Blogging

What I learnt at BritMums Live 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

What did I learn at Britmums live 2013?

My first ever blogging event is over and well I would say I've learnt a lot. I was so nervous leading up to the event but found that most of the people were just lovely. Not that others weren't but it just isn't possible to meet everyone at such a big event.

My most important lesson learnt is don't drink too much! Apparantly it is easy to drink free wine whilst chatting away and not realise how much you are drinking. I don't drink often usually so let's just say it doesn't take much to push me over the edge. Don't get me wrong I didn't do anything I shouldn't, in fact I had a fun night Friday night but I ended up with a killer hangover and missed all the fun Saturday when I felt so ill I had to leave. I was kicking myself all day Saturday and Sunday for missing out on all the workshops and fun things that were going on. Next year I will behave myself and make it through the whole weekend!

I've also learnt that bloggers are a very accepting bunch. After spending an hour alone on a train to London I was worried I had made a mistake. Would people like me? Would they even speak to me? I'm new and no one will have a clue who I am. Well, I met lots of new people who I hadn't heard of and vice versa and I had worried over nothing we all spoke like we'd known each other forever. The blogging community is an amazing community that when brought together can have a hell of a lot of fun.

Aside from the alcohol, the laughing, the crying, there are serious parts to Britmums the workshops are there to teach you things you may not know (and hopefully next year I can pick up a lot more) and meeting the faces behind the brands was brilliant. The majority of the time these people we just speak to behind a computer screen and don't get to know them like they can us by reading our blogs.

Most of all I learnt to overcome my shyness and make friends or even introduce myself to my internet friends. I have made lots of friends through blogging and am so happy to say I have now met many of those friends face to face.

I have learnt and experienced a lot at Britmums Live and it has made me so proud of both myself and my blog and for that reason I would say it was a massive success. Now I can't wait until next year and hope to learn even more and make lots of new blogging friends :)

What did you learn?




Battersea park

Walk The Walk Against Breast Cancer

Monday, June 24, 2013

We have all seen the suffering cancer can cause one way or another. Whether it be a friend, family member or even yourself that has been a victim of the cruel disease. Breast cancer charity Walk the Walk are doing their bit to fundraise for breast cancer sufferers. If you are near or can travel to London on 30th June 2013v it is definitely worth a look at what is going on.

The SunWalk London takes place on the 30th June 2013 in London's Battersea Park and comprises of three power walking challenges as well as a range of family friendly activities and entertainment. There is free entry into SunWalk City all day and anyone can turn up. There are certain age restrictions to the power walking challenges which include a 5k, 10k and half marathon. The minimum age requirement for the Half Marathon is aged 13. The minimum age for the 10k is 6 years old but the 5k is open to anyone of all ages. There is an entry fee to participate. Every entrant over 13 will be given a bra to decorate. By taking part in these challenges you get the chance to have fun whilst raising money and awareness for breast cancer.

The different activities and entertainment include; live stage music, circus sideshows, stalls, dancing, food, stilt walkers and clowns to name a few. The whole family will be able to enjoy the live entertainment including music in the park from Xfactor star Misha B, chart-topping band Sam and the Womp, singer/songwriter Sam Gray and the Urban Voices Collective, the group famous for their performance at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

There is also entertainment especially for children which I know my kids would love! CBeebies Stars Andy and Sid will be holding a unique show. There will also be exclusive workshops from the stars of Strictly Come Dancing called 'Dance the Dance' where you can get up close and personal and meet the dancers afterwards. These workshops will be run by Anton and Erin, Darren and Lillia and Matt and Nicole. Tickets for both are available at www.walkthewalk.org or by calling 01483741430.

Walk the Walk has raised over £86 million for vital breast cancer causes, since it launched 17 years ago, with money granted for research into breast cancer and to help improve the lives of those with cancer now. Just last year the SunWalk London raised more than £250,000.

