Mellow Mummy: September 2011 : Taking life as it comes...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Things to do in Herefordshire with a Toddler

Earlier this month we took Lara on a self-catering holiday to Herefordshire. We stayed at Hareley Farm, a converted 16th century barn on a working, rare-breeds farm. The barn had its own playground where Lara could play, and some beautiful views across the countryside.

On our first full day we went for a long, leisurely walk around the grounds of Brockhampton Estate which is managed by the National Trust. Lara loved seeing the trees, mushrooms, berries and wildlife that I pointed out to her. It was a long walk (we did about 3 miles) but we broke it up with a picnic in the woods and. After lunch we walked through a field of sheep (much to Lara's excitement) and when Lara began to tire, we used our new Kiddy Carry System to carry her back to the car.

On the Monday, the winds were really high so we drove into the centre of Hereford for a look at some of the black and white buildings and a wander around the grounds of the Cathedral. In the afternoon we took Lara ten-pin bowling in a groovy tiny bowling alley next to Hereford station. Lara absolutely loved it (two weeks later if you ask her what she wants to do now, she will tell you , 'bowling'). On our way home we stopped in the picturesque town of Ledbury to buy strawberries for pudding!

The following day we visited a rare breeds farm and owl centre near Kington where, if she hadn't been scared to death, Lara could have fed and cuddled all of the farm animals. In the afternoon we went for a walk at Queenswood country park which has lots of flat footpaths suitable for buggies and a brilliant playground that we had all to ourselves.

On Wednesday we visited Hampton Court Castle and Gardens and we were really surprised at how much Lara loved it. She had great fun exploring the formal gardens, especially the fruit and vegetables. We took a tour of the castle (the stuffed animals and swords on the wall freaked her out) and got lost in the maze. We had our picnic on the lawn and played on the small playground before a small walk along the river where there was a children's nature trail.

On Thursday we all walked to the top of the Herefordshire Beacon (video coming soon!) which is the second highest of the Malvern hills. Lara enjoyed the view and found it very entertaining that Daddy had to carry her most of the way. We had a picnic in a disused quarry before spending the afternoon at Westons Cider Mill. We saw the cider apples arriving on trucks and being chopped and squashed into juice before being matured in vats. Lara got to try some apple juice and then she spent some time looking at the horses and sheep before playing on the tractors and adventure playground.

On the last day of our holiday Lara wasn't too well and so we chilled out at the Barn with the toys and videos that the owners had provided for us.

A very fun holiday with a relaxing conclusion.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Scoot n Pull Review

Lara got her first scooter earlier in the year and I admit that she still struggles with it... at two year's old she is really eager to get 'scooterling' but every time we take the scooter out with us, the enthusiasm lasts for about 5-10 minutes before she decides it all requires a bit too much co-ordination and asks for us to push her or carry her. I'm now so glad that we have got a Scoot n Pull to make my life easier.

The Scoot 'n' Pull is a small strap harness that you attach to the upright bar of the scooter to pull it along. For me, it is a great way of encouraging Lara to use the scooter and to gain confidence and balance as I can pull her slowly along on it. As she gets older, it will help me to keep her close to me when we go for walks, or when using the scooter on the pavement. When Lara is tired or loses interest, we can pull her while she holds on.

When your child totally loses interest (or perhaps when you've dropped them off at school) and you need to carry the scooter, the Scoot 'n' Pull turns into a harness. We fasten ours over the back wheel and then you can wear the scooter over your shoulder.

I found the shoulder strap a bit tight and a little precarious (I keep having to check and convince myself that it is well fastened) but it certainly does help. At just £6.99 I think it is a no-brainer to invest in one of these when you buy a scooter. You can buy the Scoot 'n' Pull is several different colours from their website.

And, if you don't own a scooter then you could, like Lara, use it as a belt!!!

All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes - Book Review

Reading All About Alfie with Lara at bedtimes has brought back lots of memories. Recently, we'd borrowed a battered old Alfie book from the library which Lara had enjoyed so we knew that she'd love the brand new book, All About Alfie which was published earlier this month by Random house to celebrate 30 years of Alfie books by Shirley Hughes.

