Kids Don't Come With a Manual - Review and Giveaway

21:35 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

With the imminent arrival of Red Rose Baby I've been wondering about the impact a third child will have upon Bud and LM. Bud is super excited about his new sibling (a brother that we will call Sam, apparently) while LM is a little more reticent and very clingy at the moment. I'm a bit worried about how she will deal with our new arrival.

Kids Don't Come With a Manual - Review and Giveaway

We've recently been sent a parenting book which I thought might help with any negative behaviour triggered by the arrival of Red Rose Baby - Kids Don't Come With a Manual - The Essential Guide to a Happy Family Life by Carole and Nadim Saad. My children are pretty well behaved as a rule but I knew I was hoping to find some helpful suggestions in the pages. The morning routine is a difficult time for us, and this will get even harder with a new baby to consider too, so I was hoping for some tips to motivate Bud to move a little quicker and stop the endless 'where are your shoes? Put on your shoes!' shouts.

The Saads both have a wealth of experience in working with children and bringing up their own family. They found that their parenting styles clashed quite a bit in their early family life and decided to work together, using a vast collection of parenting literature, to come up with a style of parenting which worked for both of them.

The book is divided into different tools for coping with a wide range of parenting challenges. It's designed to be dipped in to whenever you feel like you need a new strategy. I've been reading the tools in the chapters called 'How to listen so children will want to talk' and 'How to talk so children will listen' which have offered some really helpful ways to help me communicate with Bud, tool 20 - Effective Communication - has been especially useful.

I've really enjoyed the format and structure of 'Kids Don't Come With a Manual' and intend to really try to take some of the advice on board. I'll definitely be reading more over the next few weeks too.

Kids Don't Come With a Manual - Review and Giveaway

To purchase your own copy of Kids Don't Come With a Manual please visit Best of Parenting.

I have another copy of 'Kids Don't Come With a Manual' to give away to one of my readers. To enter please 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.

Kids Don't Come With a Manual

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Disclosure: I received the book for review purposes
We're going on an adventure

Red Rose Baby - 36 Weeks Update

20:16 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We're definitely in the home stretch with this pregnancy now and, on Thursday, Red Rose Baby will be classed as term at thirty seven weeks, although in reality I'm likely to be pregnant for a little while longer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased that the end is in sight. I really expected to be sad at this stage of pregnancy, as I know that this will be my final one, but the truth is I'm tired, sore and on something of an emotional rollercoaster. I'm definitely done and I can't imagine ever thinking how lovely it would be to be pregnant again in the future!

It's been a fairly quiet two weeks although two lovely get togethers with friends have helped a little. I'm not sure I will have the opportunity to meet up with anyone now the baby's arrival is so close so I made the most of them. It seems to be the early blog conference season and I've been sensible and decided not to attend any of them, of course, now I'm grumpy that I'm missing out on them all! It's the right decision though, given that a shopping trip to Ikea meant I needed a two hour nap on Saturday. Not sure what state a trip to Birmingham would have left me in!

I had a thirty six weeks home visit with my Community Midwife on Thursday which went well. We talked through some of my anxieties about the delivery of Red Rose Baby and my concerns that I won't be able to have a water birth. No-one has actually been able to give me a definitive answer about whether it will be allowed or not and my current CMW believes it will depend on staffing on the Central Delivery Suite at the time, as I expected. Seeing as the first CMW I discussed this with said there was no way and that I would have to be cannulated upon arrival then this is an improvement I guess, but it's frustrating to feel like I'm going into the unknown. I do want to labour in the water if I can, I've had two water births so being unable to will be a huge step into the unknown for me and the idea is starting to prey on my mind. I've been trying to think about LM's delivery and the breathing techniques I used during that. Hopefully I'll be able to use them and experience a similar delivery (although I'll do without the aftermath repeating, thank you), whether I'm in water or 'on land'.