For more information on the Walk to Walk events or to enter any of the challenges visit www.walkthewalk.org

#KidsGrowWild

Gardener Gracie's Nursery: #KidsGrowWild challenge

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Me and Gracie experimented a few weeks ago with growing cress. I know we couldn't have picked a more boring looking plant but we chose cress as it has quick results and we couldn't have chose an easier plant to demonstrate how to care for plants. Gracie loved checking on her cress and reminding me to water it. Well after this I saw the Money Supermarket #KidsGrowWild challenge over on Twitter and thought it would be great to get involved.


Money Supermarket sent us out a kids gardening kit to take part in the challenge. The kit included bag, gloves, watering can, two handheld tools and some seeds. As we are moving soon I popped to Ikea and bought some lovely bright coloured plant pots so we can take them with us when we go. Now we had everything ready and waiting for us to get outside and start growing! Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and it has rained almost every day since.

Luckily tonight Daddy finished work early and it was still nice and bright outside so Gracie insisted it was time to make flowers! I had worried about all the mess she would make or that she would get impatient expecting the flowers to grow instantly! We took everything outside to get started her gloves were way too big so she used her hands to shovel all her soil in the pots, then I put some seeds in her hands for her to put carefully in the pots and cover with more soil. Then her favourite part was watering the plants. There were tears when she ran out of water and I wouldn't let her have anymore, there was almost more water than soil by the time she was finished! I managed to bribe her away with yoghurt and she is so excited to go out and water them again tomorrow. We have lots of seeds left so will be buying more pots very soon to use them all up.


I can't wait to see how they turn out and can't believe we hadn't done anything like this sooner, it was so much fun! We really enjoyed this challenge and it's given me the motivation to start growing my own fruit and veg (or try) so as soon as we move I'll be buying a little greenhouse and will have Gracie as my little helper.


This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge http://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/competitions/kids-grow-wild/



Blogging

What an exciting week...

Monday, June 17, 2013

I am very excited yet very nervous for the week ahead. It is an unusually busy week for me and I am leaving the kids with their Daddy and will be away overnight for the first time. Not only am I going away but I'm doing it TWICE.

This Wednesday I will be taking a trip to Manchester with a friend to see Robbie Williams with none over than Olly Murs as his support act! I have seen both live before seperately so I am so excited to see both in one night! I've been looking forward to this for months and can't believe how quick its come round. I'll be staying in Manchester Wednesday night and travelling home on Thursday just in time to pack my bags for my next trip Friday morning!

Friday is the one I'm most nervous about. Friday and Saturday I'll be attending my first blogging conference Britmums Live 2013. This is where I'll be finally meeting up with all my blogging friends, some who I have been friends with for a few years and have never had the chance to meet. The conference has lots of workshops where I can hopefully brush up on my skills and learn lots of new things. I can also meet up with a number of brands which will be nice as you usually have to speak stuck behind a pc which isn't very personal. Now this is what I think may push me over the edge! The guilt of leaving the little ones behind added to the paranoia that people may not like me and don't get me started on my crazy level of shyness.

I'm hoping I will overcome all the worries and have an amazing week I'll never forget. With everything that's going on at the minute I'm looking forward to an exciting week ahead. Enjoy your week and I'll report back soon!

Happy Fathers Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's always nice to show your appreciation but Father's Day is a chance to spoil the special man in your life and show them how much they mean to you.


For that reason my lovely dad got a card joking about hair loss. In fact he's not even losing his hair...yet! But it was funny  and payback for all the times he winds me up. I couldn't ask for a better Dad though he is always there when I need him and is amazing with the kids and for that I love him.



Then there is Gracie and Zach's Daddy, the man responsible for the nickname that gave me my blog name! He is an amazing Daddy and has been from the start. Gracie is a massive Daddy's girl and loves her Daddy lots. Zach loves him too but shows him through beating him up and attempting to eat him at all times. They are so lucky to have him and Gracie is waiting patiently now for him to get home from work to give him his presents and the lovely card and drawing she has for him.

