V-Tech InnoTab Launch!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of V-Tech’s new toy, the InnoTab hotly tipped as the must have Christmas gift for Children!  Held in central London close to Covent Garden,  we were greeted by a fabulous buffet, and treated to a short film on the history behind V-Tech prior to the unveiling!

Aimed at 4 – 9year olds, the InnoTab is chunkier than an Ipad, and designed to withstand being handled by small hands so it comes complete with rubberised edges! The 5″ touchscreen can be used either with the stylus (included) or simply by touching the screen. The InnoTab has enough pre-installed entertainment to keep a child happy for hours, with a variety of educational games (e.g. Alphabet pinball), an art studio, interactive globe, MP3 player, E-reader, calender, notepad..it really does have it all! There is also the capability to install a memory card so a child could have their favourite photos or videos on the device.

V-tech will also offer owners the opportunity to purchase applications or e-books from a new online store, which will enable the InnoTab to grow with a child! For those not keen on downloading, or who want specific animated characters they will also sell cartridges, these will have exclusive content which will not be available to download elsewhere! I’m certain Boo will be wanting the Cars2 pack!

A group of young testers showed us what they thought of  the InnoTab by demonstrating the various functions. They were very enthusiastic, and couldn’t wait to show us all the things they had discovered while using it! A huge favourite appeared to the the art studio where they could create their own pictures in bright colours with a variety of effects to ignite imaginations! The reaction of the testers really did convince me that this will be a must have toy for Christmas 2011!

The InnoTab is available to pre-order and will be released in September 2011.

Disclaimer: I will be receiving a sample of the new InnoTab from V-Tech.

Miniscoff – Organic Meals for Children..

I stumbled upon Miniscoff rather by accident, their name made me investigate their twitter page further as I wondered whether I would be confronted with a page on eating teeny tiny portions of something obscure. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued enough about the company to not only investigate even further, but also contact them to see if I could let my readers in on possibly the best kept secret in feeding children!

Let’s face it, I have talked before about my inability to be a domestic goddess and about my general lack of time or organisation. So it is not really a surprise when I tell you that Boo’s meals are a long way from the healthy meals I was fed as a child – I think I’m doing well if he gets fish fingers, mashed potato and peas. Now, there is nothing wrong with feeding him that, but, I feel guilty, especially if Mr G and I sit down to dinner later and eat something considerably more healthy and appetising. This is where Miniscoff comes in!

Miniscoff are all about being able to feed your child healthy, organic food which is not only tasty but also easy! Their meals are frozen, so literally lift out of the freezer and either oven cook or microwave..what could be easier? Personally, I find it incredibly special that Miniscoff is actually run by parents, who started this business to feed their own children and therefore they really seem to understand what children (and parents!) want! You just have to look at the names of the meals to get a great impression ‘ChilliYum Yum’ and ‘Curly Wurly Chicken’ they do sound good don’t they? To top this they have also just introduced a range of chilled sauces which enable you to quickly make a tasty meal at home, knowing that you are still using the finest organic ingredients! They guarantee the vegetables are 100% organic, and where possible locally grown. They also guarantee absolutely no processed meats, additives or preservatives, it’s all fresh food which is fast frozen to keep the goodness in!

So it’s probably not a surprise when i tell you that they won Gold in the 2010/11 Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Awards in the category ‘Best Children’s Food Range’. The downside, currently Miniscoff are only available via Ocado or Abel & Cole, which means if you run out you can’t just nip to the local shop to top up..BUT….the good thing is they both deliver so no more dragging your toddler around the supermarket! So, having placed my order, I’m sat awaiting what tasty goodies will arrive for Boo and myself (as obviously I shall join his taste test!). While I wait I might make one of the recipes on their website, Chicken Bolognese now this looks very tasty and i think Mr G & I will probably end up squabbling for seconds!

This is NOT a sponsored post, I received no payment or product for writing the post, all thoughts are my own.

Making our own Frozen Yogurt!

The past week has been very hot! And I have to confess, that in my household we love ice-cream! Of course sadly ice-cream isn’t exactly a healthy option, so i decided to look for alternatives which we could all enjoy! I tried freezing low fat yogurts, and they came out more like ice lollies and didn’t have quite the same appeal as ice-cream eating! Sat starring at my fridge, I decided to use up some odds and ends, and decided to experiment, and discovered an easy way to make a healthy frozen yogurt which tastes as good as ice-cream but with alot less calories (and a great way to sneak fruit into your little ones diet!).

