Guilty Pleasures!

Askamum love my blog, ooo-errr how exciting!

I don’t know about you but I have found myself, since becoming a mummy, feeling rather guilty almost daily. Guilty for all sorts of things and talking to my friends I think this is just par for the course with the mummy role. I find myself wondering if I am doing the right thing all the flipping time and sometimes it’s enough to drive me bonkers or perhaps I am already bonkers to be worrying and feeling guilty like this in the first place? Some of the main questions buzzing round my brain and inducing guilt at the moment are: ‘Should I be spending more time with Florence and less time with Jimmy?’ ‘Should I be spending more time with Jimmy and less time with Florence?’ ‘Should I chat to Florence and not my friends as we walk to whichever activity we’re going to?’ ‘Do I tell her off too much, shout and say no more than necessary?’ ‘Am I expanding their minds and intellect in the right ways, doing the right activities with them, neglecting them when I write, clean, go to the loo…? Do I let them watch too much television and when they are watching should I be watching with them and having a conversation about what we’re watching instead of using the time to get on with something? Oh the list is endless, I literally feel guilty for everything, even if I logically can see that I have needs too and if I need a wee wee, well, I should go!

It’s not just those things either! I worry that I’m a bad mum in other ways too and feel guilty for lots more other than the every day. For instance, I’m going on holiday in 3 weeks and I would like to have a little alcohol in the evenings (already I’m feeling guilty)! I know that only a trace of alcohol goes through into breast milk but I still would rather not feed ‘just in case’! I had thought a while ago that I would just give him formula, I never did with Florence and it did make me feel guilty thinking it but logically I could see there would be no harm done, his main milk supply would still be mine and plenty of babies have formula 100% of the time and they’re ok… But, as the time draws near I’m starting to feel too guilty about the prospect and am now planning on expressing every day instead… I’ll take some formula cartons (I’ve no idea how to mix the powder as I’ve never ever used formula before) as a last resort option but I know in my mind that I won’t be happy if I use them…

And that brings me onto my best friend’s hen do… I’ve been expressing like billio for the last few weeks knowing that I’ll be spending the day at the V festival in Chelmsford and leaving Jonny with the children for absolutely hours! I feel guilty about this too! I never left Florence, couldn’t have done actually as she wouldn’t take a bottle though I’m not sure I’d have left her even if she would have done! But I’m going to leave Jimmy and I feel guilty even though I know he’s going to be absolutely fine with his Daddy! I suppose feeling guilty for doing anything not perfectly is just something I will have to live with now that I have children and accept that the worrying about the things I feel guilty about is now my natural state… Is it just me?

 

Was feeling guilty that I didn’t bring them to the beach on a sunnier day – if it had been sunnier I no doubt would have felt guilty that I’d brought them on a day which was too hot?! (Am I mad?)

 

DONKEY WATCH

 

Donkey Rides in Cromer!

 

When visiting my Mum last we took a trip on the train to Cromer, home of the crab and with us we took Le Donk so he could soak up a bit of sea air and parade himself along the sea front! We created a whole new meaning to the term ‘donkey rides on the beach’ and perhaps with the classiest ‘donkey ride’ ever my children, Mum, Donkey and I found our spot on the sand where we ate fish and chips straight from the paper, danced in and out of the sea and paddled in the rock pools! I have never, ever had a buggy which goes over sand without a struggle, until now! I kind of expected it to be easier to push on the sand than other buggies because, well, it’s Le Donk and he is easy generally but I hadn’t expected it to be as easy as it was. The sand was wet and fairly compacted as the tide had only just gone out, this is obviously made it easier to walk on generally but I was still very impressed at Le Donk’s skills!

 

Us doing ‘Donkey rides’ on Cromer Beach!

I knew the Cameleon has a two wheel function meaning you can flip it so that only the back wheels are in use, then you can pull it; I had no idea that the Donkey also has a beach function but obviously he does – well, he is perfect! I actually found no need to apply the function though as with no struggle at all it was easy to push him across sand and pebbles as he stands normally! He provided a stress free day from the word go, easy to get up the low step train doors, small enough to fit in the tiny carriage on the local train, light enough to lift down the odd step here and there in Cromer and easy to push across sand! Lots of admiring glances (as always) and comments on what a fabulous buggy he is and I have to say, every time someone pays him a compliment, I am always in agreement! See what we and Le Donk got up to in Cromer!

 

Cromer train station where our day began!

 

Having a play on the beach!

