Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Super Soft Baby Clothes with Comfort Pure Ultra Concentrated

When your teeny, tiny newborn makes their long awaited entrance into the world, you do anything you can to keep them comfortable and happy don't you?  From keeping their bedroom at the optimum temperature to making sure their clothes are super soft, everything you do for your baby comes from a place of intense love (and a need to keep them content so you can sleep!)

All three of my babies have been "bum patters" - a good firm, rhythmic patting on the bottom seemed to be really soothing and comforting for them and I always find myself doing it now when I'm holding anyone else's baby! 

I first started to use Comfort Pure when I was pre-washing Ben's first clothes - I loved that it was designed specifically to make sure that my baby's clothes were super soft as well as being gentle on sensitive skin and having a low level of perfume - I wanted to smell my baby, not his clothes!

Seven years on and I still use Comfort Pure for all my laundry, only now we've started to use Comfort Pure Ultra Concentrated - it's the same Comfort Pure that we know and love but now it takes up a lot less room in my cupboards and offers incredible softness from a tiny dose.  The first time I used it I couldn't believe that such a small amount of fabric softener could get the job done but you really wouldn't notice any difference!  Hurrah for less bulk in my cupboards and less packaging going to waste. 

Both Ben and I have sensitive skin so, having found a combination of laundry products that works for us, I'm not about to change it any time soon!  It seems crazy to me that my first born is going to be seven next month but his comfort is still of utmost importance to me - he might spend his time climbing trees, rolling about on the floor and wearing holes in his knees, but I want his clothes to be soft and comfortable while he's doing it! 

What do you do to keep your babies comfortable?

*Sponsored Post*

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week #25 - 2016)

Hello everyone, hope you are all well? Yesterday was the first day of summer - and it's been nothing but rain here! Have you seen the sun yet this week?

Welcome to another week of #TriedTested! Of course we wouldn’t be able to say that without you lovely lot returning each and every week to link up your favourite reviews and taking time to read and comment on others.  We have always been really proud of the fact that the bloggers joining in with #TriedTested are keen commenters; let’s face it there’s no point in linking up if you’re not going to get lots of lovely people reading your post is there – so gold stars all round.  You’re ace, keep it up!
Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list THE REMINDERS HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED BUT DO LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT ADDING TO THE LIST FOR FUTURE REFERENCE!

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here then welcome along, where have you been? You can find out more about #TriedTested and how to join in here.  If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Educational Play the Schleich Way from Mudpie Fridays. This great guide to play and the cute Schleich animals make this a really lovely review to read. Definitely one to bookmark.

#TriedTested featured blogger

Britax Affinity 2 review from Make, Do & Push. We loved this in-depth review detailing every little bit of this pushchair - it seems to live up to the quality we associate with Britax!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:
* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up 
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback! 
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out.  (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.) 
* Please don’t link up a linky or comment on other people’s posts asking them to join your linky too as it’s really not good etiquette!

We do our best to visit each post to leave a comment but we can’t promise to get round everyone every week!

We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too so other people know where to find the linky.
We're going on an adventure

Monday, 20 June 2016

Five things I'd rather do than watch football . . .

How's the European Championships playing out in your house?  Is the whole house football obsessed, has it taken over your TV or are you managing to pretty much avoid the whole thing? 

I've never been much of a football fan truth be told.  I shouldn't think that would come as much of a surprise to most of you.  I may have had more than a passing interest in David Beckham over the years but it isn't his ball skills I'm interested in . . . H&M underwear campaign anyone?  I digress. 

This year, the European Championships are not really a big deal in our house.  Dave, although generally interested in football, hasn't been that bothered about watching the matches - had he been going down the pub with his mates I think it would have been a different matter entirely.  Ben isn't really that into football despite his best mate's efforts.  The chances of him going on any organised school football tours are slim, however he has got more into the whole thing over the last week or so since he was allowed to watch last Thursday's England match on the whiteboard at school!  He asked if he could watch the highlights when he spotted them on the TV planner earlier but I pointed out that the girls really weren't going to be that interested in it! 