All About Alfie features a number of poems and two brand new Alfie stories. The hardback book makes a great bedtime story book because it has two stories of a decent length and plenty of illustrations of people that Lara can engage with and tell me about.

Lara's favourite story is “A Very Special Birthday” in which Alfie and his best friend go to visit Alfie's Great Grandma. They make a cake and a card to take with them and Great Grandma has lots of stories to share.

I think the thing that still appeals to me about the Alfie books after all these years is that they are so 'normal'. The stories are about an every day family doing every day things, with a little drama thrown in along the way – it makes the story that more familiar than many of Lara's story books about jungles and make-believe.

There are lots of activities, colouring sheets and other downloads available at

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Meet Lara's New Interactive Friend - Winnie the Pooh

Meet Lara's new friend. Winnie the Pooh. Pooh bear has been living with us for a few weeks now, we won the chance to be toy testers for Worlds Apart toys in a competition at the Tots100 over the summer. Lara loves Winnie the Pooh (she calls him Piglet Pooh) and pooh bear barely leaves her side when she is at home.

Winnie the Pooh is an interactive Disney friend from Worlds Apart. He is programmed with over 50 phrases and 'pooisms' in a very cute familiar voice. Pooh bear is incredibly soft and has a nose and hand that you can squeeze to interact with him.

Lara loves to feed her new friend whenever he gets hungry (we've set him up so that he is hungry for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time as she is). Pooh comes with his own honey pot and spoon and will tell you when he has a rumbly in his tummy!

At bedtime Pooh bear tells you when he's feeling a bit tired (cunningly we've programmed him to do this shortly before we normally get Lara ready for bed). He knows when it is time to get changed, brush teeth, wash face and have a bedtime story (you can set him up to do these in any order you like). And, when he is finally ready to go to sleep he yawns and drifts off and won't let you disturb him until it is officially time to wake up.

Since Winnie the Pooh came to live with us, Lara has often asked to go to bed earlier than her normal bedtime. He really helps to re-enforce the bedtime routine. I had hoped that it would also help to stop Lara waking up too early in the morning but he will only tell you to go back to sleep if you choose to actively engage with him by pressing his nose or mouth. Despite this, Lara seems to really enjoy being with him, especially playing hide and seek with him!

I think that the interactive friend from Worlds Apart is a fabulous toy and could become any pre-schooler's new best friend. The only negative I've found is that because all of his electronics are internal and can't be removed, you can't put Pooh bear in the wash. Unfortunately our Winnie the Pooh has already had one vomit incident and he really could have done with a spin.

You can buy the Winnie the Pooh interactive friend in a number of shops including Argos, Tesco and Amazon. On the Disney website at present they have a competition running where you can win an interactive Winnie the Pooh.

Monday, 19 September 2011

New Term, New Car Seat?

Today was Lara's first day back at nursery after her holiday. We've just got back from a really lovely week in Herefordshire (about which, I promise to blog later in the week). While I love Lara to pieces, and have really really enjoyed spending an entire week with just the three of us together... I can tell you now that after a week with a toddler as cheeky and energetic as Lara, I was secretly looking forward to going back to work.

Lara went back to nursery for a new 'term' in a brand new car seat. It feels like the start of a new school year to me. New clothes, new car (well, its a month old now) and a new car seat. A whole new beginning. The new car seat is the Kiddy Guardian Pro 2 which I shall we reviewing in detail here on the blog, and on parentwheels this month.

Lara was not as eager to get back to nursery as I was to get back to work. There were tears. There was, in fact, a full-on tantrum which involved her refusing to leave the house. Resisting our attempts to strap her in to the car. And a whole lot of screaming.

