Monday, 26 June 2017

Using a Sling Library.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know I've carried Violet pretty much from day one. We've tried so many styles of carrier and each have been the right ones for us at that time and could be used in different ways to carry Violet as she got bigger. 

V was carried in a stretchy wrap for her first few months, which was amazing, especially to support her head and neck when she wasn't able to herself. The stretchy wrap is super versatile too and I can still manage to carry her in it now. 

As she has got bigger, we've used our Mei-Tai carrier pretty much constantly. It's great for front and back carrying and I love the different styles and patterns you can pick up. 

However, Violet is getting a little bigger and the Mei-Tai was becoming uncomfortable for us both. So last week I headed to a local sling library to get some advice and potentially borrow a new style of sling. I went into the library with some prior knowledge of the style of sling I wanted to try, but I was completely open to try whatever was suggested. 

When we arrived, we filled in a little registration form and had a seat. The form briefly asked why we had attended that day, so the librarians running the sling library had some idea of our needs and if we were new to baby wearing. Violet happily played and crawled about, while we waited for our turn to speak to an adviser.  We then had a 20-ish minute chat and try on, but there was no time limit to the appointment.

I spoke with one of the sling experts and after looking at my Mei-Tai, she confirmed that it is indeed too small for Violet now. So we gave a ring sling a go. The ring sling, is exactly as it sounds - one piece of material and two metal rings to tighten and loosen the sling around baby. It's really easy to use and actually something we hadn't really considered in the past. But, it's working brilliantly for us. Violet and I are both so much more comfortable and content. 

The library was really great and I would 100% recommend heading down to your local one, if your looking to try a sling for the first time or you're wanting to give something new a go. It was a really relaxed atmosphere and a great way to chat to some like-minded parents. There was no pressure to hire the slings but I was more than happy to pay the £4 a week sling-hire charge to see how we get on. I know each sling library charges different rates and some ask for a deposit, but ours is really affordable and just ask for ID. 

I found my local sling library via Facebook, so it's well worth a check in your local area if it's something you're interested in. And it's definitely a great way to try out carriers before you take the leap and buy or even a way to hire a carrier for an occasion or holiday! 

Katie xx

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Montessori-Friendly Reading.

I think the area of Montessori that I find the most difficult is finding suitable books for Violet. Montessori tends to avoid anything fantasy based until the child is of school
age, so talking animals/inanimate objects and unrealistic stories are pretty much a no go. This has proven a little tougher than expected but I think we have just about cracked it!

I've been taking full advantage of our library and have been rotating Violet's books on a monthly basis. I thought I'd share a few of our favourite books that are Montessori-friendly. 

Realistic Picture Books

We've had a few of this style of book and actually they're one of Violet's favourites. We do lots of matching games with this style of book using her Schleich animals. I tend to do animal sounds and asking Violet to point at animals too. This definitely worked better after we'd seen the animals at a farm in real life, Violet made the connection between the real animal and the photo, making looking at this style of book a lot more fun!

Lift the Flap Books

I'm not entirely sure these are strictly Montessori but Violet loves a lift the flap book. We have a few books that are still realistic but with the gimmick of lift the flap that V enjoys. We actually picked this one up in TKMaxx for £2.99, which is an amazing place for good book bargains. 

Story Books

Just because we don't read fantasy stories, doesn't mean we can't still pick up story books. Alfie and Annie Rose stories are brilliant, they have realistic drawings and the stories are real-life stories too. 

Reference Books

This may seem a little odd, but reference style books are great picks for Montessori life. Things like atlases and encyclopaedias are a great place to start and I actually remember flicking through reference books as a child and being in awe. So far Violet has only one reference style book but even at such a young age she's been looking at the images and likes pointing out the different things. This one is from Amazon and I know we will be picking up more from this brand in the future.

Katie xx

Monday, 12 June 2017

The End of Maternity Leave.

And just like that my maternity leave was over...I've officially been back at work for four weeks now and although I'm in a very privileged position, it still feels like the end of the total freedom of mat leave. It's a very surreal feeling having 11 months away from a working environment and then being thrown back in. I not only headed back to work in May, but I also started a new job. Which has meant meeting new people and completely starting a fresh in my working life.

I am unbelievably lucky to have found a job where I can work evenings and spend my days with V. I spend the day running around after Violet and hopefully keeping her entertained enough to avoid a meltdown. Then three evenings a week I put my nurse-head back on and look after other people's families. I would be lying if I said it's all plain sailing, it can be incredibly exhausting, but we're absolutely making it work for us. 

The biggest change of all is my Mama friends heading back to work. We've had a maternity leave routine for so long now, the change is a little strange. Like I'm starting out all over again, putting myself out there at new baby groups and attempting to meet other mums too. But that's the beauty of having a baby - you always have a talking point. Plus I'm trying new things with V too. We've been to lots of soft play areas and even tried a trial swimming lesson last week. I'm fully taking advantage of any free sessions that groups have on offer! 

So here's to the next chapter of being a working mother, let's do this!

Katie xx


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tips for Travelling with Little Ones.

Violet has already been on two (and a half, long story) holidays in her little lifetime. All in the UK but nonetheless they needed lots of planning and preparation to ensure we had everything we needed. It's getting close to prime holiday season, and we're heading away again in August. So here's a few tips and tricks for travelling with little ones:

Plan, Plan and Plan some more. 

I think I must have covered every eventuality in my head, so we had a plan in place of what to do if something off piste happened. Thankfully we didn't have much drama on any of our trips and being in the UK, if all else failed we could get home pretty quickly. It's a good idea to have some clue as to what you'd like to do or see when you arrive at your destination and if there are shops or local amenities close by. 

 Find the Right Accommodation. 

Villas, cottages, lodges etc. are great for families because you don't have the worry of waking your neighbour through the conjoining wall. If you're a little unsure where to start when it comes to booking somewhere family friendly, take a look at Tots To Travel*. There are thousands of recommended breaks suitable for young families, each tailored to your needs and safety checked to ensure your little ones and you have a brilliant time. 

Write a Packing List.  

I'm the queen of writing lists in my phone. I have shopping lists, blog post lists, dates for my diary, you name it, it'll be on a list. So obviously my packing needs to be listed too, that way I can ensure we've got everything. I think we can all be guilty of over-packing at time too, but I think when you're travelling with a baby or toddler it really can't be helped. But having said that, always remember you're probably not going to be too far from a supermarket or local shop so if you have forgotten anything, it's not a crisis.

Try to Keep Some Bedtime Routine. 

Violet thrives off a routine, making a home away from home, for her is the key to things running smoothly. We're pretty strict when it comes to bedtime at home, she has a routine that we stick to everyday and it really works for us. Obviously routine isn't always easy to stick to when you're away from home, however we always try to as much as possible. That means she is in bed for her usual time most nights and she will have a bath, bottle then bed, if she can. And sometimes you might need to improvise!

Find Some Family-Friendly Activities.

The sites we tend to stay on, have a play park and swimming pool, as well as things for older children. It's a good idea to find out if there is anything near by for little ones to burn off some steam and hopefully wear themselves out. We found soft play centres and zoo's great in the UK, but if you're leaving the country water parks are a brilliant way to have some fun and keep cool.

Most of All...Relax!

This is a holiday for you as well as the kids, so make sure you relax. If you've planned and packed well, there will be nothing to worry about other than enjoying yourself. So pop those baby monitors on the balcony and sit back and relax with a sangria or two, you definitely deserve it!

Do you have any holiday plans this summer?

Katie xx

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