I'm counting myself quite lucky that the most I'm really suffering is that the soaps are on at strange times but I have them on series link and rarely watch them live anyway!  That said I'll be glad when they're over and we're all back to normal (until the Olympics at any rate!)

So here's my list of 5 things which take 90 minutes and are better than watching the football . . . 

1. Taking the dog for a walk
I'm a bit of a fair weather dog walker and don't particularly like going out in the rain - luckily neither does Thomas.  However, a 90 minute walk in the sunshine is great for clocking up steps on my FitBit, giving me some time to think and getting away from the football. 

2. Getting my hair done
I've been colouring my hair since I was about 14 and go through phases of swapping between having it done professionally or doing it at home.  I hate doing it at home as it's just such a faff and never looks as good as when someone has done a proper job.  In 90 minutes I could have a full cut and blow dry with a cheeky gloss to top up my colour. 

3. Editing a video 
Editing our days out for YouTube takes a lot longer than you'd think - and probably longer than 90 minutes if I'm honest - but I really enjoy doing it and I'm always proud of the end result! 

4. Drive to York 
The drive to my parents' is actually about 75 minutes on a good day - but more often than not we're knocking on for an hour and a half, especially if I need to stop for fuel or an emergency roadside wee (that would be Chloe not me I should point out!) 

5. Watch a film 
Anyone who knows me well, will at some point have asked me if I've watched a proper classic of a film (like Top Gun or Gremlins) and discovered that nope, I haven't.  For some reason I've never been very good at watching films and as such have a massive gap in my general knowledge of film stuff and often don't get film references that people make!  90 minutes would see me right to ticking off another film off the list. 

What would you rather do with 90 minutes than watch football?  (Keep it clean!) 

*Collaborative Post*

Friday, 17 June 2016

Keeping nits at bay with KIT & COCO - review

As a parent and a primary school teacher, a nit infestation feels fairly inevitable.  You only have to mention the word "nits" in the staff room and you'll find every adult within ear shot scratching their head and checking each other's hair! 

I never wear my hair down at work and from Chloe starting playgroup at two and a half, I instigated the rule that you wear your hair up for school.  I must admit that I don't check the girls' hair as regularly as I should - I know some parents sit down every Sunday night to give their children's hair a thorough combing.  I am not that mum.  I check when I remember, I check when I see the slightest scratching of their scalp, I check when that dreaded letter comes home from school: "There is a confirmed case of nits in your child's class".

So far we've escaped.

We had one incident where I saw a single bug in Amy's hair and instantly deloused everyone in the house.  Looking back it think it was something of an over reaction and I don't really think she had nits at all. 

I've recently discovered KIT & COCO.  

Coconut oil to treat head lice treatment?  What?  Yes, the nation's obsession with all things coconut oil has now spread to treating nits.  Aside from all the amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and moisturising capabilities of coconut oil, it's also  now a genius solution to head lice. Rather than a whole load of horrible chemicals, KIT & COCO use the fatty acids in coconut oil to clog up the respiratory system of head lice and nits (what a lovely way to die) meaning that not only is the treatment 100% effective but it's almost impossible for the lice to develop a resistance to it and it leaves your hair all super soft and shiny.  Thankfully we have no need to test the product out right now but I'm won over by the science of it and think it sounds much nicer than your standard nit lotion!

Of course prevention is better then cure and, as I've said, the girls both wear their hair tied up for school (or in fact most of the time as it's just easier!).  I've tried nit repellent protective sprays before but found the smell to be unbearable (they remind me of the stuff my Mum used to spray when she was trying to prevent local dogs from realising her bitch was on heat!)  KIT & COCO have also produced a range of preventative products including a spray (great for my girls with their long thick hair) and a mousse (perfect for Ben with his short, thick hair) and even a preventative hairband (which is unfortunately not a very school uniform friendly colour).  You can spray KIT & COCO Protective Spray directly onto the hair or onto the very cute hairband for 24hrs of protection.  And guess what?  It smells alright - I confess, it's not my favourite fragrance in the world but I can certainly cope with it as a pay off for avoiding nits!  

Admittedly the whole range is a little more expensive than the products I've used in the past but for the lack of nasty chemicals and the lovely smell - I'd say it's worth it! 

