Sick of Being the Peacemaker: Father vs Son.

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhhhhh.

Either Carson is 6 going on 16 or hubby is 30 going on 13. I am getting sick to death of being the peacemaker between the two of them. They don't converse, they battle. They argue like cat and bloody dog. It's like Carson fights for his place as Alpha Male - does this happen to anyone else? Please say I'm not the only one?

He listens to me and does as he is told... mostly (as best as a 6 year old (with aspergers) can do.) But when it comes to his Dad, it's like he ignores his request or answers back with a logical explanation as to why he should/shouldn't be doing what's being asked.

It doesn't help that hubs uses rather sarcastic or rhetorical questions sometimes (almost in the hope Carson'll 'get them') and Carson, being the way he is, just answers them literally. I think it's getting to the point where we need some help as to how to deal with Carson as a team because, frankly, it's killing me off.

To see hubs say something like "say that one more time Carson and you'll be on that naughty step" and Carson to simply repeat what it was he wasn't to repeat... because he took it as a request to do so. This gets hubs very annoyed, and then Carson answers him back with the logical explanation of "you told me to say it one more time"... and around in circles we go.

Hubs doesn't have much patience with him at all. When I raise my concerns to him, he thinks I'm picking on him and ganging up on him with Carson. It gets to the point where if, for example, he takes something from Carson as punishment for something - hubs asks me to "stick up for him" without me even being involved in the first place. *sigh* 

Seriously? How long is this going to last, because it's wearing me down BIG time.

I don't think I've ever written a proper post regarding Carson's autistic assessments - I don't feel it's necessary to do so. In fact, it annoys me a little when I read posts that are designed to set their children aside from others just because they are autistic. I'm all for dismissing it until I have to explain it to others to be honest.
Not belittling the condition one bit here by the way, I'm just saying he's just Carson. My Carson. Not 'autistic Carson' or 'my Aspergers' son'. 

He's incredibly clever - reading and writing at less than 2 years old and talks like he's been here before (his vocab shocked the consultant paediatrician!), oh, and never forgets a past date/occasion. He shocked us all late last year, by recalling a specific day and date in March 2012 and telling us what we got for breakfast, where we went etc... totally bizarre, but I wouldn't have it any other way! His quirks are what make him just Carson. But are these quirks the cause of this daily headache, or is it just kids being kids vs fathers being fathers?

I am, basically, just sounding off here to be honest. I suppose I just want to know if this happens in all households or just mine, purely because of Carson's condition?

If it happens to everyone... any tips for stopping this male horn locking? I can't be doing with it three-fold when Fin gets to Carson's age too. God help me!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Week 10: weigh in!

I've had over a month (almost 6 wks!) of not weighing in, or dieting,  or exercising... and a brewery's worth of booze. Wow, bereavement turns everything upside down. You somehow manage to find money that you wouldn't normally be able to, just to source 10 smokes and a bottle of red. Every night.

Gaaaah. I'd been doing so so well. Had the determination and grit of a salmon upstream, but it all wilts away. Doesn't matter what you want, your mind takes over at such a tough time. Stupid mind.

Having such an immediate family history of stroke in severeal members,  both ischemic and haemorrhagic, and one now fatal in my poor dad, I have to get a grip. Boozing, smoking,  overweight. It's a joke. I have to sort myself out. So, sorry mind, it's my way from now on in. I'm packing the smokes in (i normally only smoke when i drink but recently i'd gone back to it full time - no more.) and I'm back to weightloss street.

With that in mind I weighed in this morning...


Week 10 Weight Loss Results 
Start weight: 17st 5.8lb
Current weight: 16st 6.2lbs
Total Loss: 13.6lbs

I'm pleased (and VERY surprised) to report that I haven't put any weight on in my month/5.5 weeks off,  in fact I lost weight.

Ok so it's only 0.4lb but I am so shocked not to have bloated and ballooned after the drink and crap quick meals. Weird.

Onwards and upwards, wish me luck xxx

ASDA are doing 2 for £14 Toys!

Ok, dare I say it... the C word? Gaaahh.... Christmas is around the corner! If you're on maternity leave like me at the moment, you'll be tearing your hair out wondering how you're going to afford everything. 

When I received an email about the 2 for £14 at ASDA though, I breathed a little sigh of relief. At the equivalent of £7 each, you can't really go wrong can you? Most of the toys in the promotion are around £10 each individually so there are massive savings to be had. 


The range includes VTech, Little Tikes, Nerf, Fisher Price, Play-Doh and more. Exactly the kind of stuff that kids are wanting for Christmas. The six pictured above would be perfect for Carson and Finley, and all plus change from 50 quid. 

I'm one happy mummy!

So even if you're not thinking about Christmas just yet, next time you're thinking about keeping the kids entertained now that the summer holidays are out, this promotion might just save your sanity. Perhaps stock up for those kids' birthday parties that your little one's get invited to just before Christmas (you know, when you least expect the extra expense!)

