Children and snacks often come hand in hand, and that’s no different in my house with three very hungry little kittens to feed. We are a very anti sweet family, during my time studying childcare one of the things my tutor said was that children didn’t need sweets or chocolate. her motto was always ‘If you do not give it, they do not crave it’ and I have stuck by that.

However one thing happened above everything else, my first and second child suffered with both a lactose intolerance and a dairy allergy, which after fighting tooth and nail with a doctor to get it diagnosed, Opened up a whole new world of struggle to get healthy snacks into them. This was a time when having a child with a milk issue was an unknown thing, these days its been given an actual name and children are being diagnosed with it more and more so there for the snacks are following suit and becoming more allergy friendly!

These snacks have all served us well over they years, so I wanted to share with you and hopefully inspire you to introduce them into your finger food list.

It goes in as it comes out, when Kai was 2 his favorite snack of all was dried bananas. I was always to scared to have actual bananas in the house thanks to all the spider scares but the dried variety was enjoyed very much. We then found that Holland and Barrett did dried blueberries and suddenly the world was changed. I always found that they are the perfect snack to pop into a lunch box and they always are enjoyed by everyone.

Not for an every day sort of snack but perfect to pop into the nappy bag for emergencies, these are from our local tesco and are similar to Pom Bears, but in the shape of a cute little bunny. They come in plain and cheese, which is Robins favorite and there isn’t much bad in them, I find them so handy for when the older two pick some god horrible thing from the shops at the weekend and their little sister, wanting to be just like her older siblings wants something too, Bunny Bites to the rescue!

I have raved many times about how much I love Ella’s Kitchen, the pouches often get a bad rep for being considered ‘lazy’ food but they are a great convenience if you are rushing off your feet with everything else. The fruit smoothies go down such a treat with Robin, she will often replace her yogurt with them and we always have a stock of them in the fridge. You can find them in a box of five and come in all sorts of different flavors, Robins favorite is the red one and of course, she turns her nose up if we offer her anything different.

Rhythm 108 kindly send some of their amazing products to us through the mail, these are much more of an older child snack so of course my older two were all over these the minute I showed them. we got a lovely selection of different bars and biscuits and its honestly safe to say the popular one has been the lemon cake. I take them with me when I go collect them from school and its been a big distraction from our ‘little shop’ which is just outside the school gates and a magnet for hungry after school children.

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I am sure there are probably many more snacks that tickle everyone’s fancy but these are the top lot that are asked every day when they come home from school, I am also being asked to make sure I buy more of the Rhythm 101 ‘cakes’ as they call them.

What snacks make the grade in your home?

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On the 23rd September, here in the UK it will officially be autumn, and while the sun was nice, I cannot wait for cooler weather and lots of rain. I look forward to those dark mornings waking up, looking out of the window and seeing fog settle on the ground, the changing colors of the trees and the fun that comes from it.

But on those good days that autumn brings, I want to head out and explore our beautiful world as it goes to sleep, preparing for autumn. So I have decided to share with you all the things I want to do during the most wonderful time of the year.

Go Pumpkin Picking – We try and go every year to our local farm that sells all sorts of wonderful fruit, I’ve talked about it here and here. This year I will make it my duty to get along to the beautiful Cammas Hall, The children love being able to run between the pumpkins and make the all important choice of which one will grace our windowsill.  While I am not Irish, the tradition of placing a candle in the window on Halloween or Samhain is to guide the spirits home and seek a blessing for the coming year. Its actually fascinating reading about the history of this magical time of year.

Collect Conkers

Being very much a child at heart, I very much enjoy heading out in search of those conkers. Last year we went along to my mums for the day, exploring the area and finding a huge haul of conkers. Its great fun for everyone.

Make Decorations

Last year I did blogtober, and while it as a big bundle of stress, I enjoyed creating spooky Halloween decorations with the children, one of my favorites was the sun catcher leaf decorations. I am so excited to continue making beautiful autumn decorations for my home, We’ve been out and collected plenty of pine cones and acorns for other fun crafts which I will of course share with you.

