Fed is best!

Janna Bates, 07/20/20180 Comments

Stay and Play – mixed feelings


Why write this post?

I have mixed feeling about what is fun for me and baby. I feel that although the activities are primarily aimed at babies and toddlers, for me it needs to be of interest for us to get ready and leave the house. If it is boring, I lose interest really easily. The good things about stay and play sessions, are that the cost is normally really cheap and better value if you take more than one child, there are normally refreshments which is great, as you do not need to remember your own then! It is also a good way to meet other parents and grandparents, to chat and share experiences. Another bonus is that you pay each time you go, so you do not need to sign up to a course or term. Some of the toys are new and different for my little one to play with and some are similar to what we have already at home.

On the Fence

The reason why I am on the fence is that some weeks there is no-one interesting to talk to, or there are not many babies in the baby area, so no-one for my little one to interact with either. This can mean that the hour and half that they normally last for can be really boring! As the sessions are non-commital it is hard to know who will turn up from week to week, until you become matey with someone, I will not ask for their number, so I just hope the nice ones with be there!

The reason that I go is that I really want my baby to be good at interesting with other children nicely, sharing toys etc and gain social skills from an early age.

One thing that does bother me is that I am not sure how often the toys are cleaned.  One thing that I cannot abide is people who wear their shoes on the baby mats. I really believe people should take them off as shoes can spread germs.

Success Money Exchange Finance Financial Business

Housework and Money Saving Hacks

Why write this post?

Well if you are anything like me, you like a clean house, but hate doing it, and do not have enough time with a social life, family and work. I thought I would therefore, share my hacks to speeding up your jobs!  Plus if you like the good things in life, but they are pricey try some of my other hacks!


House Work Hacks

Cleaning the shower

If you are anything like me, I like to clean it thoroughly, all the walls etc, but cleaning it down can be quite messy and you can get wet, so why not clean the shower while you are in it?! I do that way I save time by showering myself and cleaning it out, and then I do not get my clothes wet!

Cleaning the carpet

Use white vinegar with a carpet cleaning machine, such as vax to remove dirt and odours, it will get rid of all food and drink out of your carpet and make sure there is no mould left in your carpets. For small stains that you want to remove quickly, just use water and washing up liquid.

Shiny chrome fixtures and appliances

If you have chrome curtain poles, light switches, oven, microwave, kettle etc like I do, you can see all your finger prints all over them! I make them shiney again with a little bit of baby oil.

Speed up your ironing

If you have shirts to iron, make sure you hang them on hangers as soon as they come out of the washing machine, this will make them much easier to iron.

Unblock clogged plug holes/drains

You can spend a fortune on expensive drain unblockers, when this is unncessary.  Pour bicarbonate of soda, and then vinegar in roughly equal amounts doen the plug hole, leave for 5 minutes, and hey presto - unblocked!

Clean your chopping board and microwave with lemons!

Yes, its true, you can clean a chopping board with lemons to make sure all of the dirt and smells come out of all of the lines where you have been chopping.  You can also get rid of food smells from your microwave by putting lemons or lemon juice in it and then microwave for 5 minutes. You then have a fresh smelling microwave!

In additon, you can freshen up your fridge by leaving lemons in it too to get rid of the strong food smells!

Get rid of moths

Do you hate when your favourite top has a little hole in it from those pesky moths?! Hang small lavender bags in your wardrobe, and have some lavender plants in your house to get rid of them.


Shopping Hacks

Make your own Real Lemonade

Buy some bottles of sparkling water and add some lemon cordial and hey presto! Easy peasy, and tastes yum, so cheap, and no expensive premade bottles or juice mixers required!

Reduce the number of sponges you buy

Sick of buying sponges or forgotten to buy some new ones?  Blast them in the microwave on a high setting to remove any bacteria!

Discounted food items

Having worked in a supermarket myself, I know that the items going out of date, are discounted at 7pm each evening, so make sure you are there ready to bag a bargain! You can then freeze all of the items.

Money off coupons

The best bargains, are the first time you use a home delivery service with each supermarket, so even if you do not use the service again, some of the introductory offers with the money you save are worth it!

Restaurant Hacks

Free birthday dinners

Sign up to the email communications of your favourite restuarants, many of them off free meals, discounts or bottles of wine/drinks for your special day, plus you often get a couple of weeks to use them so you can try a few!

Best restaurant discounts

The best deals, are when many people cannot afford to eat out, yes you guessed...January. If you do have some spare cash, you can eat like a king and hardly spend anything!

Doggy bags

If you like big value meals, or afternoon tea's many places have boxes so you can take the remainder of your meal home with you to eat another time! Great news that the food will not go to waste, and one less meal to worry about.


Follow your favourite restuarants, pubs and bars on social media sites such as facebook and instagram and enter all of their competitions for free meals.