Right, I'm off to scratch my head after all this nit talk - if you'd like to enter to win one of 5 KIT & COCO protective sets as pictured below, then please complete as many of the entry options as you'd like in the Rafflecopter, taking care to do this accurately so as to avoid disqualification.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclaimer - We were sent the KIT & COCO products free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Blog Family Burgess! - Word from the Mr

It's been a while since we've had a proper "Word from the Mr" - and Dave actually wrote this for me ages ago so . . . 

Colette suggested I write a post about being a blog widower!  A title she has re-purposed from the days when she used to be an Xbox widow.  Days that are so so long ago!  She asked me to write about this partly because she wanted me to write a post for her again (I’ve been struggling for a topic).  But also, because she wanted to see what I’d say!  Dangerous ground lies ahead folks!  As I am a brave man I’ve extended the scope a little (without asking I might add!) to include how Colette’s blog has affected our family as a whole, because I don’t think it would have been a very long post if I had just said “This is good, and this is bad. See ya!”

So here’s my musing on having a blogaholic in the family!

To answer Colette’s original question, “What is it like being a blog widower?”.  It’s a bit like losing a wife, and gaining a family biographer!  A bossy one at that!

Now to some that may sound wonderful.  To others not so much.  Colette’s blog has taken off in a big way over the past two years.  That is in no small part because of the volume of work that she puts into it.  It is every waking moment of every day.  Pretty much.  I say waking, I’m quite sure that she dreams about blog things all the time.  This prodigious output is visible in the blog.  Colette has created over 1000 posts in two years.  Which is pretty close to 1.5 posts per day!  That’s a lot of work.

To fuel that huge output almost everything we do is documented and logged.  (He exaggerates . . . ) Which can be a pain at times.  Partly, this is because I am a grumpy bugger! Of that there is no doubt.  Sometimes however it is justified.  All events or occurrences must be photographed.  Not with just any old photograph mind.  Framed, posed, well lit works of art!  This obsession with perfection plays into Colette’s focus on details.  She has always been, what some people would call ‘picky’.  I think ‘has an eye for the aesthetic’ covers it better.  I have to say that.  Or she’ll kill me!  (It's true! The devil is in the detail!)  Now that she understands photography a bit better she applies this critical eye to all of her, and my, pictures.  Meaning a lot of the pictures I take are now no good.  When the editor's eye is in there is no second best!  (Ok, I admit it.  He's right.  I've always loved taking photos but I've become increasingly critical of my own images over the last couple of years - and yes, Dave's too - sorry love!) 

Now the most immediate thing that is a plus is the things we get to review.  If you speak to anyone they talk about the "free stuff".  Colette has a real issue with people saying that the items we receive are ‘free’, because they’re not free.  She does work for each and every item.  It’s a straight swap of labour for goods. Which is true, but as you’re not paying for stuff that you would otherwise pay for I can see why people make that error.

To be honest the review items we get and trips we go on are great.  Some of the things we get are fantastic.  There is no doubt that over the past few years a large percentage of the fun things we have done with the kids, and some for just the two of us, have come from Colette’s blog.  It’s allowed us to do things I would never have dreamed of.  Some things I just wouldn’t have paid for but were fun all the same.

An unexpected side of all the stuff is the parcels!  The things you have to review have to get to you by some means.  So that means parcels.  Millions of the things.  It’s a rare day when we don’t get some parcel delivered.  Unfortunately we’re not always in.  Colette still works part time so our next door neighbours have side jobs taking in parcels for us!  We’ve turned the street into a postal depot!  Our neighbours must think we’re loaded the amount of stuff that comes to our door.  It’s embarrassing to constantly pop round and ask for the latest batch of boxes that happened to be delivered that day.  (This does seem to go in phases and thankfully has calmed down a bit now but he's right, my poor neighbours must be sick to death of our parcels!) 

