Starting Nursery {My Captured Moment #90}

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Last year Poppy went to a pre-school in the village, it was small and lovely with a real ‘old fashion’ feel but this year she’s starting nursery at Lili’s school. She wants so much to be like her big sister, that going to the same school (all be it the nursery) makes her feel like a ‘big girl’.

It was her first day at the nursery on Tuesday morning. She wondered in wearing her new little uniform (leggings and a blue t-shirt), shiny shoes and a look of real determination on her face. As we arrived she walked in confidently and didn’t look back, just like her sister does every day. She was a little pro and took it all in her stride, I really couldn’t have been more proud of our little star.

Two and a half hours later I picked her up, and as soon as saw me she gave me wide smile and a big thumbs up. It was her little way of telling me that it had gone well and that she’d had a good time.

We talked about her morning on the short walk home – she told me her teachers’ names and what she’d been doing. She also told me about some friends she’d made and how Lili had come round to the nursery garden in her morning break to say hello and give her a high-five through the fence that divided their play areas. I think… no, I know that this meant the world to Poppy and I’m sure it gave her a big boost on her first morning.

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm) • Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post. • Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

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How to Deal with Toddler Tantrums {Expert Advice}

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I recently got the chance to ask childcare expert Jo Wiltshire (from Childcare.co.uk) for her advice on all things parenting. Jo is an amazing woman with a wealth of experience and knowledge, so I was thrilled to get this unique opportunity. She’s written three books on parenting and co-authored several more, she also features regularly in newspapers, magazines and on TV.

Childcare.co.uk is a brilliant online service that helps bring parents, nannies and childminders together.

One of the main areas I was keen to cover with Jo was – how to deal with a tantruming toddler? Poppy, who’s now three (almost 4) does not respond well to discipline and often screams when things don’t go her way. And once she’s screaming there’s no stopping her!

Here’s what Jo had to say…

Toddlers have tantrums for a variety of reasons – tiredness, frustration, pushing boundaries, or just disliking the word ‘no’!

Dealing with tantrums requires a three-part strategy.

1 – Try to head off tantrums before they start. Keep to a clear routine – toddlers like routines because they make them feel safe, and some tantrums occur because a child feels unsafe about their feelings, out of control. Get used to their ‘cues’ – those warning signs of a tantrum – and use diversions, humour, games or a change of activity to diffuse the situation. Let them go outside and run around – movement and physical activity help keep them calm. Give choices where you can – the yellow plate or the blue one? Peas or carrots? – because the illusion of control is important to your toddler, and helps avoid frustration.

2 – For low-level tantrums, ignore them as much as you can. Don’t react, don’t get angry. Use stress-relieving techniques to keep your own mood steady – deep breathing, positive internal talk (I am in control here and I can do this!), leaving the room for a minute. Don’t get pulled into an argument, just say ‘I’ll speak to you when you are calm’. Tantrums need a reaction for fuel – if you refuse to give one, they will soon get bored. As soon as they are calm, acknowledge their feelings – ‘I know you are angry right now’ or ‘I can see that made you feel sad’ – so they can learn how to verbalise their feelings rather than ‘acting out’, and offer a hug and your full attention, but only once they are calm.

3 – For high-octane, hysterical tantrums, you may need a different approach. This kind of tantrum can be extremely frightening for a small child, it can leave them highly anxious and then exhausted and depleted, because they cannot stop or control their feelings. In this case, a good approach is to get down on their level – maybe sit on the floor – and be still. If they will allow you to hold them firmly until they are calm, do so. If not, just sit by them until they are quieter. Make eye contact if you can, and speak in a low reassuring voice – ‘I’m right here, it’s ok, I’m here for you’. But still reinforce that you are waiting for them to be calm.

Finally, never let your child use tantrums to manipulate your own behaviour. Don’t give in and say ‘ok you can have the sweets’ just to avoid a supermarket meltdown. This will only escalate. Be firm and consistent – ‘Mummy can only hear you when you speak politely’ – and keep the boundaries firm, and the tantrums will decrease with time.

I must admit that Poppy now only has tantrums when she’s really tired, so these tips will really help us going forward. Frustration is definitely anothe trigger, which I’m trying to foresee and step in, to help before it escalates.

Thank you Jo for all your suggestions and advice.

Do you have issues with a tantruming toddler? Please let me know in the comments.

What I wish I’d known about breastfeeding…{And Medela Giveaway}

My personal experience of breastfeeding and tips on expressing.

Last month I was a asked by Medela to contribute to their #countto10 campaign, which aimed to give new mums a more realistic view of what to expect when breastfeeding. The idea was to provide a really honest picture and give advice to help mums prepare for breastfeeding.

