Sunday, 31 March 2013

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Guest post: Top 5 common childhood illnesses

Today I'm welcoming Marcela De Vivo to guest post here at Bod for tea.  is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. Her writing covers everything from marketing, technology, and real estate, but as a mother of a special needs child she has a special interest in health & wellness topics. You can read more about her journey at her blog, Here's a great round up from her of the top five most common illnesses among children and how to deal with them.

The one thing that is worse than being a sick child is being the parent of that sick child. Often children cannot properly express the symptoms or pain they are feeling, which makes it the parent’s responsibility to take the child to see a physician and try and make sure the experience as least stressful as possible.

There are so many illnesses that children are prone to catch, whether it be from the school yard, playground or even in your own home. Fortunately modern medicine has advanced to the point where many of these conditions, once possibly life-threatening, now do no more than merit a short visit to the doctor’s office, if that.

Here’s a list of the top five most common illnesses among children and some ways to help comfort them when it’s time to take them to see the doc.

Image courtesy of
The Common Cold
Your child can catch a cold anywhere. Unfortunately, this is the most common childhood illness aside from the flu. Symptoms are usually runny nose, fatigue, sneezing, congestion and sometimes a light fever.

It may last about a week, but shouldn't really extend past that time period. Lots of liquids like water, Gatorade and chicken soup are good while your child is resting with a cold. It’s best to make sure your child has lots of tissues on hand for nose blowing so they don’t spread the virus more. Child-friendly paracetamol (known as acetaminophen in the US) like Calpol (UK) or Chuldren's Tylenol (US) can help to relieve the symptoms. Note: You should always read the instructions on any medication to make sure that you give a child the correct dosage for their age/weight.

Image courtesy of
Chicken Pox
Chicken pox are caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The first symptom is a fever, followed by a very itchy rash that looks like little red dots.

These “pox” turn into blisters full of fluid. They usually last less than a week (4-5 days) and will dry up after that and turn into scabs. This rash spreads very easily and is usually most contagious before the red dot-like rash appears.

Fifth Disease 
Fifth Disease shows up as a rash on the face. It may also appear on your child’s tummy, arms and legs. It is colloquially known as “slapped cheek,” because the scattered rash looks a lot like a slap mark. Fifth’s can feel like the common cold in its early stages. It can also cause joint pain and sometimes be mistaken for arthritis, but this pain disappears within a couple of weeks. According to WebMD, “Up to 20% of children may get the virus before age 5, and up to 60% have had it by age 19.”

Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease
Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease include blisters on the hands and in the mouth, often  accompanied by a fever. Blisters may also show up on your child’s bottom. This disease is caused by a virus that usually plagues schools and daycare centres in the summer and early Autumn/fall seasons. It can be very uncomfortable for your child, but usually goes away by itself within 10 days and is not considered to be serious.

Croup is caused by several viruses called parainfluenza viruses, the same viruses that cause the common cold. It is mostly seen in two year olds, but can affect anyone under the age of six. The main symptom is a nasty cough that sounds like a rough barking - kind of like a seal. Although Croup is rarely very serious, according to WebMD almost 6% of children need to be hospitalized because of it. It usually lasts about one week.

A great way to avoid a lot of childhood illnesses is by getting some of the common vaccinations including: Influenza, HepB, DTap, MMR and Varicella. More information can be found about these and other vaccinations on The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website in the US and in the UK from the National Health Service.

Making A Doctor’s Visit Less Stressful
When a child is sick, they can sometimes get unreasonable. They’re tired but they don’t want to stay in bed; they’re not hungry but they really want some ice cream. They definitely don’t want to go all the way to the doctor’s office, especially if it involves getting a medicine shot. But seeing your doctor is important if you’re worried that a few days of bed-rest and TLC isn’t going to be enough. Here are a few ways that you can put your child at ease to take some of the strain off the trip:

