Monthly Archives: February 2012

Kids One Stop Shop Picks for World Book Day


Tomorrow is World Book Day and we have picked our favourite books for you to spend your £1 Vouchers on.

There is a selection of special £1 books you can buy or you can use it on any book that costs £2.99 or more.  Here are our favourites.

Under 5

Guess How Much I Love You (New edition)

Not Now, Bernard (A Sparrow book) (New edition)

The Gruffalo (Illustrated edition)

Funnybones (Funnybones) (New edition)

5 to 7 Years 

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (New edition)

The Folk of the Faraway Tree (Faraway Tree S.) (New edition)

The Velveteen Rabbit: Or How Toys Become Real: Or How Toys Became Real (Young Puffin Read Aloud S.) (New edition)

The Cat in the Hat: Green Back Book (New edition)

7 to 9 Years

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

Charlotte's Web (New edition)

The Worst Witch (Young Puffin story books) (New edition)

Fungus the Bogeyman (Picture Puffin S.) (New edition)

9 to 11 Years 

Matilda (My Roald Dahl)

The Worst Thing About My Sister

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Classic ed)

The Railway Children

What will your child be spending their voucher on?

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Guest Post – Bonding


This is our last guest post on the theme of love and it actually feeds in really nicely to our theme in March Motherhood.

Kelly is a mother of two and writes at A Place of My Own.

One of the real breakthrough moments for me in my journey with postnatal depression over the past few months was when I realised that Kate and the depression were two very separate things. Yes, the fact that Kate had colic, and was a difficult, angry, feisty little baby was hard, and didn’t help but even if she had been quiet and placid and sleepy I would have still felt the same. More sleep would have made a bit of a difference but the anxiety and roller coster style ups and downs would have still been there.

After I had Piran it took me a long time to bond with him in the way I had expected to immediately. I have always put that down to the scare of him being in Special Care just hours after birth and the fact that I held back, didn’t want to love him until I knew he would be okay. I know I have written about this before but somewhere along the line I fell deeply in love with my little boy and suddenly I understood what everyone else had been going on about.

Then we had Kate. And yes, I felt happy and elated when I had her, and walking out of the hospital on the same day was just amazing. Then I got home and realised that I had no idea how to look after a newborn baby even though she was my second as for the first week with Piran most of it was handled by the SCBU nurses. Then she started crying and didn’t really stop until she was nearly five months old.

I am not sure how we made it through that time. I know for sure that it wasn’t easy and that we are still getting over it. I was so focussed on getting through each day and trying to make our baby girl as happy as I could that I didn’t realise for a long time that I didn’t yet have those feelings. I would have done anything for her from the minute that she was born but it never seemed natural.

I was up in the night with Kate two days ago and as I stood in her room, holding her, rocking her, murmuring into her ear with her hair tickling my nose as I placed tiny soft kisses on her cheek I suddenly felt it. That point deep in my belly that makes me feel like hugging her and holding her all the time. Pride and love and bubbles in my stomach that feel like they burst when I hear her laugh. So much love I am not sure what to do with it.

 

I wonder now if this is just my way. That I am a slow burner when it comes to these things. Now that it has happened twice I am not so concerned at all. In a way this delayed reaction helped me get through the last few months. I have trouble hearing Kate cry at all these days but in the beginning I had to listen to it for hours on end. I have always been happy to leave my children with their dad, or grandparents or at nursery and walk away and have me time. Perhaps this delayed reaction really helped with that (and in turn helped me keep my sanity).

Or perhaps it is just as I have suspected that I am not really a baby person at all. Obviously I liked my babies but now she is nine months old and can interact with us, shout and laugh and clap and follow me it is nothing short of amazing. I always say that I don’t want to wish her baby days away but actually I suspect I really do! I am fairly sure that this is my last baby, and if my theory is correct, and babies are not my thing then I shouldn’t be getting broody round any newborn babies any time soon.

Mind you, if you see me looking wistfully at toddlers can you remind me how much I really love sleep?

With Childcare Costs Increasing and Working Tax Credits Decreasing Can You Afford To Work?


The Daycare Trust annual Childcare Costs Survey 2012 shows that childcare costs have gone up by almost 6%. It comes at the same time as many families (including mine) have received their letters from the HMRC to tell them they are no longer entitled to Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit and some cases both.

Figures from the HMRC show that 44,000 families will be losing help with childcare costs in April. Those that are entitled will lose on average £10 per week as the Working Tax Element has been reduced from 80% to 70%. My concern is how are the families that lose these payments going to afford to go to work?