We had received the Guardian Pro 2 a couple of days before going on holiday but we hadn't felt brave enough to take it with us without getting a little bit of practice in with it first. When we tried the Kiddy Energy Pro over 12 months ago, Lara hasn't much enjoyed being in it and to take a car seat on holiday that she might refuse seemed a bit of a gamble. As it is, since we have been back over the weekend we have used the Guardian Pro 2 a lot and she seems really happy in the new Kiddy seat. I put this down to her size. At 1 year old her arms didn't rest comfortably on the Kiddy impact shield. Now at 2 years old, she can rest her arms much more naturally on the iconic shield.

I'm glad we didn't take the new car seat on holiday... we had 3 vomit incidents while we were away. The old car seat definitely needs to be sidelined for a while. Or, at a minimum, disinfected!

It has taken both myself and Mr. B a couple of days to get used to strapping the Kiddy car seat in to place but now I think we've got the knack and it is taking hardly any time at all to get Lara strapped in. It's dead easy.

At the end of an exhausting first day back at work, we went to pick up Lara from nursery and, just as I had suspected, she was as unwilling to leave nursery as she had been to go in the morning! Typical.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Matalan Children's Clothing Review

I will admit that before last month I had never set foot inside a Matalan store. For no other reason than that the only Matalan I know is situated in a rather awkward position in Reading which you really only get to if you're planning on buying a new sofa or a new car. Interestingly, last month I did indeed buy a new car and thus, found the perfect opportunity to pop into Matalan and see what I was missing.

I went armed with a £50 voucher that Matalan had sent me in order that I could properly see what all the fuss was about. I've always maintained that Lara will be the first person to benefit from the perks of the blog so I took her on a shopping trip to buy children's clothing. I've written down the list of clothes that we bought because I still now struggle to get my head around quite how much we came away with for that £50.

  • 2 nightdresses

  • 2 pairs of pyjamas

  • A knitted dress with belt

  • Two pairs of jogging bottoms

  • A pair of leggings

  • A packet of underwear

  • A Peppa Pig baseball cap

  • A set of Peppa Pig knitted scarf, hat and gloves

  • A big Peppa Pig ball... OK, so this one isn't clothing!

matalan childrens clothing

Matalan seemed to have a very nice selection of baby clothes and a VAST array of older children's clothes (including a good value range of school wear) but it seemed a bit lacking for children of 2/3 years old. Hence the ball.

matalan childrens clothing

I won't pretend that I was impressed by the quality of all the clothes but it did meet my expectations given the incredible prices. Lara's knitted dress is a higher quality item and came with a groovy belt. It was the most expensive item we bought at £11 but only once I got it home did I notice it was missing a button. Doh. Oh well, it still looks cool.

The nightwear we bought was really good value for money and I've really struggled this season to find any nighties anywhere for Lara. At Matalan I was spoilt for choice, nightie-wise.

I had a good browse of the children's toys while we were in Matalan and was really surprised at how many branded products and well-known children's characters there were. Lara was in Peppa Pig heaven!

There is a full, impressive range of children's clothing available on the Matalan website too with many great combos and special offers. Lots of the character clothing can be found online with favourites such as Cars, Ben 10, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My Daughter The Byte Stream

The 15 minutes after Lara wakes up in the morning are the most entertaining of the day. This is the time of day when Lara cannot lie. Before she has properly woken up, the words that stream from Lara's mouth are the purest form of communication.

Words. Lots of them. With no conscious language discipline.

Lara will wander straight out of bed, along the corridor into our room and be half way through a sentence by the time she arrives at my side! Her dialogues can be very revealing and show just what is currently on her mind. Sometimes she will be talking in quite lucid detail about an event that happened many months ago. Other times she will be describing something she really fancies to eat.

As a software developer I like to think of Lara's early morning word soup as an output stream.

For the rest of the day my toddler speaks in simple console commands. One liners.

