August is Amblyopia awareness month so we thought we would join in the awareness campaign with a photo and a little video about patching.
Kiddiewink 2 is regularly asked (well via us), what he has done to his eye! Everyone on the school yard is interested and when not wearing it, it almost gets as many questions as when he is…


Kiddiewink 2 talking about patching to raise awareness


Why are glasses so expensive?

Kiddiewink2 has been in small frames but it was suggested on our last visit to Wendy Diddams that he may be needing a larger pair. Today, we popped in to order a bigger pair of tomato glasses. Unfortunately, now he has to pay for his glasses, gutted! I am on maternity leave and money is tight, so I asked about the free ones, but even the shop told me that they were so awful, we wouldn’t want to bother, they were right! To make matters worse he couldn’t even have the lovely fashionable square frames he loved because his prescription is so strong, the lenses would need thinning and even then they might not look right, with him being so young, changing prescriptions could be very costly if forking out for extreme thinning too. In this day and age, why can’t free children’s glasses be ‘cool’, why do you have to pay to avoid milk bottle glasses? He didn’t ask to wear glasses, already he is different to his friends, why do have to pay to make wearing glasses more acceptable? Fair enough if you don’t need them all the time, but for a child who cannot see at all without their glasses, why can’t there be more help? Even if a charity was set up to help subsidise glasses for little ones, very few would donate, when there are so many more important  charities, that save life’s! But as parents of a glasses wearer we will be always be having to pay for larger frames, thinning, prescription swimming goggles, prescription sports goggles, sunglasses… I accept that a lot of those are luxuries, but the glasses that provide ‘sight’ should be more heavily subsidised.

Photos of the different glasses to follow.


These are brilliant and make such a difference to my little boy. We are lucky enough to get them from the hospital but I know not all hospitals offer these. It’s such a shame as they are so much more exciting than your plain patch. If you are not fortunate enough to get them for free, you can order them online and there are reward charts available.



I really think they should be offered to all young children as it makes patching more fun. Obviously we still have days where he doesn’t want his patch, but that element of choice encourages him to do it, even though he doesn’t like it. In the early stages he said they hurt when taking them off, so we now stick them on our trouser leg before applying. KW2 peels them off himself quite happily, well not exactly happily, but you know what I mean. Invariably we have also had spells where he wants only a certain patch and we have none of that kind due to the fact he has worn nothing but those for a week! That involves some serious negotiating and coercing.
Last time we went to the hospital they only had the style we have had the last three visits, or a girlie box. He chose the girlie box, much to his sister’s excitement.

An image of some  of the designs…



Kiddiwink 2 choosing a patch video

Choosing a patch




Baking with children… Not all it’s cracked up to be.

Why is the reality of baking with children so different from the reality? Baking in our house always ends the same way- in a mess, and often with arguments about stirring, pouring, weighing or even what to bake.
Today, I decided as it was rainy we would do some baking while KW3 had a nap. After much debate over what to bake, we settled on chocolate molten cakes (eldest KWs choice) and tropical pineapple cupcakes (KW2’s choice).
Even just pouring the flour from the scales to the bowl, results in spillage and consequently means the ratios are not as exact as I would like for cakes.
KW2 constantly asks “can I lick the butter, flour, mixture etc”, eldest wants to do everything but had not mastered holding the bowl when stirring, and constantly needs reminding. Both of them getting upset if they perceive the other has poured more in, stirred for longer.
Anyhow, it ended up with me doing the majority and the KWs making token stirs, weighing etc. They were desperate to put the mixture into the cases, but the mess that this causes ( and wastage) perturbs me and it wasn’t long before I took over. Is this how baking goes with other families? I have no idea, but it is from from idyllic in our household. The kids have a ball though!


They particularly enjoy the eating… Licking the bowl and utensils is a must. The challenge is getting them not to steal a sneaky lick during the baking!





cloth isn’t scary…

When I first looked into cloth nappies, I couldn’t believe how many different types were available. I was expecting lots of white terry nappies, but to my surprise the reality of the cloth nappy world was poles apart from my expectations. It seems that after the birth of KW1 the cloth nappy market really began to grow and expand, particularly online and through social media such as Facebook. It really is mind boggling can appear quite daunting and scary!


Here is a list of the basics that you need to consider when thinking about cloth nappying.
What types are there?

Fitted nappies– these are usually made of bamboo or microfibre and require a waterproof wrap.