Soulmatefood & the 3 day taster box *REVIEW*

Soulmatefood are an outfit that create menus designed to fit your goals. Whether you want to lose weight (MEEE!), you want to maximise your protein intake for a heavy gym regime, or you simply want to boost your energy levels, their menus cater for anyone, whilst ensuring everything is fresh, handmade and great tasting. 
"Innovative lifestyle menus, hand created for the individual and delivered straight to your front door. Soulmatefood is about being healthy, inside and out. Gourmet, delicious and nutritious meals and snacks prepared specifically for you, whatever your goal. This is health food, but not as you know it."
They offer a 6 day trial at £150, which does sound expensive for one person's food for the week, but I was sent a 3 day taster box in order to try it for myself and see if I think it's worth it

The package arrived in a HUGE polystyrene box filled with coolant, as each and every meal is freshly prepared and must be refrigerated immediately. The package comes complete with a personalised 3 day menu to ensure you get the best out of each dish. Now, bear in mind that I am interested in their weightloss menu, not the sportsman or gym fanatic, and you will be shell-shocked at how much I actually got. 


Portioned into breakfast, a.m snack, lunch, p.m snack and dinner, your entire day's worth of meals is complete. Not one single added extra is needed, bar your drinks. 
Each meal is in a microwavable container and labelled with the meal name, date it should be eaten and for what meal of the day it is for. 
Should the meal require cooking, it has instructions on how to heat on the label too! 

I've collated a day's worth in a picture for you below to see exactly what I mean...


Being absolutely honest, I actually found one complete day's worth a food stupendously filling. I was bursting! More so than I normally would be, not dieting! That said, if I was working and not on maternity leave, my days would be a whole lot longer so the large portions and filling meals would be more welcoming and appreciated. They really choose their ingredients wisely and the diet is incredibly satisfying. 

My favourite dishes from the 3 day plan were the Chicken Tikka Fajita Pizza, Pulled Pork Goulash and the Healthy Avacado Chocolate Cookies.



Chicken Tikka Fajita Pizza
Quite simply one of the tastiest 'pizza's' I've ever had. I've even made this myself a couple of times since (albeit nowhere near as good). It wouldn't be fair of me to give you a recipe/ingredients because this, I'm sure, makes Soulmatefood stand out from the rest. Mmmmm!! I cooked it in the tub then shuffled it out onto the plate, it was HUGE, with what must have been at least a breast of chicken. The picture above shows you how loaded with ingredients it was and I took a picture half way through to give an idea of size.

Pulled Pork Goulash
Perfect for a chilly autumnal evening, this rich tasting tomato based goulash is loaded with courgette, onions and pulled pork - plenty of it! The bowl was filled to the brim and made for, another, substantial meal.

Healthy Avacado Chocolate Cookie.
Well, I have never had a cookie so moist and tasty as this before. The consistency was more like a brownie and you didn't get just one - but two! Great snack!

Oh, and the frugal side to me wants to tell you that the labels can be removed from the containers, and because the containers are such a sturdy quality (not like the flimsy ones from a chinese takeaway!) they can be washed and kept as spare storage for your own cooking. That in itself is worth a few quid!

As far as weightloss goes, 3 days isn't long enough to gauge any true reflection on weight, but when you look at how few carbs coupled with how much protein there is in the meals, I can imagine this to be very effective indeed.



I really enjoyed the 3 day taster box. I tried foods I never have done before, like Quinoa (on crusted salmon). The dishes were fresh, filling and a delight to consume. Definitely restaurant quality and you get what you pay for. 
Don't just take my word for it, there's a whole bunch of celebs and sports personalities that swear by Soulmatefood too.

And for the Juicer's out there, Soulmatefood don't just offer meals, but Juice diets - from 1 day to 5 day plans, just select JUICE DIET from the Menu.

To thank you all for checking out my review, Soulmatefood have kindly offered some massive discounts to you. Simply use the following:

10% off all food plans
(excluding Taster Box and Ultimate Summer Detox.)
Code: CARSONSMUMFOOD

50% off all juice plans
Code: CARSONSMUMJUICE

Will you be having a go? xx

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine #Babyologist *REVIEW*

Receiving a phone call a couple of weeks ago informing me that I'd been chosen as an official #Babyologist for Babies 'R' Us, I cannot tell you how excited that made me! I love the idea of testing things out that I wouldn't normally think about using myself. Over my years blogging, I have found some serious gems that I use religiously thanks to have finding them through either my blog or other people's blogs.

My very first task as a Babyologist was to try out the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine which normally retails at £99.99. My initial thoughts were that it best had be good for that amount of money, it's not something I would ever have thought about spending when I could just do this for making bottle instead. Anyway, I'd heard some pretty good things and was eager to give it a whirl.

USING THE PERFECT PREP MACHINE.

Setting up the Perfect Prep Machine was as simple as running a few jugs of water through the tank before adding the filter cartridge, and then running water through once more. It's straight forward, making for a very easy set-up for such a clever little gadget!

The idea behind the Perfect Prep machine is that you get the perfect temperature bottle made with filtered water in less than 2 minutes. I put it to the test...

1. Choose the number of ounces you require on the round dial and press the big start button! The light will flash red whilst in action.

