Meeting Santa and a Christmas party!

Last Sunday John and I had our one and only day off a week together. We decided, as it was quite early in the month, to take Erin to see Santa for the first time. I chose to go to our local garden centre because it was the easiest place to go seeing as we don’t drive. I’d heard good things about Santa there anyway though.

We arrived really early, about 10:15 because I couldn’t be doing with long waits. There was actually no one there and we were the first people to see Santa! I had seen pictures of my friend’s children crying for their first visit so I fully expected this from Erin. However, we went into the Grotto and she was a bit weary at first, not really knowing what was going on. After a couple of minutes though she was loving it!

I wasn’t overly optimistic about how good Santa was going to be to be honest. We live in a small town and the visit cost us £3.50. It could have been awful. Santa was fantastic though. He was so good with Erin and played with her which is probably why she was okay. There are some much bigger places around here to see Santa but I’ll be happy going here again next year.

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Santa

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Not only did Erin meet Santa last Sunday but we also went to the children’s Christmas party at work. I’ve only worked there a few months so I didn’t even really know much about it. This was also super cheap at £2.50 per child. A whole buffet was laid out and Erin pigged out on food that she wouldn’t normally get. She bloody loved it! There was also games but Erin was too young to play.

Erin also got to meet Santa again and get another present, as well as a certificate saying she’d been good. My work really go all out it seems because Erin also got some magic reindeer food and some gingerbread. We nearly didn’t go because I didn’t know about it but I’m so glad we did.

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We had a really busy but festive weekend and now I really feel Christmassy.

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Nurseries, fees and compulsory hours!

I honestly cannot believe that I’m already writing a post about nurseries. Erin turns 1 in a couple of weeks and in my head, I had planned on her going to nursery for maybe a half day every week in the New Year. Well, that isn’t going to happen now.

It turns out that nurseries where I live don’t really take children before they’re 2! There is 1 nursery that does but they require the child to do 2 full days. Not what  I wanted to do at all. I understand that they ask this so that the child settles in well and there isn’t so long between their visits. However, at £30ish a day that adds up to a whopping £240 a month. There’s no way I can afford that right now. I only work 12 hours a week and I don’t rely on blog earnings. Paying for Erin to go to this nursery now would mean me only really earning about £100 a month and that’s just not doable.

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From Pixabay

I wanted Erin to go to nursery early so that she would get used to going somewhere other than being home with me. We don’t have any family that I can leave Erin with and she has only ever been left with someone other than me or John once. I don’t want her to get to 3 when we get free nursery hours and be a nightmare to leave.

I really wish we could afford for Erin to go now. However, I think I’ve nearly come to terms with not being able to do this until Erin is 2. I have already made an appointment with the private school nursery here for February and I’ll ago go to look around the 2 others I had in mind as well.

If anyone has any tips about picking a nursery I would love to hear them!

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Erin’s Christmas Wardrobe

I love a Christmas jumper as much as the next person. I am a bit annoyed as I write this post though because I seem to have lost, yes lost, all of my Christmas jumpers. Although I have nothing new myself this year, I did get to sort of a whole wardrobe of Christmas clothes for Erin.

My sister actually started this off a few months back when she got Erin a Christmas dress from The Handmade Fair.

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Something I had never really thought of before was the need for Christmas t-shirts. Erin doesn’t particularly like cardigans or jumpers but she’s more than happy in long sleeved t-shirts. This pack of three cost about £12 and are from Ladybird.

Even though Erin doesn’t really like jumpers she does have 2 Christmas jumpers. The beige jumper was a gift and it was bought before Erin was even born. The red reindeer jumper comes from Boots.

Another gift was this amazing reindeer outfit from Erin’s great aunt and uncle. I cannot wait to put her in this and post so many photos on Instagram!

The last couple of items in Erin’s Christmas wardrobe is a couple of pairs of pajamas. She does actually have a third pair but they’re in her Christmas Eve box which is a whole other post!

I feel like I could have bought a whole lot more and that I was quite restrained this year. Next year might be completely different though.

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Chambers & Co Natural Shampoo for Dogs

chambersBathing Jackson isn’t something we tend to do very often. Being a long haired dog though we should probably do it a little more than we do, to stop him getting matted. I never really know what to do in term of shampoo for him though. When Chambers & Co got in touch about their Natural Shampoo for Dogs thought it would be really good to try.

The Chambers & Co dog shampoo is designed for sensitive skin so it’s suitable for all breeds.

Jackson is really quite good when it comes to getting in the bath. He doesn’t even really seem to mind it as long as you don’t keep him in there for too long. Usually John and I bathe Jackson together when it involves shampoo but this time I attempted it on my own. I have to say, Jackson was a lot calmer than he has been in the past. This shampoo has chamomile and calendula in the mix, which is not only soothing but also helps with itchy skin!