  • Help your child “discover” the examination room: Depending on the child’s age, pretend that you are an explorer who has stumbled upon new treasures. Explain what the scale, stethoscope and blood pressure machines are in a simple way.
  • Bring a blanket, books or toys. Little pieces of home will help your child feel normal as they sit undressed waiting for the doctor in an inevitably cold room. 
  • Smile! Don’t act nervous - or your child will be. Smiling is one of the easiest ways to ease tension. You could also try singing a song to pass the time. This will also help in creating a calm, happy atmosphere. 
  • Distract them. Hold them in your lap if they need a medicine shot and keep their eyes off their arm or wherever they’re getting it. This can make the entire experience a lot less scary. 
  • Bring fun bandages. They make all kinds of kid-friendly band-aids/plasters nowadays that can probably easily be found at your local pharmacy and not all doctors have them.
  • Treat your child after the visit. Especially if your child is on his or her best behaviour or has been especially brave - treat them to ice cream, a new book or toy, or anything special you think they would like.

Do you have any remedies for common childhood illnesses?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Can you send a birthday cake in the post?

Last week it was Tall Sis's birthday but as we live a fair distance from each other I couldn't be there to celebrate her special day with her (or eat some of her birthday cake, humph.) Fortuitously, a really interesting new company called Baker Days got in touch with me to see if I'd like to review their ‘letterbox cake’ - a brand new product innovation designed to be posted and drop safely onto the mats of your family and friends. It’s the right size to fit through the letterbox so you don’t have to worry about someone being in to take delivery. Perfect! I thought.

There were hundreds of different designs to choose from with themes ranging from birthdays and anniversaries to passing your driving test, thank you teacher, retirement, christenings and frankly just about any event you can think of. You can even upload your own photograph and they'll print that on a cake for you - true personalisation and a real wow factor for a celebration.

Birthday Treat cake from
I chose this lovely birthday tea design called Birthday Treat, selected double chocolate chip as the flavour (there's also sponge cake, fruit cake, carrot cake and gluton/wheat free options) and personalised it with my sister's name. The cake is sent in a neat little tin to keep it fresh and also comes complete with candles, a gift card, balloons and a party horn.

The order process was simple with a banner across the top of the page that shows what stage you are at from choosing the cake design and personalising it to entering the delivery details and then buying it.

So far, so good. But I wasn't the one receiving the cake so here's the experience from my Sister's  point of view:

A satisfying thump on the door mat heralded the arrival of my surprise. No hint as to the contents. A neat ivory coloured plain cardboard box with my name and address on the front, certainly added to the mystery. I opened the box and inside was a round flat yellow tin, 15cm in diameter, with the message 'just for you' on the front. There was also a little tube of love hearts (aah!), a greeting card with candles on the front (no message but presumably you can get it printed out with message when ordering) and a little leaflet entitled 'Baker Days '. Ah Ha, a clue! I opened the tin and to my delight inside was a beautifully wrapped little cake! Wrapped in cellophane with a little paper tab to pull and help remove the cake from the tin, which worked perfectly. In the lid there was a sachet of desiccant material securely stuck on with a double sided foam pad. The cake was printed with my name (spelt correctly hurrah!) and a Happy Birthday greeting and a pretty cupcake design printed all over fondant icing, neatly finished off around the edges with a spotted crimp. All mounted on a cardboard base. What a lovely surprise! The personalised greeting was a real 'wow' factor.

The cake had survived the journey, no doubt due to the good packaging. Unfortunately the tin itself didn't fare so well with a big dent in the side, possibly because the box was too wide so it had a lot of room the rattle about, or maybe was damaged before packing. This was a real shame as it's the perfect size for a keepsake box - and I would have definitely kept it! The cake looked lovely but actually didn't taste as good as it looked. It was chocolate but had an intense, almost chemical flavour and unpleasant after taste. The texture was dense but quite moist.

A big drawback was that the list of ingredients were stuck on the back of the cake base so I had to do some contorted movements to read them upside down. If I had food intolerances, it would be helpful to have the ingredients in a more accessible place. There were a lot of artificial additives in the list, most probably the edible inks in the printed pattern and also to help preserve the cake for up to 14 days.

I didn't like the taste of the cake but that might be just my palate, I did taste it before reading the ingredients. Our Mum had a slice though and enjoyed it.

In the leaflet enclosed, Baker Days announced the range and starting price of the cakes so I know that normally this cake would have cost at least £14.99. A nice surprise, although not sure the sender would like you to know how much it costs, but value for money? Not for me. I still would prefer the old classic of flowers, although you wouldn't get those delivered for £14.99, or chocolates, which you would.

