Saturday, 29 October 2016

Halloween Inspired Sensory Play.

Violet and I are huge fans of sensory play, so I took it upon myself to create some Halloween inspired sensory time. 

I'm really keen on DIY activities for Violet and sensory time really doesn't have to cost the earth. I'm currently in the process of making a sensory box for Christmas, with simply household objects that I know she will love. I will pop a post up as soon as I'm done! But for today's here's a super simple and cheap sensory activity. 

We picked up a large pumpkin from Asda for £1, cut off the lid and scooped out the middle. Then rubbed the pulp and seeds on Violet. She loved the feeling, despite it being very slimy and was fascinated by the orange colour. 

I would recommend popping baby on an old towel as this gets very messy. We totally stripped off Violet so she could have nappy off time too. We managed about 15 minutes of messy play before bath time, which was just enough for us both I think!

Violet currently doesn't pick up things to pop in her mouth. Just a word of warning for older babies, the seeds are quite large and probably not great for popping in little mouths! 

Do you do any DIY sensory activities?

Katie xx

Katie Atkinson

Lifestyle blogger


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Teething Jewellery from Little Magpies.

As Violet is getting bigger she has taking quite a liking to my hair. It's been pulled, grabbed and wrapped around her little fingers too many times to count. Thankfully I've found a solution to save some of my locks, in the form of teething or nursing necklaces. 

We've been using this gorgeous necklace from The Little Magpies* for a few weeks and I must say Violet loves it. She will grab it when it's around my neck, particularly when we're having some milk or if I'm carrying her in the sling. Something about the silicone beads just feels lovely and I'm sure she agrees. 

Not only does it look beautiful and matches everything, but it's so practical too. The beads are safe for Violet to chew, which she has given a go a few times already, despite not quite teething yet. 

The beads are BPA free, food-grade silicone and meet the Food Standards Agency criteria so are super safe for baby to chew. The necklace comes on a long baby safe cord, that has a safety clasp too, just in case baby gets a bit too excited! 

We both love this necklace and will certainly be picking up a few more for when little Miss does start teething properly. Plus they're suitable to pop in the fridge to keep cool and ease some of the nasty sore gums. Poor babies!

You can check out the whole range of teething jewellery here

What did you use when your little one was teething? I'd love some tips to prepare ourselves. 

Katie xx

Monday, 24 October 2016

Cloth Nappies FAQ.

I've been asked by a few people to do a cloth nappy FAQ sort of post. So here we go, hopefully I will be able to answer any questions you might have and hopefully convince you to give cloth a go. 

Why cloth nappies?

Disposables have only been around for 50ish years, so before that all babies were in cloth nappies. For us, they're just easier. Violet was getting nappy rash in disposables which was the final straw for trying reusable nappies. I think it was mainly down to changing the disposables too often, I was obsessed with the blue line and disposables stink even if it's the tiniest bit of wee. She's been exclusively wearing cloth nappies since she was around 5 weeks and since then we've had no nappy rash issues. 

They're better for baby. Disposables contain lots of weird and wonderful chemicals that convert the wee into a gel to stop them leaking. Cloth nappies use different materials to absorb moisture rather than adding things to a nappy. You can get reuseables with bamboo, cotton, hemp, fleece and other man made materials. All which are safe to use on baby's bum and are super comfy at the same time. 

They're much better for the environment and don't end up in landfill like disposable nappies. Unfortunately there is only a couple of brands on the market that do bio-degradable disposable nappies, the rest currently take 100s of years to biodegrade and can't be recycled. I read somewhere that if Henry VIII was in disposables, they would still be rotting away now- pretty crazy. 

Finally, they're better for your bank balance (once you get started). The initial cost to start up can be a little eye watering. The average cloth nappy price lies somewhere between £8-£15 in the UK, although there are cheaper alternatives if you know where to look. You'll need around 15-20 cloth nappies to use them exclusively and give for time to wash and dry the used ones. I've read a few quotes but I believe you save around £1200 over the few years that your baby is in nappies, if you use cloth instead of regularly buying disposables. 

Which cloth nappies?

More often than not, we'll be using all-in-one birth to potty nappies. Generally we buy from a brand called Bambino Mio, which are actually sold in some supermarkets. The birth to potty nappies have a popper system so you can make them smaller or larger as your baby grows. The all in one is exactly what it says on the tin, the nappy comes in one piece and the absorbent layer is tucked down the back of the nappy before it's popped on. 

