Encouraging Independence and meeting milestones with SMA® PRO Toddler Milk

*Advertorial Feature

Toddlers can be such adventurous creatures, however they can be extremely fussy too, especially when it comes to what they eat and drink. Toddlers also like to be independent and want to do things in their own way. Blake, at the age of two, is all of these things and so much more.

From the age of one Blake started to become very fussy with his food. Throwing food around, refusing to eat, spitting out the food you have made is a part of what we are having to deal with on a near enough daily basis. Between the ages of one and three children need very specific dietary requirements and so it's important to get all the right nutrients by giving them a varied diet to aid development, health and growth.

Sometimes I look back and wonder about how quickly Blake has grown and all the milestones he has been hitting since he was born. I do love the age he is at but I do still look back and do miss him falling asleep on me. The beginning of the year saw us take the side off Blake's cot and that was a big milestone for all of us. The next step for us is to encourage him to drink milk from a cup instead of a bottle.



SMA ® PRO TODDLER MILK is specially tailored to provide important nutrients that toddlers aged one to three need. These include calcium and vitamin D for normal growth and development of bones and vitamin D for the normal function of the immune system, iron to help support normal cognitive development as well as Omegas three and six fatty acids to support normal development and growth – helping to build a nutritional foundation for life. 2 x 200 ml servings of SMA® PRO Toddler Milk provides toddler’s with 108% of the RI* for vitamin D.

†The beneficial effect of essential fatty acids is obtained with a daily intake of 10g of Linoleic acid and 2 g of a-linolenic acid.

SMA ® NUTRITION have continually invested in early life nutrition research;
SMA ® PRO TODDLER MILK is their most advanced toddler milk yet.


SMA ® NUTRITION has just launched a facebook page, called SMA Baby Club UK & Ireland. There are regular posts to help parents - both mums and dads - Navigate their first 1,000 days of parenthood, from conception until their baby turns 2.

*Reference Intake (RI) is the amount of vitamins and minerals required per day by young children to help meet their daily nutritional requirements

IMPORTANT NOTICE: SMA ® PRO TODDLER MILK is suitable for young child from 1-3 years, as part of a healthy balanced diet and is not a breast milk substitute. Breastfeeding should continue for as long as possible.

ZTC1863a/05/17 SMA® Nutrition UK.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Dear Zoo Trail

On Saturday we had an early start as we headed to Whipsnade Zoo as we were asked to a special VIP breakfast event. The event was celebrating the Dear Zoo trail which is on from 27th May til 4th June in time for half term. The book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is celebrating its 35th birthday this year which is super exciting as it's a book that we love. 




On arrival to the zoo at approx 8:30am we were shown to the marquee where breakfast was provided for us. There was a selection of pastries on offer as well as orange juice, teas and coffee and of course prosecco. They also started to hand out delicious Dear Zoo birthday cupcakes while there were speeches from the Zoo manager and Rod Campbell himself.  



Once the speeches were done we then headed over to the interactive story hub where it was officially opened by Rod Campbell. Inside we listened to Rod Campbell read his own story before queuing to have a copy of his book signed. 

We were then given a trail card which was stamped with a camel already as they don't have any at the zoo. Then we got to go off and find all of the other six real life versions of the animals. 




The trail card has a map on the back so that you know where to find the stamps that you need to collect. We headed off to find my favourite zoo animal first Giraffes they were definitely too tall to have as a pet just like the book. We then went in search of the rest of the animals that we needed to find plus spotting other animals that aren't included in the story on our way round.  Half way through our time at the zoo we stopped off at the indoor play area however Blake was getting tired and hungry so we stayed only for a short period before finding somewhere to have our picnic that we brought with us. We then finished of the trail and collected Blake's sticker before heading to look in the gift shop and then home. 





Whilst we were at the event we were also given a Dear Zoo goodie bag for Blake which included a special 35 year anniversary copy of the book, a poster, stickers, activity sheets and a cuddly lion. 

 We had such a lovely time doing the Dear Zoo trail and if you are looking for something to do this half term I fully recommend it.




Simple Ways To Update Your Rented Home


When it comes to updating a rented home it can be tricky as there is only so much you are able to do. If you are already renting or plan to rent soon here are some ideas of things you can do to update your home. 

Bedding
Choose some gorgeous bedding and cushions. This can give the bedrooms an instant update.

Accessories
New cushions, throws, vases, ornaments, flowers, candles they all can make your rented home feel more personal. 