2. The machine will beep once a small proportion of hot water (a 'hot shot') has been dispensed. At this point, remove the bottle and add the corresponding scoops of formula needed to the ounce bottle required.

3. Screw a lid on to your bottle and shake! 

4. Place the bottle back on the stand and press the button. It will go from Red to Green (shown below) as the cooler water starts to fill the bottle.

5. A final beep will sound when the bottle is finished. Wallah! Done! Complete! Success! 

I double check the bottle on my wrist after each prepared bottle just to be sure and true to it's name it's perfect, every time.
bottle compatibility tommee tippee perfect prep machine

HANDY TIPS.

Compatible bottles - The Good
It's important to tell you that you can use any brand of bottle with this machine, it doesn't have to be tommee tippee. So if you've already bought all of your baby bottles and you feel this wouldn't be worth your while because of that, have no fear! The stand is easily adjustable with just two simple hooks slotting into holes at different heights.


Compatible bottles - The Bad
I would advise, however, that you don't use a tall slim bottle. It fits just fine, but because the inital 'hot shot' is so hot, the scoops of formula become conjealed in the neck and on the scoop. You may not get the correct amount of formula required.
Finley loves his closer to nature bottles as well as the tall tommee tippee bottles. What I end up doing it prepping the feed into a jug and transferring it into the tall bottle instead. It's not much bother at all, just remember that the jug should be sterile as well as the bottle!


Think about sterilisation
Another aspect to note - I wouldn't bother with a microwave steriliser if you have this wonderful machine. You won't be sterilising at full capacity because once a microwave steriliser is opened, you need to prep the bottles within 4 hours - not going to happen because you don't need to bulk make any more.

Instead, I have a cycle. An it's a bloody good cycle too, if I do say so myself! I wash my bottles, place them onto my drying rack. I have a single bottle in my tidy little coldwater steriliser and take out when ready to use the Perfect Prep Machine. Whilst the bottle is finishing, I pop another dry bottle into the steriliser ready for next time. And so the cycle goes on... simplicity at it's best!

Spare Parts
Spare filters are £8.99 each, I would keep one in, ready for when the light tells you it needs replacing. You are not going to want to have to revert back to kettle making bottles whilst you wait to buy one.


FINAL THOUGHTS.

The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine has made my life a bajillion times easier. No waiting for the kettle to cool for 30 minutes before being able to get started, no messing around cooling down or warming up bottles in jugs of water, no bulk making bottles taking 20+ minutes at a time. It's just incredible.

I'm sorry I didn't purchase one of these from birth - the night feeds especially would have been a breeze. It speaks volumes to say that Finley is nearly 5 months old and weaning yet I love this so very much, imagine how much more time I could have saved and how much easier this could have made my life had I have had it 5 months ago?

If £99.99 sounds out of your budget, you're in luck because Babies 'R' Us have an offer at the moment where it's just £69.99. Incredible price. If it's still a little steep, my honest advice would be to ask friends or family to chip in and buy this as your baby gift. I wish I did. I truly, truly do.

Don't miss out on one of the most innovative products I have ever had the pleasure of using.

Final word: AMAZING.

DISCLAIMER: I WAS SENT THIS FOR PURPOSE OF REVIEW. I WAS NOT PAID TO WRITE THIS POST AND ALL OPINIONS AND VIEWS ARE MY OWN, OPEN AND HONEST AS ALWAYS. 

The Flying Bath by Julia Donaldson *Review*

Carson Book Worm! Carson is a book worm. Plain and simple.

If he ain't reading the dictionary (really!) or Horrid Henry he ain't happy!

But because he reads sooo much, I try to slip in bright, simple picture books for enjoyment.
It gives us more to talk about at the end, mainly because you have to make of the storyline what you can, given the mix of limited words and incredibly detailed pictures. Brings out a bit of imagination in our budding readers!

The Flying Bath by Julia Donaldson, and illustrated by David Roberts, is just that kind of book. So when I was offered the chance to review it, I took it up with glee.

Julia is a well-known children's author famous for the likes of The Gruffalo and The Monkey Puzzle, which we already own. I presented the book to Carson when it arrived and the very first thing he said was "Julia Donaldson, I've read her before!"

The Flying Bath is a lovely little story.

The house is empty and everyone's gone... time to have some fun and save some friends out of their varying muddles.

Carson believes that the story means everyone should have water whenever they need it, whatever they need it for, so we should all help each other in having it. (Profound for a 6 year old!)

Loving the rhyme.
He particularly loves the rhyming in this book, which is cleverly split between different characters' dialogue, so not always immediately apparent. He found this brilliant! Finley listened intently when Carson was reading this and was mesmerised by the imagery. I can't wait to read this to him when he's a little bit older!
Super Excited!
Check out the trailer on the YouTube video. I personally think The Flying Bath would make a great cartoon series myself. What do you think?!



The Flying Bath book itself is hardback with a plastic outer cover. I find hardbacks make an excellent gift for a special little someone in your life. Consisting of 32 bright and colourful pages, it has rather large dimensions of 25cm x 28cm - easier for little hands to turn the pages. 

