It's been specially designed for kids and babies and is free from many of the ‘nasties’ like colourants, parabens, perfumes and preservatives. And while it's factor 50 and gives both UVA and UVB protection (UVA 4* superior rating) the mousse texture means it's not gloopy and quite quick and easy to rub in – perfect if you have a wriggling, impatient toddler like us. It doesn't leave a white residue either to rub off all over your clothes or the car seat - my own particular bugbear!

Unfortunately we haven't had a chance to use this one at the beach yet (please let the sun shine next week!) but I'm very interested in the claim that as well as being water resistant it will protect against irritation from salt, chlorine, sand and wind burn and we'll definitely be putting it to the test as soon as we get the chance.

Sudocrem's new mousses are available from Boots and independent pharmacies. At £8.99 for the Sudocrem Kids and Babies Moisturising Mousse and £14.99 for the Sudocrem Kids and Babies Sunscreen Mousse they're not cheap and the moisturiser is particularly expensive when you compare it to Johnson's Baby Lotion or Mini Naked My First Body Butter which we also use. But having said that I do like the consistency of the mousses and would definitely consider buying the Sunscreen Mousse myself.

Disclaimer: We were sent Sudocrem Sunscreen Mousse and Sudocrem Moisturising Mousse to review and received no other compensation. All opinions are our own.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Silent Sunday

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Olympic Meme

So I've been tagged in an Olympic Meme by Kel from Writings, Ramblings and Reviews. I'm not really the competitive sport type but in the spirit of the imminent games, here goes:

1) If every day tasks were Olympic events, what would you get a gold medal in?
Multitasking, without a doubt. I can feed Curly Girl, prepare dinner for OH and I, tidy up, fold the washing and check my emails all at the same time. Oh yes. I am woman, hear me roar.

2) As a child (or even now), did you excel at a particular sport and if so which one?
Excel? No, not really, although I was a good swimmer and I enjoyed netball and most other sports but the competitive side of it didn't interest me.

3) Michael Phelps (swimmer) or Michael Johnson (runner) – which sport appeals to you more?
I love the power and explosion of the 100 and 200 metres but I'd have to say Phelps. I'm a water baby.

4) How fast can you get out of bed and ready to go out the door if miss the alarm and sleep in?
Just me or me and Curly Girl? Probably 30 mins if I'm on my own and 2 hours if I'm not!

5) What fantasy sport would you like to see made into an Olympic event?
I'm with Kel on this one - grocery shopping with a toddler. Or perhaps bringing in the washing when it starts to rain...

6) Claim to fame time – Have you ever met an Olympian and who was it?
Errr.... * wracks brain* .... nope.

7) What event in past Olympics can you remember most vividly?
I remember Zola Budd running barefoot in the 1984 Olympic games and the furore around her clash with Mary Decker. Hell hath no fury...

8) Tuning in at home, not for me or tickets clamped ready in sweaty palms?
Tuning in at home. I can watch it all from the comfort of my armchair. Nuff said.

9) Who do you think most deserves a gold medal (any walk of life not just Olympians).
Sue Barker for blowing up that annoying opera singer in the Go Compare ad.

Now I hand the baton to the sporting talents of:

Mutterings of a Fool (pop over and check out his bucket list)
(this lady can )
(a fellow bump!)

(Click to enlarge)

Image credit and facts: London 2012

Friday, 20 July 2012

GALT Toy Giveaway... and the winner is

Thanks to everyone who read our review of three Galt Games last week and entered the  - it proved to be my popular giveaway yet! Unfortunately in this case there can only be one winner so congratulations goes to...

Jules Naybur!

who was randomly selected by Random.Org

Please drop me an email at with your address Jules so that Galt can send the three games off to you.

Didn't win? Don't worry, you can still buy the three games featured in the giveaway - Magnetic Shapes, What's Next and All Aboard at Galt Toys.

