Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat & Section Plate

As a Nuby UK brand rep we love trying out different and new products. Sometimes we get one product in particular that we absolutely love. Just recently we’ve been trying something new with Erin at meal times and we’ve been using the Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat.

Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat

We have had a different suction mat in the past but it’s really big and takes up a lot of space. This one has a much better design because it’s compact and easy to take anywhere with you. The size of the Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat is perfect as it means we can take it away with us but it’s also perfect for normal meal times.

As a suction mat, this aspect is one of the most important to me. Erin loves to try to move anything that is put in front of her and we’ve had many meals flung across the room because they were in a normal bowl or on a normal plate. This suction mat does wok really well and it does stay put. However, I have found that we have to press down around the edges really hard to make sure it sticks. This may be due to the table we use it on though.

Something else I love about the mat is the size of the two different compartments. They make portion sizes much easier to sort out and they’re also great for separating different kinds of food. Erin finds feeding herself much easier when we’re using this mat. The sides of each compartment means that she can scoop the food up with her fingers if she needs to or she can use cutlery which she is starting to do.

The Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat is both dishwasher and microwave safe and also oven safe as well! You can actually use this one in a fan assisted oven for up to 30 minutes (180 degrees max).

The Nuby SureGrip Miracle Mat costs £7.99.

Disclaimer: We were sent this product as part of our role as a Nuby UK Brand Rep. All opinions are our own.

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For Aisha Stage 3 Pouches

Since we started weaning with Erin at 4 months old she has loved food. So far we have only discovered one food that she will not eat and that is sprouts. Unlike me, Erin seems to love foods with stronger flavours. One of her absolute favourite meals is the For Aisha Jamaican Jerk Chicken. However, now that Erin is nearly 14 months old, she needs more food in a meal and something with a bit more too it. For Aisha now have a range of Stage 3 Pouches and Erin was lucky enough to try them out.

Something that annoys the hell out of me about baby food pouches is the screw top caps on some of them. I know they’re supposed to be easy to open but I’m weak and I struggle some times. Luckily, these pouches tear open at the top. However, this does also mean that babies can’t really feed themselves with them.

I actually really liked the look of the Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry. Some baby foods look absolutely disgusting but I think that this range looks a lot more like real food.

Erin loved the Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry from the very first mouthful. Sometimes she can be a bit funny with new foods and it takes a few mouthfuls for her to decide but not with this one! After each spoonful she opened her mouth for some more and we couldn’t feed her fast enough.

As you can see, Erin didn’t leave any of this! I actually think she could have eaten some more too if it had been there. I think next time we’ll team this with some naan bread as well.

The Stage 3 Pouches currently come in three different flavours, Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry, Green Bean and Lamb Curry and Rainbow Quinoa.

Stage 3 Pouches

For Aisha Stage 3 Pouches are suitable for babies aged 10 months+.

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

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Meal Plan Monday: When plans go wrong!

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m back and talking about when plans go wrong!

meal planEvery week I do a full meal plan for Erin. As she eats at different times to me and John I haven’t started to plan for all three of us yet. Just recently though Erin has been changing a lot and learning a lot of new things. This means that following her plan doesn’t always work.

For the longest time, Erin followed a schedule. We were really lucky to be able to do things at set times and I could plan around what a normal day would be like. We don’t really have normal days though anymore. One day can be completely different to the next and I really have no idea what time to do anything.

Lunch time used to be between 12 and 12:30. Now, Erin tends to fall asleep somewhere around 11:30 and she could sleep until 2:30. Some days she only sleeps for an hour. This generally means that she sleeps through lunch every day and I have to decide what to do about that when she wakes up. Sometimes I skip lunch and give her a small snack so she eats dinner at a good time. Sometimes if she only sleeps for an hour I give her lunch at 1:30 or 2 and then she won’t want dinner until 6pm!

When things like this happens and we end up skipping meals, it messes with the weekly meal plan. Some meals are already defrosted which means moving things around a little bit. Thankfully this is normally easily enough done but I try to make it so we don’t waste anything as well.

What do you do when your meal plans end up going wrong?

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PND: A month of anti-depressants

It’s been about five weeks now since I went to the doctor’s for my first appointment to talk about Post Natal Depression. I had a follow up appointment two weeks later but both the doctor and I decided that it’s a good idea for me to carry on taking anti-depressants for the time being.

anti-depressants

I don’t really think I knew what to expect when I first started taking the anti-depressants. I know the doctor I saw originally warned me that life would be hell for probably 4-6 weeks. I’m not sure I really believed her though and I certainly wasn’t prepared for the side effects.