What is Yoga?

Yoga is a spiritual form of exercise, based around physiology and concentration, it has various forms of techniques of controlling the body and the mind which originated in India around 5000 years ago. 

Yoga has developed over time into these various forms:

1. A meditative approach to discovering perception and cognition, and a release from suffering, inner peace and salvation
2. Raising the expansion of consciousness from oneself to being co-extensive with everyone and everything
3. A path to enlightened consciousness enabling one to comprehend the impermanent (illusive, delusive) and permanent (true, transcendent) reality
4. Yoga's goal as meditation-driven means to liberation in tantric practices

The main types of yoga performed in the UK are:

1. Ashtanga - Systematic exercises and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit

2. Hatha - Focusing on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures described primarily in three texts of Hinduism.

It is advisable to do your research and to choose the type of yoga that suits your needs, as each has a different area of emphasis, such as posture or breathing. Often yoga teachers develop their own style by studying more than one style and merging them together.

No style is necessarily any better nor more authentic than another; the key is to choose a class appropriate for your fitness level and what you want to get out of it.

Health benefits of Yoga

Regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains such as lower back and osteoarthritis, core body & muscle strengthening, depression and stress.

Who is Yoga suitable for?

Everyone, young and old! It is good practice for young children to start thwir lives with to learn to chill out, and for older people it is great for muscle strengthening. People of all fitness levels can do yoga to build up strength & improve flexibility.


Why did I choose Yoga as a form of exercise?

I am not a fan of exercise at all; I hate exercise bikes they hurt my knees; I cannot stand the gym; I hate mud so no winter sports for me; and running is not my thing!

When I was looking for something to do that would be of benefit to me, I came across yoga.

For me I decided to choose something that would feel like I have been to the gym, so I chose Ashtanga.

What did I gain from doing Yoga?

The first time I did yoga I was not sure what I to expect. When you do yoga, you often do not feel like you are actually doing exercise, however afterwards I could feel my muscles aching all over, so I knew that I had done some exercise!

Yoga Mats

It is worth paying for decent mats, as you are on the floor, either balancing on your hands or feet or lying down, so I advise you to make sure that you are protecting your body well. Albeit Manduka mats look like an expensive outlay at first, hwoever they are cheaper than expensive running shoes, and you will use them a lot to practice on, here is the link to the website: https://www.manduka.com/


Other Types of Yoga

1. Pregnancy - this type of yoga is designed to stretch and not strain, and will help you to keep calm and with relaxation and to support with breathing exercises ready for birth. It is a safe way to exercise without straining yourself.

2. Dog - a new trend is to do the yoga poses with your dog and is called Doga, in which traditional Hatha poses are performed. The aim is to seek a more positive attachement and greater harmony with your dog.

3. Mother and Child - simple yoga sessions can be a playful way to help your child keep his/her mind and body balanced, that can strengthen the bond of mother and child, and show from an early age the importance of prioritising mental and physical wellbeing.  They often contain some relaxing massage too! Family yoga sessions, also have the same benefits of strengthening the family relationships and bond.


This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.


Ash End Farm, Staffordshire

All about the farm

The farm is easy to find and well sign posted, with a big car park. It has 2 facilities; the farm itself and a large play barn. We did not use the playbarn as our little one is too young!

The entrance is not well sign posted, however you pay in the shop. It is a nice touch that you can buy a bucket of hay to feed the animals for only fifty pence.

There is a decent number of animals to see, these include farm animals, birds and reptiles, some in their pens and some in fields which is nice to see! For older children there is also a tractor ride, a play area and bouncy castles that you enjoy.



The coffee shop is quite small with a small outdoor seating area too. The selection of food and drink is not the best quality, in fact it has to be worst coffee I have ever tasted!!!

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.


Life is precious

Why write this post?

Having attended 3 funerals recently, it has made me think more about how precious time it. I hate housework, so I have outsourced my ironing; the cleaning and gardening are next! The next thing is how much time each day I spend deleting promotional emails from my inbox from shops I bought something online from once, or restaurants that I do not eat at.  So what I have I done to rectify this? Unsubscribing of course!

The next thing I am doing is decluttering my house of paperwork, clothes and junk that I do not need. A little morbid, but if something happened, family members will need to do this, so I am doing it for them. Getting all of my paperwork in order is also important, as well as updating my will to make sure everything I want for my family is clearly laid out. If you can, I would advise that you write a will and get yourself life insurance to make sure that your family are looked after, and there is clarity on what will happen in the future.

Thinking Differently

Over the years, I have lost many people in my life, old and young, none of these losses are easy, however each one has made me think about how I live my life.  I make the most of everything, having a great balance of spending and saving money, and making sure I spent a lot of time out and about with friends and family.  I have a job that I love, and great family and friends around me.