Guest post: Turning Positive Pregnancy Stress into Baby and Toddler Success

Helen Wingstedt is a stress specialist who runs Stress Spot and believes that positive stress, rather than the more destructive negative stress, can help you to solve problems and achieve your goals. I was interested in how she felt this applied to pregnancy, especially when there's already a toddler in the house...

Being pregnant is one of the the simplest and most enjoyable experiences in life and also one of the most stressful, particularly if you have a toddler to care for at the same time. You worry about your unborn child, you worry about giving birth and then you have to deal with the huge life change the new arrival will bring as well.

Added to that, your concerns will stretch to how your toddler will react to the new addition, how you’ll cope with juggling two very different routines and if you’ll manage to get enough sleep to keep you functioning.

Your mind worries when its questions aren’t being answered and its problems aren’t being solved. Not being prepared can turn a positive experience into a nightmare leaving you feeling more niggled and distracted by negative stress with each passing day.

Top stress specialist Helen Wingstedt believes mums need to understand the role positive stress plays during pregnancy in order to be happy and well prepared for the day baby arrives and of course, to juggle the demands of a toddler.

Don’t panic
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for months or even years then your mind has succeeded in its primary function – solving problems and ensuring you achieve what you want in life. When a very big goal is achieved the feel good factor or natural high can be almost euphoric – enjoy it, those kind of major life successes and stress dumps don’t come around that often.

Take A Break
Now one of your major life goals has been achieved your mind will be dumping a huge amount of stress; positive stress if you’ve been trying for a short whole and negative stress if you’ve been trying and failing for years. Dumping stress – negative or positive - is akin a surge of ‘happiness’ and even euphoria followed by tiredness and the need to recover – it’s extremely important so allow yourself too.

Congratulate Yourself
Enjoy the fact that you’ve succeeded – you’re pregnant! Recognise what you’ve achieved and acknowledge the support you’ve had in life that’s enabled you to be successful in starting a family. People rarely sit back and take the time to properly recognise their achievements before planning the next step of the journey and generating the positive stress that goes with it.

Make The Most Of Those Nine Months
Being pregnant while looking after a toddler is undoubtedly hard work – so why not make it a bit easier for yourself by planning lots of fun activities and play dates? Not only will this keep your little one well entertained, it gives you the chance to catch up with other mums and enjoy the one on one time you have with your child. Why not set yourself a weekly challenge to do something you think about but never seem to get round to? Maybe a teddy bears picnic, a sports day for your toddler and their friends, a bouncy castle party or a trip to the local farm or kiddies theme park. The stress of organising the day out will create the fun that follows.

Plan Ahead
If being ready for baby is your big concern, make yourself a list of all the questions you need answered and the problems you need to solve pre and post pregnancy (where will baby sleep, which buggy will I use, how will I schedule my day etc..) and give each one an end date. Likewise, think about how you’ll cope with a newborn and an active toddler. Do you need to book childcare sessions, do you have friends and family nearby who can help out in the early days and how are you going to make sure you toddler doesn’t feel put out when the baby arrives? Solve them or ditch them – both will allow the stress to be dumped which will make you much happier in the long run and ensure you’re less stressed once your baby arrives.

Keeping Up
As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it harder to maintain the workload you were used to pre-pregnancy. Finding the energy you need to complete your daily tasks can be difficult but there is a way to consciously create it. Identify three achievable tasks a day and do the one you least want to do first. Completing it will allow your mind to dump a huge amount of stress and generate a buzz which will enable you to fly through the rest.

Put Your Feet Up
Answering questions and solving problems in advance means you’ll be well prepared so don’t worry that you won’t be and avoid taking time time out as a result. Your mind will benefit from being parked for a while and distracted with other subjects and activities for example, reading a book, watching a DVD, or even a trip to the park. Once time out is over your mind will naturally ‘unpark’ itself and allow you to continue with the tasks at hand.

