Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Snoozeshade Plus

Caleb and I  have been lucky enough to be sent the new Snoozeshade Plus to trial by the lovely Cara over at Snoozeshade.

The new Snoozeshade Plus has all the wonderful benefits of the Snoozeshade Original, including the UPF50+ sun protection and a soft double layer of breathable fabric which blocks out 94% of light. However the Snoozeshade Plus has some new added benefits:

A zip-up lookout/blackout panel
It is longer and wider so will grow with your child
A better positioned 'sneak a peak'
It has an extra pair of straps
The trim is more neutral

All these new features make the the Snoozeshade Plus even better.

With Caleb being an older child but still in a pram regularly napping we have had some issues with the sun. He's always since birth not been keen on the sun when he's in his pram and we have struggled for all this time with parasols and various sun shading methods including blankets and sweatshirts. No more though thanks to the Snoozeshade Plus.

It was easy to put onto the pram. I tried it first on my Concorde Fusion which is a really large bodied pushchair and it fitted on no problem at all with plenty of room for little legs and feet to feel comfortable inside it too.

The new position of the 'sneak a peak' zip was great.

It meant Caleb could sit up and look out when he was nodding off, as hes slightly older he likes more of a view than is given through the lookout panel.I would imagine for young babies the zip up lookout panel would be brilliant though, letting them see the world go by but acting still as a sunshade. The lookout panel still provides UPF5 with the panel open and UPF50+ when closed. I love the fact that you could take your tiny baby out in the sun for a walk without having to smother them in sun cream which leaves them sticky for the rest of the day and we all know with parasols we still have to apply cream as not all the baby can be guaranteed protected at one time. However, Snoozeshade do advise you to use other forms of sun protection when using the shade as UPF5 only protects from 80% of UVB and UVA and even in small amounts prolonged exposure to the sun isn't advised.

The Snoozeshade Plus will be retailing for £29.99 which is a great price I feel for all the features you're getting with it. When looking at stockists on the website I was pleased to find that this great product will probably be found at highstreet baby shops such as Mothercare and Boots,(as with the Snoozeshade Original) as well as online baby shops from June 2011. You can find this information over at . There will  also most likely be a waiting list for this product initially so if you wish to have your name down for it you can email now so as not to miss out.

I'd say the Snoozeshade Plus is a must for all new mums and mums to be and you can be reassured that it will grow with your little one right through to the toddler stage.

The Best Part of Motherhood

I absolutely love being a Mum. I love cuddles, kisses, smiles, baby smells absolutely everything but I think the best bit of all has to be watching them discover the world and its beauty. Something they love with that instant amazement and awe.  Things as adults we take for granted but to them is the most wonderful thing they've ever seen.

On Sunday we went for a family day out to Glasgow West End. We went walking round the town in the sun and popped into Kelvin Grove again to let the kids have a wander round their favourite bits of the museum. When we came out of Kelvin Grove we saw the most beautiful trees filled with Blossom. We commented on how gorgeous they were, but Caleb made an absolute beeline for them. He spent an hour running under them and looking up saying 'Wow, goodness, its beeeeeeeeeeeoootiful' . I don't think I've ever seen him so completely amazed. We all stood around giggling with tears in our eyes at how tiny and sweet he was.

Watching you're little one, grow up and discover the world and nature has to be one of the best bits of motherhood for me and I feel so privileged to be blessed with my little people.

Wordless Wednesday - Fun at the Beach

Spring has Sprung.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

All About Persevering

What is it with toddlers and their eating habits?? One minute they hate something and the next they cant get enough of it. For my boy it seems to be bread that was his biggest foe always has been. He wouldn't eat toast or sandwiches full stop. It makes life very awkward when you are trying to thing of things to produce when you're on the hop or if you're out the house. Picnics were a trauma for me, having to make sandwiches for us and trying to find things he would eat. I've tried over and over again to try different ways of producing bread products to him with no success. Until now......................