One of the factors that made me decided not to go back to work full-time once I had my daughter was the high costs of childcare. I was looking at about £880 per month on childcare alone that wouldn’t leave me a lot of wages left.

After speaking to a lot of mums on twitter last night there is a lot of us that will be losing our Child Tax Credits and/or Working Tax Credit. I will be £40 a month worse off, which may not sound like a lot but that’s one week grocery shopping for me, £480 per year!

A lot of parents are going to struggle to pay childcare costs as well as keeping up with other rising costs.

Are you affected by the new changes to tax credits? Have your childcare costs increased?

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Meal Plan Monday – 27th February (Week 6)


We managed to stick to our meal plan last week which is really satisfying! We eventually made those Fish cakes we have been trying to make for weeks and they were worth waiting for.

I used Kat’s at Housewife Confidential Fish Cake recipe and made a huge batch so I have some in the freezer.

This is what we are having this week:

Monday – Chicken and bacon pasta bake

Tuesday – Sausage and mash

Wednesday – Homemade Pizza

Thursday – Roast Cod in bacon

Friday – Cottage Pie

Saturday – Lasagne

Sunday – Beef Casserole

 

Don’t forget to pop over to Mrs M’s blog to see the other meal p

 

Pancake Recipes


Everyone has a different recipe for pancakes and a favourite filling.

My favourite filling is banana’s and chocolate spread, I know its not elegant but its rather tasty. I’m not great at making pancakes and have been known to buy ready made or a mix.

They never turn out right for me but I am told repeatedly that they are simple to make. So I have done a little searching and have found some great recipes to share with you.

English Mum shares her step by step Pancakes.

Bangers and Mash has a recipe for amazing Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes.

Mumra has a great basic recipe for pancakes with some lovely ideas (and pictures) for toppings.

In this post from Plus 2.4 you get a two for one! One post and two recipes one for Pancakes and one for Flapjacks!

Over at My Family Club there is 5, yes 5 filling ideas

Great Little Minds have a nice simple recipe.

The Boy and Me has 2 great recipes including Spinach & Goats Cheese Pancakes.

Ali and Over a Cuppa has been on the search for the best topping.

Hopefully these recipe inspire you. Let us know if you try any of them out!

Meal Plan Monday –20th February (Week 5)


Last week was a bad week for meal planning. My daughter has tonsillitis and was really ill and very clingy. We didn’t get much sleep and the plan went out of the window, therefore there is some roll over of last week’s meals.

This is what we are having this week:

Monday – Cottage Pie

Tuesday – Homemade Fishcakes

Wednesday - Turkey, Bacon and Thyme Hotpot

Thursday – Chicken Chasseur

Friday – Get your own, I am having a pamper party at mine so will probably be nibbles. I am also in London as the Baby Show as a VIP blogger for Kids One Stop Show.

Saturday – Beef Casserole

Sunday – Roast Chicken

Don’t forget to pop over to Mrs M’s blog to see the other meal plans.

 

Kids One Stop Shop is going to The Baby Show


We have been invited to attend The Baby Show at the London Excel this Friday as a VIP blogger. We are sending our resident blogger Carol along.  She will be reporting back on the show and the products that really catch her eye.

The Baby Show is packed full of baby products from pushchairs to cloth nappies and everything in between. An ideal place for parents to be to try out potential buys and have a look what’s on offer in the baby market.

Exhibitors often run special offers and giveaways at the show which include a £400 voucher booklet from Mama’s and Papa’s and 50% off Vital Baby Nuture range.

The latest Baby Show is taking place from Friday 24th February until Sunday 26th at the London Excel. Tickets are on sale now and cost £12 per adult or buy 2 for £20.  For full details visit The Baby Show website.

If you see Carol do say hello she is very friendly.

Guest Post – Love lasts a lifetime


Today’s amazing Guest Post is from T-J. 

“Their devotion showed me that there were not versions of love. There was only love. It had no equal and it was worth searching for. Even if that search lasted a lifetime.” Nurse Jenny Lee talking about the love of brother and sister Frank & Peggy in Episode 5 of Call the Midwife.

This has reminded me of the love my Nan and Grandad shared. Their story is so sad really, but proves Jenny’s assertion that love “is worth searching for”.