 

Jimmy takes a snooze! (Note Le Donk’s Team GB flag)!

 

You simply can’t go to Cromer without popping to the amooooosements (as we say it in Norfolk)!

 

The promenade and top of the cliffs!

 

On the pier where we tried crabbing (and tied the line to Le Donk’s handle bar) and visited the lifeboat!

 

And an ice cream at the end of the day! I should have taken Le Donk as a double but we had lots of stuff to take, buckets and spades etc so I made the decision to make use of his side basket when a single… Big mistake as I ended up with ice cream in my hair courtesy of Miss Florence in her back sling!

 

 

For more information on the ‘Donkey’ and all other ‘Bugaboo’ products please see their website www.bugaboo.com. It’s also worth noting that ‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product (now available in more than 50 countries) you are choosing a company which is a proud (PRODUCT) RED™ partner. ‘Bugaboo’ contributes a portion of its profits across all products – to the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa, with the goal of ending mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015.

 

We haven’t been on as many traditional days out recently because the sun has been so wonderful that we’ve found time in the park has been just as exciting but we were having withdrawals from thrill seeking and decided a day at a theme park would be just the ticket. I decided to take my brothers, sister, Florence and Jimmy when we visited Chessington World of Adventures on probably the hottest day of the year so far! I know usually when you visit a theme park the clouds come out and it rains but this time, perhaps because Chessington have a FREE revisit policy if it rains for over an hour of your day, the sun was gloriously hot. Too hot dare I say it? Chessington World of Adventures is not just a theme park but a zoo as well and I was interested to see how the two combined, would it be possible to have two days out in one?

We arrived and sat down in the beautiful gardens to feed Jimmy and become acquainted with the park map which I have to say I found a little confusing. The park is very large which on the one hand is great for the animals as they have space but when it comes to the rides I found them all to be spaced out just that little bit too much. It was often a long walk from one ride to the next which coupled with long queues wasn’t particularly brilliant. Despite being the summer holidays and a lovely day to boot I didn’t think the park seemed very crowded but waiting times for rides were still half an hour plus, even on the baby rides (of which there are not many). They do however have a parent swap facility where you can pick up a card for free then if some of your party queue up and go on the ride and get the card stamped the person left holding the babies can then go straight on with one other person without standing in line at all. In theory this is a super idea. In reality it really only worked twice for us as two other times the ride broke down just as we swapped! Not their fault obviously but they were not very forgiving and wouldn’t let us go on a different ride instead. Another ride, THE ride in fact, the one we had all been looking forward to since looking at the website (Vampire) was also out of action, ALL day! Three of the major rides, by lunch time, were not working which was a bit of a shame.

I went on three rides; there simply wasn’t enough time to go on any more. True I had to stand with the little ones most of the time but I would have expected maybe to have managed more than three rides considering we were at the park from when it opened until the close of the day. My brothers and sister only managed four more than me and poor little Florence also only got a go on four rides because again a couple of the little ones were not working and the ones that were had massive queues. Looking at the way they were doing the queues for the baby rides seemed very inefficient but there we are. She also couldn’t go in the soft play area as we had no socks with us and they wouldn’t allow it without so one of the things she could have done was also out. Why would you wear socks on the hottest day of the year and I obviously hadn’t thought to take any. I had however, having been to the wonderful Legoland which is owned by the same company, Merlin Entertainment last year, taken a swimming costume expecting there to be a splash area but no such luck.

Florence did enjoy the ‘Madagascar’ show which is on at various times throughout the day but having watched that after lunch and realising that yet more rides were not in operation, we (me and the babies) decided to give up on the theme park at about 3pm and went to have a look around the zoo. By this time I was a little fed up but we had a nice time looking at the animals; they all seemed happy and had roomy cages. I did however find it an absolute nightmare trying to navigate my way round by looking at the map and could hear other people similarly grumbling. Finding the gorillas became an absolute mission and I was directed by staff back and forth to no avail. Perhaps it was just me being hot, bothered and annoyed with the theme park but I found it impossible and eventually a very polite member of staff walked me there. We loved the gorillas and big cats and it was the highlight of the day. We got to see a tiny new baby gorilla and I sat and fed my baby right up against the glass (as the only place to sit was a rock in front of it) and when the mummy gorilla saw me she went off and got her baby and sat down right in front of me also breast feeding while we looked each other in the eye. It was a very surreal moment but it made the day and is something I won’t forget!

