Tuesday, 14 April 2015

How to be an Allergenius with ao and Hotpoint

Last week we headed over the Pennines to Halifax to attend an event with ao and Hotpoint. The event aimed to turn all of the attendees into 'allergeniuses'. I'm something of an allergy expert already having suffered from hay fever, and a dust and pet allergy since I was around thirteen years old but  I was really keen to learn about how Hotpoint's range of appliances can help to combat allergy suffering, especially in view of Red Rose Baby's impending arrival which means that I'm unable to take my usual remedies. I'm so relieved that, at the moment, Bud and LM seem not to have inherited my allergies but I wouldn't be surprised if they develop them in their teens as I did. We could well end up with a house full of sneezing sufferers.

How to be an Allergenius with ao and Hotpoint

Last week was 'National Allergies Week' so the event was perfectly timed. Us mums learned about the Hotpoint range of washing machines and tumble driers with anti-allergy cycles. The washing machines use more water to better dissolve washing detergents, and rinse three times to make sure all traces of allergens and detergents are washed away. These cycles can help to remove pet allergens dust mites and pollen. Much as we all love to hang washing on the line on a sunny day, did you know that clothes hung outside act as a big trap for pollen particles which, when worn, can cause skin irritations and worsen hay fever? Hotpoint tumble driers also have an anti-allergy cycle which neutralises allergens on clothes and removes detergent residues. We were also shown their innovative range of vacuum cleaners which include washable filters and the ability to use them with or without a bag.

How to be an Allergenius with ao and Hotpoint

Meanwhile the children were making paper flowers, hunting for dust mites in a mocked up lounge area, colouring in allergen 'monsters' and playing games with the fab ao and Hotpoint team. They all had a ball. It's always great when an event gets the balance between learning and entertaining the children and this one definitely did. To find out how to make the flowers check out the ao blog.

How to be an Allergenius with ao and Hotpoint Crepe Paper Flowers

After our fun morning we headed over to Eureka - The National Children's Museum. This is somewhere we've been meaning to visit for quite some time and we weren't disappointed. After a yummy picnic lunch sitting on the lawn outside in the sunshine, watching the children play in the sand pit, we headed indoors to get our hands on the interactive displays that the museum is famous for

Eureka National Children's Museum

The children loved exploring the museum and it was clear how cleverly the exhibition had been designed. Everything is child friendly, you won't find anything that says 'don't touch'. Bud's favourite areas were the those featuring the child sized shop, bank and construction site and then the upstairs gallery which allowed us all to explore how our body works.

Eureka National Children's Museum

Bud and LM were particularly interested in the Baby Clinic as they are excited about their future little brother or sister. Eureka is definitely worth a visit and I don't think it will be long before we are back, especially as you pay once then can return any time in the following year. This works out as really good value, it's certainly near enough for us to visit every few months.

We had a fantastic day in Halifax, thanks to ao, Hotpoint and Eureka!

Do you or anyone in your family suffer from allergies? How do you manage them?

Disclosure: We attended the event as the guests of ao and Hotpoint and received free admission to Eureka and a goodie bag.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Red Rose Baby 34 Weeks Update

Six weeks to go, which seems an impossibly small amount. On one hand it seems like this pregnancy has lasted forever, it's been so hard at times. On the other hand I can't believe that I'm now 34 week pregnant and it's likely that I will have a baby next month. The past two weeks have been quite eventful, not in the best way, and I'm still struggling with my mood. Now the end is clearly in sight I'm trying to focus on the new little person who will make us five, and the two little people who are going to have a new brother or sister soon.

Last week saw me visit our hospital no less than four times. I'm quite keen not to be back there until I leave with a baby! My first visit was a group appointment for pregnant ladies with two of the physio assistants. It was an interesting and useful ninety minute appointment which offered lots of strategies for dealing with the Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and Symphysis Pubic Disfunction (SPD) I've been struggling with. I came away with a few new ideas and a rather attractive length of tubigrip to wear when I need to. I think the session has helped and I've been suffering a bit less since I've really started to work hard to implement the suggestions made. I've only worn the tubigrip three times so far as I have tried to use it when I know I will be doing rather more than usual and it has helped me cope with Bud's birthday party and two days out over the Easter holiday without feeling the pain I am sure I would have without it.