The Flying Bath retails at £11.99 and is available from Macmillan Publishing Group. 
You can visit their online shop here.

DISCLAIMER: WE WERE SENT THIS BOOK FOR THE PURPOSES OF REVIEW. WE WERE NOT PAID TO WRITE THIS POST AND ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN, OPEN AND HONEST AS ALWAYS.

#BetterwithBRITA: The Three Winners

You may remember I blogged a few times regarding the #BetterWithBRITA campaign, where budding bakers and curious cooks were encouraged to put their recipes forward for a chance to sell their own produce to the masses at Big Feastival.

Each of the entrants used filtered water to get the best taste possible and we were delighted to see a wide range of recipes in the top 10 shortlist.

On 31st July a live cook off was held where the 10 finalists had were invited to cook for a panel of five expert judges. From crusty pies to decorative cupcakes, Rebecca from delicious magazine, Felicity from Big Feastival, Fiona from the Kids' Cookery School, Lucy from BRITA and Karen from Lavender and Lovage had a tough time choosing their favorite three recipes.


The votes have been counted and the three winners were....


Emily's cupcakes
At 15 Emily was the youngest person to enter the competition. Emily used to run her own baking website, Emily's Home Bakes, but gave it up to concentrate on her GCSE's. The judges were impressed with the bespoke cupcakes she designed for each of the judges, especially a miniature BRITA water jug made out of icing.

Alex's gluten-free brownies
Alex created his gluten-free brownies after discovering that there was a lack of sweet treats available for his gluten intolerant sister. He's passionate about people enjoying food and wanted to get the best out of his ingredients by using BRITA filtered water. The judges loved the moist chocolate centre of the brownies, as well as the interesting addition of peanut butter.

Rekha's samosas
Rekha's samosas are handcrafted, from the spices to the pastry, to ensure a perfect parcel of taste. Her creations are a favorite amongst her local farmers markets as people love her Indian cooking style. She's a perfectionist cook and ensures a golden glow by using the best ingredients, including BRITA filtered water.

The three winners received a BRITA tap to enable them to continue to discover the results of cooking with filtered water and they us#BetterWithBRITA tap at the cook-off. BRITA taps are the most convenient way to get filtered water in the kitchen (and I want one!)

Each winner were able to follow their dreams and sell their creations at the Big Feastival, supported by BRITA at the brand's stand, for one day between 31st August and 1st September.

I hope you had a fantastic time, a great big batch of your creations can be sent to "Carson's Mummy..." hehe!

Honestly, they look fab - great work and well deserved. Well done winners! 

BRITA can be found at www.brita.co.uk for loads more news, views and products. 

The #MorningWin Challenge with Britmums and belVita

Is there anything worse than things just not going your way first thing in the morning? We've all had days like it, there's no denying it, and that's why the small little victories count when it comes to a #morningwin.

Britmums and belVita have challenged us mums to finding those little gems of glory that make all the difference, and I think I've got the winning combo for fighting off those "wrong side of the bed" comments.

The radio alarm goes off and your favourite tune is just starting, making you smile the second you wake - there's no way you'll hit the snooze button now! #morningwin

You turn to get out of bed, a crack in the curtains make for a ray of sunshine bursting through, ahhhh! #morningwin

The kids awake, not screaming or arguing, but sleepy eyed, smiley and wanting morning cuddles, for a change. #morningwin

A good hair day ;) always a #morningwin!

No spillages or toothpaste drips on those fresh clean uniforms #morningwin

Biscuits for breakfast (cheers belVita!) Now in three fantastical new flavours to suit the nutty, the fruity and chocolatey amongst us: Chocolate Chip, Hazlenut and Apricot. #morningwin

Baby poops before you have to leave the house to do the school run, with plenty of time to change! #morningwin

Pleasant people passing you by. This is a massive #morningwin for me. You can see how infectious someone's pleasantness can be, just going off of an old facebook status! *See at foot of post*

belVita help make breakfast more convenient, whilst offering slow release carbs to keep you full 'til lunch.

My favourite flavour are the choc chip, with a nice cuppa. They don't look to have many choc chips in them, but their flavour really comes through. The hazelnut ones are gorgeous with a coffee, dunked in. It's like having hazelnut flavoured coffee.

The biscuits are crunchy but taste kind of milky at the same time and they are a really good size. I was surprised that you get 3 in each packet portion because I wouldn't normally eat 3 biscuits that large in any one sitting - so naughty!

Sometimes the small little snippets of morning satisfaction are a coincidence, other times they are self made (pre-bribing the kids the night before "be good in the morning"!).

But often, your victories can be made better by others - which means you can make someone else's morning too.

Be a little calmer, give a little smile. Remember that you can make a difference to someone else's morning. That, in itself, is the biggest #morningwin for me! I'll leave you with the perfect example...


 This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. 
Learn more at http://bit.ly/belVitaUK

Tiffany Rose: Not Just For Bumps! #WIN

You may remember, I was lucky enough to choose and review a Tiffany Rose dress of my choice when I was feeling pretty down on how my bump was hard to style. I'd never felt more glam, despite that 'ready to burst' inevitability. Check out the original review here before reading on.

You're probably wondering why I'm still buzzing about their beautiful range of dresses, given that I've not been pregnant for nearly 5 months now. Well, as my husband predicted in my first review, you really don't need to have a bump for these dresses to look incredible. The fact that they are 'no fuss' in terms of zips/buttons etc, mean they can comfortably mould to your shape, without exposing any unwanted lumps/bumps due to the high quality modesty lining.

Check this picture out below, the Eden Gown in Arabian Nights (RRP £169) both with and without a bump.


I adore my gown and I'm waiting for an occasion to wear it again. (What can I say, it's too good for the grocery shopping) I have a very important meal to attend towards the end of October so I'll wear it then. I'm going to feel and look just as good as I did at 35 weeks pregnant... Only this time, without the waddle and the ability to strut my stuff!

The New Arrivals are in at Tiffany Rose and I have been super lucky enough to offer one of my readers a prize. Not just any old prize, oh no.... One winner can choose a dress of their choice to the value of £180. Yep! One of you lovelies can get your hands on one of these brilliant gowns. All you need to do is complete the following via the Rafflecopter widget below:

Visit Tiffany Rose and comment on this post with the link/title of the dress you wish to receive should you be the luck winner.
Please also tell me why you have chosen that dress. 
THIS ENTRY IS MANDATORY. 

Amelia Dress (£169)
My fave from the new arrivals would probably be this beautiful Amelia Lace Dress, in black. A timeless classic for any event. Just gutted I can't enter this giveaway myself now!

Extra entries can be gained for the following:
1. Like Tiffany Rose via Facebook
2. Follow Tiffany Rose on Twitter
3. Like Coming from Carson's Mummy on Facebook
4. Follow me on Twitter
5. Comment on the original review with your thoughts on the Eden Gown
6. Tweet about the giveaway
7. Share the giveaway
8. Follow my blog for more news, reviews and general excitement.
9. Follow Tiffany Rose on Pinterest
10. Follow me on Pinterest

Winner's details will be passed on to Tiffany Rose in order for the prize to be fulfilled. Giveaway closes at 11.59pm Friday 24th October. Any incomplete entries will not be counted. THIS IS OPEN WORLDWIDE!

Good luck!






OfferOasis.co.uk - Competitions and Freebies in the UK Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - Competitions UK at AllUKCompetitions.com
As seen at Magic Freebies - Free Stuff, Competitions & More 

#BabyBabble... plus last week's winner announcement!

So, last week was the first #BabyBabble in 4 weeks and boy did we have some good'uns!

Thanks for your lovely comments as to why I was absent too, I appreciate them more than you'll ever know and it is incredibly comforting to know that my bloggery e-friends will always be there for me, just as I will with any of you guys. Ahhhh, such love!!

There were only 6 linked up, which was to be expected after being quiet for so long. But, as promised I will give away a sweet-cone (yaaaay, sweeties!) and I've used Random.org to decide the lucky winner....

Number 5 which was Loved by Mummy's lovely post about Osian finding his feet, go have a read of that one here if you haven't already. The picture is unbelievably adorable. Well done Catriona my lovely!

This week I'm linking up a post I published earlier this morning. It's all about Carson and Finley being brothers and how they react to each other *warning: heart warming piccies included!*

You know what to do... comment on the first post linked, which is mine - marked HOST, then add your own to the list making sure to either grab the badge below or linking back to this post on your own post. I comment and socially share each and every one... and one of you will win again next week - hurrah!

GO GO GO!!


#BabyBabble

Remember, sharing is caring. 
So go ahead and tweet, facebook, g+ or scream from the rooftops. 
Spread the word to get your posts seen on this weeks linky!


Brotherly Love... Part 2!



I posted a piece a couple of weeks ago 3 months ago (wow, how time truly flies!), depicting the love that Carson had for Finley in those first 6 weeks. How he wanted to both hush and huggle him, how he wanted to always help. There are some incredible shots of them bonding over on that post (here if you want to see)

Well, 3 months on - have things changed? Well....

Talking away to each other on the floor!

Finley idolises Carson, he really does. He stares at him, squeals with excitement/for attention from him when he's in the room, genuinely chuckles his heart out at him and goes eerily still and silent if he sings. It's just fantastic. Me and hubby always say that Finley loves Carson waaaay much more than us, He is simply fascinated.

Puppet Show Central!

As for Carson, he just gets on with things and includes Finley without even having to be asked. I was in the kitchen the other day and he comes in "Mum... Fin can hold a pencil and is drawing with me!!" I thought awww, cute. Then panicked a split second later that Carson had fed him a pencil, bursting through into the living room to find him just sat there in his bouncer - with nothing at all.  Carson was fibbing, but it's a sign that he was 'pretend playing' with him whilst drawing.

Giving him brekky!
Have things changed, almost 3 months on from my first Brotherly Love installment... I, personally, think that this next picture picture just answers that question.


NAAAH!!