– Fat-free Natural Yogurt
– Frozen Fruit ( I found Black forest fruits or Raspberries worked best)
– Powdered sweetener to taste (if required)

Use roughly double the amount of frozen fruit to yogurt, blitz with a blender until the mix is smooth. If you’re using Black forest fruits you’ll have a really rich colour! Do taste it at this stage, as my first attempt was a bit too tangy – hence adding a little sweetener!
Freeze for an hour, and you’ll be able to scoop and serve! We also used the mix to make lollies which Boo was delighted with, and i was delighted to see him eating more fruit!

Dan’s Journey to Smoke-Free

Smoking is not something I have ever done with the exception of the occasional drag on a friends cigarette while a student and wanting to look ‘cool’ but in fact only ending up coughing loudly in a corner. However for many people including many of my friends, it is as much as part of their day as a cup of tea is part of mine, Dan(@danhennell)has kindly agreed to let us in on his journey to being smoke free!

I started smoking when I was about 14, but in my late teens I became just a social smoker. By the age of 24, I started smoking properly again, so I’ve been a ‘proper’ smoker for 10 years. With everything getting more expensive, I realised that smoking was costing me a fair bit, and also I became aware that I was smoking because I was bored rather than I actually needed a cigarette, and to be honest I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to.

I’ve always enjoyed walking and cycling, but have struggled to find the motivation to get out there and do it, working shifts makes it even harder! Then I discovered Geo-Caching and found myself going on mammoth walks, but often found it hard, especially hills where I’d get out of breath! I started to think that if I didn’t smoke, these walks would be a breeze! So i decided to just go for it one day, just stop!

The first day I decided not to smoke anymore, I was actually working a night shift and it was hard, I found myself eating to distract myself several raids of the snack machine later I had made it through day (or should I say ‘night’)one!

Trying to break the routine has been the hardest part so far, for example there is a certain part of my drive to work where I used to spark up, then again when I got to work I’d have another one. For the first few days I found myself thinking ‘It’s time for a cigarette’ then remembering I didn’t have any!

It has been very tough, I was on 20 a day, but I’m just taking each day as it comes. I’ve found drinking a glass of water or eating some gum when the cravings hit, even standing up or going for a little stroll to stretch the legs helped ease the cravings! Its been easier than using patches and all that stuff though, because with those there is a constant reminder that you are trying to quit.

The best bits about not smoking so far have been actually having cash on the last few days before pay day! Not smelling, being able to walk up a flight of stairs without wanting to pass out when you reach the top !! Also on a night out, not having to go outside in the cold or rain and not missing conversations and just generally feeling so much fitter. I’ve got a new taste for food too, I’ve found myself making fresh smoothies everyday and eating a lot healthier too.

In an average month i reckon i could save anywhere between £150 and £180 which is a lot of cash in anybodies book. Its really scary how much is adds up. Cigarettes are about £6.30 for 20 now when i started they were about £2. Ive already decided that I’m going to treat myself to something every month, whether it be a new t shirt or something for the car and I’m also sticking a little aside so i can go back to Canada next year!
If you’re thinking of quitting, just go for it, it’s all in the head. Just think about all the money you are saving as a result. Once you break the routine you will forget that you smoked.

For more information on quitting smoking visit the NHS site: Smokefree

This is not a sponsored post.

August = Goriami Family Healthy Options Month!

While sat watching my 3yr old running about in the garden, it occurred to me how much energy he uses each day and how little comparatively I do. It’s no secret that I am overweight post-baby, and it is something which has bothered me since Elvis was 6 weeks old. Having lost almost a stone relatively easily, I realise that it isn’t my shape that bothers me, more the health risks which I’m imposing on myself by being this weight. I got thinking what I’m doing wrong, and realised it isn’t one thing, but a variety of little things. My excuses are ‘I’m too tired to cook’, ‘i’m having a bad day with the baby so that chocolate bar will get me through’, ‘My old injury to my knee means i can’t run’, ‘ i hate my figure so I’m not going to let anyone else see it in a swimming costume or they might need counselling..’ (any of these sound familiar?!).

The worrying thing for me, is that my children will follow my example, so if i sit and devour biscuits for breakfast or refuse to shift from the sofa come 5pm what will they do…. So, I’ve decided to use August to blog about healthier options for the family, not just diet and exercise but also quitting smoking, skin care and making time for yourself!

 I’ve not intention to preach about eating a strict diet, exercise 50 times per week or any other such facts, as let’s face it, we might all have best intentions but how many of us have stuck to New Years Resolutions..? The idea is simple changes to our busy lifestyles making us healthier and happier!