Autumn Walks

I don’t know if you are aware, but I hate summer with a passion. So once the weather turns cooler I come out of my cave and explore my surroundings. One of my favorite things to do and something I am so excited to start doing is heading out and going for walks.

Go Trick or Treating

This year I want to take the children out and experience their first trick or treat night. I have always put off doing it purely down to my own anxiety, but I have banded together with a few of the mums from school and we are all going out together. The children have planned what they want to dress up as, and I am excited about getting my witches hat on.

Go Apple Picking

Every year now, we go picking apples along one of our walks. The apples we mainly pick are crab apples, which my mum then turns into jelly. However last year we only managed to pick enough for one tiny jar but my goal for this year is to get bags full for her.

Visit Hatfield Forest

Just up the road from us here in Harlow is the beautiful and ancient Hatfield Forest, famed for its cows and many cow pats, I am so excited head there with the family and explore this amazing and local area. Some of the trees in the forest are over 1000 years old and its just a perfect place to let the children explore or let a photographer like me, snap away.

As you can see, we have lots of fun things planned for autumn, I just wish it would get here so we can start doing some of them. What things do you have on your autumn bucket list for this year?

 

 

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I love a good tag, which I feel like I mention every time I do one, but I just love them, its a perfect way of getting to know someone or when you are feeling a little ‘finger dead’ and experiencing a bit of writers block, a tag will always refresh your mind and get you in the mood for writing things down.

Thank you to Gee for tagging me in this lovely little tag about being a Mama and now its onto the questions –

The Mama Tag –

HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU HAD YOUR FIRST CHILD? – I found out I was pregnant with Kai when I was 23, while its not exactly the youngest age, A lot of my family members made a big deal about me being ‘too young’. we had to remind my grandma that she had her first at 17 so she couldn’t really talk.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING PREGNANT FOR 9 MONTHS? – Honestly all of it, I struggled with headaches, back pain, leg pain, bleeding, endless Braxton Hicks, Sciatica, hip pain, sickness. I hate being pregnant but I adore babies.

CAN YOU THINK OF ANY GOOD THINGS YOU ENJOYED DURING THOSE 9 MONTHS? – The one good thing I enjoyed above all was probably the ‘nesting’ period and, while many think I am mad, the labour and birth, the best part of pregnancy for me is getting that beautiful screaming pink potato at the end of it.

IN YOUR OPINION, WERE ALL THE THINGS YOU HEARD ABOUT CHILDBIRTH ACCURATE OR WAY OFF? – I was told all sorts of scary stories about labour, so much so that when it happened I panicked, I didn’t want to push with my first child and I was terrified, when I had my second and third I was more experienced, it was still terrifying and I ended up having a panic attack while in labour with Robin, I came out the other side with this amazing feeling, Giving birth is the single most powerful experience of my life. I would gladly do it all over again just to feel that power.

WOULD YOU HAVE HANDLED CHILDBIRTH DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD RE-DO IT? – I did redo it and I handled it a lot better than I did with the first, My first was helped along with an epidural, forceps etc but I didn’t want to have that kind of birth again, I did ask for pain relief and was given just the gas and air, with my second and third, I listened to my body and let it do the work, and while I did panic with Robin, her labour and birth was the quickest out of the three purely because I listened.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY? – Pay attention to your mothers instinct, if something doesn’t feel right, always talk to a doctor and if they mug you off make sure you find a different opinion!

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUM? – All of it, everything about being a mum is hard, you are no rest, no free time and you have to just ‘get on with it’ without complaining.. its endless, from the minute you discover they are on the way you devote your whole life to someone else.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT BEING A MUM? – Watching them grow, its hard to see them go from this tiny pink potato to a child and into a teen, but watching them learn new things, find friends and find themselves is an amazing thing.

