Toddler Craft for a wet day

It was rather wet and windy this morning, so plans to take a walk to the park were scuppered slightly. Emma took an early nap so I set up a little craft exercise for Daniel.


photo 1(5)It’s my sister in laws birthday tomorrow so I thought we would attempt to make  a card. Daniel hasn’t done much arts and crafts being just 18 months old, but over the past five or so weeks he is showing much more interest and has enjoyed painting and mark making on paper.


I have been buying bits and pieces as I see them and we have a little craft selection now. I got out some pom poms, crepe paper (which I tore and screwed up into tiny balls) and  I also had some holgraphic sticker paper which I cut into strips.


I drew around some biscuit/pastry cutters to make flower shapes on the card and put the different things into small tubs for Daniel to use.

photo 2(6)

Daniel had great fun playing with the different textures – he quite liked the pom poms. After a bit of persuasion he started to stick the bits onto the card. He really liked the sticky holgraphic paper I had cut up for him… it was really interesting to watch him work out how to stick it down; which side was the sticky side etc.

It did get stuck on his fingers a few times so he was working out how to unstick it.


He wasn’t as keen on using the scrunched up crepe paper, much prefering the pom poms.


This was a lovely laid back way for us to spend an hour, and I was surprised with how long it kept him occupied for.


It was also a good opportunity to introduce colour, so we talked about the blue balls (pom poms) and using orange paper. Daniel doesn’t yet demonstrate an understanding of colours, but I try to introduce them where I can, be it at nappy changes, I tell him the colour of the nappy I am putting on himDSC_0107 or out and about (green grass, blue sky etc). I am hoping that with a few more activities like these he will begin to recognise and demonstrate his understanding.


Do you do any arts and crafts with your toddlers?






Being a Rebel

As Emma’s weight gain has been slow, I was advised to take her to my GP, who in turn referred her to the paediatric team.


Late last week, that appointment finally came through (I’d been referred I think around four weeks earlier). The date was 11 June. I don’t think Emma has any problems. As stated to the GP and Health Visitors, Daniel was a slow gainer and I think Emma is the same. I’ve therefore been a rebel and cancelled that appointment.


I was also asked to take her to weekly weigh ins. Again, my husband and I didn’t think it was necessary so I haven’t taken her for a few weeks. Yesterday, however, I took both her and Daniel to be checked. Damian was off work so it was a good opportunity for him to come and give me a hand!


Emma has gained, and is now sat on the bottom centile line, she weighs 8lb 10 – at 10 weeks & 2 days old. At the same time, Daniel was around a lb lighter (he was 5lb 5 at birth, Emma 6lb 11).


So, we are are happy that she is going in the right direction. At 18 months Daniel is just over 21lb so I think I just have small children… as the charts below show.


PRODUCT REVIEW : Ardo Breast Pump

When I was pregnant with Daniel I felt overwhelmed by the things I was supposed to buy… many baby websites and shops had lists of ‘essentials’ to buy, ready for the arrival of your new addition.


One of the things that frequently popped up was a breast pump. I didn’t really know what I was looking for in a pump, but a name that kept cropping up was Medela. At the baby show a short while before Daniel arrived there was a Medela stand and so I purchased their Medela Swing pump.


It was a very naive purchase, with no regard to the type of system the pump used (closed or open) or with any real understanding about the differences in the types of pumps available. The pump was well used and as baby two got closer to her arrival I saw a tweet from a company called Ardo looking for people to test and review their pump.


Prior to that tweet I didn’t know much about Ardo, but in doing a bit of reading about them I stumbled across this blog which explained about the importance of a closed system, such as the one that Ardo uses. I won’t attempt the explain again what this blog so excellently does already, suffice to say I was pleased that my old Medela pump would be retired.


This time around, if you have followed my story, you will know that Emma’s weight gain has been slow. To help her gain more I have expressed using the Ardo pump and given Emma top ups. I have done this since Emma was around two weeks old, (she is almost ten) so after two months of usage I feel I can now provide a fair review for this item.


The pump I was sent to review was the Ardo Calypso Double Electric Breast Pump.


The pump itself is slightly bigger than the Medela Swing I had used previously, but it isn’t too big at all. I leave it by the side of the sofa or in a drawer. It is mains operated but can also be portable as it has a space for batteries. This isnt a function I tried out as there isn’t any need for me to express away from home. It also comes with a selection of breast shells, which is great because women are not a one size fits all so to have a few different options included as standard is great.


The first time I used the Calypso I was a bit unsure with the two options of vacuum and Cycle so I took a quick look at the instructions. After a bit of a play around I found the best setting for me – one to stimulate the flow of milk and another once this was established. What I love about the Calypso is that there are so many options which means that it can be truly personalised to you. The Medela I had previously been used to was just one setting.


Two options to personalise the pump

Two options to personalise the pump

I have suffered a couple of times with blocked ducts so have used the pump to help clear that. I was intrigued by the claim that using the Calyspon you can reduce pumping time by 50%. I therefore used both the Medela and the Calypso on different days to clear a blocked duct. Whilst I wouldn’t say the Calyspo was 50% quicker, it was quicker than the Medela but more importantly for me, it was much more comfortable.

The blurb for the pump states that

The Calypso offers complete protection from contamination and pathogenic agents, thanks to its ‘VacuuSeal’ technology offering maximum safety and hygiene. ARDO pumpsets have a closed collection system, impermeable in both directions, which has been verified by an independent testing laboratory. The silicone membrane pot integrated into the PumpSets ensures a 100% barrier between the breast milk and any pathogenic agents. This VacuuSeal technology protects both the breast milk and the breastpump from contamination and guarantees optimal hygiene.


And having read the blog I had stumbled across this has to be good.


The pump is a double pump. I have only used the double feature once. I can however imagine that if you need to pump regularly the double function is a godsend. When Daniel was born he was quite poorly and ended up back in hospital. He was only on saline for a few days and so I had to express every three hours. This double function would have been perfect for me in that situation.


I have to say I’m really impressed with this pump. The RRP is £135, but Amazon have it aviable for £99.99 at the moment, so competes well on price with other leading brands, such as Medeal. It is relly quiet and discrete, and the settings are able to be fully  personalised to you and the system that Ardo uses ensures that the milk isn’t contaminated, which is so very important with a newborn. I hope that as Ardo becomes more well known in the UK, they will become known as the defacto pump to be used by mums.


The lovely team at Ardo have provided me with a microwaveable sterilising bag to giveaway to one lucky reader.


To be in with a chance of winning please complete the rafflecopter found here.  A winner will be drawn at random on 16th May 2014. Open to UK residents only.