My Mum has always told me with both kids to try them with things now and again that they don't like as their tastes and fads change as fast as they do so recently I tried him with banana toasties. He wouldn't eat them himself but if I cut them up into squares and fed them to him he'd eat about a quarter of one and always said 'yum yum tasty', RESULT!!! However, still if I tried him with toast or just bread he wouldn't touch it at all and basically acted offended by it.

Last week we were in the supermarket and I saw spaghetti hoops and thought how long it'd been since I had that with toast. So we bought two small tins, one with hot dogs in and one without.I thought I'd try him with some and see what he thought too. Its not something I ever buy or give my kids. I boiled up the ones with hot dogs in for him and served with white toast. He loved them and even had two or three bites of toast with them. I couldn't believe it. So the next morning I made him toast and jam and put it in front of him and shock, he ate it again.

When my husband came home at the weekend he was in shock that this boy would touch toast at all and when he promptly wolfed down two slices in front of him we all cheered. Crazy I know but its a huge break through in simplifying his eating.

He likes it good and buttery. So much so hes wearing it. 

This week he's eating sandwiches with turkey breast in and toast by the truck load. It just goes to show, sometimes Grannie knows best when it comes to the tried and tested methods of getting them to eat anything.

Discover The Origin

I was recently contacted by a company running a campaign called Discover the Origin and asked if I would be interested in helping to spread the word about what they are trying to achieve. This is the basic concept in short.

The campaign was created by the EU to make consumers more knowledgeable about what they are buying and where it comes from. They want to support local artisans who use traditional methods that have been handed down from generation to generation to create delicious food. These are people who care passionately about what they do, and it means natural products containing no artificial additives or preservatives, simply good honest food and wines that have not been tampered with. In short, buying Protected Designation Of Origin stamped food supports honest trade, craft, tradition and means you get to eat and drink better!

I obviously was instantly drawn to this. Of course I would be interested was my response so I looked at the links I was sent to the website and had a good look round. Its quite a simple concept and extremely worthwhile in my opinion. Here is an extract from the website home page in their words to help you to understand.

"In the UK, we have never been better informed – or more inquisitive – about good food and wine, and their provenance.
Discover the Origin is a campaign promoted by the European Union, Italy, France and Portugal and achieved by the office representative of five key European products: Burgundy winesPort and Douro Valley WinesParma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese. The aim of all of them is to enhance knowledge of the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) among consumers, distributors and food professionals and to educate on the benefits of the provenance indicator schemes, the relevant checks, controls and traceability systems that are put in place to ensure ongoing quality, and to differentiate theproducts and raise their profiles.
All five of these products carry a guarantee of their provenance and quality: the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, AOC for Burgundy wines and DOC for Port and Douro Valley wines.  If you see these labels on any food or drinks, you can rest assured that you will be rewarded with excellent quality."

As a mother and the person who does all the cooking in our house I feel it is important to be aware of where our food comes from, how it is produced and its quality. So many campaigns over the years have been heavily supported in making sure that things are produced fairly without cruelty but the concept of Protected Designation of Origin is a whole new one to me and to be honest makes complete sense.

So as part of the campaign and to raise awareness the Discover the Origin team are running events up and down the country over the next 3 years and looking for support. I for one love my food and am always interested in supporting new schemes to improve the products we buy and feed our families and the PDO seems to ensure just this.

The website incorporates numerous recipes using such products and there is also a cookbook which has been produced. The campaign is supported by celebrity chef Lesley Waters and Wine expert Nathan Nolan amongst others.

Sound good??? Mouth watering?? What about this then?

 Mother’s Day Polenta Cakes

Italy is the land of great food, art and of course the Madonna. From religious iconography through to the family home, the role of the ‘mama’  is revered in Italian culture. So why not look to the Tuscan hills this Spring and ditch the traditional Mother’s day treat of Simnel cake in favour of some savoury Polenta ones, perfect wrapped up in a basket delivered straight to her door or served up as part of a home cooked light lunch.
Taking inspiration from the picturesque northern town of Parma, TV chef Lesley Waters has created her Polenta recipe using two key local ingredients: Parma ham and Parmigiano- Reggiano Cheese.
Lesley is part of a four year food campaign called ‘Discover the Origin’ designed to support regional farming and ensure product authenticity. Using genuine ingredients will make a real difference to the taste of your food and Parma has been an active agricultural region since Roman times, the ancient craft of curing ham and maturing cheese has changed little in hundreds of  years. In fact these little savoury cakes are ideal for a traditional celebration

Here's the  recipe, why not try these if you're making a special mothers day meal this year.