Happy Father's Day to the two special men in our life and to all the other great dads out there

Lots of love 

Mummy and The Chunks

XX


I'm going to BritMums Live!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

To think just six months ago I Started this blog as I wanted a hobby for myself. Something to do in the evenings while the kids are suppose to be sleeping! Well I never realised just how much I would enjoy blogging and how many great friends I would make along the way. Now I am preparing to go to a big blogging conference along with 499 other fabulous bloggers. It's a scary thought! Especially for someone as shy as me! Well I guess I should tell you all a little about me so anyone that wanted to say Hi will know who to look out for...

This is Me :)

Name: Carly

Twitter ID: @CarlyMarkham1

Height: 5''7 ish?

Hair: Long brown with a full fringe (might be a side swept one if I don't give it a trim pronto!)

Eyes: Blue although your more likely to notice my glasses before my eye colour!
 
Is this your first blogging conference?
Yes! I'm super nervous!(hence all the excitable exclamation marks everywhere)

Are you attending both days?
Yes I am indeed

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2013?
Meeting all my fb and twitter friends, learning more about the world of blogging and having a social drink without worrying about kids jumping on me at 6am!

What are you wearing?
oh the pressure! I haven't decided yet I have my Teething Bling UK Tshirt to wear which I'm sure will be noticeable.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2013?
I want to meet lots of new bloggers especially the ones that have helped me since starting my own. I'm also looking forward to the workshops as there is so much I don't know still and I'm very eager to learn.

Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows
Before having kids I studied Travel & Tourism and my life plan was to become a holiday rep and get drunk daily as a career! Thank god I got pregnant and killed that dream ;)

To all those going I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and to all those not going don't forget you can see what's going on through Twitter. 

See you at BritMums! 

babies eating habits

You know your baby

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Today we had Zach's 9-12 month development review at our local health clinic. I was really looking forward to going and talking about all the great things he had been learning and to be told how well he is developing.

Well this is not how it went. Instead I sat for 20 minutes listening to a lady tell me how my baby is naughty because ALL babies apparantly sleep 12 hours a night and because he is still having a bottle in the night and sometimes going up to bed around 10pm with us, he is naughty and just attention seeking. I was told that after six months milk isn't important anymore so he shouldn't be drinking the five bottles he still has a day and that I should fill him up all day with dinners and puddings and refuse him milk and water down his night-time feed so he doesn't like it and learns to go without.

Now what has made me angry is that some parents might come out of one of these reviews thinking that they are awful parents and are not doing anything right. I'm a firm believer that every mum knows their own baby and I know my son more than anyone else. He is 8 months old and has a bowl of baby porridge for breakfast followed by a bottle of his milk, he has a vegetable or meat based puree for dinner followed by a fruit puree which is usually followed an hour or so later by another bottle of milk, he then has another bottle 4-5 hours later with a bit of our food to chew on such as chips, vegetables etc, he then has a bottle before bed and one in the early hours. He also has a few small snacks in the day like rice cakes or biscuits etc.

Anyone that has read my blog before or even read my (about us) section will know that Zach was a big baby so he has had a large appetite since he was born. I personally think he has more than enough non milk based food daily especially for an eight month old and I don't mind giving him a bottle of milk in the night. Also with his dairy intolerance and inability to eat dairy products I know his milk is giving him nutrients he wouldn't otherwise get. He sleeps better with a satisfied tummy and in turn I am also starting to get sleep again now.

I just want to say to all parents reading this, yes take advice from health visitors and baby experts but also just know your own baby. If you feel like you are doing a good job you more than likely are and not all babies are the same, they all have their own sleeping and eating habits. Just find what works for you and your baby and as long as they are happy and healthy that is all that matters. Don't let anyone tell you your parenting skills are not good enough!

bibs that keep clothes dry

Review: Mama Designs Snoodie

Monday, June 10, 2013

Now I love cute bibs, the kind of bibs that look more like a fashion statement than an ordinary bib. Well you can't get any cuter than the Snoodie by Mama Designs. Mama Designs are best known for the amazing Mamascarf, the discreet breastfeeding scarf and the Babasac, the 2 in 1 baby sleeping bag. I am ashamed to say but I hadn't heard of the Snoodie until the Baby Show last month and spotted it when having a nose at the Babasac.