WHAT WAS THE MOST SURPRISING THING YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT BEING A MUM? – Just how lonely it can be, you loose a lot of friends when you have a child and then with me and my social anxiety its hard to then make new friends.. it can be an extremely lonely  being a mum.

WHAT IS THE BEST MEMORY YOU HAVE INVOLVING YOUR CHILD? – Too many, but I think them meeting their sister at the hospital for the first time is up there with the best.

WHAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING MILESTONE? – I think them talking, it changes the relationship a little bit when they start to communicate more, its always a good day when a new words is uttered.

WHAT IS THE WORST THING YOUR CHILD HAS EVER DONE? – Kai has a habit of sneaking into the kitchen and stealing food when he wakes up early, the girls seem to be little angels haha.

WHAT HABIT DID YOU WISH YOUR CHILD DIDN’T HAVE? – Kai has a stupid habit of walking on his toes, we don’t know why he does it but have been asked by the doctor to keep reminding him not to do it, which only works for a few minutes.

Amelia is just lazy, she will find anyway out of something, She isnt lazy at school but at home, she gets Kai to do all the work

and Robin… I just wish she would sleep..

WHAT HABIT OF THEIRS MAKE YOU MOST PROUD? – I am honestly so proud of how kind and generous they all are, they aren’t scared to play with other children at any age.

DO YOU SHARE ANY SIMILARITIES WITH YOUR CHILD? (BOTH PHYSICAL & PERSONALITY) – Kai and Robin both have my grey eyes, I don’t think personality whys they share any with me, but I think Kai is as shy as I was as a child.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CHILD TO BE IN 10 YEARS? – I would like them to just be happy, what more could you ask for.

IS THERE SOMETHING THAT HAVING A CHILD HAS TAUGHT YOU? – I feel like they taught me not to take any shit from anyone, I am a lot stronger than I think I am thanks to them.

DID YOU IMAGINE YOU’D BE A MUM AT THE AGE YOU BECOME A MUM? – Not really, Kai was an accident.. I sort of hoped to be married and have a house before I had my first child but unfortunately we did things backwards

DESCRIBE YOUR CHILD IN ONE SENTENCE?

Kai – Shy, Excitable, Helpful

Amelia – Artistic, Kind, Emotional

Robin – Outgoing, Funny, Small.

HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED AS A PERSON SINCE BECOMING A MUM? – I think I have become more exhausted, I no longer have the time to do things I wanted to do, I had just started to get a little bit of me back and then had Robin so everything went back to square one.

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I tag

Becca

Clare

Stacy

Vicki

Kirsty

All the best

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Feeding, Not Judging!

Something wonderful happened a few months ago, Midwives are now no longer going to pressure women into breastfeeding if they choose not to, and its about time that this is a thing, there are to many stories on the internet of Midwives and other health professionals not even bothering to help mum’s with their choice in feeding their baby, or even making them feel like they are doing something wrong with not choosing to breastfeed.

Now, they are there to help and its fantastic, women shouldn’t be judged for how they choose to feed their baby. which is why I am a strong supporter of the Fed is Best campaigns, while breast milk is the natural way if a women decides that they wish to use formula instead for whatever reason she will be supported and helped, given information on the safe ways to do it and hopefully now given a crash course in making bottles and using sterilizers.

Things No One Tells you..

When I gave birth to Kai, I was determined to breastfeed, I struggled badly even in the hospital while being man handled by the midwives who got tiny drops out from my sore boobs, I begged them to give me some formula but I was told time and again, while in tears, that I ‘had enough milk for my son’ and how important it was to breastfeed with posters everywhere stating that only the best parents start their babies lives out right with breastmilk. we was discharged, and still not feeding properly, they were just happy that I had been to the toilet after my epidural than wither or not my son was getting everything he needed, he was turning orange but I was told to put him in sunlight and he should get better.

What they don’t tell you is the best way to help improve jaundice is through feeding, enabling the body to flush it out, sunlight only did half the job.