The Recipe

Parma ham and Parmigiano- Reggiano Cheese Polenta cakes with Basil Salsa
Delicious served as a light lunch or supper dish or try them on their own drizzled
with olive oil or as a tasty accompaniment to roast chicken in place of the traditional

175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g instant polenta
75g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
200ml milk
4tbsp olive oil + extra for greasing
2 medium eggs
90g Parma ham, finely chopped
85g sunblush tomatoes, drained, finely chopped
300ml crème fraiche

for the Basil Salsa
250g baby plum tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large bunch basil, torn
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 190C, Gas 5. Lightly grease 9 deep muffin wells.
2. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the polenta
and 55g of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season well with freshly ground black
3. In a measuring jug mix together the milk, eggs, Parma ham and sunblush
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dried taking care not to over mix.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly between the prepared muffin wells. Place in the
oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, in a small bowl
combine the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano with the crème fraiche and set
to one side. Toss all the basil salsa ingredients together and season with black
6. Allow the Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese polenta cakes to cool
in the tin for 2 minutes.
7. Carefully, with a flat bladed knife remove from muffin wells.
8. Cut each cake whilst still warm in half on the diagonal. Fill each with a little
of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cream.
9. Serve rustic style on a wooden board with the basil salsa. If desired, serve with
extra Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.

You can also follow Discover the Origin on Twitter or like their page on Facebook.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Blogger Fest 2011

Well, some exciting news was announced today on twitter by the lovely guys over at Parental Circle.

They will be hosting Scotland's first blogger conference on the 7th of May at their headquarters in Paisley. I for one am so excited to get the opportunity to go along and meet new parent bloggers and learn the skills they outlined today in their press release. Here's a little taster of it.

"Parental Circle founder and CEO Christopher McCann said: “For us, hosting the Bloggers Fest is a natural extension of what we do at Parental Circle. Using the Internet and social media allows parents to develop social and support networks and to share experience and advice with other parents.

“Parental Circle Blogger Fest will extend parents’ social media skills as well as inspire discussion about new ways of using the Internet to support the wider parenting community. It will be a great fun day and I can't wait to meet everyone."

Established bloggers as well as parents who are interested in starting a blog are welcome at the day-long event, held at Parental Circle’s Paisley headquarters on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

Speakers will be key figures in the online community and there will be a choice of workshops and presentations throughout the day. Topics will include internet safety, photography for blogs, working with PRs and using the major blog platforms. "

So are we excited yet people???

I know a lot of people have been put off the other blogger conferences due to the distance (mostly down south) and the cost. This conferences tickets cost only £20 for members of the Parental Circle and £25 for non members, but hey, membership is free so not much of an excuse for not joining is there??? Hop over to and get signed up. It's a great online support for parents and you can linky your blog onto your profile.

The conference starts at 9.15am and finishes at 4.30pm and includes lunch, tea and coffee. If I know these guys it will be well catered and very well presented with lots of useful information to help parent bloggers.

The venue is very Central for the M8 motor way, airport , public transport links and a short drive/cab ride to the city centre of Glasgow.

As far as I'm aware there are other details being finalised and I'm sure they will update you soon on the website or follow them on twitter at @parentalcircle .

So all you parent bloggers and wanna be parent bloggers get signed up now and I hope to see you there.

For more information contact:
Christopher McCann
Telephone: 0141 843 2766

Thursday, 17 March 2011

How do you Perceive me? One word meme

The lovely Carol over at blog has tagged me in this lovely Meme.

Basically  I don't have to do much but you have to come up with one word to describe how you perceive me and leave it in my comments below.

