The Lolling Routine of Sleep and Other Lolling Lollibopping Activities!

Askamum love my blog, ooo-errr how exciting!

I’m not sure if we’re the only ones who do this but every time Florence sleeps through the night (or has other desirable behavioural patterns for that matter) Jonny and I go through what we did that day, decide something MUST be the answer and try to replicate it the next day to promote the same result again. Most of the time this is met with a big fat ‘ha ha ha’ coming from the gods as it inevitably doesn’t work again and we are back to the drawing board while hoping for another fluke… Florence is a child who doesn’t sleep and we’re forever cobbling together routines we think will work, we know should work, ones which have worked for friends or even ones we pluck out of thin air! We’ve let her have a sleep in the day time, then we’ve tried not letting her nap at all, we’ve also tried forcing her to snooze before lunch, after lunch, in the car only or waking her up after certain time scales… We have literally tried every ‘routine’ possible and I have to say NONE of them have worked at all!

It used to be that Florence needed a sleep in the day time but if the nap happened after lunch she would be up in the evenings till all hours so I used to go hell for leather trying to get her back to sleep only hours after she’d got up in the mornings – madness! Anyway, the days when I could just about force a sleep (via breast feeding or walking round the park while I pinned her down in the buggy) before 10am passed some time ago and the afternoons of pinching her (gently) to get her to stay awake commenced. She still needed a sleep and would be an absolute rotter by about 4pm but it did mean she went to bed by about 7.30 and we could breathe a sigh of relief and relax in the evenings. Well, when it started to co-incide with her also being read a story to sleep instead of fed we thought we’d absolutely cracked it! We hadn’t.

Inevitably things changed and when Jimmy was born it knocked her out of kilter or at least we presumed this is why our new found routine had started to fail. We were again searching for something new, another revelation and ritual we would have to perform every day which would mean she would go to bed at 7.30 and stay asleep all night! So far it hasn’t happened again but there have been the odd days when miraculously she has gone to bed at a reasonable time and we’ve always tried to link it to something we have done in the day time – I believe it’s called clutching at straws! ‘Aha’ we would say ‘it must be because she didn’t have any chocolate today’ then ‘NO MORE CHOCOLATE!’ we would declare! The next few chocolate-less days would see no sleep pattern continue but would almost certainly add almighty chocolate starved tantrums to the day! Then we’d have another night where she’d be rubbing her eyes at 6.30 and we’d assume that swimming was the answer (If it was swimming that we’d done differently on that particular day of course)!

We’ve got to the stage now where Florence doesn’t often have a sleep in the day time and with or without it these days she will happily still be up playing until 9.30. I have given up pinching her awake when she does show the odd sign of sleepy-ness because it just doesn’t affect bed time, bed time being so late anyway. Right from a baby she would be happy to be up late, as in happy and playing nicely not screaming the house down with tiredness! She quite honestly just doesn’t seem to need or want a lot of slumber. She sometimes gets a little sleepy, has a sit down for five minutes to charge her batteries and that’s it – she’s rallied! I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of cobbled together routines will change this girl in this area. When she does go to bed early it’s just an odd occasion and not because we have found the key! (Once when she was a baby I took her to A & E because she slept so much one day! The Doctor said there was nothing wrong with her and she was just tired but that’s how little sleep this child has; the one a day when she did I thought she must be ill)! Jimmy, my little sleeping bean sometimes sleeps 8 and a half hours and he’s exclusively breast fed! (I’ve no idea if that actually means anything or not but people always say it don’t they – ‘and he’s breast fed’ as if he wouldn’t be expected to sleep because of it)! The other day he only slept for 5 hours before waking (I say only although I’d have jumped for joy to get even two hours in a row with Florence at the same age) and I found myself wondering what I had done differently and back tracking through the day to make sure I didn’t repeat it, then, I checked myself… I am going to endeavour not to behave so fixatedly anymore and perhaps let them be how they naturally want to be – I may save myself some energy along the way!