But, for those few minutes every morning, Lara is streaming words straight from her brain to her mouth with no validation, no logical processing and no network interference – if she were code, she'd be a byte stream. Raw bytes! There's some sort of buffering involved which means that the words come out as sentences and not as one continuous blueurgh.

public class LarasBrainDump {

    public static void main(String args[]) throws Exception {

        String source = MyBrain.getStuffImThinkingAbout();
        byte bufferedStuff[] = source.getBytes();
        OutputStream fos = new

        for (int i=0; i < bufferedStuff.length; i ++) { 

Somewhere about now she will breathe and then start all over again. I'm assuming this is the buffer flushing itself out.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cooking With Children : Banana Fudge Muffins Recipe

banana fudge muffins
You don't have to have an excuse to make muffins, do you? Good, because Lara and I cooked banana fudge muffins just for the fun of it, and from a recipe that just came to my head so it was a bit experimental. The muffins didn't rise quite as well as I had hoped but this recipe is a basic sweet muffin recipe with mashed banana and tasty fudge pieces so who cares about what they look like - they taste YUM! The muffin mix takes hardly any preparation so it is a great recipe for a toddler to help you out with in the kitchen.

Banana Fudge Muffins (makes 6)

50g fudge chunks (we used Dr. Oetker's pre-chunked fudge chunks but you could chop your own pieces if you fancied it)
1 ripe banana
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dark brown muscavado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g soft margarine, slightly melted to make it REALLY soft
75g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees centigrade (or slightly lower for a fan oven).

  2. banana fudge muffins

  3. Mix the caster sugar into the melted margarine until well blended and then beat in the egg to form the batter base. Add the vanilla extract.

  4. Mash the banana with the back of a fork and sprinkle over the lemon juice and the dark brown sugar before adding the mashed banana mixture to the batter base.

  5. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda and beat well until it forms a thick but sloppy batter.

  6. banana fudge muffins

  7. Finally stir in the fudge chunks before spooning the batter into a greased muffin tin (we used the Dr. Oetker cake release spray)

  8. Cook the muffins in the centre of the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden. You can check that they are cooked by inserting a cocktail stick or kebab stick into the muffins and if the stick comes away clean then the muffin is cooked.

  9. Allow to cool slightly before eating... otherwise the banana pieces will be RED HOT

banana fudge muffins

The banana fudge muffins from this recipe are a wonderful mix of sweet muffin and sweet banana with the fascinating salty touch to the fudge pieces. They did not last long in our house... in fact, they didn't even get to cool down fully.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Angela Chalmers - Boots Parenting Club Pharmacist (and Mum!)

A little while ago I got the chance to interview Angela Chalmers, the Boots Parenting Club pharmacist.

I first met Angela at a Boots event at The Ritz when she was expecting her first child. Angela seemed excited about the prospect of becoming a mum and was eager to hear my tips and experiences.

Angela became a mum in December 2010 and I was interested to know how motherhood had changed her. Angela admitted that, as a pharmacist, her advice to parents had previously been at quite a high level - advice based on theory and current government guidance but with supporting information from friends and family who were parents. Having now experienced motherhood first hand, Angela feels that the advice she can offer as the Boots Parenting Club pharmacist has been enhanced. Angela feels she can offer more detail and support this with personal anecdote.

Being able to conduct a personalised conversation with customers gives people more confidence in Angela's advice when it comes to caring for babies and young children - people take her more seriously now that she has first-hand experiences to share.

When it comes to her own son, Angela still likes to ask others for advice on how to care for him. She thinks it is important for her to recognise that she doesn't know everything about caring for a baby and that it is easy to miss something. In order to remain objective, Angela refers to friends, family and the good ol' internet.

Angela describes her experience of motherhood as having proved that she is just another human being! By that she means that, like all new mums she hasn't had a lot of sleep and that when it comes to looking after a baby, she didn't get the reassurance she needed from a book or the internet. Being a pharmacist hasn't made her any different to any other new mums. Angela looked to her local children's centre or GP when she needed advice.

You can often find Angela contributing to live events on the Boots Parenting Club site.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Raindrops Outdoor Clothing Review

raindrops outdoor clothing
The minute I set eyes on this spotty raincoat on the raindrops website, I knew Lara had to have one. It is so bold and fun and has funky reflective bits to help spot my little girl when its gloomy.