Now I have to tag 5 Bloggers to take part. (Apologies if you've already been tagged)

1/ Becca over at

2/ Melaina over at

3/ Dawn over at

4/ Susan over at

5/ Laura over at

Good luck ladies and thanks again Carol. xxx

My Anniversary.

Yesterday was our 4th Wedding Anniversary. Four Years ago we trouped to the registry office with just our parents in tow.

We had a big white affair organised but it soon became a case of too many cooks spoiling it (and I don't mean my parents), so after a bit of a hard few days for us and a massive bereavement for me I phoned Hubby at work and said that I was going to the registry office to book a date to get married and we weren't telling a living soul. He agreed it was a good idea for where we were at that time in our relationship so off I went and spoke to a lovely registrar. She had a cancellation exactly 2 weeks to the day so I booked it and paid our £80 and posted our bands.

After a bit of contemplating we decided we should tell my Mum and see what she thought about our idea and we knew she would be supportive no matter what. She was, massively and said it was up to us how we did it and it was about us and no one else. We decided to tell both sets of parents and ask my Mum and Hubby's Dad to be our witness's. We thought it was a nice gesture. My sister and her Husband were supportive too and were happy to be involved or not, whichever we felt comfortable with. Not everyone in the immediate family was as understanding and as per usual there were a few people happy to make it as much about them as they could but we stood our ground and kept it just us and parents with Sophie.

As the day approached there was no stress, no nerves, no flapping or interference. My Mum and Sister took me for a lovely girls lunch out the day before. On the day, I went to work to tidy up some stuff and then for a sunbed and to buy some Mothers Days gifts to give to our Mums and Hubby's Gran later that day. Then, I came home and had some lunch with him and Dad picked us up at 1pm. The two sets of parents had chipped in for a weekend away for us after it and told us to pack suitcases so we did and set off to the wedding. Mum had made me a lovely bunch of Flowers to hold and Sophie was taken out of school and dressed up by her to look cute and had flowers too.

The service took 15 minutes and was perfect. We had cut out any vows that weren't required by law and our sisters arrived soon after and my sister took a stack of photos. Then Mum said all back to her house for some Champagne so off we went.

When we got there Mum had a gorgeous buffet and lots of Champagne and soon all our relatives arrived from all over. Mum had told each one individually to come for lunch and so they had no clue, neither did we and it was lovely.  At dinner time my Uncle and Aunt ran us to the Hilton in Glasgow where our parents had booked us the presidential suite for 3 days 2 nights all inclusive and it was wonderful. We met a lovely couple there who were from Wales and we spent the weekend eating and drinking with them and had a fabulous time.

In the end it was the best way to get married for us and I loved every second of it. I wouldn't change it for the world.

In the August of that year as we had my dress already ordered and they venue booked for our original wedding we had a lovely blessing and party for all the our family and some who hadn't managed to our wedding in March and I didn't enjoy any of it at all. My proper wedding day is the one that holds the best memories for me and I'm so happy to have them.

So yesterday with Hubby being away on his course with work I thought I would spend my 4th Wedding Anniversary alone, but Hubby surprised me and phoned at lunchtime to say he was down and come to meet him then told me he was coming home for the night and although we spent the evening at Parents night it was still lovely not to spend it without him.

Happy 4th Anniversary Hubby.

A Perfect Day for a Tiny Boy

Today I woke up in a dark mood. It was like having a stinking depressing hangover. Sore head, feeling sick and generally down and fed up. So we decided to go for a walk to blow off the cobwebs so to speak.

I packed up the boy and the pram and off we set. We walked to the supermarket and picked up something for dinner and met lots of people we knew and chatted then as we were walking along the main street Caleb informed me he wanted to go to the water (sea) so off we went.

When we got to the prom I lifted him out and let him run around wild. It was cold and windy (just how I love it) and I chased him with the pram while he ran giggling. If that doesn't lift your mood nothing will. Then, we saw 3 tractors further along the beach clearing up the sand. So we ran along at top speed and went to watch them.  It was the best fun that boys had in ages. He just stood for about an hour watching the men hard at work. Every now and again they would drive the tractor up to the wall and wave to us. Caleb was in his element.