So in conclusion, I think there are better choices out there for the money. However it IS the thought that counts and someone receiving this would certainly consider it a thoughtful gift.

Mmmm... not quite the experience I'd hoped for. But I wanted to get Baker Days' side of things so I contacted Andrea Guzyova, Managing Director of Baker Days and asked her if she'd like to comment on my Sister's review:

"All our cakes are baked fresh in a local bakery and double chocolate chip cake has been very popular. All our ingredients are listed on our website (it is normal procedure to add the ingredients list on the product). The artificial colours are due to ink as it is edible ink it is only 1-3% colouring but we do like to declare all the ingredients). As for the dent on the side you are first person that actually received the damaged cake (as our packaging is very secure) it must be due to late delivery and Royal Mail. Can you please email me the pictures so we can inform Royal Mail? With regards to the price on the leaflet thank you very much for pointing that out. It is a very good point."

All in all, I LOVE the idea of a cake that you can personalise and send in the post to a friend or loved one. In this case the proof of the pudding really was in the eating and it's a shame that the taste of the cake itself wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be but clearly the wow factor was there when it arrived, the extras like the candles, card and keepsake tin are lovely and Sis was very happy to receive it. And she's right, it really is the thought that counts.

Disclosure: I was offered the chance to receive or send a personalised cake in the post and to review the experience. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own and those of the recipient of the cake. .

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Essential One nursing tops - review

I love breastfeeding. There's something so special about the quiet time I share with the Little Man while he suckles, nuzzling close and grasping my clothes in his tiny hand.

I breastfed Curly Girl until she was 16 months old. When I tell people this they stare at me wide-eyed. 16 months?! But it really isn't that long in the scheme of things. And as we were in China at the time and scared witless about weaning her onto decidedly dodgy food with scare after scare about what was in/on/around the food we ate, it gave her the nutrition she needed. (Unfortunately I think her late weaning may also have contributed to her fussy eating but we're finally tackling that, more about how in another post.) 

Breastfeeding in public in China wasn't frowned on as such but it was mighty unusual and caused stares that were not exactly subtle (try having someone's face in your breast as well as your baby's). So it's been a relief this time around to be back home and able to feed the Little Man wherever and whenever I like with very little interest from any one around us. In fact the only thing stopping me at times is my not so yummy mummy tummy, which makes hoiking my top up a red-faced event sometimes. 

Good breastfeeding clothes are few and far between in my experience and most of the tops I found great when the baby was newborn have gone by the wayside now in favour of feeding vests from Jo Jo Mama Bebe with a long-sleeve t-shirt over the top. Serephine has a couple of comfortable tops which have worn well like this one and this one but you can only wear the same thing so many times and I've found they get a bit baggy after a while. 

So when my favourite newborn clothes brand - the Essential One - sent me a couple of feeding tops from their brand new range to try I was keen to pop them on and see how they fared. First impressions were good. They're made of medium-weight jersey which isn't so thin that it clings to all your post-baby lumps and bumps but isn't so think that it pulls it down and out of shape.

The red wrap tie nursing top (£20) is short sleeve and ties to the back or front to wrap around your bump/belly. I find it looks best tied to the back. Discreet breastfeeding panels can be pulled aside to allow baby to feed with the minimum of flesh exposed. It's super comfortable and available in loads of colours (black, white, blue and pink) but I love the 'pop' of red with a pair of jeans and my favourite navy Converse sneakers. My only criticism is that with the ties tied at the back my belly is accentuated which makes me look pregnant still, but that really is my problem rather than a fault of the top as it would be perfect to wear when you're pregnant too (wish I'd had it back then!).

The second is a 3/4 sleeve 2 layer top (£22). I was sent the navy/bluebell combination you can see here but it's also available in a navy/white stripe and red/white stripe which are lovely nautical designs that would work so well this spring with skinny jeans and boots or flat pumps.

I've been wearing both these tops now for a couple of weeks and I've found them to be comfortable and practical. They're good value, wash well (as I've also found with The Essential One baby clothes) and have kept their colour. As I've said above the only negative I've found is that the design can tend to accentuate a post-baby belly but unless you wear a sack most clothes do that. All in all, two lovely nursing tops that the Little Man and I both give the thumbs up.