Coconut Water Craze - Vita Coco Kids Review

Asked if I'd like to sample a drink for kids with less sugar than other popular kids' drinks this summer... let me tell you I jumped at the chance. The summer holidays are full of non-stop activity knowing no bounds as it is, never mind with the littluns being super charged on sugary drinks. Urgh.

Now that the kids are back at school, it's nice to treat them to a drink when they finish - that isn't going to bloat them before tea, but isn't just water (because that's just booorrrrrinnnnng!)

Vita Coco Kids drinks are actually 20% less sugary than other popular kids' drinks and made from coconut water blended with natural fruit flavourings and water, with no added colourings or preservatives, making it a natural source of hydration for children.

Vita Coco Kids cocounut water flavours
Mango and Pineapple; Apple and Blackcurrant

They come in 2 flavours, mango & pineapple and apple & blackcurrant. My fave is the mango & pineapple - oh so refreshing! Seriously, these things quench thirst like nothing else!

Carson loves them both and my nephew Tyler preferred the apple & blackcurrant. Each to their own I guess, but everyone who tried some of my huge sample box liked it - regardless of the flavour tried. It says a lot really because my husband was repulsed at the thought of coconut water, until I made him asked him to try some 'purleeease!', and he exclaimed, in surprise, that it doesn't taste like coconuts at all - just squash! (See... trust the mummy and you will win!!)

Vita Coco Kids Enjoyment Coconut Water Craze
Happy Chappy's!

In tetra-paks, I got excited that they look like those juices you can freeze, so I popped a few of each flavour in the freezer. OM NOM NOM!!! They turn out perfect, no watering down of the flavour as they slowly melt in these blissfully warm late summer's afternoons - that we are still having in late September.

Vita Coco Kids Frozen Lolly's
Frozen Vita Coco Kids!

These sell for £2.99 for a pack of 4, or 2 packs for a fiver at Tesco's but I have managed to find packs of 4 selling at £2 in Waitrose, which is much more like it! Not too shabby at 50p a pop but I don't think I'd pay any more than that, simply due to having to tighten my purse-strings on maternity leave.

You can learn more about Vita Coco Kids on their website, or follow them over on  twitter or facebook for competitions, news and information. 

Safe to say that these were a hit for Carson and my nephew Tyler, they really were very much enjoyed, especially when asked to express what they thought!
"These cheeky monkey's (ref to packaging!) are just lovely. My favourite is the blackcurrant. It's weird that they're white not purple when turned into a lollyice too. I love them. Thanks mum!" Carson, age 6
"Can I have another one please Jo?" Tyler, age 4

Hahah... cheeky monkey's indeed ;-)


DISCLAIMER: I WAS SENT THESE SAMPLES FOR PURPOSES OF REVIEW, I WASN'T PAID TO WRITE THIS POST AND ALL OPINIONS ARE, AS ALWAYS, OUR OPEN AND HONEST VIEWS.

#BabyBabble is back, with a chance to win each week!!

#BabyBabble has been away for a few weeks due to the very very difficult time I've been going through recently. I hope you all understand?
I'm getting back to it now and will be blogging more than ever by this time next week so for this week, as a warmer-upper, I'm going to link to an oldie. (You can too you know, don't feel pressured to write something new every week!)

As of next week, I will not only be commenting on and socially sharing each and every post linked up, I will be awarding one random blog linked up with a treat in the post right up until Christmas! By way of thanking you for sticking with me, regardless of the last 3 weeks off.

First little treat will be a sweetcone from Kings Gift Baskets (over on facebook HERE). You can enjoy it yourself, share it with the family, or even put aside for a stocking filler for your littlun. 

Laaaaverly!

So, grab the badge (or link back, whatever you prefer), comment on the post marked "HOST" and at least 3 others and then link yourself up!

#BabyBabble

Remember, sharing is caring. 
So go ahead and tweet, facebook, g+ or scream from the rooftops. 
Spread the word to get your posts seen on this weeks linky!






August Winner Announcements...

Guys... So sorry to have kept you all waiting for the last few competition winners. As I'm sure you're all aware, I have been away from the blog for a good couple of weeks due to a very difficult time, which you can read about here if you wish.

Without further delay, here we go...



The 2 winners of the Spilly Spoons are:
> Kay Panayi
> Claire Thomson Little

The 3 winners of the Easybelt giveaway are:
> Kay Lou Smith
> Sid Wales
Rebecca Mpb Phillips

The winner of the £20 amazon voucher is:
> Heather Haigh

The winner of the Theraline Baby Pillow is:
> Tracy K Nixon




Emails will be on their way to you shortly. Mega congratulations to you all!!


For anyone who did not win, don't be discouraged. 

There's always a competition to enter on Coming from Carson's Mummy, just head over to the COMPETITIONS page. 
There's currently an opportunity to win a Shnuggle bath HERE!


The Worst Day Of My Life (PLEASE NOTE: Some readers may find distressing)

Wednesday August 20th, my hubby's 30th birthday. We were getting over a bug we'd had the day before when the house phone rang. Carson picked it up as I said to leave it and he ended up hanging up on the poor caller! 15 minutes later it rang again and it was my Dad. It had been him last time too, he just assumed I was busy.