Get somebody else involved
Those early days are stressful and tiring so think about enlisting the help of others. That could be a helping hand from grandparents or your siblings, or it could mean booking childcare sessions to allow you time to bond with your new baby. It will also give you some time out when baby arrives and give your toddler something new to look forward to. Getting help in itself is a form of success and it gets you closer to a finding a solution.

Thanks to Helen Wingstedt for this guest post. For more of Helen’s stress tips visit www.StressSpot.co.uk or read her articles.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The two women who want to Organise-Us

Last week I wrote about before Curly Girl starts pre-school in September and Peanut arrives in November. I'm still loving the Organise-Us diary that met all of my criteria for a great organiser and wanted to find out a bit more about the ladies that created it. 

Lisa and Vicci are both very organised and despise clutter! Their first product 'the OrganiseHer', an innovative 16 month diary with a start date in September was aimed at all women with full schedules and busy lives. They've since supplemented their stationery range with gorgeous notebooks (with great names like 'Dynamic Daddy' and 'Love Peace Lipstick'), visitors books and an address book. I asked the ladies a few questions to find out more...

Q: How, when, and where did the company get started. Why did you feel there was a need for Organise-Us?
We started Organise Us in jan 2009. Lisa and I had been friends for years and the marriage of my desire to sell a product which reflected a desire to help people organise in a similar way to us and Lisa's production expertise, coupled with a love of stationery and quality launched the brand.

Q: What makes you different from the competition?
We offer a point of quality only found in brands charging multiples of our retail prices. Our layouts are innovative and unique and most important to us adaptable to whatever makes the user busy. We all have such different lives and we believe our brand is adaptable to all.

Q: Why was it important for you to manufacture in the UK?
This allows us to support our economy in tough times and be flexible to adapt to trends. We feel our quality is second to none.

Q: What's the one thing most people don't know about you?
Lisa had a very successful career working for a international sportswear brand and Vicci ran a trading desk for an International investment bank before we both fulfilled our dream to set up Organise-Us.

Q: What's s typical day in the life of the Organise-Us team?
A typical day? There isn't one. Lisa runs her lovely lifestyle shop 10 church street in Woodbridge in Suffolk while juggling her 3 children's commitments and Organise-Us. Vicci also juggles her two boys with Organise-us and assisting in running an orphanage in a township in Cape Town.

I'm a big fan of the 'OrganiseHer' diary - it was clearly designed by busy Mums who understand the importance of being as organised as possible when your life's a whirl of other people's commitments as well as your own. Three cheers for these great Mumpreneurs.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I fell in love with the 'OrganiseHer' diary and wanted to find out more about the ladies behind it.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Guest post: Child car seats - a quick guide

We're starting to think about the practicalities of having another child in the house (rather than just the soft and squishy yumminess - yep those pregnancy hormones are kicking in BIG time) and one thing we will need to consider pretty quickly is a car seat for Peanut. There are so many legal requirements around child car seats, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's confused, so I'm happy to hand over to Sainsbury's Car Insurance today who've developed this quick and simple guide.

If you’re driving with children, using an appropriate child car seat is a legal requirement - and with good reason: experts say that a correctly fitted child car seat greatly reduces the risk of death and serious injury in a crash.

Despite this, many parents still don't know how to choose and use car seats properly. In fact, according to the Observer, 66% of child car seats are incorrectly fitted.

So here are some things that all parents should know about child car seats.

Child car seats and the law

The law requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint until they are either 135cm in height or the age of 12, whichever they reach first. (After this they must use an adult seat belt.) 

There are various types available, and which you need depends on the child’s weight:

Rearward-facing baby seat - for babies up to 13kg

This is the first type of seat your baby will need. It should be used for as long as possible, as it protects the baby’s head, neck and spine. In fact, a rear-facing baby seat reduces the risk of fatal injury in a crash by more than 70%, according to the AA.

However, a rear-facing baby seat cannot be fitted in the front passenger side if the car has air bags. (This could cause severe injury to the baby upon impact.)

