There are so many good offers on this week, I thought I’d give a quick roundup of my favourites. I plan to update these throughout the week, so keep checking back!

Boots

Boots have tonnes of good offers on Christmas gifts, but it’s worth remembering all the baby stuff too! Lots of great care seat offers including the Britax Romer DualFix (our car seat which we love, I’m writing a review of it soon)

Neal’s Yard Remedies

I’m a big fan of Neal’s Yard Remedies and this week they have 20% off!

These Neal’s Yard Remedies bath salts smell amazing. I love having a rice relaxing lavender-scented bath. They are 20% off this week, so only £11.60. They’d make a great present too. I ran out ages ago, so I’ll be stocking up.

Joules

Joules have some fab offers this week—up to 40% some items so you should definitely check them out. There are some great deals on kids clothes.

I love the colours on this chunky knitted scarf. It’s reduced to £24.95 from £34.95.

This boys coat is also a favourite of mine at £26.95.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

This might only be for one day (I’m not sure how Amazon are doing their deals this year), but it’s a great deal! We have a Fire TV Stick because our ‘smart’ TV is actually now so old (6 years—so not that old!) that many apps for it are no longer updated. The Netflix app stopped working a while ago which was a disaster. The Fire Stick saved us so we can watch Netflix and BBC iPlayer etc on the TV. Hooray!

Frugi

The amazing children’s clothing brand Frugi has up to 25% off selected Autumn/Winter clothes. I love their colourful and ethical clothes.

Wonderbly

There’s 15% off Wonderbly’s fabulous personalised books with code FRIDAY15. You can read my reviews of The Christmas Snowflake and The Little Boy Who Lost His Name.

Uber Kids

Uber Kids have some great discounts this week. You can save up to 55% on some things. There are quite a few car seats on offer at the moment.

My 1st Years

There’s up to 50% of selected personalised gifts from My 1st Years. Or 25% off site-wide with code BF25. Perfect for stocking up on some special Christmas presents. I’ve got my eye on a personalised dressing gown for Jacob.

*Links are affiliate links. I make a small amount of commission if you buy through these links.

 

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I read an article the other day about the couple who were being threatened with eviction because of complaints about their baby crying with horror. If you haven’t read it, a couple with two children who live in the top floor flat of a converted house in London have been threatened with eviction by their management company because of complaints about the baby crying at 5.30am (and then again at 6.45am), apparently on a daily basis.

If we were less fortunate, that couple could easily be us. Jacob is the same age as their baby. And he wakes up at 5.30am without fail. Usually crying. It must drive our next door neighbours crazy. But, there’s nothing they can do, because we are lucky enough to own our home and don’t have to rent, so they have no one to complain to. Plus they are nice people who’ve had children of their own, which helps a lot!

It’s stressful enough knowing your baby is crying very early in the morning when you are worried about waking your neighbours, let alone if you fear getting evicted because of it. The poor parents must be beside themselves.

However hard we try, sometimes it takes a while to calm Jacob down early in the morning. One of us has to go and get his milk and he usually doesn’t stop crying until he gets it. That only takes a few minutes, but it’s long enough to wake up the neighbours. If he’s teething, it’s a whole other ball game. Sometimes he’ll grizzle for ages, despite having had his milk.

I do feel some sympathy for their neighbours though. I know that before I had Jacob, if I was woken every morning that early, I’d be pretty fed up. I doubt I would complain though. I’d probably try earplugs first. And failing that, complaining to the landlord about the lack of sound proofing in the block of flats. Properly converted flats should be better at containing sound.

Reading below the line

I made the mistake of reading the comments on some of the articles when researching for this blog post. Stories like this really seem to bring out the worst in people. “Why was the baby crying though?”, “They shouldn’t leave the baby to cry” and my personal favourite “people with young babies shouldn’t live in blocks of flats. It’s just so selfish”. I mean, seriously? The parent’s would probably like nothing more than to live in a house, but in London that is seriously difficult. Maybe the people making those comments don’t have children, or have very good children who never cry. I’d love to know how to stop a 15-month-old crying in the morning though. If anyone can tell me, please let me know!

Of course, not everyone was being nasty. There was a lot of sympathy too. Anyway, it must be horrible for the family to read these judgements on them and their parenting. I’m sure they aren’t reading this, but if they are, I have one thing to say. My 15-month-old cries too. I’m sure you are doing the best you can!



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As women, I think however hard we try, there’s always a tiny voice (or sometimes a not so tiny voice) telling us that our bodies aren’t good enough. We should be skinnier, more curvy, taller, shorter, the list goes on. As mums, I think it’s really important to appreciate just how amazing our bodies are. Growing a human is a pretty impressive feat. That’s why I really enjoyed attending the MUTU System event last week.

When I was invited to the event in London I thought I was going to hear about an exercise program, and was expecting to be told how I could lose my ‘mum tum’ and ‘drop the pounds’. In other words, the same old rubbish we are constantly peddled. Particularly on social media at the moment, where the current fad is the ‘strong not skinny’ message, which sounds admirable (and I do think it’s better than the ‘get as thin as possible’ message we’ve previously had), but actually when you think about it, it’s just another unattainable goal and another thing to feel bad about. Mums don’t have hours to spend in the gym. We can’t possibly hope to look like some of the fitness/wellness stars of Instagram. Thankfully, the MUTU System event was anything but that.

Creator Wendy Powell invited us to watch screening of a film called Embrace. Embrace is a documentary by inspirational body image campaigner Taryn Brumfitt. You might have heard of her. She posted an unconventional before and after side-by-side photo on Facebook a few years ago showing her body after childbirth and it went viral. She ended up founding the Body Image Movement, which aims to “end the global body-hating movement”. The documentary was pretty hard to watch in parts. One part that really hit home was when they asked lots of women to describe their body in one word. I was shocked by how many women said they were ‘disgusting’. That’s a pretty strong word! I do recommend watching the documentary. I found it depressing and uplifting in equal measure.

After the screening we chatted with Wendy about body image and how childbirth affects women’s bodies. She highlighted how pelvic floor dysfunction after childbirth has become a bit of a joke among mums. You hear plenty of women laughing about how they can’t trampoline because they’ll wet themselves. One thing that really stuck with me after the event was Wendy saying “We all deserve a body that works.” I couldn’t agree more.

We then did a gentle exercise session to try to reconnect with our core muscles, which is a major component of MuTu System. It really made me realise how much I’ve neglected mine since having Jacob. It’s definitely something I need to work on.

I came away from the event thinking about how we’ve been sold this idea by the media that we should look a certain way. It’s rubbish. Our bodies are amazing, stretch marks and all. Instead of worrying about how we look we should focus on how we feel. And yes, that might mean exercising to feel healthier, maybe even losing a little weight by cutting out junk to replace it with the fuel our bodies need. But it shouldn’t be about punishing ourselves or attempting to look a certain way.

I’m going to be trying out MUTU System over the next few weeks. The program aims to strengthen your core and pelvic floor, including healing diastasis recti (the split some women get in their tummy muscles after having children). I am hoping it will help me with the niggling back pain I’ve experienced since having Jacob. I’ll be back to update you on how I got on in a few weeks.

Readers can get 15% off when you sign up to MUTU System using the code EMBRACE15. Just click on this link.

 

*This is a collaborative post with MUTU System.

 

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If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that in a desperate bid for a bit more sleep we resorted to sleep training (I wrote a post on my top tips for sleeping training that might be worth a read if you are considering doing it too) back in February. In other words, we did controlled crying. It was a pretty hard decision to make, but I just couldn’t function anymore. I also felt that Jacob wasn’t getting enough sleep because of his constant waking for a 1 minute feed. So we took the plunge and did it.

I felt terrible about it for the first couple of nights, but it actually worked really well for all of us. Jacob didn’t instantly start sleeping 7pm–7am, but things improved drastically. We went from at least 3 wake ups for feeds to a good 6-hour stretch of sleep for me between 10.30pm and 4.30am in less than a week. That massively improved my ability to function. Over a few weeks he got better and now sleeps reasonably well (except for his new early wake ups!).

Now that we’ve done it, here are a few things I’ve reflected on.

Was it awful?

Yes. It’s not nice to listen to your baby cry. We did the ‘timed comforting’ method, which was recommended in the Blissful Baby Expert book. That meant we didn’t leave Jacob to cry for hours, but instead went back in to soothe him after certain intervals of time. Ultimately, if you can’t listen to your baby cry for 1 minute without rushing in, this method isn’t for you. I rationalised it by thinking about Jacob getting chronically overtired, and decided it was for his own good. And mine, obviously.

The first night was by far the worst. After that it got easier. And quicker. I have heard anecdotally that it tends to take longer to work the older they are when you try any kind of controlled crying.

There are other more gentle methods of sleep training to try if you don’t like the sound of controlled crying. I hear they can take longer to work, but if you can’t bear crying they might be best for you.

Does it work long-term?

One of the criticisms I read a lot when researching sleep training was that it doesn’t work long-term. Now I can’t speak for every child, but I’d say it has worked for us. Sure, we still get the odd wake up. Especially when Jacob is teething or ill. But overall sleep has drastically improved.

I will say it doesn’t solve everything. We are currently having an early morning issue. Jacob has decided that 5am is morning and I do not agree. He’s still sleeping through from 7pm until 5am though, so it could be a lot worse!

Am I terrible parent for considering it?

No. Although I would say that! I’ve found it’s one of those things that parents fall into two camps about. Some could never in a million years consider it and judge anyone who does, others are fine with it. Ignore everyone and do what you think is right.

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If you are looking for a great Christmas gift the whole family will enjoy, then you should take a look at The Christmas Snowflake. From the creators of The Little Boy Who Lost His Name, which we loved, The Christmas Snowflake is a personalised book about a little snowflake and her journey to find the family she wants to be with at Christmas—yours!

The Christmas Snowflake

Personalising The Christmas Snowflake

When you create the book online you can include up to 9 members of your family (we went for mummy, daddy, Jacob, nanny, grandad, grandma and grandpa) and their names will appear in several places throughout the book, including on Christmas stockings hanging by the fireplace. It would make a great joint present if you have more than one child.

When the book arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was hardback, so it will last really well year after year. The paper is also really nice and thick. It’s really nicely illustrated, with lots to look at for younger children. Jacob enjoyed looking at the book and listening to me read it. He is a bit little for it though—I think next year he’ll enjoy it even more. I think I read it’s aimed at 3-8 year olds (I can’t find where I saw that now though, so I may be wrong!).

Reading the Christmas Snowflake

Jacob enjoyed being read The Christmas Snowflake

The story is very sweet and the verse rhymes nicely. On the way to meeting your family, Snowflake comes across lots of characters having fun at Christmas. We see foxes, bears, deer and robins among others.

At the end of the book there’s a pull-out Snowflake ornament. This can be kept and hung on the Christmas tree year after year. I thought that was a lovely touch and a great way to end the story.

Snowflake ornament

The Snowflake ornament attached to the book

We have hung our ornament on the mantlepiece for now—it’s never too early for Christmas decorations, right? I can’t wait to add it to the Christmas tree when the time comes.

The snowflake ornament hanging on my fireplace—it’s too early for a Christmas tree yet!

Close up of the Snowflake ornament

great Christmas Eve present

If you like the idea of a Christmas Eve box for your children, but don’t necessarily want them to watch films the night before Christmas, then the Christmas Snowflake is a great alternative. Everyone can read along together as a family snuggled up before bed. It would make a great family tradition.

The Christmas Snowflake is £19.99, which I think is really reasonable for a gift that can be used every year.

*We were kindly sent a copy of The Christmas Snowflake to review, but all thoughts are my own. Links are affiliate links.

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