There are things I will keep in place because they make me feel better. We won’t have loud children’s TV while we wind down after 7pm, we will still have our after dinner bath and stories will be read at bed time whether they make the children fall asleep or not but as for any other ‘routine’ I am throwing them all out the window… I’m just not a routine kinda gal so why would my children be any different? I am however obsessed with sleep and Florence at least is obsessed with staying awake! There’s a children’s song called ‘My Brother’ by Mitch Murray and Terry Scott; one of the lyrics (talking about their mother) is; ‘You know, every night when we’re wide awake, she makes us go to bed. And then, in the morning when we’re fast asleep, she makes us get up! Sound familiar? I’m hoping when Florence starts nursery in January she’ll be so worn out come the end of the day that bed time will be easy but then I remember we’re the busiest people we know already! How could she be more worn out? And there I go again!

 

My babies in synchronised sleeping unity!

 

 

DONKEY WATCH

 

Donkey Shopping With Friends!

This week we were invited to Harrods by Le Donk’s newest brother to go and meet him for the very first time! We got to have a sneak peak at the latest special edition Bugaboo on the market and I have to say we’re impressed – very impressed! The ‘My First Car’ Bugaboo Cameleon3‘ designed by Designers Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren is quite literally a piece of art and with classic sports car style fabric and alloy wheels (complete with iconic Victor & Rolf emblem) you can easily see where the car connections come in! This buggy is beautiful, sleek and sheek and to top it off in true Bugaboo style, it naturally isn’t just a pretty face! He does his job rather fantastically too and with everything a Cameleon3 can do he can certain do it and actually, probably do it (dare I say it) a little better! I just love the rear view window in the canopy meaning the baby can see out even if it’s raining or sunny – brilliant design. I also fell just a little bit in love with the foot muff which is SO different to the regular style (mustn’t have my head turned, mustn’t have my head turned, must keep repeating…)! We had great fun meeting the newest brother on the Bugaboo block but he won’t be round for long guys! From September 2012 for around a year or until stocks last – if you want him (who wouldn’t?) then you’re gonna have to get in there fast! As well as ‘special’ he’s also exclusive and for the first 2 weeks of September (1st -16th) he can be purchased in Harrods (Or ‘Arrods as my little East London baby keeps calling it) only! Woooooo! Priced at £1250 it’s so worth remembering that you get what you pay for and I would not, could not, recommend Bugaboo if they weren’t as good as their prices!

 

 

Now while we were at Harrods we thought we would take Le Donk and show him round possibly the most famous department store in the world! Funnily enough I’ve spent a lot of time in Harrods over the years as it was the only shop which sold my school’s uniform would you believe – see I’m really VERY posh (*some friends may now be laughing)! I love walking round the shop and just seeing all the amazing things they have on sale as well as admiring all the glamour and glitz of both the store itself and the people in it and Florence thinks it’s great cause it has ‘Jubilee flags’ hanging outside! We were there a few weeks ago for the launch of Toy Kingdom (You may remember from my post) and because we’d had so much fun there we thought it was a good place to start before showing Donkey round the rest of the iconic store! As we did so I had two compliments on how cool my buggy is from members of staff – love it! We also had tea in the Terrace Bar where a piano magically plays on its own! Florence was enthralled but I didn’t get a picture –oh well, we’ll just have to go again!

 

   

Toy Kingdom where we met up with some friends!

 

 

And couldn’t take our eyes off the sweeties! A lovely lady making candy gave us a HUGE piece to try and showed us how it’s made!

 

 

Well, they lacked in Donkeys but the pet area was very exciting and we even got to play with kittens! Here’s Florence, Jimmy and Le Donk trying to persuade me to buy a puppy that costs more than my entire jewellery collection (This is not terribly hard let it be known)!

 

 

After spending a lot of time at Christmas press events in July this was all totally normal to Florence! LOVED the Christmas department!

 

Part of the impressive food halls! So exciting and a must see when in London!

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.