Children should be moved to a forward-facing seat only when the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat, and when they can sit up unsupported.

Forward-facing child seat - for children weighing 9-18kg

This is the seat to buy when your child has outgrown the rear-facing seat. This seat should be used with an integral harness which can help reduce injuries during a crash. It also prevents the child from slipping out of the seat. If the car has air bags in the front, the seat should be fitted in the rear. The seat should be used until the child has outgrown it.

Booster seats and booster cushions - for children weighing 15-25kg and 22-36kg

Modern booster seats are suitable for children between 15-36kg. However, booster cushions vary. Some are suitable for children between 15-36kg and others for children above 22kg. Check before purchasing. These seats and cushions don't have any harnesses and should be properly fastened using the car’s seat belts. If the car has front air bags, it’s safer to use these seats in the rear.

Safety standards

All UK child car seats must follow the United Nations ECE regulation R44.03 or the later version, R44.04. If you have an older version of the R44, you may need to upgrade.

Another important standard is ISOFIX. It aims to make the fitting process quicker and easier and is internationally recognised.

Fitting tips

  • Make sure you read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The seat belt buckle shouldn’t bend or rest on the frame of the child seat.
  • Ensure the child seat is secured firmly and the seat belt passes through all the correct grooves.
  • The seat belt or the child seat should not be altered to make them fit.
  • Visit a clinic run by your local road safety team to get the best advice on fitting. 
Replacing a child car seat after an accident

Every child car seat involved in a crash must be replaced. You must still replace it if there is no outward damage - an accident can affect the seat’s quality and prevent it from functioning properly in the future. The seat belt and all its attachments should also be thoroughly checked for damage. Check that your car insurance covers the cost of replacing a child car seat.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Silent Sunday

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Friday, 13 July 2012

Giveaway - portable games for 3-7 year olds from Galt Toys

Last weekend Curly Girl turned three. Wow. Just saying that out loud (which I didn't by the way, but you get my meaning) makes me feel a bit teary. She was showered with gifts and spoiled rotten by friends and family with present after present gracing the piano in the hallway, demanding to be opened by eager little fingers. You could fast rewind to last year and the same image would be there but this year she really GOT IT. She knew it was her birthday, she knew she was three, she knew the presents were for her and she knew how to open them. It was just lovely to behold.

(Errr... sorry to butt in here but just wanted to mention that there's a giveaway coming up. Ok, as you were.)

This year the majority of toys shifted from Maisy Mouse to the Thomas and Friends genus (Thomasticus tripovereasilicus). She adores Thomas the Tank Engine and all his breathren and would likely ditch the rest of us if he could cook fish goujons and open a box of breadsticks.

But this year there were also three boxed toys sitting quietly on their own that weren't related to Thomas. They just sat there, patiently waiting their turn. They aren't flashy, there's no whizz-bang about them and I'm pretty sure they can't pour a glass of orange juice. But they remind me so much of my childhood that there's a sort of deja-vu cloud hanging over them. Two of them are made of cardboard. One looks like the top of a metal biscuit box. And they all harness children's imagination and encourage them to learn through play quite brilliantly. These three toys were all sent to us by Galt toys.

The first is called What's Next? (£4.99). Inside the box is a plastic bag with cardboard jigsaw pieces that fit together in sets of three to make ten evolving scenes. It doesn't beep or talk to us. (Phew!) Curly Girl is intrigued and starts looking through the cards. They're all relevant to her as the scenes are taken from a child's life - click on the image on the right to enlarge it and you'll see what I mean. Curly Girl is a bit too young to start sorting them yet so Grannie picks three pieces that appeal to her and starts to tell Curly Girl a story about them. My little tear-around-Thomas-manic is entranced. She LOVES stories. And so a new family game is born and brought lovingly into our house.