The shampoo lathered up really well and I feel like Jackson did get a really good clean. It’s always hard to get him super clean because of how much fur he has and how thick it is. This shampoo really got into his thicker parts and his tail well though.

John and I have mixed reactions to this shampoo. I absolutely loved it. It smells fantastic and it was really easy to use on Jackson. As soon as we came out of the bathroom John said ‘He smells like an After Eight’. I don’t know why he didn’t think this was a good thing!! I think the peppermint and lavender made Jackson smell lovely. Jackson, unfortunately, wanted to go straight outside after his bath and get dirty again!

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The Chambers & Co Natural Shampoo for Dogs costs £9.50.

Disclaimer: We were sent this product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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Wicked Uncle Review

When you have children you know you’re going to end up having to buy presents for both them and their little friends. As Erin is under 1 (JUST) and has made her friends in baby classes and groups it means that their birthdays are all very close together. Not only that but Erin’s birthday is on New Year’s Day so her, and her friend’s birthdays are all right on top of Christmas. This means a lot of presents needed in a short space of time.

I hate to buy people, even babies, the same things so I’m always looking for inspiration.

Wicked Uncle, ‘the home of brilliant children’s presents’ is exactly that!

When you reach the homepage you’re able to choose who you need a gift for. You can choose from girls, boys or all and also by age. There is also the option to choose from types of presents as well. present

The website is so easy to navigate and that’s exactly what I need when looking for presents.

I really don’t like buying gender specific toys so I love that you can choose ‘all’. Wicked Uncle doesn’t really seem to do that too much anyway actually. If you searched for ‘girls aged 1’ you certainly won’t be met with pages full of pink toys!

After ordering I received an email with a tracking number. There was also a link to a website where I could track the order. Delivery came through Royal Mail (£2.95) and didn’t take very long at all. The products I ordered were well packaged and there was no huge advertising signs on the box if you’re trying to be discreet about what you’ve bought.

With £40 I think I did really well. Wicked Uncle have presents for all budgets really but I went for 2 slightly more expensive items.

Wicked Uncle

The Aquadoodle pad came up in a ‘age 1’ search while the Kinetic Sand was under the ‘sensory’ heading.

I am so impressed with Wicked Uncle. I loved how easy the website was to use, the items they sell are quite different to the regular high street toy shop and delivery was fantastic. I’ll definitely be using them again when I need more gifts for Erin’s friends!

Disclaimer: We were given credit to spend at Wicked Uncle for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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HiPP Porridge Pouches

Erin LOVES breakfast and I try to make sure she has something different every day of the week. Eating breakfast at home is no problem at all as we always have everything to hand. Generally, Erin has some kind of porridge most days of the week because it’s easy and we know she likes it. However, sometimes when we go away for a couple of days or overnight, I want something quick and easy to take with us.

HiPP Organic have recently released three porridge pouches; apple and peach, fruity and pear, apple and apricot.

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The porridge pouches can be eaten at room temperature which is perfect for what we would use them for. Using these porridge pouches also means not having to mess about with bowls if you don’t want to, although we did as we used them at home!

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The porridge is very smooth in consistency as they’re suitable for babies aged 6 months and older. Erin absolutely wolfed this down. It really didn’t take her long to finish the whole pouch and that goes for each flavour.

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However, as great as it was to see Erin enjoy the porridge so much I would have liked for her have something with a bit more texture. These pouches are perfect for babies who are just starting their weaning adventure but at 11 months old, Erin needs something more now!

Disclaimer: We were sent products for the purpose of this post as part of our HiPP Organic Brand Ambassador role. All opinions are our own. 

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Erin’s Book Advent

When it comes to advent calenders, I thought I was being really fun this year and doing something exciting for Erin. Really, I should have left this one for now and done it in a couple of years time. I thought it would be such a good idea to make Erin’s first advent a book advent.

What on Earth was I thinking?!

Apparently I thought it would be fun. Buying the 24 Christmas/ winter themed books was lovely, even if I did buy one of them twice because I couldn’t remember what I’d already got. I loved seeing how many different books were available and we’ve managed to get Erin a couple of both mine and John’s favourites!

Then, a couple of night ago, I had to wrap all of the bloody books. I know Erin is only nearly 1 and doesn’t care what the wrapping looks like. John is TERRIBLE at wrapping presents though so he’s not allowed. I didn’t do them perfectly as I would for older people or Erin would never be able to open them but they still look okay. They were just really annoying to wrap.

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I chose a couple of different wrapping papers so that each day looks fun and interesting!

Hopefully Erin will get really excited to open a new book each day. I know she wont really know what is going on. She has just recently really gotten into board books  though so there’ll be a few I know she’ll love.