The Snoodie looks more like a mini scarf than a bib and has an inner absorbant layer to keep the dribble from soaking through. It has a double popper making it easily adjustable. Zach is eight months old and a very chunky baby and the Snoodie fits perfectly on the tightest setting. The snoodie catches dribble before it gets to the neck area, which I've found can get very irritated when a baby is teething as dribble loves to collect and sit in the neck. Not only that I find that when Zach is really dribbly, with most bibs it still misses and goes down his neck and I find all sorts of fluff and crumbs stuck in his neckline when I give him a wash which mustn't feel nice.

I absolutely love how stylish the Snoodie looks! It even stays in place unlike ordinary bibs that eventually end up being sported as capes after a while. We got a green colour to try as it really stands out and goes really well with quite a few of Zachs outfits. I have had so many compliments when taking him out wearing it saying how cute it is and then how clever it is when I tell them what it actually does. I really wish I had found the snoodie sooner and can't wait to buy more. We will definitely be having teething dribble for a long time yet making them well worth the investment.

The Snoodie comes in a range of different colours and can be bought for £6.95 for a single or you can purchase a twin pack for £12 from http://www.mamascarf.co.uk/. For exclusive discounts, news and competitions you can like Mamascarf on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/mamascarf or follow them on twitter here: https://twitter.com/MamaDesignsLtd

Disclaimer:
I was given this product free of charge for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.


magicbed

Review: Magicbed

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I have been so excited for weeks about this review. I had never heard of Magicbed but I'm now wondering why everyone hasn't got them yet! Unlike ordinary travel cots, the Magicbed is a pop up travel cot that folds into a handy carry bag rather than the big plastic ones that are heavy and bulky. Magicbed was created by two fathers who were sick of what I call 'holiday tetris' with the car, trying to pack up everything a family needs to go away for a few days. With big bulky travel cots taking up the majority of the room. They then came up with the miracle that is the 'magicbed'.


My two have never been big fans of travel cots and I've always thought they don't look to comfy but the magicbed comes with a mattress that slots into a pocket underneath and a lovely fleece blanket that velcros on the inside of the bed. The velcro on the fleece is a fantastic idea meaning that it doesn't come unattached when they are wriggling around. Whenever I've used travel cots I always use a blanket underneath to make it more comfy for the kids but after an hour or so the blanket is usually kicked to the bottom of the cot making it pointless.
My favourite thing about the magicbed is how small it folds up, I don't have to worry about finding somewhere to store it as I can stick it back in the handy carry bag and slot it underneath one of the beds or in the wardrobe whenever not in use. They have even thought about comfort when away by putting a little pocket on the outside big enough for a phone so you can play soothing music and stick it in the pocket until they fall asleep if you wish. The Magicbed is available in five different colours; black, chocolate, blue, pink and spotted pink. We chose the blue colour(pictured above).


The magicbed has also come in very handy for playtime. Now that Zach is getting more adventurous and climbing up everything, he is constantly hurting himself which means I can't leave him unattended for even a second. I've been sticking him in the magicbed with a few toys while I wash or tidy up and it gives me peace of mind that he is safe where he can't bang himself or grab anything he shouldn't and he is happy to play in there. Gracie is also a big fan of playing with the magicbed. As soon as I opened it up the first time she shouted 'Wow my castle' so poor Zach has been forced to play in the castle with his crazy big sister on many occasions!



The magicbed is easy to open it pops up in a matter of seconds and closes almost as easy. With a quick fold if you then hold it between your legs and fasten the elastic around it, it will fit straight back into the carry bag with all the accessories.

You can even use a magicbed outside if the weathers nice, you can purchase a sun canopy to shade your baby from the suns rays. I haven't tried it outside yet as I haven't got a sun canopy and like to be careful where I put Zach as I haven't found a suncream that doesn't irritate his skin. I would definitely look into buying one though once we've moved house.