I really like this puzzle game. The scenes are clear and simple and the colours are bright and engaging. Because there are only three pieces boredom doesn't set in too quickly and the left to right orientation is a great skill for reading development. It's also highly portable so a great one to take on holiday and play on the plane or on a wet afternoon.

The second game is just as simple and just as fun for little hands. Magnetic Shapes (£6.99) is basically a metal biscuit tin lid with an assortment of 40 brightly coloured plastic magnetic shapes. The shapes stick to the tin lid and you can make all sorts of pictures with them. Clearly as an adult my imagination switch needs a bit of WD40 because I was glad of the picture guide that's included to help start me off. Curly Girl needs no such help and was straight in sticking shapes down and making her own patterns. She particularly likes the sound the magnets make as they hit the metal tin. Another great one to take on your travels as it's easily transportable without the box and the shapes can be stuck to any metal object like a fridge. My only criticisms are that the tin lid is a bit, well, biscuit-tin like and I would have liked to see a small box or draw-string bag included to keep the pieces in.

Finally, a game that, admittedly, we haven't tried yet. I'm itching to see how Curly Girl responds to this as it's an actual game with rules. In point of fact All Aboard (£10.99) is three games in one so from that point of view the higher price tag isn't so daunting. The game is for 2-4 players and there are four double sided cardboard vehicles with shapes on them that you use to collect tokens in the games. You roll the colour spot dice to collect the coloured windows for your vehicles. Then turn the vehicle over, spin the spinner and collect various passengers in shaped windows.  I've held onto this one for a little while as I'm not sure Curly Girl's attention span is long enough yet and she is firmly of the opinion that rules are there to be broken but if it's still raining this afternoon I'm going to give it a go and see what she thinks.

James Galt & Co. Ltd. has been around for over 175 years. All of their products comply with or exceed current toy safety regulations (primarily BS EN71 and HD271/BS EN50088) and all carry the CE mark and the BS5665 Lion Mark.  I really like the Galt ethos and played with their wooden toys as a child myself. I'm happy to keep this family tradition going, so a huge thank you to GALT TOYS for sending us these three games to review.

Woo hoo! I'm delighted that as well as sending us these games to review Galt Toys have also offered me a set of ALL THREE GAMES to give away to one of you lucky lot. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter your details and follow the simple instructions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer and the all-important small print: Galt Toys sent us the three games to review and offered a set to be used as a giveaway prize. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random. You DO NOT have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my or follow me on as part of your entry.

Top image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Bumplog: getting organised

If you've spent any time reading Bod for tea, or if you know me personally (in which case I apologise), you'll know I like to be organised. Heck, it's not a nicety it's a genetic abnormality! If I don't feel organised I don't feel right. While other women salivate over shoes and dresses I'm slobbering over stationery and personal organisers. It's not something I'm proud of. I'd love to be all laissez-faire and fly by the seat of my pants, but I'm just not. I'm the geek at the back of the room with the Filofax/diary/schueduler/DayTimer/Franklin Covey. You name it, I've probably tried it.

Franklin Covey is probably the best system I've come across. But the format that I really like - weekly across two pages with loads of spaces for 'to do' lists and notes - isn't available in the UK and shipping from the US is just crazy (and even I'm not that crazy, well not since OH checked our bank statement this month *gulp*).

So I've been on the hunt for a new way to stay organised. Here's my criteria:
  • Roughly A5 size so it's small enough for a handbag (who am I kidding with toddler and a baby on the way? It's a holdall) but big enough to be able to read my own scrawl without a magnifying glass.
  • A weekly format across two pages.
  • Space to write a daily 'to do' list including both personal and blog related tasks.
  • Monthly calendars to plan ahead and keep track of birthdays.
  • Copious notes pages.
  • Looks the business.
  • Doesn't require me to take out a second mortgage.

Not too much to ask for is it?