I have done these books in a completely random order. I won’t know which one will be opened on each day. Be sure to check out our Instagram account each day to see what book Erin opened!

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Mrs Gleam ‘Little Darlings’ cleaning products

I won’t say I was ever lazy when it came to cleaning but I was certainly a bit more relaxed about it then I am now. With an 11 month old and a dog who might as well have made my carpet, I clean a lot more than I used to.

Mrs Gleam pride themselves on having cleaning products that are ‘ safe around the family, safe on skin, safe on all surfaces, easy to use and eco-friendly’. When I heard about their Little Darlings range I needed to know more! I hadn’t ever heard of a cleaning range designed specifically for children’s items.

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The Little Darlings range consists of a highchair cleaner, potty cleaner and car seat and buggy cleaner. Each cleaner comes in a handy 100ml spray bottle which makes them perfect for popping in a changing bag. Soon they will also come in 750ml bottles too (which I NEED)!

Mrs Gleam say the following about their high chair cleaner:

Kills 99.999% germs in 30 seconds
Leaves no residue
Safe to eat off
Perfect for use whilst at home or on the move
Safe on all surfaces
Safe on skin

Erin tends to make a massive mess on her high chair and booster seat. I love having this to hand to clean up after every meal. I know the table is super clean after using the high chair cleaner so we can get on with the next meal immediately without any messing around.

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cleaning

One of my biggest annoyances when taking Erin out for lunch is the state of public high chairs. I don’t believe they’re ever really cleaned properly as I often get one with stuck on food! Although I normally give these a quick wipe over with baby wipe I don’t ever really feel like it’s enough. Having a bottle of the high chair cleaner in my changing bag means being able to give these high chairs a better clean before letting Erin eat dinner in one.

I honestly think that the Little Darlings range will be one of my new ‘must haves’ for my changing bag. Prices start at £3.99 so they’re not very expensive and they are made purposely for children’s items! (Mrs Gleam also sell regular cleaning products)

Disclaimer: We were sent these products for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own. 

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Spinach and Mushroom Mini Quiches

Now that we have moved away from purees and are now a bigger mix of real meals and finger foods I needed to change how I cook for Erin. She loves picking up her food and feeding herself now so I know I need to make things she can eat on her own. I thought I would start with mini quiches.

Now, the last time I remember making a quiche was way back in secondary school so we’re talking at least 14 years ago. I did cheat and used a pre-packaged Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry because I definitely wasn’t feeling brave enough to make it myself.

After rolling out the pastry and cutting into circles big enough for a yorkshire pudding tin I made the mixture. I’m a bit rubbish and forgot to take photos of the inbetween stages so you’ll just have to imagine!

I whisked up 3 eggs and added 200ml of milk, mixing together. While this was sitting I fried some mushrooms and threw some chopped up spinach into the pan. After a couple of minutes I popped these into the milk and eggs mixture and whisked together, along with quite a lot of cheddar cheese. I don’t ever measure cheese so I just kept going until I thought there was enough.

The oven had already been pre-heated to 190 degrees by this point. I poured the mixture into the pastry cups in the tray, making sure they weren’t completed filled. I then baked for about 20 minutes.

The mixture was way too much for just the 12 mini quiches I had planned on making. I could have easily made another dozen, if not more. However, I chose to make one big quiche as well for John! Not only did I have extra mixture left over but I also had a lot of pastry left over as well. As you’ll see in the picture below, there are some mini cheese and tomato pizzas as well so the pastry didn’t go to waste.

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This recipe was so nice and easy and there are loads of different things you could put in mini quiches. I know I’ll be making some more soon!

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Erin’s First Toy: The Fox

It wasn’t long after I found out I was pregnant that I bought Erin’s first toy. I know you’re not really supposed to buy anything until you have your 12 week scan just to be safe but I couldn’t help myself. As my mum’s surname is Fox I have a bit of a thing about them. I decorated Erin’s nursery in a woodland theme so I could have foxes in there.

As you have probably guessed, Erin’s first toy was a fox!

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I bought this particular fox in my favourite shop in Cromer, Upstairs, Downstairs. I actually can’t go in this shop without buying something now.

Erin actually isn’t really into soft toys and never has been yet. However, she’s showing a bit more interest day by day now. This does mean though that she hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in her first toy. We had the fox at the bottom of her cot for the longest time. Erin was in her moses basket until she was about 7 months old (she was very small) so we only took the fox out when she started sleeping in the cot.

I keep trying to get Erin to play with the fox. When I’m getting ready in the morning or drying my hair, Erin sits on my bed. I always put some toys on there for her and one of them is always the fox! She does seem to like how soft he is and pokes his eyes a little bit now. Isn’t she nice?!

What was your child or children’s first toys?

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