We have found these to be bulkier, so personally we prefer these at night time

Shaped nappies- these are similar to fitter but equire a nappy nippa to keep them tight

Prefolds and terry towelling again require a nappy nippa ( shape and fitted I have less experience of, as they were a bit old school for me)

Pocket Nappies– basically the nappy has a pocket in it which you stuff to suit absorbancy you need. These range in price and can be bought as cheaply as £2 a nappy (TJ cloth, little bloom, ebaby cheapies) and then at the opposite end of the scale you have the Milovia pocket at approximately £18.99 a nappy. I would love one of these but really can’t justify the price…



All in Ones

These have a booster attached, this often folds/pops into a pocket in the nappy (not fun to pull the soaky booster out though). We have a few tots bots easyfits, one miosolo (recently purchased, waiting for it to be pre washed)



All in Twos

These have other parts that essentially snap into the nappy. Grovia is a hybrid but a bit like an all in two, the soaker snaps in and as unpopper prior to washing. Close parent pop in’s  are a good example of this and again the prices vary.

How do I choose which one?
Different nappies work best for different babies; it can also be true that the same applies to adults (my hubby hates two partners as too faffy). Also, what works best at 8 months might not be the best with an 18 month old. Chunky things, skinny thighs, potbellied, long bodies… All this affects how well the cloth nappy fits and contains wee and poo explosions. The nappy lady is a fab website which helps you establish which type of nappy might suit you and your baby best. Goreal and The Great british nappy hunt are also fab websites to help, sometimes they have fantastic giveaways too.

Where to get them from
Lots of online retailers,with often lots of special offers (ebay/yellow bloom, tj cloth nappies, babipur, clean green nappy machine…) Check out your local council too, they may offer an incentive scheme.

In store- kiddicare, large supermarkets, little shops

Preloved- all world of Facebook pages devoted to cloth nappies, (preloved cloth nappies, cloth bums uk, and branded pages too)
Council incentive schemes- some are better than others
Cloth nappy libraries- kits to try out.

Preloved is amazing for buying and selling, and if you look after them, you can sell them for not much less than you paid for them.

What you will need
Nappies ( amount depends on the age of kiddiewink and frequency you want to wash, drying time of nappies)
Liners- fleece or disposable? Personally I prefer fleece as I hate putting something less soft in a lovely fluffy nappy
Somewhere to store them( we use a lidded bucket with a drop of tea tree oil in, surprisingly unsmelly)
Wet bags for out and about, preferably zipped as they contain the smells better.

Argh! Poo, what do I do
If lots and lots of poo, I either wipe worst off with toilet roll and flush, or solid poo literally flicks of a liner into the loo. With disposable liners, just flush the lot. Easy peasy. If out and about, throw the dirty nappy into the wet bag, if you use reusable wipes, you can just throw those in too. If at him, we store them in a lidded bucket until ready to wash.

We are cloth nappy converts, if I had known are easy they were and how gorgeous they were, I would have defintely have used them with Kiddiwink 1.


Mummy you have a white hair

My eldest was beside herself with excitement last night. While typing her most recently read book onto the mythical maze reading challenge, “oh my mummy, you have a white hair, just like Elsa” she exclaimed with great excitement and wonder”
She kept pointing at it and stroking it. When I told her it was because I was getting old.
“Not really mummy you are just like Elsa, I wonder if you have more, let me look”

She surpassed herself yesterday, as she hugged me at bath time, saying
“Oh mummy don’t worry you are definitely not as fat as that fat person”

Who she was on about I have no idea, but what a day for compliments…

Baby signing? Is it a load of mumbo jumbo?

When I began baby signing with my eldest kiddiewink, lots of people around me were sceptical…” Wouldn’t it stop them talking because they won’t need to talk?” “What’s the point?” ” you can sing to them at home and youtube signs” My mum in particular was dubious, as was my hubby. But hubby changed his view when he saw kiddiewink 1 signing for the first time.

There are lots of baby signing classes about, but I loved my free trial of Tiny talk and when kiddiewink 1 was about two months old we started a Tiny Talk. We continued until she was about 2.5 years old (toddler class), I continued for a bit longer with her than I might have done, but there was no space for kiddiewink2 in the baby class, so he also joined in with the songs, usually with kiddiewink1 singing them with him. Very cute.
Tiny talk was my favourite and I am excited about starting with kiddiewink 3 in September.

Tiny talk,when we went, was a mixture of singing, instruments and story time. All included learning different signs. Now I believe there is also a fun sensory element. Kiddiewink 1 learnt the sign for more and milk by 4 months and quickly learnt other words, she enjoyed using them to communicate and as an adult, you say the word as well as signing, so it really does reinforce the spoken word too. The classes had a lovely friendly relaxed feel, with free play and snacks for the last twenty minutes or so. It was the only class I have ever done where you feel like your child and the experience is more than just a number through the door. Jenny the teacher is amazing and genuinely wants to get to know all the babies and toddlers.