What do you wear to nurse your little one? 

Disclosure: The Essential One sent me two nursing tops to review, I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Silent Sunday

Friday, 22 March 2013

Did you grow up in the 70s or 80s?

If so you will LOVE this...

Just awesome. That is all.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Why I've unsubscribed from your blog emails

If you write a blog that I follow and you check your email subscriptions you'll see I'm no longer there. Please don't take offence. You're not the only one.

You see for the longest time I've been following my favourite blogs by email. Yes, I know there are loads of RRS feed aggregators out there including Google Reader (although not for much longer according to on the Google blog, RIP) but I just didn't get on with them. Oodles of people LOVE Google Reader but I found the interface flat and boring. I've tried Flipboard and Zite too and while I love the glossy magazine style of these two, there's too much going on for me.

I just wanted somewhere I can see the most recent posts of all my fav blogs and decide which ones I want to read in my own time. Every dayAlmost every day. When I get round to it.

So email became my blog-post-bucket.

But recently it's been stressing me out. Too many emails, too little time. A teething baby, lack of sleep and heck just life in general has meant that I haven't had time to read or comment on even a fraction of my favourite blogs for some time now.

And so the emails have just been sitting there, taunting me. Stressing me. 'Read me!' they cry. And the type-A certified, organise-driven control freak in me wants to read them ALL. But I can't.

You know that nagging feeling, that stomach-churning anxiety that us women get? THAT. (According to this article in The Guardian we're more likely to get this than men by the way. Hurrah for us.)

I press delete. And they disappear. And I breeeeaathe again. Sad I know.

So I've made a decision. I've unsubscribed from ALL blog emails.

For now I've hung my blog-post-reader hat at  thanks to a recommendation from the lovely Michelle at The American Resident (did I mention we met for coffee last week? Squeeaal!)  And so far I like it. Simple, straightforward interface, blog-only and easy to access on my mobile, tablet and laptop. I only wish that it showed me more than just a snippet of each post, that I didn't have to go through to the blog itself to read more as that's tricky on my mobile. But you can't have everything.

Or can you?

What blog reader do you use? Is there a better alternative to Bloglovin? Or do you have a blog-post-bucket too?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Monday, 11 March 2013

And the winner of the Disney Baby giveaway is...

Dave H


Dave - pop your address details over to me in an email to and I'll organise for Disney to send the Thumper blanket gift set to you.

Didn't win this time? 
Nevermind, you can still buy the Thumper gift set and all the 
other Disney Baby goodies at The Disney Store.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The one where I mime the happy dance

There are certain times in life when you don't need an alarm clock; when you're a student or when you go on holiday, for example and, of course, when you have a four month old baby who's teething.

11.30pm. SCREAMING! I feed him and settle him back into his cot. And breathe.

2.30am - SCREAMING! Feed him again, settle him back into his cot and try to sleep without making a sound.

4am - SCREAMING! No feed this time as it's just too soon, so instead I rock, bob, shush, placate an angry OH, bob some more, sidle slowly into bed while still rocking and bobbing (which is a feat in itself I can tell you), slowly, gently, slowly reducing the motion until I'm lying semi-prone in bed, my head resting on the hard head board, my nasal passages and jaw throbbing from a combination of sinusitis and too much shushing with the Little Man snuffling on my shoulder and threatening to wake up ever thirty seconds. Attempt to sleep sitting up. I fail.

5am - SCREAMING again. I am reduced to offering Calpol as a relief which, after more rocking, bobbing and shushing (oh sod off, Gina Ford, I'm doing my best here y'know) finally seemed to work. I slide him slowly down my shoulder to the crook of my arm and then oh-so-carefully onto the bed with a pillow either side of him just in case he decides to make a break for it (unlikely I know as he can't even roll over yet but a sleep deprived brain can imagine every worst scenario squared).

I hold my breath.


Woo hoo! What follows can only be described as a mime artist's impression of the 'happy dance'. Then I have a shower and life continued much as it always does.

It's these minor dramas in my day that make life interesting. Errr...right?