All in all I don’t think Chessington World of Adventures is a park for a party of children with differing heights; my sister is 11 and we had to split up and go off in groups or nothing would have got done and no one would have got to go on anything as we would have all just spent the day waiting around for other people (not that that wasn’t the case anyway). The baby rides are not particularly brilliant and the queuing is unreasonable for little ones so I wouldn’t take such young children again. True the zoo is fantastic but I’m not sure the ticket prices warrant just being able to look round the zoo and a trip to another solely dedicated zoo might be better. It was a shame that some rides were not working the day we went and I could be being unfair in my assessment of the park as the rest of the rides were probably saturated because of this fact. I found some of the staff to be unfriendly and un-compromising (although others were delightfully helpful) and I just found that the day didn’t flow as it seems to with other Merlin owned attractions at which we have always had an excellent time in the past. I’d say Chessington is geared right up for the 10 – 15 year olds, the rides are thrilling but not too daring and that age is the right height for most things there. We won’t be going back with the little ones any time soon as it just wasn’t the day for us but my family had a nice time and we’re pleased we tried it. It was just right for my sister and if they can fix the rides and make the queues a bit better I’m sure she’d be delighted to go back!

 

Even these rides had massive queues!

 

The Bubble ride was a bit scary for Florence and despite them saying it was suitable for babies, considering we got heavily squirted with water; I wouldn’t take Jimmy on it again until he’s a lot older! (Their faces say it all)!

 

 

 

But we did enjoy some of the park!

 

The zoo was the clear winner of the day especially the meerkats (Florence’s favourite)!

 

Florence showing where the mummy gorilla feeds from – just like her mummy!!

For individual, group, discounted, annual and multiple day ticket prices please see the website www.chessington.com.

 

Countdown to Lollibob!

 

ONLY 1 WEEK to go!

This time next week and we’ll be Lollibopping the day away! Woooooooooo hoooooooo! Can’t wait! My sister in law and nephew Arthur are coming with us and we’re all very excited! Florence is excited about seeing PoppyCat, the ZingZillas and is beside herself about the Mister Maker show in the Lollipalladium! Jimmy will really enjoy the Baby Sensory and I’m just looking forward to seeing their faces on the day, ALL day! If it’s anything like last year it’ll be smiles all round from start to finish! Bring it on and fingers crossed for the weather!! There’s STILL time to get tickets but hurry!

For more information and how to book tickets please see www.lollibopfestival.co.uk.

 

 

 

Berry Entertaining!

 

For our first app review on the BlackBerry PlayBook we wanted to look at something fairly simple, Florence is only 2 years old after all! In actual fact it turns out she’s far more capable and can use more complex apps on the PlayBook than I initially gave her credit for but nevertheless she thoroughly enjoys the simpler applications too! So we tried out Kids Preschool Puzzle Lite by Intellijoy which is a FREE app made for BlackBerry.

The FREE app comes with 20 puzzles to solve which are made up of numbers, letters, objects and animals. There is an outline of the object you are about to make and using the jigsaw pieces which are differently coloured you fit them inside the shape outline until the puzzle is complete and then the puzzle turns into a detailed picture of the puzzle.

 

I thought it was really great because it doesn’t require minute precision yet you do need to get the pieces in roughly the right place before they will click into place. This obviously ensures that the child needs to be putting the piece in the right place, so using and developing co-ordination skills but they don’t need to be old enough to have refined motor skills – perfect for a two year old then! As soon as the puzzle is solved and the object revealed in detail, the written name of it also appears in the bottom left hand corner which effortlessly encourages word recognition and stimulates an interest in reading! There’s a good variety but at £3 for the full application with over 100 different puzzles it’s not one that will break the bank. We found it to be entertaining and fun as well as encouraging learning for Florence and she enjoys playing on this simple but effective application. (She enjoys the PlayBook in general truth be told)! This is definitely an app for keeping little ones entertained when you’re busy trying to get on  with something as it’s not just plonking them down in front of a TV programme but also helps to expand their mind. For this reason we’re giving it a double thumbs up!

 

Florence putting a puzzle together using Kids Preschool Puzzle Lite.

 

For more information on the BlackBerry PlayBook and all BlackBerry products please see http://uk.blackberry.com/

 

MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEK 14!

This week has been quieter than normal I would say! We’ve spent a bit of time at home and staying close to the park. The Olympics makes me not want to venture too far and especially not to travel on the tube but we’ve been watching the sport avidly and enjoying every second of Team GB’s successes! Can’t wait to go out onto the flats near my house and watch the closing fireworks on Sunday!