I was sent home, exhausted with sore nipples and crying at every feed, it wasn’t until my midwife who saw me through my pregnancy came to do the usual visit and saw just how orange Kai was and how my mental health was slowly deteriorating and told me it would be best to artificially feed him, she saw how much we was struggling and helped, gave advice and despite the heartbreak of not being able to feed him, got him healthy and that’s all that mattered.

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I have always felt shy about my opinions on feeding, I have always experienced negativity whenever I fed in public with formula, I have dealt with being told I was poisoning my child that he would grow up stupid because I hadn’t given him my milk, which the way it dried up there wasn’t much there to begin with but now, now more people are being open and honest with it, not just formula mum’s but breastfeeding mum’s are being proud of showing that they feel that fed is best above all, mental health of the mother and the safe feeding of the baby is more important than where the milk comes from itself.

and that’s now going to come from the most important people who help you bring these tiny humans into the world, no more judging, no more pushing, MUM’S KNOW BEST and that’s final! They will respect your choices like they should do.

Education is BEST!

Educating women on how to safely feed their baby regardless of how they choose to feed is so important, educating them on how to safely make a bottle of formula or even how to safely clean bottles should be a part of it. I remember being left on my own when I had Amelia and they used a cold water sterilizer while I had only ever used a steam microwave one and no one was willing to help me, show me how to use it because of the ‘breast is best’ movement and I was made to feel so guilty for not choosing what was ‘best’ for my baby, with Robin they thankfully started making pre-made bottles and I used them, but not sharing how to use this strange sterilizer felt so off and unfair.

We are made to feel guilty no matter how we choose to feed and its going to be wonderful to be able to give birth and feed however it suits us.

Support all mothers with their choices and never EVER judge someone for it, I know I dont turn my nose up at a woman breastfeeding their baby in the park as I hope she would return the favor not to make a judgement because I choose to formula.. have pride in what you do but please be more understanding of others who may have struggled here you have succeeded.. we are all in this journey together and should support and stand by one another regardless.

Until next time

For more information on what Fed Is Best does then find them on twitter here and website here, what they try to stress is that they aren’t about formula, they support all mothers regardless of how they feed which I feel some do not understand.

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In our house we love wooden toys, I think they look pretty when they are tidied away neatly where they belong and of course the one blessing of wooden toys is the fact they are good for the environment so when I was asked if we would be interested in reviewing the Hape Fantasia blocks train I didn’t say no.

The train itself is three parts that connect together so its easy to pull along with beautiful and bright blocks sitting on top held together with wooden pins, each train has different colored wheels which then match up with the blocks that sit on top, the quality of the wood is wonderful, it isn’t like Grimms wooden toys which are just painted wood without any protection as the painted bricks and wheels are glossy while the train body is more a smooth bare wood which I think prefer as they are a lot easier to clean and we all know how sticky fingers can get.

Robins first call of action was of course to remove all the bricks off their pegs and run off with them, which she found easy to do as they aren’t clicked into place. the bricks themselves are beautiful and covered with many different patterns and shapes and are overall really attractive to little hands.

They are pretty easy to fix together, the front and middle train has wooden pegs similar to where the bricks fit onto so you can join up each train but the one thing that bothered me was just the fact that you need to look before picking them up as I had a habit of picking up the wrong one and dropping them, but that’s my fault and not of the design of the toy.

The toy itself is amazingly sturdy, I am forever paranoid with toys that they break off or fall apart but as I said it has been dropped many times and not a scratch has appeared onto the paint work or even the wood itself, which is a sign of a good quality toy, the pegs that hold the bricks are stuck into place and I have given them a good tug to make sure they wont come out and so far so good, I always find wooden toys to last a lot longer than plastic ones and I feel like this toy will be a forever part of the toy box.

The Hape Fantasia Blocks Train is a stunning toy that looks amazing on show and is getting lots of love from all my children who enjoy anything with wheels and I can see it being used for many years to come and at the price of £19.99 is fantastic price for such a wonderful toy.

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Disclaimer - This product was sent to me for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.