Dad had had the dentist that morning. He thought it was an extraction of his last top tooth and getting his new falsies. OMG he hated his teeth (real or false - teeth just freaked him out!) He'd already been texting me whilst he'd been waiting to go in - admitting he was "brickin' it" and terrified he was going to come out looking like Duane Dibbley! (This was a truly devastating prospect for Dad, he thought he was Clooney, or Magnum - in that cringey Dad kinda way).

Anyway, he was calling to say it was just an imprint again today so there was no need to pop down to show me his new goofy look! He wished hubby happy birthday, asked if we were having any drinks that night to celebrate, told me he'd see me at the weekend (we had a bank holiday bbq planned) and ended the call saying he was staaaarving and off to have a bacon butty.

Hubby and I had nowt planned bar a special home cooked tea (if we could stomach it!) so I decide to blog a bit and let him chill out with full control of the remote control whilst Finley was sleeping and Carson was playing in his room.

So, I am happily going through my #BabyBabble linky and commenting away after already scheduling the next one to go live on the Thursday. I pop my laptop down on the floor, thighs burning from the heat of the fan, about to brew up before I continue on with the rest of my blog posts. I was sooo in the mood and had really made progress this day, writing 4 posts and drafting another 3 ready for the coming days.

Then my mobile rang. "Mum Calling". Weird. She was meant to be in work.

"I've had a call to say Dad's collapsed" ... I honestly thought she meant Grandad - her Dad, so I corrected her and she said "No. Dad". 

My heart skipped a beat for a second but I thought nah, it'll be heat exhaustion or something. He worked his arse off, my Dad did. Mum said she was on the way to the hospital as the Doctor said he'd prefer to tell her in person, don't rush up - he said - but just as soon as you can.  I wanted to say "that doesn't sound good" but it came out like a sob because this was truly weird. Dad was never ill. EVER! 

I finished the call and smoked 3 fags in 10 minutes. The longest 10 minutes of my life. Just waiting to hear back from Mum with the visiting times etc and to tell me what was wrong.

Well, I got that call and it was my brother, so I sighed a little for relief thinking Mum's with Dad so Chris is letting me know what's what. I answered and there was a brief period of silence. Then crying. My brother doesn't cry. "It's not good Jo, you need to get up here" I asked what he meant and he said that "the Doc has said to get the family in"

What in the fuck was going on? He was fine a couple of hours ago, just normal Dad. What could have happened that was so bad for them to make us think the worst? I still didn't believe that part by the way. I thought, in my heart of hearts, that they were preparing us for the worst 'just in case'. Didn't stop me crying like no one's business. 

Hubby ran round to his Mum's with the kids whilst I gave my friend our address for a lift to the hospital asap. Carson, being the sensitive little boy he is, asked me what was wrong. I genuinely didn't know what to say and I ended up actually being very straight with him: "Is there anything you'd like me to give or tell grandad? He's not very well and might die today". Harsh as it sounds, I think it was the best thing for him. 
He ran upstairs and came back down with a teddy bear "Tell him - Don't die Grandad, love Carson. PS. I will need my teddy back so bring him home with you. PPS I love you and don't worry"

I arrived at the hospital around 25 minutes after that. Greeted by my brother at A&E. I took one look at him and thought that maybe I should be believing the worst. 

Straight into a Family Liaison room the rest of my family had made it before me, I was the last to arrive. A lady came in and said "the man" .. err, you mean my Dad please... was ready if we wanted to go and see him before the Doctor speaks to us all and moves him. So we all went in to the little curtained cubicle that he was in. He was just snoring with a tube in his throat! I was worried there'd be visual damage because, don't forget, at this point I still had NO idea what was wrong or what had happened. Apart from a tube in his throat he was fine. There's no way he wasn't waking up, there was nothing bloody wrong with him!

Back to the Family Liaison room where a neurologist comes in. Bottom line is, Dad had suffered a catastrophic intracerebral haemorrhage (basically a massive stroke caused by bleeding inside your brain.) The neurologist had consulted 8, EIGHT, other neurologists at specialist hospitals and they all agreed that there was nothing that they could do. The damage had been done, it couldn't have been stopped never mind be recovered from. 

My amazing Dad, turned just 51 years old 8 days prior, fit as a butcher's dog, was to die within the next couple of hours.

He was transferred to ITU where Mum, my two sisters, brother and I were taken aside and had it all re-explained. Best to have the decision to turn his machine off than leave it too late and not have the decision at all. This still all felt very weird, it was sinking in but I was being rather logical about it and was all "OK, yes". Can't explain it any other way. I guess I was in shock, numb, going through the motions. 

Although he was comatose and we'll never definitely know if he knew we were with him, we all spoke, cuddled and kissed him. Both alone and grouped together. Let me tell you - I KNOW that he felt us there. Everytime any one of us touched his hand or kissed his face his ECG went from a steady 13 up to numbers like 69 and 88. A doctor advised that this was him trying to breathe for himself as the brain had received a trigger of sorts. This was us! Wow. I am so so happy I saw that with my own eyes. He knew. Consciously or not, his brain knew to react to our tender touch. 