Then I was flicking through the back of Women and Home Magazine (those little adverts in the back always fascinate me - who hasn't seriously thought about one of those sarong things that looks like a dress?) when I came across an ad for Organise-Us.com. Mmmm... sounds like someone like... well, me. So I had a browse of their site and OMG I fell in love. This company knows me. They've read my criteria list. They know what I needed and they've made it. And what's more they've made it in the UK. Woo hoo! 
My new diary *swoon*
So here I am the proud owner of a new mid-size 2012-2013 Organise-Us diary in Marine Blue. It has everything I was looking for. And it starts in September so I can begin using it when Curly Girl starts pre-school and get organised for Peanut's arrival. 
You can choose your inside
 cover and ribbon colours


*blush at squeal*

At £37.95 for the basic version and *gulp* £64.95 for the leather bound one it's not a cheap diary. And let me just point out here that this is not a sponsored post. I bought the diary with my... ok OH's hard earned cash. But it's perfect for me and (I'm) worth it.

So here's how I'm using it:
Monthly pages
  • On the monthly pages I write in birthdays and map out holidays we're planning to take and any time that OH is going to be away. 
  • In the weekly pages I add our schedule for the week and,  underneath each day, the tasks I know I have to get done. There's even enough room for me to write any posts I know I want to schedule for that day. 
  • I've turned the finance section into a monthly forward planner for Bod for tea with ideas for posts at different times of the year
  • In the copious notes pages at the back I've started a list of things I need to get done before Peanut arrives. 
  • Weekly pages
  • There's even a flap at the back I can use to keep the odd bits of paper in that clutter up the kitchen but I can't bring myself to throw away just in case I need them. 
It's miraculous. If it made me a decaf coffee and changed the sheets I'd consider becoming a bigamist.

How do you organise yourself? Do you have a favourite diary or system you use? You never know, I might be tempted....

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just fell in love with this diary system and decided to write about it for the benefit of you lovely people. In fact I like it so much, watch this space for a follow-up post profiling Organise-Us.com and it's founders Lisa and Vicci.

Top image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 9 July 2012

Lighting Thomas with a blow torch...

... the Silent Sunday that would have been!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Bumplog - Ha ha bump

This week we had our 20 week scan. I lay nervously on the bed watching our baby boy appear and disappear on the screen. He lay stubbornly on his back, one foot by his chin, the other tucked under his bottom; a feat I haven't managed for a long time. (Ok, never.) It was about this time that Curly Girl's measurements began to be considered as 'small'. With the prematurity of our first pregnancy hanging like a balloon over my head I willed Peanut's legs, spine, head and stomach to be 'normal'.

"Well done baby, that's all looking just fine." Our sonographer said.


If I could have jumped up and kissed her, I would. My belly doesn't allow for such spontaneity now. Probably just as well.

So we're still considered 'high risk' due to my history - Curly Girl was premature following Inter-uterine Growth Retardation (IUGR) due to a calcifying placenta - but so far so good. Our lovely consultant is going to monitor me closely with scans every four weeks from 28 weeks (phew) and we're hopeful that this time around baby will stay snugly inside for a lot longer than Curly Girl did.

After a nervous afternoon I was glad to find some pregnancy jokes in the back of the Pampers Village magazine that came with my 20 week Bounty Pack. I hope they won't mind me reprinting them here. Frankly, sometimes, you need to laugh.

Q: I'm two months pregnant, when will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes University.

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is quite enough.

Q: What is the most common pregnancy craving?
A: For men to be the ones who get pregnant.

Q: Does pregnancy cause haemorrhoids?
A: Pregnancy causes anything you want to blame it for.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change baby's nappy quickly enough.

*Da dum dum tush*

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Bumplog: Things I forgot about being pregnant

As I hit the half way point at 20 weeks I now cast my mind back to my post-one-pre-two-pregnancy days and realise that there are a number of things I'd forgotten about being pregnant...