The following Wednesday saw me return to the hospital in late evening following an accident at home. Bud was playing on his top bunk at bedtime and I was rushing him to bed. He swung down from the top and landed on the side of my bump. I knew instantly that the baby was fine - it was moving well but I felt really sore. I have a rhesus negative blood type which requires me to have Antii-D injections if I sustain any kind of injury to my abdomen during pregnancy so had to go and get checked out. I spent an hour on the CTG monitor and baby was active and moving well and expected to return the next day for my Anti-D injection however, I received a phone call in the morning telling me that my blood sample had been returned due to incorrect labelling and had to pop back in the morning to have more blood taken. I finally got my Anti-D injection that afternoon on my fourth visit of the week. I'm pleased to say that I didn't even have a bruise on my bump the next day and baby was absolutely fine. I just need to avoid Bud's dismount from his top bunk!

A photo posted by Pippa Ainsworth (@redrosemummy) on
This week has seen a bit of disappointment which pregnancy hormones have made me feel much worse about. A change to an opportunity which I was rather relying on, and having to turn down two wonderful invitations which Bud and LM would love, have left me feeling rather guilty and sad. I know that we are all so lucky with the opportunities that my blog brings but it hurts to know that they are missing out because of the timing. I'm hoping a new baby brother or sister will more than make up for it.

I know we won't be getting a new pram for this baby now so I'm going to be digging out our old faithful Graco Evo travel system. It needs a good clean but, hopefully, it will serve Red Rose Baby as well as it did their big sister. Baby still doesn't have a bed but I have John Lewis vouchers to spend so we're going to be heading there tomorrow to find it somewhere to sleep! The moral of this story is, don't give away all of your baby equipment until you are absolutely sure that you won't be needing it again. We have all of the basics I think (well, we will when the crib is bought) and I've been buying clothes this week too. I think we're actually way more relaxed than we were with Bud or LM and are conscious that babies don't really need a lot of stuff, most of it is window dressing. The Mum guilt has been biting here though too, as Bud and LM really did have everything they needed. I know my definition of 'needs' has changed somewhat since they were born, and with experience, and the hormones are telling me that this baby is being a little hard done to, even though it probably isn't really.

I've been a little frustrated about the lack of unisex baby clothes in the shops. It seems to get harder and harder to find cute clothes which aren't 'for a boy' or 'for a girl', it's not even the colours sometiimes, I've found a good few gorgeous stripy sleepsuits which then have a picture of a boat or train or flower on them! Is it really necessary? I'm actually quite surprised that it does keep getting more difficult as it seems to be that more people are choosing not to find out the gender of their baby. The shops really aren't reflecting this. I'd love to hear your suggestions for bright, unisex baby clothes. I'm getting bored of the relentless white, yellow and pale grey! We have bought the basics but I'l need to shop within a couple of weeks of baby arriving I think

I saw the midwife on Thursday and she is really happy with baby's progress. My blood pressure was perfect, despite having spent the whole morning prior to the appointment as a hormonal crying mess. My measurements are spot on for dates which fits well with where I thought I was. I feel smaller than I did with Bud and LM at this stage and a friend who I don't see as much now as I did during my pregnancy with LM said that she thought I seemed smaller when I bumped into her yesterday too. My bump feels like it is  a little lower and my Midwife says baby's head is at the rim of my pelvis. I think it might be popping in and out of engagement as some days I am feeling more pressure than others.

Here's my 34 week bump shot. Outside in the garden this time, which is where we've spent most of the last week out in the sunshine. This top isn't the best to show it clearly but it feels really round at the moment and the biggest movements are slightly further down than they have been. I'm planning at least one more update before baby arrives. I need to start thinking about my hospital bag, especially as I still think this baby will arrive before it's due date, so I need to share some of the fab products that will be finding their way into that.

Red Rose Baby 34 Weeks Pregnant

Click here to read all about my Red Rose Baby pregnancy. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Boost Your Diet This Spring With Florida Grapefruit

If you've been outside enjoying the sunshine for the last few days you'll know how much more productive and upbeat a bit of sun can make you feel. Apparently 79% of women say the Winter months make them less productive Boosting your fruit intake is a really good way to increase your get up and go when the sun shines less and I'm bringing you two recipes from Florida Grapefruit today to help with this.