 

Out and about this week has been very exciting indeed! I’ve been all over the place and to three different festivals; one with just the children, one as a family and one with my friends and I have to say, the one I enjoyed the absolute most has got to be the one with the children! Once a year in Regent’s Park the Lollibop Festival hosts a long weekend of children’s extravaganza and we were lucky enough to go this year for the second time! It was THE best day out we had last summer and I had high expectations. It’s often the way when you look forward to something or have a big idea about how good it’s going to be that it doesn’t live up but this time, it did! And some! I think it was actually EVEN better this time round! We left with some excitement, got ourselves on the tube and by the time we arrived we were ready to burst! My nephew Arthur and Florence, Jimmy, my sister in law and I headed off for the short walk from tube to park and when we arrived at the gate we followed all the signs which lead to the fun! Upon arrival at the entrance and having spotted a celebrity (and secret crush of mine and my sister in law – Max from East Enders) we found that getting in was quick and efficient with security staff being extremely helpful and knowledgable. There was a place to get a wrist band for children where names and phone numbers could be written and also a place to pick up FREE sun cream, sun hats and rain proof ponchos depending on weather! I’ve not been to another place which has this sort of thing on offer but with Lollibop I guess they just think of everything because children are their forte!

Looking around at the festival from the entrance and we were all (adults included) like children in sweety shops! We had downloaded the line up and knew what we wanted to see (we also knew there was too much that we wanted to see and some things were going to have to give) but looking around and we could see there was actually even more than had been advertised! As well as the main stage line up (It really is a proper festival with proper bands) and the things in the Lollipalladium there was stuff going on just about everywhere! I was really impressed with what a large space it was, how it didn’t feel over crowded yet still buzzing and with all the acts going round the field as well as the ones in tents! We fell about laughing at the monky on the loose! First stop and a bit of music was in order and while we were there we got to meet a very familiar character indeed!

 

The main stage and Florence met a Zingzilla right next to it!

 

We had a wander round and saw some more friends, girls I know with children ranging from 5 -10 and they were having a BRILLIANT day too! The older ones were loving the ‘Transformers’ tent and the five year old had been given some help by staff and was playing in the ‘Skylanders’ area all day! The ten year old decided that the science museum was his favourite part of the day and BMX bikes too! And of course they all had loved the Moshi Monsters bus! Florence, for some reason is wild about Moshi Monsters and she’s not anywhere near the right age for it but that meant we spent some time in the HUGE area devoted to the craze and they really catered for all the different ages which was wicked!

 

I don’t know what it is but she’s so drawn to these little monsters and she LOVES this putting your head in the hole for a photo!

 

We had some lunch on the green in front of the stage while we listened to some more music, had a dance and then we met Stavros Flatley, once of the really funny and entertaining acts from the main stage! It’s so relaxed at Lolli and the stars of the show are just wandering round too! It’s such a friendly atmosphere. I had a good look at the fences and was pleased to see it would be really hard for anyone to get out or anyone undesirable to get in and even though I didn’t let Florence out of my sight this made me feel easier; the fences were also really well manned!

 

 

Our picnic and then us with one half of Stavros Flatley!

 

What did we do next? It’s so hard to remember in order because we just did so much! We saw The Gruffalo (Was brilliant and exactly the same as in the West End when we saw it last year – so lucky to have seen it twice now)! Mister maker was a big hit and we had to see him twice too as he is one of Florence’s favourites! Mynephew enjoyed yogo with Waybuloo in the Lollipalladium and in the 3ft and under section Jimmy even had loads of options but particularly liked the ‘Music with Maddie’section… We danced, we sang, we ate (food and ice creams were of good quality – unlike at the V festival) and reasonably priced), we had our faces painted (both of us) and just had a ball! I’ve conglomerated the answers to these questions from myself and our friends and this is our overall opinion!

What did we love most? Well everything but especially that once you’re in that’s it, you don’t pay for anything else (even face painting) and queues, even though are huge,go down quickly because there’s so many people working!

What were the facilities like? Excellent! Clean and well stocked and even baby changing was fantastic with free wipes and nappies to boot!

What would we change? Well, nothing about the festival itself, it catered for all ages, was well manned and there was loads on offer, too much to choose from and we left wanting more. We would however change the fact that other parents just littered all day long causing so much work for the poor littler pickers! Totally unnecessary and we think they should have been ejected for it!

Was there enough shelter/shade from the rain or sun should it have got too much either way? Yes, tents everywhere and what with the FREE suncream, hats and ponchos weather certainly wouldn’t have ruined any aspect of the day!

Is it worth the ticket price and would you go back? Yes! Of course we would, it was superb! We all just wish it could be a few more times a year really! Some of my friends got early bird tickets and others found great discount codes making the ticket prices extremely affordable!

Here are some of my fave pics from our wonderful fun day at Lollibop!

   

Hoola hooping, crafting and having a laze in the sunshine! It’s not all about fireworks, there is also an old fashioned village fete feel to the day which somehow blends with the mega exciting things!

 

  

Dancing with my girl, Mister Maker and face painting!

 

For more information on the festival and to make sure you know all about next year’s event please see the website www.lollibopfestival.co.uk

 

Berry Entertaining!

Because we had such success with the FREE app we tried last time on our BlackBerry PlayBook I wanted to try a few more freebies out and the one we’ve found we love this week has got to be Perico Pirate. Basically, we were playing around looking for games and books and this one popped up because it’s kind of both really! It’s also a little like a platform game from the games consoles of my own youth and with extremely clear spoken instructions as well as written, this is perfect for Florence’s age; she mastered the art of it in minutes with it quickly becoming the one she asks for ALL the time! Each page of the story which takes you through a pirate tale with a funny little green parrot following you all the way through has a different activity as well as telling the tale and this, I think, is why it’s SO popular with our little girl!

She’s never been particularly content to just sit and listen to a story (unless she’s extremely tired) and I always have to act out, give props and make them all singing and all dancing! (It’s a good job I’m an actress eh!) With a PlayBook you kind of get this with the normal stories, they instantly by way of the nature of the media, become more interesting than just lying down listening to a story but with Perico Pirate it’s a little bit more so than that even! As I said, each page has a different activity but with each activity comes a little discipline which I was surprised but pleased to realise Florence has the capabilities of performing! One is waking up all the pirates by various different means, tapping them, ringing a bell or pushing them off the plank! You have to work out by trial and error as well as using common sense by looking around you how for how to do each one. Another is collecting all the red berries which are muddled up with other colours encouraging co-ordination and eye to detail. There are lots of pages and activities, drawing and different challenges but the most fun one has got to be ‘teaching the parrot to talk’ and Florence very often just stays on this page for ages! The parrot repeats everything you say to it in a speeded up parrot voice and this has evoked many wonderful giggles from Florence who has been encouraged by her daddy to teach the parrot to say things like ‘Smelly Mummy!’ (HUH! THE CHEEK!) We LOVE this app and use it all the time because basically, Florence asks for it all the time! Great for lots of skills, super for a little time filler and wonderfully entertaining even if you’re just listening in! With this being one which doesn’t ever get old I’m amazed it’s a FREE one – good old BlackBerry!

 

 

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

Those apps sure do keep children occupied don’t they! I think they’re superb for travel and holidays! Talking of holidays, I can’t believe the school’s summer is nearly at and end and just as we’re about to jet off on our holiday too! Luckily for us we can still go in term time which makes it cheaper but lots of my pals have had to go in the peak time and now they’re all home and getting ready for the start of term! I wonder what it’ll be like when that’s the case in our house? Florence is starting pre school in January so really not very long away till we get a taster! I suppose when the children go to school its one lot of hard work out of the way but a whole new sort arriving! Soon there will be school uniforms to have clean and ironed… Gosh, makes me worn out just thinking about it! For those of you that already have the worries of buying school uniforms and keeping them looking good, you might want to take a look at this video from Asda! They’ve really put their new George school uniform through its paces to test it’s strength, durability and quality over a military assault course by soldiers and kids. This fantastic action video really demonstrates how the uniforms were tested by the soldiers. Definitely one for savvy penny smart mums! Take a look – definitely worth investing in quality like this because who knows what those little ones get up to whilst in smart uniforms at school all day and at least you know this way that even if they have been leaping on assault courses their clothes will stand the test of time!

SEE THE VIDEO HERE

MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEKS 15 & 16!

Well, this past fortnight has been busy, busy, busy but in an unusual sort of way! I’ve been out sans children loads and even though I had a great time, I’m definitely glad to be back to normal again now. Well, gearing up for holiday isn’t that normal but you know what I mean! So, as I mentioned above we did the Lollibop Festival which was great, then we went as a family to the Foodies Festival then the day after that I went to V with my best friend for her hen do! A trio of very different festivals and we had fun at all three of them! I was then lucky enough to go and see the AMAZING ‘Rock of Ages’ in the West End with Jonny and the day after that I went out for a meal with some gal pals! I’ve been gallivanting all over the place, it’s a wonder my children remember who I am! I don’t go out for months on end then all this in the space of one week! I’m so not used to it and now feel exhausted! Florence has gone to stay at my Mum’s for a couple of days which is lovely as it means I get a bit of time to relax and recover and I also get some special time with Jimmy! We’re going to a baby rhyme time tomorrow and I can’t wait as usually he only gets to tag along at Florence’s activities! He’s rolling both ways now too as of this week – what a clever boy

 

Enjoying time with my girl friends at V!

Going to a music festival was fantastic fun and made me feel very young! I was worried about going as Jimmy is so young and I never could have left Florence at the same age due to her not taking a bottle but I knew Jimmy would be fine and he absolutely was! Jonny took them both for a picnic then to a friend’s birthday party and they had a great day too which is such a relief! I’ve passed that hurdle now, I know I can do it and will feel fine doing it again. There’s just a bit more planning involved when it comes to being out and I expressed like a maniac for the weeks preceding in order to make it work! Freezing milk has been made mega simple by the fact that I’ve been using freezer storage bags by Lansinoh and for that reason I am going to have to make them my ‘Must Have of the Week’. I’ve only ever used re-usable pots before and that made sense to me because of the fact they are to be kept and used again. However, I had not realised how little room a storage bag takes up in comparison. I have used Lansinoh products before, their nipple cream is the only one I have ever found to work and I recommend it to everyone but I had no idea they made breast pumps and storage bags and lots of other things too! Basically the storage bags are the easiest thing in the world to use and super handy, I can’t believe I’ve only just found them! They come in a pack like a packet of wet wipes where you draw one out at a time, are pre sterilised so you don’t have to worry about that side of things and open and close with complete ease. The best bit about them for me, is that you can then store them with the milk inside completely flat! Simply tear off the perforated top and pour the milk in from the pump then push the air out with your fingers; seal it with the double seal, write the date and fl oz amount on the strip provided and lay it flat in the freezer! This really does take up very little room! The other benefit to storing them flat is that they are then quicker to defrost although you can also freeze them standing up and the bag has a bottom which allows this without problems. Another point is that when pouring the milk in or out nothing gets lost, it has a very easy pour indeed! These bags are brilliant and I thoroughly recommend them! I love breast feeding but being able to bottle feed from time to time sure makes life easier sometimes and not just when you have a special event to attend, sometimes it’s just  nice to have a whole nights sleep while someone else does the night shift and these bags totally make that possible! I’m taking the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump with me on holiday soon so I’ll let you know how I get on with that when I get home!

 

The super Lansinoh milk storage bags!

I’m so looking forward to my holiday but have some mega packing to do before hand. My next post will be about that  I’m sure so see you soon and in the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby

Hey, one quick P.S! I’m always up for a freebie and Bizziebaby have some excellent tickets for trade shows to give away via down load! Bizziebaby are a company which provide real Mummy reviews of practically every baby product on the market! (You can even become a reviewer for them yourself for just £5 a year!) For FREE tickets to either the Back Pain Show – London | 22 – 23 February 2013 | Olympia or The Allergy and Free From 2012 Show North –  Liverpool | 27-28 October 2012 | BT Convention Centre then just click on the links! If you suffer from back pain or have allergies then these one-stop-shop style shows are going to be the place for you! Meet professionals in the fields and find out information to help you all for free courtesy of Bizziebaby!

(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.)