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Two little gymnasts

move dancewear baya

kiki move dancewear leotard review

baya move dancewear leotard

Kiki and Baya have been going to gymnastics for over a year, we spent a good six months on the waiting list before that, and even before that Kiki especially kept asking when she could go, and was constantly climbing, tumbling, rolling all over the house.

It’s safe to say both girls love it. As we home-school, I like them to take part in a few extra curricular classes – especially some sporty type ones, as P.E is the hardest thing to do at home! Our girls aren’t ones to sit around all day watching TV, they’re always on the move, but so many children do need to get more exercise. We were really lucky to get places at our gym club, they train to Olympic standards and really encourage the girls. Saturday afternoon is our gym time – two classes in a row meaning this Mama gets two hours to sit and read whilst watching them!!

The physical benefits of doing gymnastics include increased strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, and artistry. Also, according to Michael A. Taylor, owner of Gym.Net, the intense movement that takes place in gym opens up neural pathways in the brain, which can lead to increased concentration, focus and success at home, school, and in the gym.

The girls have official club leotards, but they’ve been after some fancy new ones for a while. They’ve seen class mates in pretty coloured, shiny leotards and decided that they needed one too! We took a browse through the leotards at Move Dancewear and after a lot of deliberating they finally decided on these long sleeved, shiny lycra leotards. Baya opted for one in ‘Kingfisher’ and Kiki choose the ‘Purple’.

They arrived really quickly, just one day after ordering. Always a good thing as it means the kiddos don’t have too much time to nag Mama as to how long will it be! Of course, the second we opened the package, we had to try them out! The items came individually wrapped in tissue paper inside a plastic bag, and both were inside a hot pink Move Dancewear tote shopper bag {which Kiki has quickly claimed as her own!}

The actual leotards fitted true to size – I ordered a 4-6 years for Baya and a 8-10 years for Kiki. The style the girls choose has long sleeves and turtleneck, I really like the way that they look on. They have a plastic clasp on the back of the neck to fasten, it’s a little tricky to open and close, especially for younger children. Baya needs help to get in and out of it – a little tricky if she needs a wee in the middle of a class!

The girls are really happy with the leotards, I love the way that they look on, it’s really pretty style. They wore them for their last gym class and several of the other mums asked where we got them from, which is always a good sign!

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week Twenty-Six

52 weeks of gratitude

  1. a very lazy weekend – tired, headachey and just plain in need of a rest, I did pretty much nothing last weekend. Sunday I acutally spent in bed reading almost all. day. long. eeep!
  2. a few hours, just my biggest girlie and me… not often we get time one-on-one and it was lovely
  3. making a start on painting the woodwork – boring, yes, but oh so needed and long overdue! All the window frames and skirting boards in our house were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint… the bathroom is done, Beastie’s room is finished and mine and Papa’s room is nearly there! Looks so much better already!
  4. The little blue-tits who like to play outside my bedroom window in a morning – best thing to see when you’ve just woken up – they’re so cute!
  5. Grateful that the squirrel our cat caught was unhurt, and I managed to get the cat off him and let him run away
  6. Salted Caramel Fudge – thank you Papa and Baya for my treat
  7. being oh so close to have finished my Christmas shopping..
  8. Happy that Baya is better – I hate seeing my girls sick, thankful that she wasn’t <em>too</em> ill and is back to her normal self
  9. Enjoying sunny autumn afternoons in the park with my gang – I made a little video if you want to watch it!
  10. Halloween – the girls are so excited and we have lots planned for today – happy that we can celebrate and have fun altogether.

Christmas is coming……

I know it’s not even November and I said the ‘C’ word ;) But with a baby due three days before Christmas Day, I’m having to be on the ball this year and incredibly organised! I’m trying to get everything ticked off well before December, so I can relax and wait for Beastie to make his arrival without stressing about getting Christmas organsied. My shopping is almost done – just waiting to be wrapped up now! It actually feels good to be almost ready so early – even without a baby, it means I can enjoy the Christmas season without panicking and rushing around, honestly – I hate shopping and even more so when it’s hurried and last minute.

If you walked into my house, you’d probably be able to tell that I’m a big fan of bunting! There is some in most rooms, most of the year! In fact, Papa has told me more than once that it’s hard to tell when I’ve decorated for a birthday/Christmas as the house is always decorated! I needed some new bunting for Christmas, as the old one I’ve been using finally broke last year. I came across this gorgeous wool felt bunting from Jonny’s Sister. I put it up for a test run {though I had to promise Papa that I’d take it back down until a little bit closer to Christmas} – and it looks fab. The best thing though is that it’s double sided – while one side is red felt with ‘Merry Christmas’ spelt out, the other side is white with ‘Happy Birthday’ written on it. I really love the traditional colours of the Christmas side – and the quality is fantastic, the felt is really thick and it looks really well made – I’m sure that we’ll be using it for many years to come.

merry christmas bunting

I use the same tree and decorations every year – a collection I’ve been building up for years of favourite pieces and a few vintage finds. I usually buy one or two new ornaments for the tree each year, or hunt out some new vintage treasures4 to add to our collection. I seem to favour bluey-green shades these days {in fact I just went out to buy a whole new load of tinsel after I couldn’t find the exact shade I wanted last year ANYWHERE – spotted some so I stocked up now!} We also love to make some decorations, bring a little of nature indoors and use things that we find in our garden.