One particular time signing came in handy, was when kiddiewink 1 was 9 months, she woke screaming at about midnight. She had not needed a milk feed at this time since about five months, so we just cuddled, checked nappy and put back to bed. She just kept screaming even when we got her back out and cuddled her. Then I noticed she was doing the more sign repeatedly with her hands. We made her an 8oz bottle, she downed the lot and went straight back to sleep. Without that means of communication, she would have definitely had a bit more upset before we tried a bottle.

At six months, she would do the doggy sign when at my mums and she very quickly learnt ‘daddy’ and used it to tell me she was missing him. One day at about 7 months she came over whimpering and did the daddy sign, I told her and signed back with ‘daddy’s at work’, she then stopped whimpering and went back to playing.

Baby signing is well worth doing even if you just do a few signs, I bought the packs to continue with kiddiewink 2 at home, but tended to just use the ones I had learnt in class. Seeing them communicate at such a young age is fascinating and enlightening, and probably saves a few tears and tantrums along the way.

Kiddiewink 3 doing the more sign


We tried to catch it on video, not the best quality but you can get the idea


Antenatal classes. Are they worth it?

In a nutshell, yes, I think  they are totally worth it. Whether it is a group through your local NHS provider or a chargeable course, it’s worth going, forewarned is forearmed and all that.. Oh and if you’re lucky you might make some new friends for life for both yourself and your children.

We decided to book ourselves onto the chargeable NCT classes as it seemed to cover a bit more and I had heard good things.

I felt nervous and excited on the way to our first meeting, the hubby was dreading it! Not only was he being ‘made to do ‘ these classes, I was making him do them twenty minutes away from home! Due to timings, they could only place me in a group in a different town, not ideal, but I felt better than not doing it. The walk to the front door, I can still remember, who would we meet? Would they like me? Would I have get on with them? So many things whizzing through my head. The door opened and we were met by a lovely lady, however one I knew. I couldn’t believe it, my NCT teacher, was vicar who led a club at the primary school I worked in. Discussing such intimate things with the vicar who worked in school, was initially somewhat perturbing, but within half an hour, I felt more relaxed.

The group consisted of 6 woman and partners, although one lady at her mum there. A scan around showed me a lot of big bellies in one room, all different shapes and sizes. Two bumps stood out to me as being significantly bigger, very impressive. My bump was always on the smaller side and people often commented, it really annoyed me and I was dying for a impressive size bump Not surprisingly, none of us liked our bumps being commented on, big or small. Good job I had refrained from commenting,

The age range was from 27 to 39, myself being the youngest. All of us were first time mums, although one mum had two stepsons. We met at Sue’s house every week for six weeks I think, with a Saturday thrown in for a full day of baby fun. I remember my hubby and one of the other dads having to change a babies peanut butter poo nappy, that was an entertaining evening, I also remember all having to think of a breastfeeding question at the session with the breastfeeding counsellor, my poor hubby was the last of 12 so all ‘his’ questions had been taken. “Can you put it in your tea?” He asked With a cheeky smile, she answered very seriously and I am not entirely she got his sense of humour ( the others all had giggles behind their hands though). The rest of this session my hubby continued to be quite humorous, I think her lack of a sense of humour fuelled his! Interestingly, he is the biggest fan of breastfeeding and would argue a case for it to anyone! When faced with an emergency section with KW1, I felt calm considering the circumstances and was not fazed by the number of people in the room, I just pictured the little playmobile surgery, Even during that NCT session, I was convinced I would have a section; one of the group was having a planned c section, which statistically meant one of the rest of us would have one. No surprises that it was me…

We  were the last group for the NCT teacher, and the first group to have all their babies in the due date order, Sue was chuffed to bits, as she had led classes for years and only her last ever class had them in the order they were supposed to arrive.

All of us had different experience of labour and we all had different approaches and ideas with regard to routine and weaning, but we learned from each other and with each other. I still have all the early emails between us all, discussing the fact our babies had slept for 5 whole hours, or rolled over etc. Lovely to look back on.

Even today, six years on, 4 of us are amazing friends, and despite the 25 minute drive between houses, until the big ones started school, we saw each other every single week. This has decreased to every couple of weeks but the kids are as close as ever. Last summer, we all even met on a campsite in France for a week.

Friends for life! Hopefully for the children, as well as the adults!


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Secretly smug

Bedtimes since the addition of number three, are definitely in my favour. While my hubby runs around getting pyjamas on, arguing over which book they want, cleaning teeth, getting milk, oh and then they ask for water… I am sat in the calm tranquility of the nursery breastfeeding kiddiewink 3. Bliss! Once she has the sleep stare, and is no longer gazing lovingly into my eyes, I get to sit on my phone, texting, facebooking, Internet browsing, and generally chilling out. Don’t get me wrong it was quite frustrating when she was feeding for ninety minutes at bedtime, but it was ninety minutes of well earned peace!