 

Come on Team GB! Look at this cute GB athlete I was sent in the post! It’s from a company called Biscuiteers! They make cakes and biscuits which can be sent as gifts or cards through the post! Brilliant, I loved it! (Thank you to Azaria for sending it to me)!

 

Not as much as Florence did though! I gave him to her as a ‘toilet triumph present’! She’s completely dry during the day times now and her nappy is hardly used at night. I’m wondering when to go nappy-less over night?

A friend of mine had a birthday party at the Lambourne End Outdoor Centre at the weekend which was fun! There’s loads of outdoor activities to do there and even farm animals which Florence loved feeding! The centre is a charity and gives the opportunity to under privileged children to explore and play outdoors with all of their amenities which is excellent don’t you think? My friend hired the place for her husband’s 40th and we had a fantastic time; we all had a go at archery and climbing and Jonny and Florence even went for an outdoor swim! Jonny only went in because Florence was desperate but as soon as he jumped in she decided it was too cold for her and instead threw balls for daddy to catch! He was, as I’m sure you can imagine, thrilled to be in an icy outdoor pool!

      

Us enjoying out door activities at a friend’s party this weekend just gone!

We also had loads of fun at the new Edmonton Mothercare and ELC store at the weekend where we took full advantage of all the free things they have on offer! Florence met the Gruffalo, had her face painted and did some Diddi Dance and I got to take Jimmy to a Mama Baby Bliss massage and yoga class which was fantastic! I’ve been applying the techniques every night since and Jimmy’s been enjoying the massage no end making him even more sleepy than normal! I told all my friends about the store so there were loads of us Stone families playing in the giant HappyLand houses and having fun in the new look store which is utterly fabulous! Can’t wait to go back this month and do some more of the free classes they have on offer! For a full listing on what’s on for FREE this month in Mothercare, Edmonton please see my previous blog post Cars and Bras.

    

Florence thoroughly enjoyed playing at the Edmonton Mothercare and ELC store!

 

She even sat at the front of the Mama Baby Bliss massage class and helped to teach the class with a baby dolly!

After having tried the classes out this week in Edmonton I’m making Mama Baby Bliss classes my ‘Must Have of the Week’! They promote using all natural products (something I am newly into), welcome the older ones to ‘help’ and join in and I honestly think massage and yoga does wonders for babies! Ever since I’ve been using the techniques Jimmy has had much better ‘movements’ and has not been constipated at all! Thanks very much Mothercare and ELC, without you I’d never have got to know Mama Baby Bliss!

For information, prices and to find a class near you please see the website www.mamababybliss.com.

 

Did you WIN tickets to The Baby Show Manchester

The must go to event for parents and parents to be?

 

The UK’s leading baby and parenting show is coming to Manchester this August and to celebrate, The Baby Show is teaming up with Rocknrollerbaby to offer you the chance to win tickets to this essential event on 31st August – 2nd September at EventCity, Manchester.

The Baby Show in association with Made for Mums and sponsored by Fisher-Price is the perfect place to visit for all parents and parents-to-be who want to find the latest maternity and nursery products on the market – all from the very best UK and international brands! The show will feature 200 must-have brands including Fisher-Price, Babies R Us, Mamas & Papas, and Mothercare, as well asniche and designer products.  Visitors will be able to enjoy special offers, great entertainment and hear from baby care experts all in one place.  What’s more, EventCity, Manchester offers first class first facilities and has over 3000 FREE car parking spaces.

The Baby Show also boasts expert speakers on hand to give support, guidance and advice to all visitors, including midwives from Channel 4’s award-winning show ‘One Born Every Minute’ and baby food and nutrition expert Annabel Karmel. The Baby Show has become an essential event in all parents’ calendars and has also attracted a celebrity following with stars including Una Healy, Stacey Solomon and Chantelle Houghton spotted searching for the best products at earlier shows this year!

With everything in one place and with the added bonus of exclusive offers and expert advice, you’ll find everything you need without the stress of the high street! For more information, visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk

The winners of my competition to win tickets to the show are: Louise Bragg from Wigan, Jane Smithies from Atherton and Daniel Versteeg from Nottingham.If you weren’t lucky enough to win tickets to the show then do get your tickets from the website mentioned above and have a great day!

See you back here next week when we will be ready to off to Lollibop and I will be off to V festival on the Sunday – hope my nerves (and guilt) hold off!

In the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby

(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)