We also own a few pocket nappies, which as the name would suggest, have a little pocket at the rear of the nappy to pop in a soaker to absorb moisture. You can buy so many types of soaker, we find bamboo work best for us. The beauty with pocket nappies is you can use any brand of soaker so once you've got some nappies you like, you can mix and match. 

Pop-ins and wraps to me, are fairly similar. Pop-ins tend to have an outside layer coated in the waterproofing and then you popper in a pad to soak up. These are fab if you don't have much space in your changing bag, as long as there isn't any poop, you can just change the pad rather than the whole nappy.  This goes the same for wraps, these are very similar to pop-ins they just don't have the popper to keep the soaker pad in place. 

Boosting and liners?

Overnight we boost our nappies. This basically means we pop another soaker into the pocket at the back of our all in ones, to add extra absorbency overnight. This means than little one, as long as she doesn't poo, can go 12 hours without a nappy change. As she's started sleeping through the night, this is a godsend. We don't get any leaks and Violet isn't disturbed or woken up by us changing the nappy or her lying in a wet nappy. I'm sure it's no coincidence that she has slept so much better since we moved over to reusables. 

At first we used liners regularly, but now we don't bother. Some people use liners for nappies religiously but we find it works better for us if we don't bother. Some brands market "flushable" liners which are just a think mesh-like material that sits in the nappy to catch any solids and protect the nappy from staining. They're great if you have a solid poop but newborn poo still manages to sneak through on to the nappy. Other brands have fleece liners, which again do the same job to protect the nappy and to
soak up any moisture but we don't bother with either. If Violet does have a poop, it's easily wiped clean from the nappy to the loo or nappy bag without any hassle. 

How do I wash reusables?

Okay, this is super straight forward. Get rid of any solids and you're pretty much ready to go. Some people use a nappy bin to keep
soiled nappies in, they can be stored for 48 hours before they need to be washed. We go through enough to put a wash in daily so we pop them in the laundry basket with everything else, however if we have a poo nappy I tend to keep that in a nappy bag until we are ready to wash. 

Most places recommend using laundry powder instead of liquid as liquid can build up on the nappy, reducing absorbency. However we've always used liquid and we've yet to have any issues. We is an antibacterial powder alongside the liquid which cleanses the nappies and keeps them super fresh. You can pick up Napisan from the supermarket which does the job. 

I wash on a 40 or 60 degree wash for 2 hours, this is on the "baby" setting on our machine. We've tried washing on 30 for 1 hour but the nappies just aren't as clean, so for us this works better. 

I dry our nappies outside on the line, at every opportunity. If we are having typical British weather though, I pop them on the air dryer near (not on) a radiator and they dry no problem. I've read somewhere a radiator can damage the water proof lining, so stay clean. I believe you can tumble dry some nappies, however I've never tried and I love the smell of line dried washing!

Before your first use, most nappies need to be washed at least once, if not more. The absorbent layer works just like a towel, the more it's been washed, the more absorbent it becomes. Therefore to prevent to many leaks to start off with, make sure you give them a few goes on the quick cycle. 

Where do I buy?

There are tonnes of places on the internet that sell cloth nappies. I think it's a little overwhelming to start with but it's become second nature to us. I think the main thing is trial and error. What might work for me and Violet, may not work for you and your baby and it's just a case of trying a different style or fit to suit you. Lots of places offer a money back guarantee or trail kits so you can try before you buy. 

Totsbots is a great website for starting out. They sell a trial kit and lots of start up kits on their site, with so many cute prints. If you join their Facebook page they often have offers and reductions on the trial kits. They also do a "seconds" sale every now and again, where you can pick up nappies for much less than the RRP. 

Bambino Mio is our go to brand. You can pick these up online, in Boots, Sainsbury's and Asda and I'm sure many more stores. These seem to be the only cloth nappies that have made it to the mainstream retail
market and we love them. Amazon tend to select different prints that are slightly cheaper than their retail price too. 

Close Parent is a great place to pick up pop-ins. They do a newborn range and the birth to potty style so there is something for everyone. We used the newborn pop-Ins when Violet was really little (full post here) and they worked well for us, even on a premature baby. 

Baba + Boo are fab pocket nappies and are our pocket faves. I love the design and fit of these nappies and the Baba + Boo team are great when I've worked with them in the past. Full post on some of my fave Baba + Boo nappies here.

Amazon is a great place to find a bargain. We've tried a few from a brand called Little Bloom, which are way more affordable than some other brands. The nappy wraps start from around £2 and with a soaker are around £4 so they're a great buy if you're wanting something a little cheaper. I find the nappies are great, the only difference is you need to change a little lore often than some of the other brands. But again these can be boosted and this issue would be resolved. 