There was another little boy ,Finlay, who's Gran had him out for a walk, arrived while we were there too so he stood with him for some of the time and laughed and played. It was so lovely to watch. Caleb isn't around kids his own age very often and it was nice to see that he knows how to play and interact.

This was a good day for my little man.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sunday and Sushi with Parental Circle and Friends.

Yesterday a few of us blogger mums met up with the lovely guys from the 'Parental Circle' website. Their website is a Q&A forum for parents needing shared advice and tips from other parents in the same situation as them. On twitter a few of us had decided to meet up with them to hear more about their business and give them some feedback from us too.

We decided on Ichiban in Glasgow City Centre and I am ever so easy to persuade to go on a day trip back 'home'.

On the Train
I travelled up on the train with the gorgeous Laura from Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy , whom I've met a couple of time when out and about before as we both live locally to each other. Was great to catch up and have a chat enroute.

When we arrived we found the restaurant quite easily and the guys from  arrived just after us. We were soon joined by @Ellen27from bundance.blogspot  and @Melaina25 from Transatlantic Blonde. We had some introductions and a chat just before @susankmann from and @lauracmcintyre from allaboutmummy.blogspot arrived too.

Lovely Parental Circle lads. 

Ellen and Susan

Miss Melaina

We had great food, great chat and great company. It was a really lovely day. I think we all enjoyed it and the consensus is we can't wait to meet up again soon. Thanks for a great afternoon out guys.

@lauraCYMFT @Julesey10 @Ellen27 @SusanKMann @lauracmcintyre @Melaina25 @ParentalCircle. 

Three by Nine Meme

I have been tagged by the gorgeous Kate over at What Katies Kids Did Next with a new meme!

The rules are fairly simple, simply post your answers and tag your blogging buddies, so we all learn something new about each other!

Here we go;

Three names I go by: Julie, Jules, Mummy.

Three places I've lived: Glasgow, Paris, London

Three places I've worked: Hairdressers, Bars, Paul Costello

Three things I love to watch: Greys Anatomy, Private Practice, Keeping up with the Kardashians ( I know I know but its addictive hilarity)

Three places I have been and love: Menorca, Cornwall, Brittany

Three people that email me regularly:  My Dad (he cant text so often emails me from work), My cousin in USA, the lovely Carol. 

Three things I love to eat: Lobster, Scallops, Cod, (basically any seafood)

Three people I think will respond: Laura, Susan, Michelle

Three things I'm looking forward to: More kiddies, summer, my kids futures- happy and healthy god willing. 

That's it! I'd love to read a three by nine meme by Laura, Susan,Michelle and anyone else who wants to join in!

Thanks for the tag Kate. Mwah. xxx

Thursday, 10 March 2011

I'm All DIY'd Out

Since Hubby's been away with work I've been trying to catch up with some jobs needing doing since the big room move and redecoration.

Last week I started attempting to make Caleb's new room (our old room) a bit more of a little boys room without major redecoration. So i invested in some wall transfers and a new blind. That was all well and good but it still wasn't cutting it for me.

His favourite wall with Buzz on. 

starting to take shape

When we had the wall moved in the room to create a larger box room last year we added some IKEA stick on mirrors to the wall to help give a feeling of space. Since Caleb's been in there they just looked wrong and generally spoiled the whole place. So yesterday I attacked them. Possibly stupidly but I got the bug and went and hauled the off the wall. Unfortunately I pulled half the plaster off the wall at the same time, so needless to say I have spent the last 24 hours doing as good a patch up job as I can on the damn thing.

Mirrors on the wall

Luckily I had some of the wall transfers left and we had bought a shelf at the weekend to see what they looked like up so I have hidden the worst of my plastering attempt under them and strangely I don't think its at all too bad. We'll see what hubby says when he gets home but I'm thinking another couple of the little shelves and I'm done with the naughty wall. Phew. No more stick on mirrors ever again.

No Mirrors and a patch up. 
I'm now thinking the bed needs a new headboard and some new furniture then what can I attack next?????