Here are a few things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding…

Firstly, be prepared! Breastfeeding will (almost) certainly be more painful than you can imagine for the first few weeks.

Once your nipples are over the initial shock, the pain will go away and breastfeeding can become a truly lovely experience.

To help with the pain, numb your nipples with ice cubes before putting your baby on.

If your nipples are cracked and the pain is just too much (as it can be) express your milk for a few days, this will give your body (and nipples) a chance to recover. It’ll also keep your milk supply up and your little one is still getting ‘your milk’.

At the beginning (during the first week) skin to skin feeding will give you the best results. So stay in bed and enjoy the bonding experience. These sessions can be long so get the box sets at the ready!

Try lots of different positions until you find the one that feels right and comfortable for you and your baby. For me that was lying down (in the first few weeks).

Don’t feel like you have to wear a bra in the first few weeks. If your nipples are sore, simply wear a super loose t-shirt. This will help them breath and heal quicker. Also it’s far more comfortable!

If you’re having trouble feeding, make sure you ask for help. Don’t keep it all inside and just hope it’ll go away. Breastfeeding support groups and drop-in centres are invaluable.

Lastly, make sure you always have a large glass of water/ drink with you when you sit down to breastfeed. Feeding is thirsty work and you don’t want to become dehydrated.

Giveaway

I’m giving away a Medela Harmony Pump and Feed Set. Enter now for your chance of winning!

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A Visit to Greenwich {My Captured Moment #89}

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Last weekend we decided to drive over to Greenwich for a little family daytrip. Greenwich is only around twelve miles away from us but for some reason we’d never thought to visit. It was a bright, warm day and we fancied doing something a little different. Greenwich was the perfect choice as it gave us the chance to walk around and feel like ‘tourists at home’.

We started off at the National Maritime Museum, where we walked up to the Observetory and Planetarium. I won’t lie, the walk up to the Observetory is not easy, especially when you’re pushing a pushchair and have a three year old demanding a piggyback but it was well worth the struggle!

The rest of the day was spent wondering around the markets and having lunch on the riverside. If you’re ever in London and fancy something a little different, I’d definitely recommend a trip out to Greenwich. There’s so much to do and see, from the Observatory to the Cutty Stark Ship, vintage markets, street food stalls and of course the clock. Also the views out over the London skyline are pretty impressive.

We’ll definitely be heading back again very soon.

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm) • Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post. • Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

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Top Tips for Baby Weaning

top tips for weaning your baby

I can’t believe we’ve got to this point already! Next week Iris turns six months old, which means one thing, it’s time to start weaning. Yes, my little (or not so little anymore) baby is ready for some new flavours and textures.

She now needs more than just milk for nourishment and even though I’ve been through this stage a couple of times before, I still feel daunted and a little unprepared. So I was thrilled when I recently got the chance to ask Jo Wiltshire, the childcare expert for Childcare.co.uk for her advice on weaning. Jo is an amazing woman with a wealth of experience and knowledge on childcare. She’s written three books on parenting and co-authored several more, she’s also one of the ‘go-to’ experts for most newspapers, magazines and tv shows.

Childcare.co.uk is a great online service which helps parents, nannies and childminders to find and contact each other.

So here we go, here are Jo’s top tips for baby weaning…

1. Stock up! Bibs, wet wipes, plastic cutlery, a big plastic splash mat for the floor, and a good sturdy easy-to-clean high chair. Being prepared makes life so much easier – and if you’re not so worried about the mess, you’ll relax and your baby will relax too.

2. Have fun! You are introducing your baby to the pleasure of real food, and it should be a fun and interesting experience. Don’t get too hung up on them finishing certain amounts or liking everything you give them – let them explore tastes, textures and colours in their own time.

3. If your baby is really hungry, give them a milk starter to ‘take the edge off’, which will make them more relaxed later if they are struggling to pick food up or get enough in their mouth. Baby rice is a good ‘bridge’ between milk and solids – it has a sloppy texture and a bland taste, and you can make it runnier at first until they get used to the new sensation.

4. If they don’t like the taste of a new food, try blending it with one they do like – banana with avocado, for instance. Then gradually reduce the amount of the preferred food. The more a baby repeatedly tries a new flavour, the greater the chances they will eventually like it – so keep offering!

5. Mix flavours and textures. Don’t just offer sweet tastes – make sure you give vegetables and savoury ones too, or they will struggle to accept those flavours later on. Followers of Baby Led Weaning believe you should offer solid foods from the start – soft ones, such as steamed carrots, to start – just put the food on their high chair tray and let them pick it up themselves, rather than spooning it in for them. Supervise closely in case of choking, but let them take the lead.