A combination of vivid unsettling dreams and Pelvic Girdle Pain are leaving me really tired at the moment. My most comfortable sleeping position is on my left side but my left hip is really painful. An undisturbed night is a rarity. I'm really starting to worry about how LM will take to the baby now. She's always been a super clingy Mama's girl and has always been happiest sitting in my lap. This isn't the most comfortable place for her at the moment but I feel terribly guilty for trying to stop her  climbing up all the time. She has bony elbows and knees and a knack for finding the most sensitive spots for them so that's adding to the soreness. She loves to put her hand down my top and I think feeding hormones must be starting to kick in as I'm finding it incredibly irritating. I remember feeling like this before I weaned Bud when I was pregnant with LM, although it was much earlier on in my pregnancy. All in all I'm worried she will be a very unhappy little girl when her new baby brother or sister arrives, and I'm praying that the excitement of the baby will help her to share me.

Bump is super active and some of the movements are starting to take my breath away! They've been head down for a few weeks now and are popping in and out of engagement. I know when their head is particularly far down as walking becomes very uncomfortable, I've had lots of people guessing if baby is a boy or girl. I have an idea myself but I was wrong with Bud, then right with LM so we will see. Bump feels very round at the moment, I don't think you can actually tell there is a bump there from the back! I still feel much smaller than I did with Bud and LM.

Red Rose Baby - 36 Weeks Update

We're getting there in terms of preparation for the baby. The carrycot and car seat are down from the attic for our old travel system, we just need to collect the chassis and seat from my brother's house where it's been stored and give everything a good clean. A trip to Ikea at the weekend furnished us with a baby bath and some other bits. We only have a shower in our house so a baby bath is a must have in the early days and the Ikea version seems great. We've decided to order the Little Green Sheep Snuzpod for baby's bed and that will be on the way this week sometime. I've been keen on bedside cribs since I found out I was pregnant this time and we decided to splash out on this purchase. I've been feeling like Red Rose Baby doesn't really have anything 'nice', mainly because it hasn't got the new pram that their brother and sister had each time, so a lovely new bed should help with that even if their wheels aren't shiny and new.

One of my best Bump Buddies, Mummy of Two welcomed a beautiful baby girl two weeks ago so it's really clear that Red Rose Baby will be on the way very soon. I'm hoping to have time for another update before baby arrives. I still think that we won't get to forty weeks, although I'm not sure if that is wishful thinking or not. I'm very ready to meet our new addition and start life as a family of five together.

Tree Fu Tom: Tom Saves the Day - Review and Giveaway

16:44 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A brand new Tree Fu Tom DVD is always a welcome delivery in our house. Both Bud and LM enjoy watching the adventures of Tom, Twigs and the gang and our recent delivery of 'Tree Fu Tom: Tom Saves the Day' was met with much excitement.

Tree Fu Tom: Tom Saves the Day - Review and Giveaway DVD

Tom may look like a normal boy but when he puts on his magic belt and performs a series of magical moves (known as Tree Fu) he transforms into a tiny but mighty, magical superhero.

Tom, Twigs and woodland friends have lots of amazing adventures around Treetopolis but when trouble strikes it’s up to him to save the day! With viewers help Tom can make Big World Magic and tackle anything from warbling Warble Weeds to stopping those naughty Mushas make mischief! Tree Fu Go!

The brand new DVD sees six more adventures from Tree Fu Tom and his friends. The episodes featured are:
  • Ranger Tom: Super Helper
  • Tom and the Warble Weeds
  • Super Squirmtum
  • Ranger Tom: Fun Guy, 
  • The Golden Spore, 
  • Twigs’ Tall Tale.
Tree Fu Tom: Tom Saves the Day is a must watch for any little Tree Fu Tom fans, we'd definitely recommend adding it to your collection. The DVD is now on general release and available from all usual stockists including Amazon.

I've teamed up with Tree Fu Tom to give 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 entry options. Please read the terms and conditions. 