The thing that I learned the most is that life is too short, and do not worry about anything; what is the worst that can happen?! I can sleep on a washing line! I thought I might find it hard to leave my daughter when I need to go out, or go to work to use a keep in touch day, but I do not as I know she is fine! A few texts, yes, but not worry.

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.


Taking your baby swimming

Why choose baby swimming lessons?

One of the most important life skills is for everyone to learn to swim. It is a well known fact that the younger you learn a skill, the quicker you pick it up, hence the popularity of baby swimming classes. 
After 6 weeks of classes my little one can hold onto the edge of the pool, swim under water for a few seconds by herself, kick and splash the water, and fall into the pool with confidence, so I am one happy mummy!

My little one loves her classes and I am happy about this as it is one of the best things I can do for her...


Choosing the right classes for your baby.

The classes are only short as babies get tired easily, so although I had my heart set on some classes, I realised that for 30 mins, it makes sense to go as local to home as possible.

I am happy with the classes that I have chosen, as the groups are small, and the pool is really warm. We sing songs at the start and end of class, so that the babies can learn to kick and splash etc with a bit of fun, and each week there is a different theme and different props for the little ones. What I also like is that there is a consistency each week with our teacher, and the language used is consistent for the babies to pick up their skills and grow in confidence.

How to make it easier?

We all get dressed in our swimmers before we leave the house, that way we only need to take our clothes off when we get to the pool. We take the minimum of clothes etc with us, and take clothes that we can pull on easily after the class.


Baby Teethers and Soothers – the verdict!

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What has made me write this post?

We have had a number of issues with the teethers and soothers that we have purchased for our little one. There are so many of each for sale, how do you know which are the best ones to purchase.


Kicks Count

What is Kicks Count all about?

Kicks count is a charity that helps to save babies lives and prevent late miscarriage, by raising awareness of babies movements. The UK has a ridiculoulsy high number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and alarmingly is the third worst in developed the world. Interestingly a similar campaign to kicks count in Norway had an excellent result, and the aim is that the UK can follow suit with higher awareness.

I first saw the wrist band on Surprise Surprise with Holly Willoughby, the charity was supported by Alesha Dixon. I thought the band was a great idea. For only £3.50 this is a small price to pay for your baby to arrive safely into the world. Having such busy lives, and in my case a manic, job I used to ensure there were a similar amount of kicks each day. It does not measure the pattern of the kicks but you will recognise this yourselves. It did make me feel comfortable that movement was fairly consistent each day. There is even a free app that you can record them on. Being the geek that I am, I liked the graphs!!

The wrist band comes in a few colours, and is easy to use; it has numbers and you move the guage each time you feel a kick, simple and easy to do while at work, or out and about.  The wrist band has won a few awards which is great! I would endorse it myself too!


The Verdict

I used my band from around 26 weeks (third trimester).  I have a really busy role, and travelled a lot with work as well as socialising a lot, so this wrist band was great for me to monitor how many kicks. I also had an awareness of the pattern of movements of my baby too, alongside this! The app was great so I could see the rough numbers each day, and see the increase in movements as my baby grew bigger.  It made me feel happy and chilled out that everything was okay.  My baby arrived safe and sound so I am happy to recommend the wristband and app.

If you are unsure about the kicks wriggle around to get your baby moving or eat/drink something sugary, to get the baby moving. 

If at any point you are worried about your baby's movements, ALWAYS call your midwife or go to your maternity centre.

To find out more about kicks count, visit their website: http://www.kickscount.org.uk/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.


Bespoke gifts

About Bespoke or Unique Gifts

I love to give unique and individualistic gifts if I can, and have often bought items from notonthehighstreet. When my daughter was born we received some lovely gifts from their site, including an individually printed book with our daughters details, and a cushion with her name, birth weight etc. What I like about bespoke gifts is that no-one else has the same gift so they are one offs.

Visit the website at: https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/

I have also used the site to purchase christening gifts for my niece and nephews. It is great for them each to have something personal to keep forever.

We have also received some excellent personalised gifts for our daughter, which we have been really pleased with, that people have gone to so much effort to buy personalised gifts.


Bespoke Baby Gifts

We have received some brilliant gifts for our daughter from my 1st years. We were really happy with the quality of the gifts, and the price of them is reasonable too! From order to delivery, the site is really quick.

As you can see from the photo we have a bathrobe with our daughters name on, and some shoes with her name on too!

Everything arrives looking very presentable, in a branded lovely sturdy green box with a magnetic lid, wrapped in tissue paper.

Visit the website at: https://www.my1styears.com/

Other Gift Sites

I have also bought bespoke presents from other websites, and bought picture frames and books that are bespoke to the recipient. These have been purchased from Prezzybox and Penwizard.

Visit the websites at: https://www.prezzybox.com/ and https://www.penwizard.com/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.