Blinds
You can change the blinds/curtains  in your home to suit your style as long as you put the ones originally there back up when you move out. VELUX blinds have a wide range of different ones to choose from. For example you may want to use black out blinds in your child/rens bedroom. You can also purchase different colours and designs. 

Wall art 
Most rented homes have the usual magnolia coloured walls which can be boring so putting up art work or family photos is a great idea to make the place more personal and homely. 
We are lucky that some rooms in our home have hangings and we got permission to add a few more. However if you don't than command hooks are the way to go.

Furniture 
If you can afford to upgrade your furniture great, if not than there are a few things you can do: 

- Second hand 
places like freecycle are great as some people are getting rid of great quality items for free. 
Charity shops are also a great place to look to find pieces that aren't as expensive. Also see if family members are getting rid of anything. We recently got a coffee table and TV unit off my sister as her and her boyfriend as they were getting rid of them.

- Upcycle 
You can find loads of ideas online and Pinterest is a great place to start. A lot of our furniture is Ikea and I like the ideas that others use to make their pieces look much different. 

Fun wall Decals
You can purchase a wide range of wall decals they are peel off stickers that can make a wall in your room look more colourful and unique. 


Do you rent? Do you have any more ideas on to update your rented home? 


Living Arrows - 22/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran



This weeks photos were taken on Saturday when we went to visit Whipsnade Zoo and the opening of the Dear Zoo trail that is on during half term. We had an early start as we were there for VIP breakfast with author Rod Campbell followed by him reading his Dear Zoo book. The trail was fun to do and Blake loved seeing all the animals followed by us having a picnic lunch. 


2 cheeky monkeys 

Living Arrows

My Summer Key Pieces



When it comes to summer there are a few beach essentials that are must haves for my wardrobe.I like to wear light weight and breathable clothing during these months as the last thing I want is to be a hot sweaty mess. I've never been keen on clothing that clings to me and during the summer its a good idea to keep away from black clothing most days as well. 

So what are my must have key items?

Maxi Skirts and Dresses
I could live in maxi dresses and skirts during the summer. They are my go to when the weather is nice as I can keep cool without having to show my legs and there are so many different styles out there so you will be able find ones that suit you. 

Flip Flops
Perfect for looking stylish and keeping your feet cool. They are easy to slip on and off and don't have to be just worn at the beach.

Swimwear 
Whether for sunbathing or swimming a comfortable costume or bikini is something that I feel is a must especially as a Mum as I want to be comfortable and fun with my son in the pool. 

Vest tops
Ideal as they can be worn with shorts and skirts or thrown on over your swimwear. They can be dressed up and down too so definitely a staple. 

Dresses
You don't just have to wear maxi dresses either there are many styles of summer dresses that are great for keeping cool in the heat. I love a good wrap dress as it suits my body shape.

Shorts/Skirts
There are many different styles of shorts and skirts. I look for light weight materials.

Beach Bag 
A must for carrying all your beach essentials such as sun cream, towels, toys for the keys etc. 

Sunglasses
I really need to purchase a pair of prescription sun glasses. They are a must when the sun is shining. 

Kaftan  
Ideal for covering up when on the beach or by the pool


Post-Pregnancy Fitness Tips




After having my son in 2014, my healthy eating and fitness waned. As someone who has struggled with their weight there’s always things I wish I’d gone back and done differently.  I doubt I am the only mum who feels this way; pregnancy can certainly do strange things to the body.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits when you’re pregnant and very hard to break them afterward, trust me I am speaking for experience. Looking after your health and fitness post pregnancy can be difficult; having the energy to exercise just isn’t always possible.
So many women today turn to surgical options to help them get back into shape but before you consider that why not try the traditional way? An abdominoplasty, or Tummy tuck costs can vary but many women will gladly pay the money to feel like themselves again.  