6. Create a happy atmosphere. Avoid feeing in front of the television, as this will create bad habits – but do try playing gentle music in the background. Most of all, watch your own body language – this is a fun new game, not a stressful challenge, and if you reflect that in your posture, facial expressions and voice, they will mirror you. Learn to do the ‘silent scream’ out of their sight when the latest glob of food hits the wallpaper!

top tips for weaning your baby

I love this pretty bib by Make My Day, available from Cheeky Rascals 

Thank you for those great tips Jo. I now feel a little more prepared and ready for this exciting and fun stage. Batch cooking here we come!

Disclaimer: This is a contributed post.

Giveaway – Win The Fairytale Hairdresser series of books

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You may have already read my recent post on why we love this collection of books featuring Kittie Lacey, The Fairytale Hairdresser. My girls love these books, they love everything about them from the characters to the stories, the illustrations and all the glitter!

Each book is a retelling of a famous fairytale with Kittie and the Princesses being the heroines of the story. Girl power is a big theme within these books, making them more modern and relevant for today’s young girls.

Here’s a little introduction into the world of Kittie Lacey…

If you’ve been tempted by these gorgeous books, here’s your chance to win them all! One winner will win the whole collection of eight books…

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Rapunzel
The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella
The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty
The Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Little Mermaid
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy
The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty and the Beast
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea (the newest book, which was launched this week)

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Giveaway

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A Kidi Super Star Singing Lesson {My Captured Moment #88}

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With the start of the X-Factor season last week encouraging kids all over the country to belt out one tune after another, VTech have launched a unique karaoke microphone (and stand) for all budding young stars. My two big girls are so theatrical that we’re treated to some kind of show,  including singing and dancing most nights. So when I was invited to the launch event of the Kidi Super Star karaoke microphone, I knew they’d love it! And that it would be the perfect way to end the summer holidays.

As soon as we got the event on Saturday both girls quickly found a microphone and prepared for a singing lesson with celebrity vocal coach, CeCe Sammy. CeCe was so engaging and motivating that the girls were entranced by her and really got into the singing session.

This new karaoke microphone uses new technology to reduce the vocals on any song, so when you plug in your mobile phone to access YouTube, Spotify or a song from your own music library, the Kidi Super Star microphone will reduce the vocals and allow the child’s voice to come through.

As you can see from these pictures, we had a great time…

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm) • Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post. • Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


Why we love The Fairytale Hairdresser

The Fairytale Hairdresser - Kittie Lacey

Let me introduce you to The Fairytale Hairdresser. Kittie Lacey is the best hairdresser in all the land and all fairytale characters go to her to have their hair washed, cut, curled, groomed and styled at her salon. Are you intrigued?

My two oldest daughters have been entranced by these books by Abie Longstaff and Lauren Beard for a while now. We started off with The Fairytale Hairdresser and Rapunzel, then quickly found The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella and then The Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White. A while later we got a few more until we managed to get the entire series. Yes, we were a little obsessed!

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Let me explain why we’ve been so enchanted by these gorgeous retelling of popular fairytales. First of all the princesses and Kittie are the heroes of these stories, the princes do feature but they certainly do not save the day, which is so refreshing. After all, finding a ‘prince charming’ shouldn’t be the girls’ main focus when they’re 3 and 6! The books are also beautifully illustrated with modern touches, bright colours and lots of glitter, which my girls love!


I think the key to getting kids reading is to find books and stories that interest them, tales that capture their imagination and make them want to read. These books do just that for Lili and Poppy. They both love anything to do with fairies, magic, princesses and witches, and these books are full of them all. Most nights when we’re getting ready for bed I ask them to pick a book to read, and most nights they choose one of the “Kittie Lacey” books. I must adit I don’t mind at all because they’re so magical and always have us asking different questions at the end.

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Last week we were excited to receive the latest edition to the series, The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea, which is launching this week on Thursday 8th September. Again this is a modern retelling of the famous story, intertwined with Kittie and her hairdressing salon. Here the princess is called Penelope and she’s a chef who’s travelling the world. She meets Prince Peter at the salon and agrees to cook for him and the royal family at the palace as their usual chef is ill. That gives you an idea of how the stories are designed to be modern and very different to the originals, while staying faithful to the key points.