Tree Fu Tom: Tom Saves the Day on DVD

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Win a Google Chromecast with JNB Aerials

17:43 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A few weeks ago we had a new addition to our home tech when I bought Ian a Google Chromecast for his birthday. For those of you who are scratching your heads right now, put simply, this is a little device which you plug into the HDMI slot on your TV and then it allows you to stream content from your laptop, tablet or even phone, direct to your television. Of course this means that you can easily show off your photos and home videos, or watch Netflix simply and easily.

Win a Google Chromecast with JNB Aerials

We've been using our Chromecast so I can watch Netflix on my many pregnancy-induced early nights (current favourites are Pretty Little Liars and Daredevil) and we had just been thinking that we might find a second Chromecast useful for our downstairs TV when the team at JNB Aerials got in touch to see if we might like to give away one of these handy little devices. JNB Aerials are a local firm for us, based in Salford and they offer a range of audio-visual services throughout our area.

Win a Google Chromecast with JNB Aerials

The Chromecast is very simple to connect, you plug it into your TV, download the Chromecast app, connect to it using WiFi and you're away. Easy peasy and a fantastic interim solution if you're considering an upgrade to a Smart TV but can't quite justify the expense at the moment.

If you'd like to win a Google Chromecast please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries to boost your chances. Please read the terms and conditions.

Google Chromecast

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What to Buy for a Royal Baby?

16:34 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm not the biggest Royal Family follower but, as the Duchess of Cambridge and I have been pregnant at the same time, I've been taking a sneaky peek at her progress and wondering when the new prince or princess will arrive.

As shown with the birth of Prince George two years ago, royal babies are big news and some of our favourite baby brands have got on board with royal baby fever and have released special editions to celebrate the impending arrival. Obviously new baby products are on our agenda at the moment so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you. I've spotted these over the past few weeks.

Silver Cross Sleepsuit Royal Baby Gift Guide

Silver Cross were chosen as Prince George's first set of wheels and have a huge heritage supplying the Royal Family with baby equipment. This time around they have released a beautiful new range of royal sleeping bags. With a blue, pink or neutral colour scheme the Silver Cross Sleepsuits feature beautiful quilting and textured hand finished appliqué for a premium feel. Priced at just £30 they are really beautiful. I wonder if the royal baby will be sleeping inside one of these? Check out the full Silver Cross range at

gNappies gPants Princess Royal Baby Gift Guide

We're currently considering using reusable nappies for Red Rose Baby, and certain news reports suggest that Princess Kate will be doing the same. A range I really like the look of, and that looks super easy to use is that from gNappies and they've created special editions of their gPants for the new Prince or Princess. How sweet are these pink striped and ruffled seersucker gPants - perfect for any little Princess, royal or not! The Prince version sees a cool blue and white stripe too, I think both are really lovely. RRP: £17:95. You can find the full gPants range at

Cuddledry Diamante Apron Towel Royal Baby Gift Guide

Our friends at Cuddledry have added a touch of bling to one of their favourite products and come up with the Royal Crystal Cuddledry. They've added a diamante embellishment to their Apron Towel which allows all parents, not just the Duke and Duchess, to protect their clothes at bathtime and then snuggle up their bundle to get them dry easily afterwards. Originally commissioned for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and made from pure cotton and bamboo fibre, it will be the perfect way to keep her new great-grandchild warm and dry. Available from, priced at £34:95.

Blade & Rose HRH Leggings Royal Baby Gift Guide

The final Royal Baby themed gift that I've spotted is from one of our favourite baby clothes companies. We're huge fans of Blade & Rose leggings and both Bud and LM have worn them. They've gone for a really patriotic approach to the new baby with their HRH leggings - a bright and funky red, white and blue striped pair with a big crown on the bottom! Perhaps Prince George might rock a pair of these, just to show his new sibling who is higher up the order of succession of course! I'm sure he would find them just as comfy as my two children have. The HRH leggings are available from for just £10.

Have you spotted any gifts for the new Prince or Princess? Do you think that the baby will be a boy or a girl?