The first month has definitely not been smooth sailing. The first couple of weeks weren’t too bad at all and I didn’t really feel any side effects. However, I did slowly start to feel a bit better within myself and a bit more relaxed about certain things. It’s only been the last 2 wees or so that things have gone downhill.

I’m struggling at the minute because I’m not sleeping very well. I seem to be unable to nap during the day like I used to so I’m shattered by 4 or 5pm. This is messing with how I feel when I’m at work because I work from 5:30 to 9:30 a few nights a week. If I have a nap when I actually feel tired it messes up everything else. There have been some nights where I’m still wide awake at 2 or 3am but I feel tired at the same time. I try to go to bed at a normalish time but I end up laying there staring into space for such a long time!

I’ve also had really bad stomach problems. The less said about that the better! There was a very rough few days and a lot of pain to be felt!

Although there have been some really rubbish side effect so far, I do still feel better overall. I’m calmer in general. If there is a situation that could be quite stressful I don’t freak out about it like I did before. If Erin is having a bad day I don’t get upset or cry or panic like I was doing before. I’m also not going insane about tiny little things that aren’t right or that have annoyed me.

My doctor and I have agreed to a 6 months trial on this medication and go from there. Do you have any experience with anti-depressants?

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Storytime Saturday: I Am Bear

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about I am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz. It was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.

If there’s trouble, one thing is certain: Bear was there. In (and out) of his outrageous purple outfit, Bear can do anything – steal honey from the bees, do magic tricks, steal doughnuts from a police officer, and annoy a certain pesky squirrel. This hilarious picture book debut of actor Ben Bailey Smith (aka rapper Doc Brown) and artist Sav Akyuz will keep young mischief-makers in stitches.

bear

Normally, I read books to Erin that are not aimed at children her age. She’s nearly 14 months old but I tend to read her picture books aimed at 3 year olds or older. She does have board books but she likes to eat those. I read her older books because she finds them more exciting and more colourful. As picture books go, this is one aimed at children closer to Erin’s age.

The bear in this book is an extremely mischievous bear. I loved him! He’s big and purple and doesn’t like to wear clothes. He likes to play games and get up to no good but have fun at the same time. I really loved reading about such a naughty bear. It made this a fun book for me as well.

The language used throughout the whole book is really nice and simple, which is why I say it is aimed at children close to Erin’s age. There is quite a lot of rhyming and it is fairly fast paced. The bright and bold illustrations fit perfectly.

Erin really enjoyed picking out the bear on each page and she giggled as we were reading. I loved watching her face as we turned the pages. I think this one will be a favourite for quite some time.

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

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How do you keep your kids entertained?

This week is half term in many places around the UK and, seeing as it’s Friday already, I bet a lot of you are pulling your hair out. It’s not easy to keep little people entertained for a whole week when they’re not at school, especially if you have more than 1!

entertained

I don’t know if I can say I’m lucky or not really but we don’t have half terms. Erin is only 13 months old and doesn’t start nursery until January. Even then, she’ll be going for 51 weeks of the year until she moves up into reception. Anyway, I have to keep Erin entertained all day every day!

I always wonder what other people do with their children all day. Rattan Direct want to know the same thing! They’re asking the question ‘How do you keep your kids entertained?’in a SURVEY and they’d love for you to help them out with some answers!

Parents do loads of different things to keep their children entertained and I think a lot of that depends on age. Rattan Direct are asking about use of technology in a couple of questions. For us, this doesn’t really come into how I entertain Erin. While she may like to carry my phone from one end of the room to the other, she doesn’t know how to use it! The most Erin gets is some cartoons in the morning after breakfast!

The survey only has 11 questions and will only take a couple of minutes to fill in. I would personally love to know how you entertain your children!

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All opinions are our own.

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Mr Lee’s Noodles

John works in an office where they’re not allowed a kettle or a microwave. This makes his lunches lacking in imagination and he tends to have a lot of the same; sandwiches or pasta. That’s all well and good in the summer but in the winter when it’s freezing, you want something warm and filling for lunch, not a cold sandwich. When Mr Lee’s Noodles got in touch to see if we wanted to try their range, I immediately said yes.

noodles

John has tried each of the six flavours available but for this review, we’ll be talking about the Dragon Fire Mushroom pot.

preparation

Mr Lee’s Noodles are extremely easy to prepare and cook, something important when you’re in a bit of a rush.