The Fairytale Hairdresser - Kittie Lacey

This morning I asked the girls to pick their favourite Fairytale Hairdresser book, Lili chose The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Little Mermaid and Poppy chose The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy (which happens to be my favourite too) but they both agreed that the latest book was also great!

We then did this cute little Fairytale Hairdresser quiz to find out which princess they’d be, Lili came out as being Rose the Sleeping Beauty and Poppy was Rapunzel.

Disclaimer: This is a contributed post.

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

First of all I must apologise for all the holiday spam. I realise that I’ve already posted two #MyCapturedMoment posts on our holiday in Greece but I haven’t really written much about our week with Mark Warner at their Levante Beach Resort – and why we decided on this type of holiday this year.

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

As a family we don’t normally do ‘package holidays’, we usually opt for a rented villa with a private pool and organise our own flights and a car to get around. For the last two summers we’ve used AirBnB to rent beautiful houses in the South of France. This has suited us perfectly, choosing houses with a swimming pool and plenty of space for the kids to run around. I also like the fact that we have plenty of space in the house, with all the comforts of home. But this year we have a little baby. We even considered not going abroad at all. Would it be too hot for her? Would the flight upset her too much?

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

After many discussions, we decided that we did want a holiday but that our usual choice might not work with our new family dynamics. The older girls now need more entertaining, while Iris takes up a lot of my time. For all these reasons, we started looking into package holidays that offer childcare and entertainment, and after some online searching and comparing we decided on Mark Warner.

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

Our top 5 of reasons for choosing Mark Warner

  1. They have excellent sporting facilities included in the price; from mountain and road biking to tennis, sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing. You can also take part in a number of exercise classes including water aerobics and yoga.
  2. They are renowned for their award winning childcare facilities and only employing British staff to look after the children.
  3. Mark Warner also provide kids clubs during the evening, giving kids the opportunity to watch a movie and play with their new friends while the adults can relax and have a quiet meal.
  4. They only schedule flight with British Airways. No budget airlines here!
  5. The half board option meant we wouldn’t need to worry about breakfast or supper – and I’d read that the food was of the highest quality and plentiful. I’d also heard lots of good thing about the morning ‘omelet lady’ and ‘pancake man’. Who doesn’t like fresh pancakes for breakfast?

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

What we thought of our week with Mark Warner

The week really did work well for us! Dom loved going sailing at whim or grabbing a bike for a few hours in the afternoon – while the big girls were enjoying themselves at the kids club. This gave me time to relax next to the pool with a napping Iris. Everyone was happy because we all got to do what we liked.

Lili and Poppy got to make news friends, try new activities including; tennis and sailing, they got to play games, paint and have fun making crafts. Dom loves being active and there was more than enough activities to keep him happy and I got to do nothing! Ooh other than go for a massage in the Spa. Bliss.

I must mention the movie nights because they were a massive hit with the big girls. Every night there’s an early supper for the kids, followed by a movie that’s shown in the childcare area. This gave Dom and I the opportunity to have little date nights together (with a sleeping Iris of course), which was a real treat. Lili and Poppy were beyond excited to go every night, we’d drop them off at 7pm and collect them again at 9.30pm. Poppy was usually asleep in a her designated camp bed by this point, so we’d carry her back to our room while Lili excitedly told us about her evening.

At the end of the week both girls also took part in a little show that they’d been rehearsing in group all week. This was so sweet to watch and gave the parents the opportunity to see what they’d been up to through the week. It was such a lovely way to end the holiday.

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

This little video will always be special to us as it captures our first holiday as a family of five and of course little Iris’ first ever holiday…

Here are a few more of my favourite snaps…

Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes. Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes. Our Week at the Mark Warner Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes.

Disclaimer: We did pay for this holiday however we were given a discount in return for an honest post.

Finding Fairy Doors {My Captured Moment #87}

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

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We’re now home from our summer travels and after a week in Greece and two weeks in Wales, it did feel good to be home but we’ve had the most amazing summer! At the end of our two weeks in Wales, with my parents, I asked the girls what their favourite part of the holiday was and they both said “finding fairy doors”.

On one of the days in Wales my parents took us to a rural spot just outside Aberaeron (west Wales), where we could walk on an old pubic footpath – and where twenty or so fairy doors had been hidden on the trees along the way. It was such a simple (and free) thing to do on a sunny afternoon but for the girls it was truly magical. They ran along the path excited to find the next little door, then shouted and screamed with delight when they found one.

I must admit it was a really special day and probably one of my favourite ‘things’ too. Isn’t it funny how such a simple idea can have that such a big effect.

Here are some pictures I took along the way…

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The dresses are from John Lewis and I love them!

Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm) • Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post. • Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender