Last week Iris and I had the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Alice from Piccolo into our kitchen to cook for us. Alice is a Nutritional Therapist for the Mediterranean based baby food brand Piccolo. Iris and I have been big fans of Piccolo pouches over the past year (since she started weaning), Iris has loved the delicious taste of their vegetable and fruit based creations and I’ve been happy to know that she’s getting the nutritional benefits she needs from each pouch.

Piccolo is also a brand that gives back with their Food Education Foundation charity. With this charity Piccolo provide practical advice and help to parents (in disadvantaged areas of London) about baby nutrition and healthy eating. They run interactive and educational workshops to equip parents with the tools and knowledge to give their children a varied range of first foods – which will in turn help them establish a healthy relationship with food.

It was so interesting talking to Alice about their charity work, it’s great to hear that Piccolo is a company that’s not all about the money, they really are a brand that wants to give back and help.

Alice and I also spent time talking about food, her wealth of knowledge on nutrition and superfoods was fascinating and I felt incredibly lucky to have this brilliant opportunity.  She then cooked for us!

Here are a few of my favourite healthy, family friendly recipes from the day…

Cherry and Apple Yoghurt with Wholegrain Oats

Ingredients 

  • 2 Pink Lady apple, peeled and chopped
  • 10 cherries, stoned and halved
  • 150g natural full fat yoghurt
  • 40g rolled oats

Method

1.Heat the apple in a pan with a little water for 5-8 minutes until soft. For older babies (around 7 months), you can simply grate the apples.

2.Remove the apples from heat and add the cherries and oats.

3.Purée together in a blender. For a few seconds for a chunkier texture, longer for smooth yoghurt.

4.Once the mixture is cool, stir in the yoghurt.

 

Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients

2 Corn or whole wheat tortillas/flatbread

2 tbsp Passata

Around 50g mix veg such as sweetcorn, peppers, tomatoes and/or grated courgettes

20g grated Cheddar cheese

 

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas mark 4.

2.Simply spread Passata on one side of flatbread or tortilla. Add vegetables then top with grated cheese. Place in the oven for 8 minutes. Serve with cucumber and carrot batons.

 

Savoury Flapjack

Ingredients

200 g/7oz porridge oats

200 g/7oz grated carrot

200 g/7oz grated courgette

200 g/7oz Grana Padano or Cheddar cheese, grated

2 eggs beaten

1 tsp grainy mustard

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/ Gas mark 5.

2. Grease a baking tray (Swiss roll tin size). Mix all the ingredients in the large bowl and press into the tray.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes, until set and lightly browned.

 

Now that Iris is past her first birthday it’s time for her to move on to her first bike… okay maybe not a bicycle, more a tricycle.

We were recently sent a SmarTrike Infinity 5 in 1 Tricycle to try. We actually had the box for a few weeks before we set about putting the trike together as we had five weeks (yes, five!) of chickenpox (one girl after another). It was a pretty frustrating time, as we weren’t able to leave the house and all we wanted to do was get out and have some fun. Anyway, after many weeks of looking at the box Dom finally assembled the trike last weekend, which he said was remarkably quick and easy.

So what makes this a “5 in 1” trike?

It’s actually a five phase buggy that turns into a trike. The Infinity Trike is suitable for babies from 10 months – the younger the baby, the more the trike is like a buggy. The ‘first phase’ has a reclining seat, a full harness and an additional safety bar protection. The ‘second phase’ has an upright seat position, which gives your baby the ability to hold onto the handle bar and play with the toy phone. In both these phases, the baby doesn’t use the pedals – they use a footrest and there’s a steering handle (with five different handle heights) for us parents, to easily push the trike/ buggy around.

As your baby gets older the real transformation occurs. At 18 months you remove the canopy (this is phase 3) and at two years the footrest is removed and replaced with pedals (this is phase 4). The fifth and final phase is to remove the parent steering handle and let your toddler free to roam the land on his/her own. The buggy is now a trike!

As we are now fully clear of any chickenpox (thank goodness) and the sun’s out, we decided to introduce Iris to her new set of wheels. We positioned the trike at phase 2, so that Iris could sit up and make the most of the little toy phone in front of her, which she loved, along with the comfy, padded seat and the sturdy safety harness. On a personal not, I loved the on-board storage and spacious bag that’s fixed to the back of the steering handle.

Having tested the SmartTrike Infinity at phase 2, I can tell you that this is a great buggy alternative. Most of our wheeled toys stay in the garden or sit in the shed but this one is practical and can definitely be used outside of our garden walls.

Most importantly, Iris loved it!! On our first trip to the park she beamed with delight, looking around like she was seeing the world in a new ‘more grown up’ way. She sat upright, holding onto the handlebars and looking so proud of herself. As if she was in full control of this little vehicle of hers. Of course, she was not in control but I think it made a welcome relief from her usual buggy.

This Infinity SmartTrike comes in grey, red, blue and purple and costs £129.99 from Toys R Us. I think it would make an excellent first birthday present, if you’re struggling for ideas for yourself or for grandparents.

Disclaimer: We were sent this SmarTrike Infinity 5 in 1 Tricycle in return for an honest review.

My girls are all good sleepers, thank goodness! I need my sleep and wouldn’t be happy getting up a few times a night. Equally, I need some chill-out child free time in the evening (to catch up on my favourite TV programs and just unwind), so bed time has to be at a decent time, without fuss. And on the whole we manage this (most nights). How? Well for me establishing a good, firm bedtime routine early on is the answer.