I don't quite know what else to say I've found the magicbed to be completely flawless and will be recommending to all my friends and family now.


If you keep an eye out on the blog I have an exciting competition coming for you all!

Disclaimer
I was given the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Zach's trip to baby dermatology

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Today has been quite a good day. We finally had an appointment with a dermatologist to speak about Zach's skin problems. We had waited months for this appointment following numerous trips to different doctors who all had different ideas on what it was and different treatments to try that all came to nothing.

Well the Dermatology staff were fantastic! They had a proper look at his skin, asked lots of questions and have confirmed it is baby acne and decided on a treatment to try. We now have some oral antibiotics and a topical cream to try. They even took clinical photographs so we can compare at our next appointment in four weeks time.

Finally feeling more positive for him! Hopefully we will see a difference in the next four weeks :D

Cleaning products

Review: Zoflora

Saturday, June 01, 2013

I'm no domestic goddess thats for sure. I'm the person who cleans as little as possible and uses bleach to clean everything. I've been trying to be good lately and use proper cleaning products to clean things properly. A few weeks ago I was sent some Zoflora to review. Zoflora comes in lots of beautiful fragrances, the one we received was bouquet. Zoflora is a multi-use antibacterial disinfectant.

 

There are a few different uses for Zoflora, it can be used to disinfect surfaces such as kitchen counters or floors. I've mainly been using it for cleaning my kitchen floor. Use Zoflora diluted 1 in 40 with water. 1 capful (10ml) will make 400ml. e.g. the 120ml bottle makes 4.8 litres of full strength disinfectant. When diluted as instructed it becomes non-flammable. As I said I've been using mine in my kitchen to clean the floors, most other cleaning products I've tried have left my floor looking dull or feeling sticky so I tried out the Zoflora to see how it worked. As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the fragrance which is just lovely. I poured one capful into my mop bucket with plenty of water and got to work. After spending a few minutes scrubbing the floor I left the door open to let the air help it dry nice and quick and once dry I noticed the floor looked lovely and shiny with no stickiness at all. My whole kitchen smelt of fresh flowers too!

Zoflora can be used for cleaning bathroom surfaces and fittings too. It can be used (diluted again)  to wipe over: floors; tiles; sinks; toilets; baths; taps and other fixtures and fittings. Zoflora may only be used undiluted in ceramic and metal sinks, drains and toilets. I haven't used the Zoflora undiluted but I have tried it out cleaning my bathroom surfaces too and is fantastic for making the room look shiny and clean and smelling fresh.

Zoflora is also suitable for families with pets. I don't have a pet myself but lots of family members do and have said that finding products that don't make them poorly is very important. It says on their website that when correctly diluted Zoflora may be used where most pets are kept. It will kill bacteria and eliminate unpleasant odours. Do not allow pets to lick or walk on wet treated surfaces. Keep off until dry. When disinfecting pet toys, finish by rinsing in coold water and drying thoroughly. It does say though that it is not suitable for housing where reptiles are kept, so maybe not a good idea to use at all if you have reptiles.

Zoflora can also be used as a fragrance spray to freshen up your home. You can dilute it the same as you would for cleaning any surfaces and pop it into a spray bottle to spread the fresh scent around your home. Again I haven't tried this as I usually have at least one of the little ones following me around even when cleaning and don't want to be covering them in disinfectant spray!

Overall, I am very pleased with the Zoflora disinfectant and it will come in handy over the next few weeks while im emptying the house and giving it a good clean ready to move. It's lovely to walk into a room that smells so beautiful even 24 hours after cleaning, it works even better than any air freshner and you know it's actually cleaning and not just masking any unpleasant odours.

Zoflora can be found in most retailers including; Tesco, Sainsbury's, ASDA, Morrisons and Wilkinson's. A full list of stockists can be found on http://www.zoflora.co.uk/

Disclaimer
I Was sent the product featured in this post free of charge for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

 

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