A Red Rose Baby Wishlist

12:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

After LM was born we decided that we weren't going to have any more children. A feeling that lasted until she was about eighteen months old when my feelings changed, and then so did Ian's, and we decided that three was the magic number. In this time we'd given away all of our baby equipment, to my brother for my niece who was born nine months after LM. In fact the only thing we'd managed to keep was LM's old travel system which was lurking in the loft as we hadn't got around to passing it on or selling it yet!

Two and a half years since LM's birth and the baby market has moved on - there are some fantastic products around and I've been adding some of them to a mental wishlist over the past few weeks. I think, with a third baby, we're well aware of what they actually 'need' so we haven't been going crazy buying all of the latest gadgets and gizmos but it doesn't stop me looking!

First up, the travel system. We'll be using our old Graco Evo system which will be fine but... well... prams are my thing so it's very easy to get excited about them. When I first saw the Cosatto Ooba at at patterntastic afternoon way back in Summer 2013 I fell in love a little and I've been trying to persuade Ian that Red Rose Baby 'needs' it. He's not for changing his mind though!

Cosatto Ooba Travel System at Online4Baby

A bouncer chair has always been an essential for us and I've been browsing the fab range at Online4Baby. They are stockists for the rather amazing looking 4Moms Mamaroo swing but we decided to go with Graco (again) and choose the Swing 'n' Bounce 2 in 1 Swing. I like that this can be used as both a swing and a bouncer so it should be good for keeping baby away from it's big sister. We've never actually had a baby swing before so I'm hoping Red Rose Baby will take to it!

Graco Swing 'n' Bounce 2 in 1 Swing at Online4Baby

We're definitely considering a bedside crib for Red Rose Baby this time, I really like the idea of the new range of bedside cribs on the market. The Chicco Next2Me is a great priced option and would be perfect for those night time feeds. The Dove Grey version looks great and would be perfect in any bedroom I think.

Chicco Next2Me Bedside Crib at Online4Baby

All of the above items are available at Online4Baby and I couldn't fault the service we recceived from them. Orders over £50 are delivered free of charge and if you order before 3pm you can receive express delivery the next day, great if you forget something essential! They have a huge range of products with some of the most competitive pricing around. We'd definitely recommend them.

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

Win Tickets to the Geronimo Festival

16:55 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The eagle eyed among you will have spotted the Geronimo Festival Ambassador badge which has taken residence in my sidebar. We're super excited about the brand new festival which is coming to Tatton Park in May.

Win Tickets to the Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park in May

As part of my ambassador role I have a family ticket to give away to one of my lucky readers. Keep reading to find out how you can go.

Brand new to the festival scene for 2015 comes Geronimo, a weekend of organised mayhem at Tatton Park in Cheshire from May 23rd to 25th.

Expect a line-up jam packed with some of the biggest names in children’s entertainment, including CBeebies favourites Mr Bloom, Katy Ashworth, Alex Winters and Cook & Line from Swashbuckle. Geronomites will also be able to enjoy den making, zip wires, donkey rides, circus shows, baby ballet, cooking workshops, storytelling, a petting farm, tree climbing, craft workshops and much more.

Win Tickets to the Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park in May

Famous for it’s beautiful gardens and woodlands, Tatton Park has excellent motorway links and extensive on site parking.  The whole programme is fornthe under 12s and tickets are on sale now priced £20.00pp.  Children under the age of two go free.

Check out the Geronimo Festival website for full details and all the latest line up additions.

We've got one family pass (up to four people) to give away to one lucky family. To enter, please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries.

Family Pass for the Geronimo Festival 
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Paper Plate Rock Pool Toddler Craft

12:55 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A lot of our crafts are done at home with just me and LM. Bud has never been much of a crafter and, while he enjoys the odd project, and loves painting, most of our projects have to be suitable for a two year old.

When this month's Bostik Bloggers box of craft supplies arrived we quickly realised it had a distinct underwater theme so LM and I had to get our thinking caps on to work out what to made. We love a paper plate craft in our house so decided to turn one into a rock pool!

Paper Plate Rock Pool Toddler Craft

You will need:
A Paper Plate (preferably blue but not essential as you can cover it)
Blue and Green cellophane
Bostik Blu Stick
Fish themed stickers
Piece of sponge
Blue glitter

Paper Plate Rock Pool Toddler Craft

Cover your paper plate in Bostik Blu Stic glue and then stick on a sheet of blue cellophane. Trim off the excess, it doesn't have to super neat as it's meant to be a rock pool.

Paper Plate Rock Pool Toddler Craft

Decorate the plate using the fish stickers.

Cut fronds of seaweed from the green cellophane and stick these to your rock pool to look like sea weed.

Apply more Bostik Blu Stick to your plate then sprinkle on sand and blue glitter. Shake off any excess.

Paper Plate Rock Pool Toddler Craft

LM really loved this craft, it gave us the chance to talk about sea creatures and 'putting them in the water'. She always enjoys crafts which include stickers and, apart from help with the sticking and cutting up she was able to make her on rock pool. It was a fun activity for toddlers.

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

A Mouse's Tale on DVD - Review and Giveaway

13:20 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We were sent A Mouse's Tale this weekend and it arrived just in time for our regular Saturday family movie night. Brand new from Lionsgate A Mouse's Tale will be released on DVD on May 25th 2015.

A Mouse's Tale on DVD - Review and Giveaway

A Mouse's Tale stars the vocal talents of Carey Elwes (The Princess Bride), Jon Heder(Napoleon Dynamite) and Tom Arnold.
In order to save their kingdom from evil rodents, Samantha and Sebastian are sent on a quest by the King of Rodencia and the wise Wizard Dalliwog to obtain a legendary magic crystal that has the power to defeat the rodents.  With the help of two trustworthy knights, they venture deep into the forest and enter a forbidden world of giants in order to accomplish their mission and restore order to the kingdom.
We watched the movie as a family and Bud, especially really enjoyed it. There are scenes of mild peril which I thought might scare Bud (he's quite easily scared) but he wasn't phased. I think he's learning that children's films usually have a happy ending! He's asked to watch it again since the first viewing so I think he liked it.

You can view the trailer for the film here:

I've teamed up with Lionsgate to give away a copy of the film on 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.

A Mouse's Tale on DVD
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New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys

21:41 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We're huge fans of the wide range of puzzles from Orchard Toys and Bud and, now LM, play with our collection on a daily basis. With Red Rose Baby due to arrive next month I've been looking for ways to prepare the children for having a new little one around so when we were offered the chance to review Orchard Toys' New Baby Lotto it couldn't have come at a better time.

New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys

New Baby Lotto is part of Orchard Toys' range of 'Very First Games'aimed at the youngest children, from around age two upwards. It's a simple matching game, suitable for four players. Each player receives a game board and the game board pieces are spread out face down on the playing surface. Players then take it in turns to pick up a piece and check if it matches any of the images on their board. You then place any matching piece over the square on your board, if it doesn't match you show it to the rest of the players then return it to the playing surface.

New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys Blog Review

The game boards are really bright and colourful and each depicts a scene of life with a new baby. Bud and LM were keen to talk about what the babies were doing as they chose their boards. Each game piece shows an item of new baby equipment and Bud, especially, enjoyed naming the item and talking about if we would have one for the new baby, and how we would use it. It was a really good way for them both to learn about the more practical side of having a new baby.

New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys Blog Review

To win the game a player has to match all of their six baby equipment pieces and then the bigger baby piece, which matches the baby in the picture at the top of the board.

New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys Blog Review

Both LM and Bud really enjoyed playing, although LM needed a little help with turn taking. She is just starting to play games like this and loved the chance to try out a new one. Bud really enjoyed the game. I was slightly worried he would find it too simple but the added element of being able to discuss the new baby made it really interesting to him and he wanted to play again straight away after winning the first game.

New Baby Lotto from Orchard Toys Blog Review

New Baby Lotto is a great addition to the Orchard Toys range and I'd recommend it for any two to five years olds who are expecting a new addition to the family, whether a sibling or cousin. It's pitched at a young level but really interesting for those who want to learn about caring for a newborn. It's priced at £9:50 so an inexpensive way to help older children prepare, just don't sit on the floor to play a couple of games when you are due in five weeks, my hips are still protesting!

Disclosure: We received the game for review purposes.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

16:49 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Is there anything more useful to a new mum than a muslin cloth? Before I had children I was only dimly aware of them but, ever since Bud's first day in the world they've been an ever present in our home. Even now LM is two and a half there's always one around although they don't get used quite as often anymore. When Bud was born there seemed to be a choice of white, white or white but in recent years I've seen a range of coloured and patterned muslins become available which are a great way to brighten up your changing bag. Recently I was offered the opportunity to review the new range of Zippy patterned muslin squares and swaddle blankets and I've been taking a look at them as part of my preparation for Red Rose Baby's arrival.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

Zippy are a company that I became aware of about twelve months ago. They are most known for their innovative range of sleepsuits which fasten with a single zip instead of a series of poppers, available for babies up to 18 months old. In addition the Zippy range includes hats, bibs and bandanas and I love their bright and colourful pattern choices. New to the range is their muslin squares and swaddle blankets and I've been trying out a set of each.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

The muslin squares are available in sets of three, across four different colourways. Two in shades of blue and two in shades of pink. We were sent the Stylish Blue squares which include a bright blue square with white stars on it, a white one printed with blue and red sailing boats, and a white muslin printed with zoo animals in various shades of blue and green. The muslins are presented in a funky cardboard box which makes it a lovely gift for a new mum and her newborn.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

Obviously, Red Rose Baby hasn't arrived yet but I've washed the muslins, ready to pack into my hospital bag and I'm so pleased with the softness of them. They are a generously sized square and I know I'll be making a lot of use of them, whether as burp clothes. changing mat liners or impromptu bibs, amongst the myriad uses for a muslin!

The second box in our parcel contained a set of two Bamboo Swaddle Blankets. I received the Navy and White Star set. In a similar bright box to those containing the muslin squares you will find a blue blanket with white stars and a white blanket with blue stars. Although Zippy describe it as Navy it's more of a French Navy than a classic Navy blue. If you're looking for a more girly set then the alternative is a pretty pastel pink and white set. I couldn't love these any more if I tried! Red Rose Baby will spend their first few months in the Summer heat (hopefully) so thick, woolly blankets won't be needed, instead I'll be layering thin blankets to keep them warm but ensure that they don't overheat. These blankets will be completely perfect for this.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

I've never really swaddled my two, neither of them were overly keen on feeling restrained in any way but I'll try, yet again, with Red Rose Baby and I think that these blankets will be the perfect size for this. I can also see me using them in much the same way as a muslin square, the large rectangular size will be perfect for using as an impromptu sun shade, car seat or pushchair liner, or on a changing mat. The design is gorgeous, it taps into the current trend for stars and the blue is bright and eye catching too. Again these have been washed ready to use with our new arrival and just one wash has made them feel so soft and snuggly. I can't wait to use them with Red Rose Baby. Bamboo is renowned for being soft against a little one's skin and Zippy have also been careful to use a light, open weave for safe swaddling.

Zippy Swaddle Blankets and Muslin Squares - Review and Giveaway

Keep an eye on my Instagram feed to see lots of photos of the swaddle blankets and muslin squares in use following Red Rose Baby's arrival!

The muslin squares are £14 for three, while the swaddle blankets are £20 for two. Either set would make a wonderful gift for any new parents .

I've teamed up with Zippy to give away a set of their new swaddle blankets. 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.

Zippy Muslin Squares

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Disclosure: I received both sets for review purposes. 
We're going on an adventure

How to be an Allergenius with ao and Hotpoint

16:04 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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.

Red Rose Baby 34 Weeks Update

18:19 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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. 

Boost Your Diet This Spring With Florida Grapefruit

19:15 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

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.