Facebook buy/sell/trade pages are the ultimate go to for a bargain. Most brands have their own individual Facebook selling page, as well as a generic UK selling page. We've picked up a few bargains from Facebook including three new Baba + Boo nappies for £16, instead of £14 each! People are often selling bulk boosters too, which work out lots cheaper than going directly to the brand. Plus, if you're unsure of the type or brand of nappy that will work for you, this is a great place to start and save some money. Even used nappies tend to sell for close to their retail price, as many are limited edition prints that people want to get hold of. 

And, we're done!

Sorry for such a long post but I hope I've managed to answer any burning cloth nappy questions. If there is anything I've missed out or you would like to ask, feel free to send me or Tweet or Instagram comment and I will happily answer them if I can!

Katie xx


Saturday, 22 October 2016

DIY Baby Handprints.

I've always had a love hate relationship with Pinterest, but since having Violet I've been pinning a little more than usual. My favourite thing to pin at moment is baby DIY crafts and I've been getting tonnes of ideas for things to do as Violet gets a bit bigger. And a couple of things to use now when she's teeny, like these adorable salt clay hand prints. 

So here's what we did (yes I work in cups, it's easier and I don't have scales!):

1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

And mix. 

We did have a little tweaking here and there but that was the basic recipe we followed. Then we simply rolled out onto a non-stick surface and attempted to get some hand and foot prints. Let me tell you, working with a three month old baby isn't as easy as you might think! However, I did get a few successful prints ready to pop in the oven. 

Cook on a low temperature around 100 degrees celsius for 2 hours. You can air dry without using the oven but this takes several

I chose to leave the salt dough plain but you can easily use acrylic paints to decorate the prints. But make sure you seal the dough so it doesn't go off. We just used regular varnish, plus it gives them a shiny finish which I quite like. 

I can't wait to try some more DIYs with Violet on the run up to Christmas. Let me know if you try this or have any other ideas for us to give a go! 

Come find me over in Pinterest (username is Golddust_Katie)!

Katie xx


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Baby Bath Time.

Nothing makes Violet happier than bath time. She is an absolute water baby and adores splashing around in the tub. She's also a big fan of the shower and it's fab that I can take her in with me and get us both ready for the day! 

The thing Violet doesn't like, is getting out of the bath. Thankfully hooded towels make it a little easier, I can wrap her up really quickly and keep her warm. I adore this giraffe towel from Bathing Bunnies*. I can't get over how cute Violet looks in this towel! We have 101 white baby towels but nothing like this one. The giraffe design is really sweet and something I've not see on the high street.  

The towel itself is incredibly soft and really well made. It's the perfect thickness and baby V is so cuddly when she's wrapped up in this. I'm really impressed with the quality and I will certainly be picking up a few more of these in other designs. 

My favourite thing about this product, is the personalisation on the back. I love that it has Violet's name on, this makes it a really lovely keepsake and would make the perfect gift for mums-to-be or new babies!

We're going to swimming for the first time this Thursday so we will be taking this along with us. Hopefully I will be able to get Violet out without too much of a fuss! 

Does your little one enjoy the bath? You can find the rest of the Bathing Bunnies range here - FYI it's super cute!

Katie xx


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Violet's 12 Week Update.

Wow, so I've been looking after my tiny human for a whole 12 weeks now and I can't tell you how fast it has gone. I think it's fair to say that Violet and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the last three months and I can't wait to share her updates with you. 

Where to begin?! The first few weeks was a total blur of feeding, changing, appointments and getting myself better after my section. But once things settled down and the visitors were less regular, we've manage to build quite a bond and actually have somewhat of a weekly routine! My hubby works Monday to Friday so myself and Violet have quite the jam-packed schedule to keep us both busy. 

The past few weeks we've had lots of smiling and she has just learn to do a little laugh which is just adorable. Violet has found her hands and will stick them in her mouth from time to time and I noticed she was staring at her feet although we've not quite worked out what they are yet! She also likes to stick her tongue out and blow bubbles. 

Being premature, I was worried it would take a little longer for her developmental milestones but she seems to be just about keeping up. Violet can now hold her head up pretty well, without assistance and much prefers being in a seated position rather than flat on her back all of the time. We have a very nosey baby on our hands. 

Violet has learnt to grasp hold of things too. Her favourite toys are the rattle at sensory which she can easily hold and shake about. She's also really good at grabbing clumps of my hair! I've invested in a teething necklace which she seems to enjoy holding onto whilst in the sling. Plus it saves me loosing any more hair!

I don't want to jinx anything but I'm getting more and more sleep as the weeks go on. At the moment Violet will go down around 8pm and wake up between 5-6am with a little stirring that can be resolved by popping her dummy back in. I'm so pleased she's sleeping a little longer as it means I have far more energy for the day. I'm convinced that all our baby groups and activities have something to do with her sleep pattern on an evening. 

I think that's pretty much it at the moment. Although I'm sure I will have missed tonnes of things out. It's so hard to keep up, she is literally learning or doing something knew on a weekly, if not, daily basis. I must admit, I did enjoy the tiny newborn stage but I'm loving her getting bigger and discovering new things. I'm such a proud mama!

Katie xx

Katie Atkinson

Lifestyle blogger


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Baba & Boo Nappies.

We've been using cloth nappies exclusively for around 6 weeks now and so far it's going brilliantly. I've become somewhat of a nappy addict, I seriously can get enough of a cute cloth bum. We've been trying a few different brands and have now settled on a few favourites and Baba & Boo* is up there with the best. 

I've been so used to having Velcro nappies that I wasn't sure about the popper fastening at first. However the Baba & Boo nappies are so easy to fasten and adjust, we've had no problems. In fact, I quite enjoy using the poppers as an alternative and feel that when she gets bigger they'll be harder to undo than Velcro! The poppet system also means the nappy can be adjusted to three different sizes and can be worn from birth to potty, or 8-35lbs. 

Baba & Boo nappies work with a pop-in system. You pop a soaker in the pocket at the back of the nappy and you're good to go. I love the finish and the feel of the nappies are so soft for little Violet's bottom. They're super absorbent and we've had no problems with leaks when V has this brand on. 

We were kindly sent this cute tropical print design, it's so adorable and I love how it looks when Violet is wearing it. In fact we loved the brand so much, I've picked up another three of their nappies from a local seller. I seriously can't get enough of this brand will certainly be picking up more in the future. 

Katie xx


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Baby Girl Clothing Haul.

I'm one of those people that loves Next sale. I love it even more now I have a tiny human to buy for. I'm not quite that person that gets up at some ungodly hour to queue outside though, I still manage to pick up some lovely pieces going at a more reasonable time in the day! So I thought I'd share a few of my cheeky bargains that I picked up in their most recent sale.

They had some gorgeous blouses and long sleeved tops so I picked up a couple for little Violet. I adore the cream shirt-type top, it's really thin so is perfect for this in between weather we seem to be still having. The green blouse with the Peter Pan collar is just perfect. I so wish they had it in my size, we could be matching!

I managed to pick up some beautiful outfits too. The hedgehog top is just the sweetest little thing but I think the rabbit print dungarees are my favourite thing in the haul. Violet actually has the dress to match this print but it's still a little too big for her but these dungarees are perfect for winter. Plus she looks incredibly cute in them too! I love the little mint green dress, it will look super pretty with tights and a thick cardigan as we head into autumn. I also thought I could layer this stripy jumper over pretty summer dresses so Violet can still get some wear out of them in the colder months.

Finally I managed to pick up a really cute swimming costume for when Violet gets a big bigger and we go to swimming lessons. I love the print and it's got a cute little frill around the bum.

Did you manage to pick anything up in the Next sale?

Katie xx

Katie Atkinson
Lifestyle Blogger


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Helping Newborns Sleep.

As Violet was so tiny, all of the sleeping bags I'd planned to use were way too big. For the first few weeks she was constantly kicking off her blankets at night and would wake up cold. Like all new mums, I was also worried about the blankets coming loose and going over her head. So I was super excited when we received this Love to Swaddle* newborn sleeping bag. 

The idea of the all in one is a twist on the old school swaddle and the modern sleeping bag mixed into one. The suit is a super thin, baby-hugging material to keep your baby cosy and the perfect temperature throughout the night. Swaddle UP has this unique design, with "wings" to ensure your baby is in the prime sleeping position throughout the night. I had no idea that newborns sleep with their arms by their ears, but sure enough Violet always has her arms up during the night. 

This has worked so well for us, especially as Violet was too small for any other sleeping bag alternative. She settles so well when she's in the Swaddle UP and is more relaxed throughout the night. The wings also prevent her from startling herself awake, which happens a lot with newborns!

The Swaddle UP is suitable from birth until baby can roll over independently, then it's time to invest in the next size up. The hubby and I are already planning on picking a few more up!

You can find the Love to Swaddle UP sleeping bag here

Do you use sleeping bags?

Katie xx

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