The metal lid needs to be partially pulled off and then boiling water poured into the cup up to the ridge line. Then, give everything inside a good stir, push the lid back down and leave for 3 minutes. The noodles are then ready to eat!

visual

We first prepared the noodles in the pot as the pot directs you to. We then also served up in a dish seeing as we were at home! I think the noodles looked a hell of a lot more appetizing in a dish but that’s really only because you could see everything there was to eat!

noodles

taste

The Dragon Fire Mushroom flavour is the hottest available in the range. This is indicated by the 3 chilli’s on the front of the pot and it does state that it is hot. John likes something with a bit of heat but I don’t think he was prepared for this one. After maybe 5 mouthfuls, he asked for a cup of milk to help cool his mouth down a bit.

overall

One pot is more than enough for a really filling meal. As you can see from the pictures, there is a lot more than you would imagine there to be!

At £2.99 a pot (available in packs of 6) these are not cheap. However, compared to a Super Noodle or equivalent, the quality is a million times better. The noodles are also Gluten Free which is amazing and there are child friendly flavours such as Tai Chi Chicken and Shaolin Monk Vegetables available.

Have you tried Mr Lee’s Noodles yet? What did you think?

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

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Ella’s Kitchen Toddler Snacks

We’re really lucky in that Erin isn’t really very fussy when it comes to food. She started weaning at 4 months due to reflux and just generally being hungry and it has been pretty much plain sailing from then on. I’m sure she is with a lot of children of her age (13 months) who absolutely love snacks! When Ella’s Kitchen sent Erin some of their toddler snacks to try, she dived right in!

toddler snacks

Carrot + lentil crunchy sticks

I was a bit worried that Erin wouldn’t  be that bothered with the Carrot + Lentil Crunchy Sticks. In the past she hasn’t liked other carrot flavoured sticks from a different brand. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with these. Maybe it was the difference in texture and shape as these are a lot thinner.

cheese + leek crunchy wheels

Erin had never had anything in a wheel shape before and she ended up being fascinated by them. It was really funny to watch. She kept poking a finger in each hole and I had to show her that she could eat them to start with.

Parnsip + poppyseed savoury biccies

I think out of all four snacks that Erin has been trying, these are her favourite. I’m not surprised though really. She has a special love for parsnips! The first time we gave her these we were on our way home from looking around the nursery she’ll be going to in January! I’m glad we didn’t give her them while we were there though. She ended up a massive mess, not that I mind really. Erin ended up with a mouth full of biccies, munching away happily but sort of dribbling them at the same time. As much as she loves them, they’re now an at home only snack!

Raspberries + peach crunchy rings

Before trying these, I don’t think Erin has ever had any fruit flavoured snacks like this before. She has a sweet tooth though, just like me and her Dad so I wasn’t really surprised when she nearly ate the whole of one bag in one go. As you can see from the picture below, Erin was more than happy to help herself to the packet and she was content munching through the rings while chilling on the couch!

toddler snacks

So, as you can see, Erin loved all of these Ella’s Kitchen snacks. Yes, she has a favourite but she’s still really happy whichever she has. Does your child have a favourite and have you tried any of these flavours yet?

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

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Baby proofing nightmare

When you get pregnant and people tell you that you’re going to need to do some baby proofing the house, I don’t think you’re ever really prepared for what that means. We were lucky I think and we were able to go months and months without really making any major changes around the house. Erin has never really crawled so we didn’t have to worry about that. Instead, she went straight to pulling herself up onto the couch and walking around like that. Now though, she’s nearly 14 months old and she’s running around like a crazy thing. No where is safe.

baby proofing

Now that Erin is very mobile, it has made me realise just how unfriendly our house is to babies.

Just before Christmas we had a library in the living room. That is now mostly in the loft. Although Erin wasn’t quite able to get there then, she is now and the bookcases were not attached to the wall. They were always supposed to be temporary until we got built in shelves. I sold two of the bookcases, have moved one and now I’m trying to figure out what to do with the stuff on the other two so I can get rid of them as well.

Our coffee table got moved from the floor in the living room to the alcove where the television lives. It now doubles as our television stand. However, the more I look at it the more I realise that the drawers are pretty much in the perfect place for Erin. She loves to open things so I desperately need to get some baby locks on there!

We have a stone fireplace. There is no getting rid of that unfortunately but if she falls and hits her head, that’s going to hurt like hell!

Jackson has his food and water bowl in the kitchen. Erin has a bit of an obsession at the minute with his water bowl though. If the gate is open she would happily go in there, tip the bowl over a million times and soak herself! One day we had 4 changes of clothes because she did it over and over again. I know I could keep the gate locked so she can’t get to the bowl but then poor Jackson couldn’t get to his water. I guess at least I know she’ll like a paddling pool in the summer.

