Thursday, 31 May 2012

Keep Britain Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with Sofia it did not even cross my mind that I would bottle feed her as, for me, breastfeeding was the natural choice. Whilst breastfeeding was my first choice I can understand that we are not all the same and all have different needs and desires, so I am most certainly not anti formula feeding (although you will see me have the odd rant about huge companies with guilt ridden and over hyped advertising campaigns; but thats a whole different story and not one just about the baby food industry) . At the moment I do have a lot of friends who have ether recently had children or are about to start the happy journey, with the majority of them choosing to bottle feed.  Whilst I have not had any direct negativity from friends and family, as I am in the minority, I do sometimes find it more difficult to share experiences and get hints and tips, which is why I love reading some great mummy blogs.  When I read about the ' Breastfeeding in England '  scavenger hunt I decided that I would love to get involved so that I can share in my love of breastfeeding and help others to celebrate it too. Read all about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, where you can read some lovely stories and enter great competitions.

I will be blogging about breastfeeding each week throughout June and look forward to hearing your feedback and hints and tips. First post is up 1st June, so watch this space!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Here comes the sun

The sun has arrived at last, hip hip hip hooray! To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of hot weather but it is nice to get out and about without coats, umbrellas, waterproofs etc. Mind you, I now have to worry about sun hats, cream, shades and bug spray so you can't win eh? So now that the sun has arrived; here are a few bits and bobs that will brighten up your little ones wardrobe for summer

Yellow Sunglasses from Amazon
Yellow Monkey T shirt by Lipfish from Nordic kids
Yellow dress by Wild things funky little dresses from Not on the high street
Pineapple costume by Mini Rodini
Yellow Sun Hat from Nordic Kids
Yellow converse from Office

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Does everybody have blue eyes ?

My daughter was only 2 1/2 months at Christmas time but my mum still wanted to buy her first doll for her, a strange looking ' Tiny Tears ' doll just like the one I received for my first Christmas. Tiny is still in her box waiting for Sofia to get a little older so they can play together and in the meantime there is a large toy box that is beginning to burst at the seems already. When I had my daughter I didn't really think about what toys I would buy her, I just assumed I would pick things up as we went along, if me or Sofia seen something we liked. Over the last few months, however, I have been reading a few articles about not encouraging girls to wear pink clothes, buy pink toys or apparent gender specific toys such as dolls, kitchens, nurses outfits etc. The articles that I have read have raised questions in my mind about gender stereotypes and how I may come across some of these issues as Sofia grows up but ultimately I think I will let Sofia lead the way and if she wants pink then she can have pink or if she wants to play with a tractor then she can play with a tractor. That said I do know I need to play my part in encouraging a diverse range of toys and play that will allow Sofia to fit in well in the often complicated world we live in.

Last week, Sofia led the way and indicated that she would like a doll to play with now, whilst she waits to play with Tiny, as she took a liking to her cousins little friend when we were visiting last week.  So, off I went into town and headed to a large department store to see what I could find that would be suitable. As I have said, I do want to encourage diversity and with that in mind I thought that I would get Sofia a doll of a different ethnic origin. Educators and experts in the childcare field agree that toys, like dolls, can help children explore their personality and aid relationship building so a wide range of toys is encouraged. With this in mind I think it is essential to encourage children to have an awareness of different religions and cultures etc to help them be confident and happy in the big world we live in, enjoying the diversity is has to offer. It terms of buying toys, this was going to be much harder than I thought as I walked around the shop and scanned dozens of but eyed, blonde haired baby boys and girls ( along with some of the strange looking newborn dolls you can get) but low and behold not one doll with a different skin colour other than white. Thinking that it could be just the one shop I wondered around to another three high street shops, all of which had those lovely blue eyes staring but yet again no other options, to represent the worlds diversity. Now, It is not as if i live in a little town where there is not much choice; I live in a very big city that celebrates all oaks of life. 

Back home I immediately sent off an email to the shops I visited, asking why they had such a limited range of dolls. Up to now I still have not had a reply but if and when I do I suppose I will get a perfectly worded explanation that will not wash with me until we start to see a diverse range of stock in all stores. So, off to the internet it was, in search of a doll for little Sofia. I came across a few great sites but such as Nubidollz and Kids like me ; both of which have a wide range of dolls from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. You could question whether or not the dolls on the sites reinforce stereotypes but for me they allow the toy box to represent what we may see when walking down the street and every day and can only benefit our children's education. Through a wide range of toys, books, cultural days out and a wide variety of food from different countries we can all make our little ones children of the world. Our children's centres and schools are doing some great work to bring different cultures together and it is our job as parents to encourage the same, despite where the high street leads us.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Let your kids go WILD

I am a lady who loves flowers, whether that be the romantic kind, the ones you buy to brighten up the house or the wildflowers that you see when out and about. Unfortunately we don't have a garden so cannot grow a lot of my own flowers but we do have a reasonably sized yard so have been growing flowers, herbs and food in pots and containers. Whether you have a garden, a yard or a window box it is easy to bring a bit of greenery into your life and it's great for getting your children involved too. My daughter is too young to dig in and get her hands dirty but she can certainly enjoy the pretty results when the flowers and plants start to grow.

This year I am taking part in Vanessa Kimbell's  British bloggers support british flowers challenge. The challenge celebrates all that is British about flowers and encourages people to share their love of flowers with everyone, including children.

If you want to start growing your own flowers or create your own veggie and herb patch then take a look at the BBC site, which is great for helping you and your family have fun in the garden. I will also be posting a couple of blogs on how you can get your kids involved in gardening whilst keeping it simple.

If you are not that green and cannot see yourself donning the gardening gear then why not simply appreciate the beauty of flowers and gardens at some great places across the UK. If you are in or near Liverpool, The National Wildflower Centre is great for everyone, with regular family events held throughout the year. For all you southerners Kew Gardens is a delightful place to share a day out with the children, with lots of fun days to take your children to at weekends or when on school holidays. If you cannot visit these two places then check out Great British Gardens for ideas for days out in the great outdoors.

Get sewing those seeds everyone!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Book of the month; The Animal Boogie

Can you boogie ?

As you know, I am an ambassador for Barefoot Books . Barefoot have lots of amazing books for children and I will be highlighting one as book of the month, that I think you and your little ones would love. For may I have picked something fun that will entertain the kiddies over half term and beyond.

Down in the jungle , the children and animals are learning about actions like leaping, stomping, shaking 
and flapping while meeting different jungle animals. The books bright and fun and comes with a CD to enhance the reading experience. The book is for children aged 3-7 but can be fun for all of the family to join in. Take a look at this video to get you in the mood ; The Animal Boogie