#1. The euphoria of pregnancy wears off when you can't see your own pubes.
I try not to complain about the changes happening to my body which I know are nothing short of miraculous (). But seriously, does all this wonder and awe have to be accompanied by the, shall we say, less desirable effects? I waved goodbye to my nether regions this week. They will have to fend for themselves for a while. Feet? You're probably next. Slip-on shoes ahoy.

#2. Hair grows where it shouldn't.
Now I know that there is probably a perfectly reasonable medical reason why you grow long nipple hair when you're pregnant but when they get long enough to french plait it's a worry. And waxing here is NOT an option.

#3. I just can't go.
Sorry can't beat about the bush with this one. Being pregnant makes you constipated. There I said it. *Sound of another taboo shattering into little pieces* It's poo not to be able to poo. I'm shovelling fibre and fruit down my gullet like a woman possessed. I'm convinced more All-Bran is sold to pregnant women than any other demographic.

#4. I just can't stop going!
Ok I guess I should have remembered this one. The need to pee these days is getting beyond a joke. All it takes is a sip of water to pass my lips and I'm searching high and low for the nearest loo. Of course the irony is that once I get there, fully expecting Niagara Falls to come gushing forth, there is often less than a teaspoon to show for it. Grrr.

#5. People you hardly know get very 'handy'.
For some reason as soon as there's a bump to speak of people seem to think that they have a free pass to manhandle it. And the larger it gets the more insatiable the desire so it seems. I would never dream of touching another woman's stomach without asking first, bump or no bump. Would you like it if I groped your boobs with an accompanying 'ahhhh'? No? Well me neither. Hands off the bump.

#6. Food = gas = bumpage.
What seems to be a fairly average size bump first thing in the morning becomes a veritable Zeplin after lunch. I can almost see it expanding before my eyes. And if one more person raises their eyebrows when I say that I'm not actually due until November I will not be responsible for my actions.

#7. When you start to feel baby move it's impossible not to grin.
Go on, I defy you not to crack a smile when those first little movements become obvious. I'm not talking about the later stages when a foot in your bladder is a nightly occurence. That's when you wince. This is the early, first moves that are like a gentle 'hello' prod. Just blissful.

What did you forget about being pregnant? I'd love to keep this list going in the comments.

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 2 July 2012

Shoes to toddle in

Curly Girl refuses to wear her sandals without socks. 'They hurt!' She says. This makes playing in the garden somewhat tricky. Not for her, of course, she has no qualms about getting socks and shoes soaking wet and covered in mud. But I'm a bit more reticent. After all these sandals are sparkling white and I'm trying to keep them that way for her third birthday party. (Yep, I'm my Mother's daughter.)

Then there's a ring at the doorbell. It's Postman Paul (no, not Pat, that would be silly) with a package for me. Inside, nestled into some paper with a nice note from the people at Little Dish is a pair of red plastic play shoes. They look comfortable, totally waterproof and decidedly rinsable. Just what we need, in fact.

You may remember that a while ago I ran a here with Little Dish and Sainsburys to win a pair of these toddling shoes. Little Dish sponsored Barnardos Big Toddle and offered the limited edition shoes in packs of their children's chicken and butternut squash pie. We were lucky enough to be sent a pair to review as well.

Fast forward a week and we're playing in the garden again. Curly Girl is shovelling earth from our flower beds into a pot (not any old pot, I might add, it's my smallest measuring jug from the kitchen *sigh*) and adding just enough water to make what she calls 'sticky water'. Her red play shoes are full of it and she's squelching around joyfully in them. There's not a sock or sandal in sight. The red shoes will be run under the tap soon and ready to play again another day. Curly Girl loves them, and so do I.

Does your little one have a favourite pair of play shoes? Do they refuse to wear certain combinations of clothes or shoes? Let me know how you deal with it in the comments... please!

Disclosure: Sainsbury's and Little Dish offered me four pairs of toddler shoes to give away and also sent Curly Girl a pair to review.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Silent Sunday

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