Raindrops are Scandinavian specialists in children's outdoor clothing, especially in waterproof clothing such as Lara's spotty jacket. All of their clothes are produced in an environmentally-sensitive manner using natural products where possible, and they are all free from PVC and pthalates.

Lara's waterproof jacket is one of the finest quality items of clothing she has ever worn. There is absolutely no doubt about it's claim to be 100% waterproof. The day these photos were taken, the heavens let loose all they could throw at the coat and when Mummy and Daddy came home dripping and soaked to the skin, Lara remained totally and utterly dry. This is fabulous because now she has no excuse not to get out and play, even when the weather is pants.

Lara's jacket has a lovely soft, bright yellow lining and a fleecy collar. The hood is elasticated so that it does actually keep her face dry, and it is removable. The jacket has both an inner zip and outer poppers to keep your child dry. Even the sleeves are elasticated and with a velcro fastening to make sure no water gets in, whatever size your child is. The jacket is available in sizes from age 1-5 years and in both spots and stripes. You can also buy matching wellies and waterproof dungarees.

raindrops outdoor clothing

On the inside of the jacket there is a little area for you to mark it with your child's name. This is perfect because I can leave it on Lara's peg at nursery. Lara's nursery is really big on making sure that wet weather doesn't stop the children from enjoying themselves and I know that Lara can be let loose in the nursery garden wearing her new jacket. The jacket is very easy to wipe clean and, I am led to believe, is also machine washable. Bonus.

Do check out the Raindrops website as they have some really very high quality outdoor clothing for babies and children in all weathers.

Lara's spotty jacket was sent to us for the purposes of this review and costs from £28 from Raindrops. DEFINITELY worth the money.

Fisher-Price Topzy Tumblers Twirlin' Whirlin' Fun Park Review

A little while back, the lovely people from Fisher Price ran a competition on Mellow Mummy to win a Fisher-Price Topzy Tumblers Twirlin' Whirlin' Fun Park. Lara also received a Fun Park to review and literally ripped apart the packaging in a frenzy to get her hands on it.

The Topzy Tumblers Twirlin' Whirlin' Fun Park is suitable from 6 months upwards. I thought that Lara, at 2 years old, might lose interest quickly, but many weeks on, she still rushes in to play with it each evening.

The Fun Park comprises a wheel which rotates, flashes and plays music. You get three little tumbling characters who can either sit and ride on the wheel or you can make them tumble. Place the weighted characters (I call them jumping beans... Lara calls them aliens) on the top of the slide and watch them roll down. When they get to the bottom, the little beans trigger a popping motion which propels them up some stairs and around in a little circle.

I thought that the music would drive me insane (partly because I recognise several of the tunes from other Fisher Price toys we own). Funnily enough, despite the fact that when the jumping beans are perfectly aligned they toy will rotate the tumblers and play music perpetually... my sanity still remains. I put this down to the fact that the noise of the mechanism that pops the aliens up the stairs makes quite a racket and dulls the music a little.

Lara seems to love her Fisher Price Topzy Tumblers Twirlin Whirlin Fun Park. I think it has already provided its own worth of entertainment in terms of number of hours of play. I also think it looks bright and fun; for a child between 6 and 18 months I think it would be an awesome toy as you can either choose to sit and watch it, or to interact with it. It costs around £39.99.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

How I Convinced My Toddler to Brush Her Teeth!

Do you remember this? Over 15 months ago I blogged about how stressful it was trying to get Lara to brush her teeth and just a few weeks ago I was ready to blog all over again. Surely when you brush your teeth twice a day you get used to it???

Until last month Lara was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE when it came to toothbrushing time. One evening in July Lara screamed and kicked so violently that between us, we couldn't hold Lara still and she squirmed free. Lara turned to flee and ran head-first into the door-frame, knocking herself over on the cold, hard bathroom floor. She was livid and in pain and right then I knew we had to do something about the toothbrushing issue.