Florida Grapefruit Tapenade with Flatbread Crackers and Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

1/2 pound mixed olives (Spanish queen, Kalamata), pitted and drained
1 Florida grapefruit, peeled, segmented and chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup fresh carrot, diced fine
1 tablespoon Florida grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Florida sweet bell pepper, diced fine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Place the olives, garlic, capers, grapefruit juice and olive oil in a food processor. Process until the olives still have some consistency (do not puree). Remove ingredients from the food processor into a mixing bowl. Fold in the chopped grapefruit, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper and parsley. Serve grapefruit tapenade with your favorite crackers or flatbreads and fresh cut seasonal Florida vegetables. Use fresh grapefruit segments for garnish.


Florida Grapefruit and Ginger Glazed Snap Beans, Carrots and Sweet Bell Pepper with Goat Cheese Crumble

4 to 6 servings

1 pound Florida snap beans, stems trimmed
1/4 pound baby carrots, sliced
2 Florida bell peppers, seeded and sliced (your favorite color)
2 Florida grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1/4 cup fresh Florida grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Florida honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pre heated pan. Carefully add the snap beans, carrots and bell peppers to the pan. Cook ingredients for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly caramelized and almost crisp-tender. Add the fresh ginger, honey andgrapefruit juice to the pan and continue to cook until the grapefruit juice has formed a glaze. Add the fresh grapefruit segments and lightly toss. Remove ingredients from pan into a serving dish and top with goat cheese.

Disclosure: I received a gift in exchange for this post.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Peter Rabbit - Tales of the Start of Spring on DVD Review and Giveaway

LM loves Peter Rabbit. She's an avid fan of the adventures of Peter, Benjamin Bunny and Lily Bobtail and loves watching them outwit Mr Tod and Tommy Brock. The catchy theme tune will always bring her running to see what the friendly rabbits are up to now.

Peter Rabbit - Tales of the Start of Spring on DVD Review and Giveaway

We recently received the brand new DVD Peter Rabbit - Tales of the Start of Spring to review and LM was delighted. She was so excited to see her favourite on the cover and we had to watch it straight away. Released on Monday 30th March the DVD is timed perfectly to be offered as an alternative gift for Easter, or simply a Spring treat for your little ones.

The DVD features over 100 minutes of all action bunny adventures, including the special 22 minute long episode 'The Tale of the Start of Spring' alongside The Tale of the Radish Robbers, The Tale of the Secret Treehouse, The Tale of the Dash in the Dark, The Tale of the Broken Bed, The Tale of Benjamin’s New Map, The Tale of the Terrible Trap, and the Tale of the Peekboo Rabbits.

Peter Rabbit - Tales of the Start of Spring is available from all usual stockists including Amazon. Inside the pack you will find a free 'Hop Outside Guide' which is packed with suggestions for you to get outside and have an adventure with your children, just like Peter!

I've teamed up with Abbey Home Media to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win their own copy of the DVD. To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries. Please read the terms and conditions.

For more information on Peter Rabbit DVD releases please visit their Facebook page.

Peter Rabbit Tales of the Start of Spring

Free competitions at ThePrizeFinder

Disclosure: DVD sent for review purposes. Contains affiliate link

Easy Easter Ribbon Cards

This month's Bostik Craft Bloggers Box saw us challenged with creating an Easter craft, I have to confess to struggling for inspiration but the inclusion of some pretty ribbon finally gave me the idea I needed.

Easy Easter Ribbon Greeting Card Craft

You will need:
A sheet of A4 card
Lengths of ribbon
Bostik Glu Pen
Stickers to decorate if required

Easy Easter Ribbon Greeting Card Craft

1. Fold your card into four and press firmly to get a clean fold.

2. Draw an egg shape on to the front of your card.

3. Carefully cut out the egg shape by piercing the centre of the egg then cutting inside the outline.

4. Cut your ribbon into lengths small enough to fill the space of the cut out egg.

5. Fold out your card then stick the ribbon behind the cut out so it covers the whole space. I think it's nice to have a few different colours and textures of ribbon and to alternate these as you fill the space.

6. Glue around the inside of the card then press down the cover firmly to seal it.

Easy Easter Ribbon Greeting Card Craft

6. Decorate with stickers if required, this is handy to cover any untidy cutting on your outline.

Easy Easter Ribbon Greeting Card Craft

You may notice a little spotting before the glue dries, this will usually dry clear though.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Bostik Craft Bloggers Network and was supplied with a box of craft materials for this post.

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