A wonderful lady called Laura offered for us to take a lock of Dad's hair for ourselves or our own kids. Tied with ribbon, in a lovely organza bag, slipped inside a card in an envelope. Touching his hair and cutting a lock was, strangely, such a beautifully, calming, loving act. In a strange way, I'd never felt so close to him than doing that. 
Laura then said she would take handprints for us if we'd like and we were welcome to help too. We took his right hand print first because he had a unique hand to us - his brother had cut his little finger off as a dare when they were kids (we've all laughed at this story for years, they make out that they were cheeky little scamps but imagine if a child did that to asibling these days ha!). As we were about to take his left print, Dad was getting restless and vomited. It wasn't nice to see but Laura was un-phased and continued on with incredible professionalism and compassion. It didn't matter that she was getting covered! Immediately we all knew that Dad was fed up and wanted to be left alone now. He hated attention at the best of times so we were really pushing our luck now! 

The tubes were removed and we all congregated back in his room, awaiting his final breath. I remember it distinctly. It was 5 minutes in and 5 minutes before his heart finally stopped. His shoulders raised, his head slightly turned and the intake sounded a little panicky. But on breathing out, it was like a massive sigh of relief. I find this comforting. Like he was calm, at peace, he was OK. After that breath I don't wish to remember. I'm fighting hard to forget that rapid colour change. I was the one who noted his pulse had stopped. When it did, it was weird. It felt like he'd left the building. I told mum he'd gone and my brother called the doctor. As soon as it was confirmed I kissed his cheek and ran out of the room. Never wishing to remember the latter half of his final 10 minutes.

Haemorrhagic Stroke
Asked if Dad had experienced any symptoms beforehand - no. Not really. Ok so his bacon tasted weird (after he got off the phone to me) and he had a very bizarre, sharp, but brief headache before setting off to work - but it didn't stop him driving in to work or preventing him from talking or anything else. He had been in work for 20 minutes before collapsing mid-stride completely unaware (as far as we have been told) of anything happening to him. He was having a fit of some kind as his work colleagues originally thought it was an epileptic seizure - he was not conscious
For this I will be eternally grateful. 
He knew nothing about it - what he always wanted, and he didn't die alone - what he always wanted.

This doesn't mean to say that all haemorrhagic strokes have no real symptoms. PLEASE remember the F.A.S.T test. Look out for, and take very seriously, the following indicators that someone may have had or is having a stroke:
Face
Arm
Speech
Time to call 999.

You'll never walk alone Dad, and I know now that I never will either. I'll love you forever xxxx

Shnuggle Bath UPDATE & WIN!

Way back when Finley was just 2 weeks old, I started using the Shnuggle bath that I was kindly sent to review.

I told you how I got on, along with Fin's reaction too. And, of course, I shared the most adorable pictures, including Carson being able to get involved in bathtime - a wonderful bonding experience between new siblings. You should probably take a look HERE at my initial review before reading on.

To this day, 4 months on, it remains one of my most used, helpful and important baby must-haves of all my 6+ years as a parent.

At 2 weeks and 14 weeks

It makes for a stress-free bath time and INSTANTLY calms baby. I'm not messing about when I say that either. There have been times when Fin has been screaming the house down, so we prepare his Shnuggle bath and plonk him in. Cue immediate silence!

After 4 months of solid use, it remains in perfect condition. No marks, scratches, wear & tear. It's exceptionally durable and as stable as can be, regardless of baby being larger now than at birth (urm... obviously!). The recommended ages to use the Shnuggle bath is from birth to approximately 6 months. For £30 per unit, I believe it's an absolute steal.

Shnuggle dudes... Please make one for the next size up?! I never want to revert to a normal bath again. Check out how content Finley is in his Shnuggle bath now...

At 4 months
I cannot recommend enough the Shnuggle bath! I've told everyone and anyone who'll listen to me - go get one - you really will not believe how much easier it will make things at bath time!

The awesome guys at Shnuggle have provided a mint green bath worth £30 for me to give away to one of my lovely readers. Just enter via the rafflecopter widget below and GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C's
>All entrant's email addresses will be passed to Shnuggle so they can let you know about any future competitions along with details of their innovative product range. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time, but I don't think you'll wanna!
> There is one mandatory entry method, and that is to leave a comment answering the question posed within the rafflecopter widget.
> Additional entries are available but must be completed within the rafflecopter widget for them to count.
> Every entry via every method will be checked and verified.
> Any entrant found falsifying an entry will be disqualified prior to draw.
> Prize is one Mint Green Shnuggle bath rrp £30.
> Prize will be dispatched from Shnuggle, by Shnuggle and we ask that you allow up to 28 days for delivery.
> Competition ends 09/10/2014 11:59pm and the winner will be informed via email shortly afterwards.
>Winner must respond to notification of win within 7 days before another draw is made.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Welcome!

Welcome!