The following morning I received a beautifully timed email from the people who represent the new Arm & Hammer My Way Kids Spinbrush. Even though the Kids Spinbrush is designed for children from 3 years upwards, I was desperate for a toothbrushing solution, so we agreed to review it on the blog.

Now you'll notice that this blog post isn't worded or presented like my normal blog reviews. That is because Lara only used the toothbrush for 48 hours so I can't really claim to have reviewed it. However, it did solve our problem and Lara now brushes her teeth beautifully for me each morning and evening. Here's how it worked!

The Arm & Hammer My Way Kids Spinbrush is a battery-operated electric toothbrush. You use it for three months and then throw it away. The genius of the My Way Spinbrush is that the comes as a blank canvas. You can get it with either a pink or a blue base but the main body of the toothbrush is plain white. It comes with a set of around 140 different stickers so that your child can personalise it. There are stickers in all sorts of different styles to suit all tastes.

Lara and I decorated her toothbrush on the very first day it arrived. She went for a very simple puppy dog on one side and a rainbow on the other. I managed to convince her that she wanted to add a few more stickers so I added her name too. That evening she seemed eager to use her new toothbrush and once she worked out that the groovy purple gem on the front turned it on and off, she seemed to take to it well. I was surprised at how happy she seemed with such a big change from her traditional toothbrush.

The next day, Lara couldn't wait to brush her teeth before bed. She was doing so well - toothbrushing without the tears and screams. Unfortunately, she accidentally brushed the back of her gums too hard with the electric toothbrush and it freaked her out. From that day forward, Lara has refused her electric toothbrush.

That's not to say that I'm not grateful for the chance to try out the My Way Spinbrush though. No way. Lara has now been using her traditional children's toothbrush every day with no qualms whatsoever. She is happy to brush her teeth and actually brushes rather than chews. So I'm glad that I tried her on an electric brush and I'm extra glad that I didn't fork out for a rechargeable toothbrush.

The Arm & Hammer My Way Spinbrush costs £5.99 and is available from Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and ASDA.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Organic Monkey Cheek Rub Oil For Teething Review

It's funny, people often talk about teething remedies for tiny babies but I've actually found the toddler teeth harder as a mum and so, even though Lara is well over 2, I'm still looking at teething remedies such as the Cheeky Money Cheek Rub from Organic Monkey.

Twice since her second birthday Lara has cut a new tooth. I believe that the past fortnight's current bout of teething is for her final baby tooth. Phew. Toddler teething has been nightmarish with a total change of mood and a grumpy toddler who is now able to express her pain and discomfort. We haven't been able to use the amber necklace for some time (Lara isn't allowed to wear it to nursery), and Lara just chomps my fingers if I attempt to apply any sort of chemical gel to her gums. And so, I was really grateful to get the opportunity to try Organic Monkey's blend of organic and fairtrade natural ingredients with essential oils as a natural form of teething relief.

The oil doesn't smell enormously strong so it isn't off-putting for tiny children. There is no one distinct ingredient that I can identify in the oil but I guess that the Chamomile is the strongest scent. Other ingredients include lavender and spearmint oils blended with arnica, sweet almond, olive and sunflower oils, all of which are 100% organic. The blend of ingredients is designed to help relieve pain.

Unlike a chemical gel, you apply the oil to the outside of the cheek so that it is not ingested. As such, your child doesn't get such an immediate sense of relief or numbing of pain. However, I do think that you get a good level of relief for an all-natural product. Over the past couple of weeks of us using the cheek rub, Lara has not yet had a restless night. This is a first. Every single other bout of teething since she was born has resulted in nights where she has woken either hourly or bi-hourly screaming.

Within about half an hour of applying the cheek rub, there is a noticeable reduction in the redness of Lara's cheeks. I'm much happier using the Organic Monkey cheek rub oil on Lara than some of the big name gels and I just wish I'd had a chance to compare its effect on very early baby teeth too.