On the other hand there is the financial aspect.  Things have been tight over the past few years.  Three kids and an extension that needed paying for have taken its toll on our, already wobbly, finances.  There is no doubt that Colette’s blog has helped financially, as well as given us the opportunity to get out and do things that our ‘pauper’ status wouldn’t have allowed us to otherwise.  It’s been a blessing really.  Something which the kids can’t really appreciate at the moment, because they’ve never known anything other, but has made a difference to their lives.

I mentioned before about the documentation aspect of blogging.  That might be a deal breaker for some people.  The kids are quite used to being photographed and videoed with products or on ‘adventures’. I think they like giving their opinions.  Ben in particular enjoys being in front of the camera.  He’s a bit of a performer.  Just like his Dad!

I was asked if I had considered the impact this would have on our kids.  That by making everything public we are teaching our kids to not be private.  It took me back to be honest, because I had never really thought of it in that way.  I spent a long time thinking about my position on this, and here it is:  I think that photographing and videoing your kids is far more prevalent today than it ever has been.  It’s just so easy to whip out your phone and take a video or a picture that everyone does it.  You’ve only got to look at social media to see how commonplace people documenting their children’s lives is.  I can’t see anything wrong in that.  Now, whether this increased level of documentation creates a desire to be photographed I’m not sure. I do know that my girls will ask me to take their photograph and will pose accordingly.  This is cute at the moment, but it might not be in 10 years’ time.  I can only hope that by teaching our kids correctly we can counter any narcissistic qualities we may be rearing unawares.  If we can’t counter those issues then at least we won’t be alone.  There’ll be a whole generation of people growing up who can’t go 2 minutes without snapping pictures of themselves.  Funeral selfie anyone!  (I'm with Dave on this one, I am conscious of what I share on my blog with an awareness of my teaching job and also my children's future privacy - but as Dave says, this is kind of how we as a generation live now - photos, videos, sharing - it's become normal, thought admittedly not to the extent we do it . . . )

What I do know, for a fact, is that without Colette’s blog our children’s lives would be duller.  Less full of fun, excitement, intrigue and amazement.  New experiences bring childhood to life.  Seeing large animals upclose, visiting places which are completely different to where we live, doing something brand new.  These experiences make our children more well-rounded and aware of the variety in life than they would have been had we not taken these opportunities and stayed at home.  How could we not?  I think it’s your job as a parent to provide the absolute best for your children that you can.  That means feeding, clothing and loving, but it also means broadening their horizons as much as you can.  Give them every opportunity you can.  How else will they know what’s out there?

I know plenty of bloggers read Colette’s blog so I’d be interested to know your take on how blogging affects your life, and your family's lives.  Let me know.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Siblings - June 2016

Through a combination of sunshine and lots of family adventures, I have loads of siblings photos to share this month!
From trips to our local park, lying on the living room floor together or big adventures like Geronimo Festival or Alton Towers - we've spent lots of time in each other's company over the last month.

The girls in particular seem to be getting increasingly close, they love nothing more than to be wearing matching dresses!

Half term saw the usual ramp up on the bickering scale, they do get fed up with each other - Amy will spoil Ben's LEGO or not follow the "rules" of Chloe's game, however they tend to be reasonably tolerant of her and it's more likely to be Ben and Chloe that are most likely to press each other's buttons - they'll argue about what film to watch, about what role they want to play in their imaginary game or what direction the story will take.  It makes me laugh listening to them, "Pretend that I'm the Dad and you're the Mum", "Pretend that I died and then you got taken by a witch" - they spend more time arguing about discussing what they're going to pretend than actually doing it and I remember doing exactly the same with my sister as a kid!

Ben and Chloe have been getting into trouble of an evening - messing about after we've put them to bed.  We can hear them banging about and giggling when they're supposed to be going to sleep - they're thick as thieves.  We've decided that perhaps it's time to move bedtime on a little bit, that they're not quite tired enough when we're taking them upstairs.  A while back we staggered their bedtimes to try to alleviate the situation but then Ben took on some extra commitments of an evening that meant he was getting really tired and needed to be going to bed earlier again.  It's all trial and error I guess.

Although it's still just over a month away I'm already starting to make plans for the Summer holidays to keep them all busy!  Fingers crossed we get lots of sunny days so we can get out and about in the fresh air!

The Me and Mine Project