Image courtesy of Smarnad /

Monday, 4 March 2013

Disney Baby Giveaway!

Friday, on the way home from school, Curly Girl said in a wistful voice...

"Do you remember when we went to Disney World?"

Her sad little face made a mockery of the two weeks since we came home from sunny Florida. It was only a fortnight ago but it clearly feels like forever to a three year old. And if I'm honest, despite the fact that at times it was absolutely NOT a holiday for me, I'm missing it too. Suspending real life for a while and living in the land of make believe is good for the soul I've decided.

So when Disney contacted me about their new baby range and the fab new nationwide competition they're running to promote it, I was keen to find out more and, just for a moment, regain some of that holiday spirit. (Three awesome goodies opportunities coming up too... read on for more details!)

Disney Store has launched its all-new Disney Baby collection,  a range of gorgeous clothing, toys and gifts inspired by its most loved characters including Winnie the Pooh and Minnie Mouse. The latest collection from Disney Store incorporates a travel theme of ‘love around the world’ with Mickey and Minnie Mouse packing their bags and flying off to visit their friends from around the globe. It’s a really lovely range, with products suitable for newborns and little ones up to 24 months.

WIN a bundle of Disney Store goodies!
To celebrate the launch of the new baby collection, Disney Store has kicked off a nationwide competition in store and online where you could be in with a chance of winning a choice of these two Baby ‘bundles’ and a Fisher Price 'Nemo' gym! Simply visit The Disney Store to enter….. you have until Saturday 23rd March so good luck!

Girls bundle and boys bundle packed full of Disney goodies!
Thumper - how cute is this!
But wait - there's more! 
Disney Baby has given me one of their new soft toys - this oh-so-cute Thumper blanket gift set - worth £28 to give away to one lucky reader. Two chances to win, for the price of one! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is answer the questions in the Rafflecopter widgety thing below.

...and there's even more! PLUS all you lucky lot can use this special code BABY01 to personalise any Disney Baby product you buy online at Disney Store until 10th March 2013 completely FREE!

I KNOW! *High fives around the room*

Disclaimer, terms and conditions and the all-important small print: 
We were offered a Thumper Blanket Gift Set We 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 Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random using Rafflecopter. You DO NOT have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my or follow me on as part of your entry.
Personalisation offer - Disney Baby is offering free personalisation on any item in the Baby range where this option is available by entering the code BABY01 at checkout. The offer is valid between 25/02/2013 and 10/03/2013 (inclusive) and is available for purchases on only. Offer applies to new purchases only. If personalisation is selected, the discount will be applied automatically when you checkout. Personalised items may not be returned or exchanged unless damaged or defective. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Maternity Clothing - What to Wear?

These days, there's no need for your sense of style to go out of the window when you become pregnant. While you should always strive to wear what's comfortable and practical (no sky-high heels, for instance), mums-to-be are far less limited in their choice of maternity wear than they were in my Mum's day - just check out the range of maternity clothing from Vertbaudet, for instance.

Usually, you won't need to worry about maternity clothing until you are around three to four months pregnant. You can use this great maternity fashion timeline which offers advice on what to wear at each stage of pregnancy, how to accessorise and make use of changing shapes, and how to stay sophisticated and stylish throughout. However, don't splash out on lots of clothes at once - it's better to buy a few items every few weeks to ensure they suit your changing body. Trousers and skirts with adjustable waist bands are a good choice, along with tops that have built-in support for expanding breast sizes.

Pregnancy can increase your skin's sensitivity to touch and temperatures. That's why it's important to look for comfortable fabrics - avoid man-made fibres like polyester and acrylic and seek out breathable cottons instead. A maternity support band will also help your lower back to cope with the strain of your bump.

Look for clothes that are versatile and easy to wear - stretchy T-shirts and long-sleeved tops that can be combined with jeans or skirts or layered with other clothing will ensure you get the most out of what you buy. Plain dark skirts and trousers are ideal if you need to dress up at work - blacks, whites and pales can be adjusted to suit a variety of occasions.

Finally, don't try to hide away your bump - make the most of it with a gorgeous wrap or Grecian dress for nights out! There's a whole world of choices out there for looking good while pregnant, and looking your best is always a great confidence-booster.

Sponsored post

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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