We’ve never heard a lot about how they met, or courted. But from how Nan talked about it, they knew they loved each other from early on. They married and had a daughter. The war started, and as Grandad worked in a garage, he was one of the men that stayed home. He was also an Air Raid Warden, and I can’t begin to imagine what that was like. They lived in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, so often had bombers coming over on their way to London. Scary.

7 years after my Aunt was born, my Dad arrived. And another few years later, his youngest sister came into the world.

There are all sorts of stories about what happened around this time. And Nan never really talked about  it. But the basic thing was that Nan didn’t want any more children. She intimated that her 3rd was a mistake. I imagine that it wasn’t easy finding enough food for everyone. Nan had been brought up on an estate – her father being the Head Gardener at a large family house. She was used to having fine things, and having enough good food to eat.

My Grandad strayed away from home. It must have gone on for a while, before he finally left. But my Dad says he was 4, meaning his younger sister was a baby.

I guess Nan was bitter. She struggled to keep her family together, when others encouraged her to split the children up. Her children don’t describe her as a happy person. But she certainly loved them. And my Grandad. She refused to allow him a divorce, so he couldn’t marry his mistress until the laws changed in the early 1970s. She kept hoping he would come back.

She kept a strong Christian faith throughout her life, and was ready to welcome him back, despite his behaviour.

They led separate lives, and it sounds like the family were kept apart by other parts of Grandad’s family. It was one of those things. Who knows what may have been if people hadn’t interfered?

When Grandad’s second wife died, he moved to be near his 3rd daughter, which was only 10 miles away from where my Nan lived. I’d always known all my Grandparents, and my Dad had re-met his Dad when he was 21, having not seen him since he was 4 years old.

I achieved my Queen’s Guide and we were having a big party to celebrate, (any excuse!). I HAD to invite my Grandparents didn’t I? I couldn’t leave one out. They’d all supported me through my life.

So it happened. Nan and Grandad met for coffee before our party. When I was 18, they were both in the same room at the same time. It was amazing. And yes, you’ve guessed it – they got back together.

Grandad tried so hard to make amends with Nan. It started with him doing odd jobs around her house. But they then decided to get married to cement their relationship again. Such a happy occasion. Grandad’s youngest daughter described her Dad as “never being as happy” as when he was with Nan. Nan mellowed. She wasn’t as hard from then on. She’d got her one and only love back.

They’d found each other. They hadn’t had particularly happy lives apart, but together they’d created 3 children. They’d had fulfilling lives. Together they were happy. Love truly won out and was worth waiting for.

It’s so sad that my Grandad died unexpectedly 6 months after they re-married. But Nan still loved her man, and talked about him in a different way.

She loved him and her God until the end. Love IS worth searching for. Even if it does take a lifetime and doesn’t last long.

I wish you ALL the love in the world. May your search be short, and LOVE make you happy.

T-J Hughes – @tj_bralady

Founder of the Bra Lady Network, & online shops bras4mums & bras4all.

Blog at Support4Women – family, friends, business, health, and community

Guest Post – The Day I Learnt About Love…


Today’s Guest Post on Love is from Eva

The first Valentine’s gift my husband, my then 19 year old boyfriend bought for me was a 6ft cuddly toy dog. Anyone who knows me well, will know that I am not a 6ft cuddly toy dog kind of girl. Before he gave it to me, he showed it to my best friend, who has a wry sense of humour and asked her if I would like it. She told me afterwards, she could barely contain herself at the thought of my face when I saw it, so she told him I would love it. I still ask him to this day ‘what were you thinking?’ and he doesn’t know. It’s still in the loft, and when I see it 15 years on, I am still stunned by it.

So after that, I never got a Valentine’s present and I was happy with that…I told him we won’t be bothering with gifts unless it was flowers to work (what girl doesn’t like that?) or if he was whisking me on a surprise romantic trip away. That never happened but there is still hope.

Aside from that, I think I have been really lucky in love and found my soul mate, who always puts me first. And he makes me laugh a lot. Never thought I would or could ever love anyone as much as him.

Fast forward to 14th February 2008 and I gave birth to my son, Seth and that was the day I learnt about what real love was. It was an uneasy time towards the end of my pregnancy as I had pre-eclampsia and I was in and out of hospital. There was a lot of worry floating around in that delivery suite as I was quite ill but when I saw him, that rush of love when I saw and cuddled my precious little man was just something I cannot and never could put into words.

So Valentine’s Day has another dimension now, one of celebrating the day I really truly and utterly fell in love. And not with a 6ft toy dog.

 

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You can find Eva at Baba + Boo