Here’s how we’ve managed this with all three girls, more recently of course with baby Iris. 

I once read that a baby/ young toddler typically needs 12 hours sleep per night, so you need to work it back from when they usually wake up. If like Iris it’s 7am, then 7pm is a good bedtime.

As for getting your baby to bed, a routine should to start by allowing your child a cot/bed of their own, and getting them used to self-soothing so that they have the ability to get themselves to sleep in a relaxed way. Iris went into her ‘big cot’ at six months, which is when we started to establish this  more firm, yet warm and calm approach.

Iris’ routine includes; a bath, some warm milk, a song or book (if she’s not too drowsy from the milk) and then bed. We try to make it a fun, cosy time for her – making it clear she has my (or my husband’s) full attention.

I go through this little routine and then leave the room to deal with my other two little monkeys. If she sits up straight away and cries, I’ll keep comforting her but from that point on I have less physical interaction, no long cuddles, just a quick reassuring hug and kiss and then I walk away again.

Tip… If your baby seems to be afraid of the dark or being alone, try low lighting, a special teddy (maybe one that lights up), or a low background noise such as a soothing nursery rhyme.

Remember you’re in charge, and if you stick to it, it should work! I fully understand this is firm (but I stress, calm) approach is not for everyone but I can testify it’s worked for us, three times now! During the day I don’t really have a routine and am much more relaxed, letting the kids do what comes naturally but bed time is different. At bed time I’m in charge and they accept it because they don’t know any different.

Iris is wearing an aden+anais sleeping bag in these pictures. We’re big fans of aden+anais and these sleeping bags are made of the same beautifuly soft, cotton muslin used in their famous swaddle blankets and muslin squares.

We were recently sent a beautiful Sheepskin Pram Liner to review by the lovely people at The Little Green Sheep.

We were recently sent a beautiful Sheepskin Pram Liner to review by the lovely people at The Little Green Sheep.

Here’s what they say…

“Made from the finest quality sheepskin fleece, The Little Green Sheep’s much loved collection is the perfect solution for keeping your little lamb cosy whilst out and about. Designed to keep little ones warm in the winter and cool in the summer, the temperature regulating whole sheepskin fleece is the perfect accessory all year round – making any buggy a truly comfortable and luxurious ride. The ingenious sheepskin also has a natural self-cleaning ability, which is activated when aired outside.

True to The Little Green Sheep’s signature style, the sustainably produced pram liners are baby-safe tanned and made without any harmful chemicals or substances.”

What did Iris and I think?

I must admit I’ve been thinking about getting a sheepskin liner to put in our buggy for a while now. This particular liner is suitable for most pushchairs with a 3 or 5 point harness – it certainly fits well in our Bugaboo Bee3 (as you can from the pictures). It was very easy to fit, I simply placed the liner onto the chair and pushed the ‘buggy belts’ through the appropriate holes in the liner – and that was it, job done.

For me it’s so important to know that these liners have been produced sustainably and are made with no harmful chemicals or heavy materials. And I love the fact that it will keep Iris warm during these cold winter months as well as keeping her cool in the summer heatwaves (here’s hoping).

Iris looked very cosy in her newly ‘accessorised’ buggy yesterday in the park, and I’m extremely impressed with the quality of this pram liner. It does not slip or move around and fits well into the buggy. We’ll defiantly be keeping this new addition to our Bugaboo pushchair.

We were recently sent a beautiful Sheepskin Pram Liner to review by the lovely people at The Little Green Sheep. We were recently sent a beautiful Sheepskin Pram Liner to review by the lovely people at The Little Green Sheep.

As you can see you were sent an ivory sheepskin liner but they are also available in charcoal and a natural colour. And these retail at £49.95.

Disclaimer: I was sent this Sheepskin Pram Liner by The Little Green Sheep to review.

metallic dream blanket by aden+anais

As you can tell Iris is very impressed with this new dream blanket from aden+anais, and I must admit, so am I.

Made from four layers of 100% cotton muslin, this ‘dream blanket’ is ideal for cuddling, using as a play mat, draping over at nap-time or for travelling – the possibilities are endless. And if I’m honest it’s a blanket I can see myself ‘borrowing’ from time to time too.

Why is Muslin such a great fabric for babies?

Muslin is a finely-woven, amazingly breathable fabric. The open weave and lightweight of the fabric allows air to flow through easily, reducing the risk of overheating and keeps your baby comfortable and safe, at all times. Muslin is also incredibly durable, giving it the ability to withstand countless washes – it even gets softer with age!

The New Metallic Collection

This beautiful new metallic collection from aden+anais comes in four different colour ways; blue and silver, pink and gold, white and silver, and white and gold. And is available in ‘musy squares’ (£20.99 for a pack of 3), ‘dream blankets‘ (£58) and ‘swaddle blankets‘ (£38.95 for a pack of 3).

All aden+anais products are an investment piece, they wash so well and can be used in so many ways. I already have quite a few of their swaddle blankets and use them all the time, with all three girls – not just my baby girl.

metallic dream blanket by aden+anais

metallic dream blanket by aden+anais

Disclaimer: I was sent this gorgeous blanket to review but all thoughts, images and copy are my own.