So how do you stay fit and healthy post pregnancy without resorting to surgery? Well, it’s not all about exercise thankfully; your diet is just as important. I’ve done my research and outlined what I think are some of the best post-pregnancy health and fitness tips. So if you’re a new mum why not give some of these tips a try?
Take It Slow
Pregnancy really takes its toll on your body so whatever you do don’t rush to get back into shape. No matter how you feel you can’t go running or to the gym a few weeks after you’ve given birth. Take at least six weeks to recover fully and get your strength back and start small and in time work yourself back into a routine.
Take Walks
Exercise classes and sports are not really an option post pregnancy at least straight away but don’t worry there’s plenty of ways to lose weight without such strenuous activity. One of the best ways to stay fit and healthy post pregnancy is to take regular walks. The best thing about this is you can do it with your baby; just a short walk down to a friend’s house or the corner shop can really help with your fitness.
Make It Social
One of the best fitness tips for new mums is to find something you enjoy doing and do it with a friend. If you join a new mums group you can make improving your fitness a goal that you can share together. Whether it’s just walking together with your babies or taking a light yoga class you’ll have more success staying healthy if you work with someone.
Diet But Not Right Away
A diet is a great way to lose your baby weight and get back into shape but don’t do it straight away. A common mistake many new mums make is that they go on a diet too soon, give yourself at least six weeks before dieting again but if you feel like you need longer then don’t be afraid to wait. If you diet too soon you’ll just make your recovery harder, so feel free to plan a diet but don’t start it till you’re ready.
Try Swimming
Swimming is a popular way to take care of your health and fitness post-pregnancy, many mums also find swimming relaxing and you can even take your baby with you when they’re old enough. Remember to wait until you’re ready and able before you take to the swimming pool and take it slow.
Be Realistic
Don’t set unrealistic body goals for yourself post-pregnancy, looking after your health and fitness is important but you need to be realistic about it. You’re not going to get back into that swimsuit straight away, being realistic about your body goals will help keep you positive and happy.   


Living Arrows- 21/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran


 We love relaxed Sunday's at home just playing games which is why this weeks living arrows photos are of Blake playing with his favourite Orchard toys game. It may also be because I forgot to take photos this week of him doing anything else. oops! 

Blake is really loving matching games at the moment though (with a bit of help). This week we also decided to do a craft project and made an owl bunting I wish I had taken photos of us doing this together as he was actually taking an interest which is rare with Blake as he much prefers to be on the go running around. 






Living Arrows

Super Geek Hero's Review and Giveaway

A fun and brand new series called Super Geek Hero's has been launched. Blake loves to watch cartoons every now and again and so I was excited for him to see the new show. 

The Super Geek Heroes  are a unique group of super-kids... with the tagline having fun in turn with a mission to learn! Their seven friendly "super-powers" are derived from the three prime and four specific development areas of the "Early Years Foundation Stage"


The development areas and resulting characters  are:
·      Personal, Social and Emotional Development - Suzi Smiles
·      Understanding the World - Peter Planet
·      Communication & Language - Vicky Voice
·      Literacy - Jake Jotter
·      Numeracy - Mille Maths
·      Physical Development - Ant Active
·      Creative Arts & Design - Ronnie Rock


You can watch Super Geek Heroes over on YouTube ( don't forget to subscribe). The great thing for me is that the series is based around learning. Blake loves the bright and colourful characters. I love that their is a whole page dedicated to helping us parents to understand and explain the idea of the series. 

I love that the show is fun and engaging and although Blake is only 2 he was still drawn to watching it. I love that each episode focuses on a different aspect of learning. 



Super Geek Heroes are giving one of my followers a chance to win a free 6 month subscription to KidsCast app. On this app you can download and view Super Geek Heroes on the go or cast to your TV  meaning your child/ren can watch it wherever you are! 

For your chance to win  just answer the question in the rafflecopter below and also see how u can gain more entries. 


Terms and Conditions
-To enter you must be 16 and over 
- This competition will close on 26th May 2017 at 12.00am GMT 
- The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email, twitter or facebook
- If the winner doesn't reply within 30 days another winner will be drawn



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wanting to change but not sure how



I'm overweight, actually scrap that I am obese and something needs to be done. Something needs to change my diet needs to be better and I need to start exercising again. The trouble is since I fell pregnant with Blake in 2014 my healthy eating and exercising has gone to pot. 

I have tried but seem to give in after a few days when the chocolate cravings come and I end up pigging out, as for exercise again I have tried however since having a C-section I have found that doing an exercise DVD at home would cause me pain around my stomach area. 




At my heaviest 




My weight has always been up and down most of my life at my heaviest I was a size 24 and at my slimmest a size 12/14. I'm now a size 18/20 which is the size I've been mostly at. However I'm not happy, I don't like what I see in the mirror and I want to be a lot more healthier and be able to run around after my son and have a lot more energy. 

But what do you do when you feel you are stuck and really don't know how to get out of the bad habits that you have formed. I'm uncomfortable in what I wear and totally self conscious that people are looking at me.  



At my slimmest 


When I was at my heaviest I wasn't happy and just like now I feel that I was getting into bad habits. I eventually realised enough was enough and in 2013 I embarked on my slimming world journey where from January 2013 -March 2014 I lost 6 stone 2lb . I was the happiest and healthiest then, I had so much more energy and was happier in how I looked especially in what I wore and confidence seemed to excel too. 

I then fell pregnant and found the best way to prevent morning sickness was to not get even slightly hungry so was constantly eating the wrong things. I decided that while I was pregnant I was just going to eat what I wanted and then get back to slimming world after my 6 week check once baby was here.



Now
It didn't work that way I have tried going back to slimming world 3 times since having Blake and not been able to stick at it like I had done previously the motivation just isn't there. So now I'm at a point where I want to change but am unsure how.



Healthy Meals with Hello Fresh



It's easy to get into a rut when it comes to planning our meals and going for the same things week in, week out. This has meant that it has taken out the enjoyment of meal times for us as we are getting bored of using the same recipes. So when I was given the option of trying out a Hello Fresh box I jumped at the chance of trying some new and exciting meals. 

After checking their website I decided the classic box was ideal for us. Hello Fresh offer 3 different boxes - classic, veggie or family.  I chose the classic box with Blake being a fussy eater I felt that if we did go for a family box there would be quite a bit of waste. 

With Hello Fresh the idea is that it makes meal times much easier with no meal planning or grocery shopping.  This also means trying out new recipes to get you out of that rut knowing they will nutritious and delicious. 



When our box arrived we were surprised at how much you get in the box. The box had all of the fresh produce in separate bags with the name of the recipe on so you don't have to go routing through the box for the correct ingredients for each recipe. There is also a separate bag for chilled items which is kept cool so you can pop them straight in your fridge as soon as you can. 

Stuart is the cook in our little family and so that very evening we decided to try out one of the recipes. We went for the Asian Chicken with Stir-fried kale and coconut. Stuart followed the recipe word for word. The recipe was easy for him to follow and smelled delicious. It was soon cooked, plated up and than devoured. The portion sizes are ample, in fact we were stuffed afterwards. 




This was also the same with the other two meals we had as well. When ordering you have a choice of choosing to go for three meals or five meals and can choose them to be for either 2, 3 or 4 people.  Our second meal was Gnocchi Bolognese with cheesy Broccoli. As a fan of the family favourite of the classic it was lovely to try a new twist with it. We have probably had gnocchi once in the 8 years Stuart and I have been together as he isn't usually a fan of it however was willing to give this recipe a try. With the gnocchi being fried it tasted delicious and we both agreed that we will have gnocchi more often if cooked in the same way. We also liked that the broccoli was both roasted and grilled which is a way we never thought to cook broccoli before. 


Last of all was Balsamic steak with red cabbage and potato wedges. We love a good steak and chips and so were looking forward to the twist with this recipe. The recipe means for the steak to be super rare however no matter how you like your steak cooked it will taste delicious. We loved this meal with its delicious flavours, our only complaint would be that we would have loved more steak and less of the red cabbage. We found that was a lot of red cabbage which we didn't finish so I'd recommend using less than the recipe states. 

Price was the boxes for some would be a little on the expensive side however for us I can say it would be great to do very occasionally when we have the funds to do so. I would certainly use Hello Fresh in the future and I can see them being super convenient for those with a busy life style for new parents who just don't have the time with meal planning. 


Living Arrows - 20/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran


This week I have had quite a few parcels arrive and so I have chosen this weeks photo of Blake playing in one of the boxes. Kids seem to love cardboard boxes and its so lovely to see how they use their imagination with them to do different things. 

Blake's favorite was to pretend he was in a boat whilst we sang songs such as "row, row, row your boat" and " a sailor went to sea"  As you can see Blake was all smiles and I've decided to compile a little list of fun ideas of what we can do with cardboard boxes since Blake loved playing with one so much. 






Living Arrows

My Mental Health Story



I have recently noticed an increase of people being more open about mental health problems. Not just because of it being Mental Health Awareness Week but because of wanting to help beat the stigma surrounding mental health I wanted to write about my experience/s. 

Back in July last year I wrote the post Stress, Anxiety and Me where I admitted about how I was struggling with anxiety and feeling stressed. I thought today I would go into a bit more detail about my experiences of both Depression and Anxiety. 


Being Bullied

When I was at school I was bullied quite frequently. I was also the loner that no one seemed to want to spend time with. I had a few friends but there were times where I spent break and lunch time on my own. I've always been quiet and introverted and so maybe that was one of the reasons that I was picked on.  

What the bullies didn't realise was how the way they treated me was affecting my mental health. I was also pretty good at hiding how was feeling too and no one can know the inward battle that others are facing.  During my time at high school I had to struggle with suicidal feelings. There were a few occasions quite where I had time off school "ill" due to having taken an overdose without telling my parents and which made me feel pretty ill and which I passed off as a sickness bug. 


Losing my Dad

I lost my Dad when I was 18 and this had a big impact on me. Loosing a parent at any age is heartbreaking but when you are suffering from undiagnosed mental illness its so much worse. I really did struggle and I am so thankful for Stuart for helping me when I was going through such a hard time. I eventually took the step to speak to someone where I started taking medication and having counselling. Over time I started to feel much better and was able to come off medication so that Stuart and I could start a family. 


Becoming a Mum
Having Blake has also impacted on my mental health. This time round rather than feeling low and depressed I've suffered from frequent bouts of anxiety and panic attacks. I do feel that this is because I now have to not worry about myself but my child too. I feel constant worry about him, I still sometimes panic about whether he is breathing when he is sleeping and when he is doing activities such as climbing on the big slide or when on the swings and Stuart is pushing him high. I've always been a worrier as far back as I can remember and I also struggle with feeling overwhelmed from time to time which stresses me out. For me stress and anxiety seem to go hand in hand a lot of the time. I find that for example Blake is a fussy eater and when dinner time is a battle of not wanting to try new foods I end up feeling stressed which then makes me anxious about if he is getting enough food and all the right nutriants needed. 


Now

Reflecting on my life and things I have gone through and also struggled with makes me understand my mental health a lot more. I like to hope that I am coping a lot better now and yes I am on medication but its working for me at current.  

If you are reading this and are suffered from mental health issues make sure you get some help. Its not something you should at all feel ashamed of, talk to the ones you love and trust, speak to your GP, write down how you feel, get your thoughts and feelings out it really does help. 

Gousto Subscription Box #Review

*I was gifted a box for the purpose of this review


A few weeks ago I was contacted by Gousto to see if I was interested in trying out their meal subscription service. Blake is a fussy eater and so most of the time has a different meal to what Stuart and I have. Recently I have been getting fed up of having the same meals week in week out and wanted to try something different. 

The main thing about Gousto that appealed to me was that everything comes all ready weighed and measured which of course makes meal times a lot more easier. Meal planning is something that I have found has gone to pot recently and its something we need to get back into doing. When it comes to Gousto it meant that we had 2 meals planned for us and so we only had to plan what we were having the other 5 days of the week. 

I have been wanting to try out a subscription service like this for awhile and as we like to stick to a budget when it comes to meals I thought that £27.49 for 2 meals for 2 people was a bit pricey to pay each week. So what did I think? and would I buy Gousto again? 



After looking at the Gousto website and selected the 2 meals that we wanted to try we then got to choose what delivery day we wanted. When the box arrived it was packaged well with cooling elements to keep the food fresh and chilled. The items in the box were also labeled and inside there was leaflet that explained how to store each of the items before use. 

The recipes are written up on cards and with each of the food items measured out and ready to go. This made making the meals much more simpler. The photos of the food on the cards look mouthwatering and so we were very eager to make up our delicious sounding meals. 

The first meal we chose to go for was Auntie Sues Chicken and Leek Pie. The recipe card was easy to follow and all we had to add was butter, flour, milk, olive oil, salt and pepper which we already had in our store cupboard. The card also tells you that you just double the ingredients for 4 people. The creamy and hearty chicken and leek pie took approx 40 mins to prepare and cook and we were soon enjoying our meal. The portion size was ample in fact so that we actually couldn't manage it all.


The next evening we really wanted to try out the next recipe which was Honey roast ham, egg and chips. The items have a short date on them and so we wanted to make sure we had the meals when all the ingredients were still fresh. Again the recipe was easy to follow and this time we only had to add olive oil, salt and vegetable oil. Just like the other card it tells you to double the ingredients for 4 people.  This comforting pub classic took approx 40 minutes to prepare and cook and comes with a delicious mustard mayo and side salad (kale).  Again the portion sizes were ample and this time we managed to finish it all and our bellies were full. 

So would I recommend  Gousto and would I purchase a box myself? Yes definitely the meals were delicious, easy to follow and portion wise ideal for the 2 of us. The great thing about the subscription is that you can cancel or pause at any time. I think it will be ideal if you know you have a busy a few days coming up and need to make cooking easier for you without grabbing the takeaway menu. The only thing I would find an issue is the cost which I guess depends on what your weekly food budget is. For some people the price may not be an issue for them. 

Fancy trying your own box?  You can get a £20 discount on each of your 1st and 2nd Gousto orders, on any sized box, meaning the 1st & 2nd boxes could cost £7.49 each. All you have to do is pop this discount code TORNADO at the checkout.