‘Cheeky Monkey’ Organic Cheek Rub Oil for Teething comes in a really smart glass bottle and costs £7.50. It is available from Organic Monkey along with their other gorgeous organic and fairtrade products such as scalp oil, massage balm and nappy balm.

Baby Blooms Pyjama Cupcakes Review

baby blooms cupcake pyjamas
These pyjama cupcakes from Baby Blooms are so cute! They may look tasty but in fact they turn into these lovely soft baby pyjamas. Genius.

baby blooms cupcake pyjamas

Cupcake pyjamas make such a gorgeous new baby gift. This pair of cupcakes from Baby Blooms comes in a really smart hand-tied gift box which opens up to reveal the two perfectly-formed cupcakes. One cupcake is the pyjama top, the other the pyjama bottoms.

baby blooms cupcake pyjamas

The pyjamas are made from soft, 100% cotton. Ours are a very neutral combination of cream and caramel but you can also buy them in pinks and blues. I did take a sneaky peek at the rest of the range at Baby Blooms and there are gift boxes of lots of different sizes which also include bibs. At £14.99 I think this gift box with one set of pyjamas makes for a lovely gift for a new parent.

The pyjamas come in two sizes. Either 0-6 months or 6-12 months. I've put ours through the wash and they came out looking wonderful again and I've no doubt, given the quality of the fabric, that they would last well.

I think that these pyjama cupcakes will be high on my list of ideas for new baby gifts from now on.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cooking with Children : Wild Rice Salad Recipe

wild rice salad

Last week Lara and I cooked Crispy Chicken Goujons which we served with a summer wild rice salad. As promised, here is the cold wild rice salad recipe that Lara and I made. This is a cold salad which is great for serving with a barbecue or as a light lunch.

Wild Rice Salad (serves two adults and one or two hungry toddlers)

1 mug brown rice and wild rice mix (we get ours pre-mixed from Waitrose)
1 red pepper
1/5 onion
1 small tin sweetcorn (drained)
1/4 cucumber
1 heaped tablespoon frozen peas
About 10-15 french beans or dwarf beans
Small handful of chives snipped into 2cm lengths.
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

wild rice salad

  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Chop the beans into pieces about 2cm long and then cook them with the peas. Drain and leave to cool
  3. Chop the onion, cucumber and red peppers into small cubes.
  4. wild rice salad
  5. Now your little helper gets to have some fun... add the cucumber, peppers, raw onion, chives, sweetcorn, peas and beans to the cooled rice.
  6. Mix in some ground black pepper and a small amount of salt. Then mix in a glug of olive oil so that the mixture does not dry out
  7. Chill the salad until you are ready to serve it

wild rice salad

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Supersoft Smurf Children's Haircare Review

It has been a while since Lara and I have reviewed any kids shampoos on Mellow Mummy and now that Lara is no longer officially a baby, there is a whole new world of shampoos out there for us to try. Recently we have been using the new Smurf-adorned tropical 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner from Supersoft Kids along with their spray-in detangling spray.

Lara's hair is now getting longer. And tanglier (not helped by her annoying habit of twisting her hair around her fingers). Toddlers (well, toddler girls at least) need something a little more than just shampoo so a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner is a perfect solution. We have found Lara's hair to be.... well.. super soft(!) after use. Really lovely and soft and shiny and incredibly easy to brush and comb. The only problem is that I'm not used to the feeling of her hair after using a conditioner so it is hard to tell when the product has fully washed out as her hair feels shiny.

The tropical scent and colour is pretty good fun and we have already tested out its claim to be anti-tear (no tears here). You can also buy the shampoo & conditioner AND the detangling spray in Strawberry and Milk variety.

I'm not sure that Lara's hair is quite long enough yet to really require the detangling spray but we have given it a whirl. You apply it after washing to help prevent tangles and make it easier to comb through the hair.

With those cheeky Smurfs on the bottles of Supersoft Kids, there is no way that Lara could mistake my smellies on the window ledge for hers any more!
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