The Christmas Boutique sent me over a box full of decorations and ornaments last week – the girls were excited to open it up and find Christmas goodies already! I’m especially in love with these three little owls, they’ll fit right in with my owl collection! The colours are perfect to fit in with the things that we already have too – I really love the hues of the baubles that we got. Miss Baya seems to have taken a liking to the Alligator – she’s staked a claim to him going in her room already!

christmas boutique owl ornaments

christmas boutique ornaments

How about you? Have you started getting ready for Christmas yet?!

A halloween playlist

I love Spotify! We have a premium subscription so we can use it across all our devices, and it’s so great. I love putting together playlists for specific occasions or moods. We recently discovered a new kids app on Spotify – ‘My Songs’. It features age appropriate music, perfect for parents of small children looking for lullabies at bedtime or music for car journeys, right through to older children who are looking for playlists for parties. We used it to put together a little Halloween playlist to get us in the mood! {You can find the My Songs app by logging into your Spotify account, and clicking on the ‘app finder’ section and look for the yellow smiley face!}

Cloth Nappies FAQ

cloth nappies on washing line

When we first decided to use cloth nappies we got a lot of questions – Aren’t they a hassle? Don’t they create more work? Why would you bother when disposables are so easy? Don’t they cost a lot of money? Thankfully, cloth nappies have come a long way since the days of terry squares and safety pins!

Q// Why do you cloth nappy?
Two main reasons – to help the environment and to save money. Every day in the UK alone, almost 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away. With each nappy taking between 200-500 years to breakdown, that’s an awful lot of waste to sit in landfill. Plus disposable nappies are made of super-absorbent chemicals, paper pulp, plastics and adhesives, while real nappies are mostly made of natural fabrics. I know which I’d rather put on my baby’s skin!

Over the two and a half years the average child is in nappies, it’s estimated you would spend around £900 on disposable nappies, and around £400 on cloth nappies {though I’m guessing that’s if you bought brand new for each child}. Cloth nappies will easily do two or more children, increasing the savings even more. You can also purchase second hand to keep the costs down.

Q// Isn’t it a lot more work?
Not really, once you get in the swing of cloth nappying, it’s essentially only an extra load of laundry every couple of days.

Q// What kind of cloth nappies do you use?
Personally, we mainly use Tots Bots. We’ve tried many different brands/styles of nappies, and found that these work best for us. We’ve found that they fit great and don’t leak. We have a few Motherease in our stash too as well as some Little Lambs. The style of nappy that we use are two part – a cloth nappy and a waterproof wrap that goes over the top. The nappies can be boosted with a liner for extra absorbency. My most favourite of all cloth nappies are the Flufles – which have been discontinued but can still be picked up on second hand nappy sites. They’re really soft, fluffy and absorbent – and kinda look like bubba has a cloud on their bottom! I also prefer to buy the sized nappies as opposed to birth to potty.

Q// Do you cloth nappy exclusively?
Nope. I usually have my newborn in an eco-disposable for the first week or two. Those first few days you really don’t want to be worrying about running out of nappies if you’ve forgotten to throw them in the wash, so we use a disposable while I recover from the birth and we get settled into some kind of normal. I’d also use eco-disposables when we were travelling or away from home for a few or more days. However, I know many hard-core cloth nappy users who even use cloth whilst camping!

Q// How many cloth nappies do you need?
I have around 30 size 1 nappies, which fit up to around 18lbs {anywhere between 5 and 12 months depending on your baby!}. This allows me to wash every other day without running out – a newborn generally goes through 8-12 nappies in a 24 hour period. I have around 6 wraps, as these don’t need to be changed with every nappy change – unless we have a ‘poo-splosion’ I’ll normally only use 1 or 2 wraps a day.

In size 2 we have around 24 – by the time mine are into size two’s, I find that we’re changing them a little less often and we’re settled in a good routine, so 24 is usually enough.

Q// Do they leak?
Cloth nappies shouldn’t leak. If they do, it’s usually because they haven’t been put on correctly, or you need to boost them with another liner so they can absorb more liquid. If you’ve bought brand new nappies, they will need pre-washing a few times first to bring them to their full absorbency.

Q// What else will I need?
Nappy Bucket
Bucket Liner
Wet Bag
Coconut Oil
Washable wipes
Nappy Nippas

We usually use a disposable paper liner, placed inside of the cloth nappy, if baby has pooed it can just be thrown away – meaning no scraping poo of the nappy! We also have a load of fleece liners that do need the poo scraping off and washing.

A nappy bucket is an essential for holding all those nappies waiting to be washed. We use it with a mesh laundry bag, so on wash day we can simply put the whole bag full in the machine rather than having to pick up dirty nappies one by one.