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Perfect Saturday

This Saturday while my hubby was home for the weekend we were looking for things to do with the kids as a family. I Googled things to do in the West of Scotland and the first thing to come up was a place I'd never heard of Amazonia in Strathclyde Country Park just outside my Daddys old hometown of Uddingston.  So off we went without a clue what we were off to see. 

When we got there it was basically just a big humid room made out like an amazon forest with butterfly's and birds flying around and displays of monkeys, spiders, ants and generally animals you would find in the amazon. It was fab. Caleb the butterfly obsessive was in heaven. Although its not huge or anything like a zoo or anything of the sort we really enjoyed it. 

busy hanging out with his monkey friends

Scary looking softie

Love the monkeys
Can I touch it daddy???
Cute lizard
Calebs other favourite were the fish
The cutey pie monkeys loved the kids and I think they all felt the same.
some of the birdies flying around were so cute. 

Mummy made another friend.

We bought tickets for the animal handling experience too but one of the animals was a tarantula so I had a quick shot of the gorgeous snake Eva and made my departure. I don't generally like spiders. I regret it now and wish I had. 

The most gorgeous snake ever.

It was a very enjoyable day out and not overly expensive. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Tommee Tippee Digital Movement and Sound Monitor

Product: Tommee Tippee Digital Movement and Sound Monitor

Using DECT interference free technology, the monitor relays every sound and movement made by the baby to the parent unit, and also looks ultra-modern too, bringing mobile phone styling to monitoring. Easy to set up and operate, the monitor uses a highly sensitive sensor pad which fits under baby’s cot mattress and is then connected via a cord to the unit in the baby’s room where a back-lit night light – adjustable with a remote control feature  – casts a warm glow.
The parent unit uses rechargeable batteries and is charged as it stands in its docking station. The easy to read LCD display shows the temperature of the nursery, and the baby’s sounds are conveyed via a series of ascending bright blue lights. It also has two-way talk back with volume control to reassure and soothe baby from another room.
If no movement is detected from the baby over a 20-second period, an alarm sounds to alert a parent. Once the baby has been checked on, the alarm can be reset. The closer to nature Digital Movement & Sound Monitor has a long-distance range of 300 metres and an out of range indicator.
Most parents benefit from the sensor pad when their baby is a newborn, however once the baby can move freely around the cot – parents can choose to remove the sensor pad and use the monitor as a stand-alone model, with all its many benefits.

Price: £99,99  with sensor pad/ £64.99 without. 

Available from: Most baby equipment retailers

Suitable From: . Birth upwards

Score out of 5:  4 out of 5 with the pad, 5 out of 5 though for the monitors for sound only. 

Initial Reaction: Initially I was quite daunted but all the bits and pieces as I took them out the box. Setting it up I felt a bit of a novice as it felt quite complicated. 

Pros: No interference from the monitors. The design is so cute and looks fab in your house. The thermometer is a great feature and gives you piece of mind. It incorporates so many gadgets in one so keeps the nursery neat and means you need less cables.

Cons: The movement sensor isn't as simple as it sounds and if you have a heavy sleeper who doesn't move around much the alarm is a bit of a pain. The alarm is very loud in the nursery. The night light could be slightly brighter. 

Value for Money: Overall I think great value for money. 

Overall Reaction:  When we initially tried to set up this monitor with the movement sensor pad I was a little baffled. The pad is really for smaller babies than Caleb but we thought we'd give it a go with it. Unfortunately at his age and as he's quite a deep sleeper it went off a few times waking him up, but fortunately its very easy just to switch the pad off and unplug it for older children. As a baby monitor for sound this is genius. We absolutely love it. The display unit is neat, compact and very  funky in design. It really does have no interference at all and when your baby makes noise it is very clear. You can keep an eye on the nursery temperature easily with a very visible temperature reading on the parent unit and the night light in the nursery is super handy and meant we could take out Caleb's night light. The set up instructions were slightly hard to follow at first glance but after a good read helped me understand the unit a bit better. Overall we love this monitor and would recommend it to anyone.