I haven’t even thought about upstairs too much yet but I know I need to. We need to figure out where we want everything in Erin’s room and get the furniture attached to the wall. We also definitely need a gate for her room and for the top of the stairs.

Do you have any tips for baby proofing? As a first time parent I feel like there could be loads of things I wouldn’t even think about! 

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Meal Plan Monday: Savings for Savvy Mums

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Eleanor from Savings 4 Savvy Mums.

plan

To Plan or Not to Plan – That is the Question!

It is widely advertised that we should all make meal plans if we want to make savings when it comes to our food bill. However, many of us do not (me included) but why not? Is it the child in us stamping our feet, saying I can do it my way? Is it that we can’t be bothered to think that far in advance? Is it simply we don’t have time or are there other reasons why we don’t create meal plans?

The reasons for creating a meal plan are well known. Reasons like, it is healthier, it is cheaper, it gives you the opportunity for a more diverse diet, make it very appealing. I for one have on may occasions sat down and spent a while creating meal plans. I am by nature a creature of habit so I have only ever worried about the main meal because breakfast and lunch are always the same. Since having children I started off with good intentions but still we have the same things for breakfast and lunch. As with every change I try and work with myself in the vain hope that something will stick. For example when trying to loose weight there is no point me banning all chocolate as I would never be able to do that. I had carefully thought about meals I wanted to try and make and meals that we often had so that we had a bit of variety throughout the week. With my meal plan created, my shopping bought, I was ready to put my meal plan into action. So what went wrong?

Quite simply life did! When cooking I follow one simple rule – nothing that takes longer than 20 minutes. That is about the length of a recorded Postman Pat, Octonauts etc so I know that my daughter is not getting up to anything she shouldn’t. I find the problem with a set plan is that it does not take in to account my daughter’s mood or what we have done that day. Obviously, when all goes to plan, no traffic, no tantrums, no emergency stop for the toilet, the meal plan works a treat and even takes away the stress of the treaded questions, ‘So what’s for dinner?’ But as those of you with toddlers know those days are few and far between. With limited time, a suddenly ravenous toddler and a baby, who has somehow decided tea time is the best time for her bottle, I usually end up reverting to form and cook whatever comes to hand first – I’m sorry to say it usually comes out of a jar.

Most people use meal planning as a way to lower their food bill. Trying to reach the elusive £50 weekly shopping bill escapes me every week. Even with a meal plan, I did not find I was able to get under £50, let alone under £40 – the ultimate goal! Ignoring other essentials such as nappies, detergent, cat food and dare I say it a couple of bottles of wine, I still cannot get my shopping bill to £50. What is more frustrating is I am not a huge ‘see an offer and buy it’ person, so the main reason for having a meal plan does not seem to apply to us as I don’t save any money.

Finding time to put the meal plan together can be difficult as when I am not with my children, I am working. I suppose as soon as I have one put together I can then repeat it until we get bored. I have found programs like ‘Eat well for less’ helps coming up with meal ideas that look really tasty on a small budget and have tried a few. The problem with some of the recipes is that they always assume you have some ingredients already in the cupboard, as I am no great cook this is never the case so I end up buying packets, tins and jars of things that I then only use the smallest amount from. My other problem with planning all these homemade meals is that when I don’t get round to cooking them or the ingredients have gone off before I have used them, I feel like a failure. As with all mothers, mummy guilt occurs enough without me adding to the problem.

My general attitude to what to cook comes under two headings, what have we got in and what will my daughter eat? I can see how a meal plan would help with this, it would ensure I always had the correct things in and I could plan in advance meals that my daughter likes. However, meal planning is just not for me, I am not being a petulant child thinking I can do better, nor is it really that I cannot be bothered to do it. Quite simply when I have created it I find that life gets in the way, I then forget all about the meal plan and just revert to the cooking I find quickest and easiest. As with every other aspect of parenting my mantra at the end of the day seems to be – must do better! So it is with meal planning, I must do better and sticking to it and when it all goes wrong and I have run out of food there is always beans on toast!

Bio:

I’m Eleanor, one half of Savings 4 Savvy Mums. We are a parenting based blog that offers money saving tips, tricks and bargain deals, with a dash of parenting advice thrown in. As well as our blogs, we have a growing community of Penny Pinching Parents who like a good bargain, and who share their own tips within our Facebook group.

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