If we’re just popping out for for the day, then I keep them in cloth nappies. I have a wet bag in my change bag all the time to put soiled nappies in until we get home.

Most nappy rash creams are not recommended for use with cloth nappies. Thankfully, most babies in cloth nappies seem to suffer from less nappy rash than those in disposables. I find that plenty of nappy free time usually keeps baby’s bum happy – if they are looking a little sore I use pure coconut oil.

We also use washable wipes – I have a giant pile of baby sized washcloths that I bought specifically for bottom cleaning. I actually use chamomile tea to wash their bum! I have a Tupperware pot with a lid that I keep just for ‘botty wash’ and make up a fresh solution each day. Simply make up a mug of chamomile tea, I leave to brew for five minutes, then pour it into my Tupperware pot and top up with cold water. If they have a sore bottom, I add a drop of tea tree oil and two of lavender essential oil.

Depending on the kind of nappy you choose to use, you may need a Nappy Nippa – a modern day alternative to a safety pin!

Q// How do you wash your nappies?
Wash/spray off any poo that may be on the nappy, then into the nappy bucket until wash day. I put the laundry bag full of nappies into the washing machine. I put them on a 60 degree wash with an extra rinse. I’ve used many different detergents, though to be honest I just usually use the eco-friendly one we use for eveything else. Although I love the sounds of this Tots Bots Potion – Palma Violet scented nappies?! I usually line dry my nappies – a good dose of sunshine does wonders for getting rid of stains and keeping them white! However, living where we do means that sometimes I do have to tumble dry them {a large family’s laundry PLUS nappies when you’ve had day after day of rain gets hard to dry inside!}. If they do go in the dryer, I put them on cool and never dry the wraps in there! Oh – and don’t use a fabric conditioner with your nappies – it will affect their absorbency.

trial kit

Now – if you’d like to start cloth nappying, Tots Bots have kindly offered up one of their Trial Kits to be won! A great way to test out a few different nappies to see which is for you. The kit contains 1 x Teenyfit nappy, 1 x Easyfit V4 nappy, 1 x Bamboozle Stretch size 1, 1 x Stretchy Wrap size 1 and 10 x flushable liners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tips for hosting your first dinner party

hosting your first dinner party

In theory, having your friends and family round to your place for a meal should be a great excuse to relax and enjoy yourself, as well as show off your culinary skills. However, if you’ve never hosted a dinner party before, nerves might start to creep in. To help you avoid any kitchen calamities and hosting hitches, take a look at these top tips.

Get your kitchen in order

Firstly, take the opportunity of staging your first dinner soiree to get your kitchen in order. If you’re to cook up a storm at the stove, you’ll need all the relevant equipment and a good workspace. Plenty of storage is a must in these rooms too. You can buy all the wood cabinets you need online from firms such as Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets. If you’re lacking in square footage, invest in full-height cabinets. They will let you squeeze more into your kitchen without taking up extra floor space.

You’ll also need a good worktop for all your slicing and dicing. It’s worth investing in some nifty kitchen equipment too to save you time and hassle when you’re preparing meals. Items like blenders, potato ricers, mandolin’s and meat tenderisers needn’t cost you much money and they can make cooking much easier. Also, as long as you take good care of them, they can last you for years.

Plan your menu in advance

Another key to dinner party success is to plan your menu well in advance. This will give you plenty of time to buy your ingredients. It also means you’ll be able to practise your dishes.

Make sure you do your food shopping in plenty of time too. The last thing you want is to discover at the last minute that you can’t buy all the ingredients you need.

Avoid the temptation to overcomplicate

When you’re trying to wow friends and family, it’s tempting to plan elaborate edible concoctions. However, resist the temptation to overcomplicate. If you want to be able to relax, spend time with your guests and be an attentive host, it’s better to opt for simple but tasty dishes.

Also, try to opt for culinary creations that allow you to do lots of the preparation in advance. Ideally, you want to do as little as possible cooking-wise when your guests arrive. Dishes like casseroles are ideal for evening soirees. You can leave them to bubble away in the oven while you’re relaxing with your dining companions. Also, chilled desserts that you can make in the morning or even the day before are perfect dinner party fodder.

Make those all-important finishing touches

As well as focussing on your food, make sure your home is up-to-scratch before your guests arrive. Your staging area should be spic and span and free of household clutter. It’s also worth going to the effort of buying some simple table decorations. Candles can make a great addition to your dining area and they will help you to create the ideal ambiance for your meal. Flowers also look superb as a centrepiece. However, if you do opt to include blooms on your table, make sure they don’t obscure your diners’ views of one another.

Before your doorbell rings in the evening, make sure you set aside enough time to grab a shower and beautify yourself too. This will help to put you in the right frame of mind for the evening ahead.

Keep calm

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk that something will go wrong during your dinner party. If it does, whether you spill the soup, burn the burritos or trample on the tart, make sure you keep calm and carry on. As long as your guests have full glasses and a smile on their faces, you can rest assured your dinner party will be a success.