Tantrums and tears..

Boo turned 3 at the end of June, and I rather naively thought that milestone might mean a step away from tantrums. Oh how wrong I seem to have been. Far from stepping away from them, they seem to have got worse!!
To any one who knows me, this blog post may come as a surprise, as I like to live under the impression that my children fell out of a children’s book, they are perfect, never cry, never scream…and I choose to walk about in a state of ‘dragged through the hedge backwards’ it is called style not ‘slummy Mummy’ honest..

Boo’s tantrums have peaked, they are at the stage where he takes delight in screeching at the top of his voice ‘I don’t care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ when Mr G says anything to him in an attempt to calm him..Mr G doesn’t see the funny side and I can see him visibly turning a strange shade of beetroot as he approaches our little Tasmanian devil (who by this stage is usually spinning around waving his arms like rotor blades by this point) for a second attempt at negotiation.My attitude is to just ignore these moments and carry on as normal even though I’m being followed by my little devil and deluged with such articulate language as ‘I don’t like you, you’re horrid, yukky Mummy yukky!’ Of course this is harder to ignore when combined with the rotor blade arm moments which hit my arms and legs surprisingly hard, and often try to take out jars of pickled beetroot or whatever is nearest us in the shop/house/(insert name of any public venue..).

I have concluded that I’m not sure there is a ‘right’ way to handle these tantrums, surely it is more about survival, and proving to my little devil that actually his behaviour is not very nice and certainly won’t get him rewarded with the ice cream/comic/attention he is craving. I’ll be honest, I find these tantrums quite distressing, I want to curl up on the floor and well..transport myself to another world where I live in an immaculate house and the children are dressed in white linen (perfectly pressed of course). Funnily enough, it is that image which retains my calm even when we have started to grow a huge audience to one of these tantrums, I think to myself…’ahhhh white linen suits, a white sofa and fresh white walls…in my idyllic beach house’ take a deep breath and try to detach myself from the situation. This certainly works better than my initial reaction which is to shriek at the top of my voice ‘Oh god stop you’re humiliating me! This is worse than when my Mum came and collected me from the disco at 8pm when everyone else was allowed to stay til 11pm!’

As soon as the rampage of shrieking stops, I’m greeted with floods of tears hugs and ‘I’m sorry Mummy, I’m sorry for screaming and being naughty’. Which make me feel terrible, as I’m often still none the wiser what caused the upset to begin with, was he tired? did i not offer him enough attention? was I making to much fuss of baby? Yesterday I asked him what had caused him to get so cross, he replied ‘I felt angry Mummy’ so i asked why he felt angry and he replied ‘Because Mummy is very naughty and didn’t let me have an ice lolly’ I sighed and explained why I’d said No and he nodded (sticking his bottom lip right out as though he were about to bawl again). Is this what all his temper tantrums are about right now I wonder? Learning that he can’t have everything? Does this mean I’ve been spoiling him so far? When Baby arrived Boo did get showered in presents from everyone, as I didn’t want presents for the baby so they gave him a present instead? Is this my fault?! Yikes..what to do..

The end of an era..stopping breast feeding.

It was slightly ironic that I made the decision last week during National Breastfeeding Week, to stop breastfeeding. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, in fact I had always assumed there would come a time when I wanted to stop but that didn’t really happen. I decided to stop breastfeeding, after Elvis used his new teeth to bite my nipple to the point where it bled heavily, then before this could recover, he attacked the other side. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t see how I could continue, and after using my breast pump to manually express for a few days I made the decision to stop..
But how do you stop? It might sound silly, but I found there are few resources on what to do when you want to stop breast feeding? I had masses of milk, and found myself leaking everywhere, the only advice I found was to not express and not drink as much..neither were terribly helpful to me!
After two days of walking about with canon balls instead of breasts, I decided I had to express, the relief was tremendous! The following day by the evening I was just as heavily laden, so I expressed once more on the left side which was causing me terrible discomfort. I vowed that was it, I needed to struggle through now!
Weeding the garden the following day led to a comment from my neighbour asking why I didn’t get tablets to dry the milk up? (she asked this as my t-shirt was soaking around the breast area and I clearly appeared oblivious to the fact I was appearing in the rural equivalent of a wet t-shirt contest). I really didn’t want anything from the Dr’s to dry the milk up, after the problems i had encountered with Boo (when my milk dried up without explanation very early on)so I smiled and replied ‘Yes maybe!’.
Elvis hated me putting him to bed, he wanted to be breast fed and the sight of a bottle made his face scrunch up and tears ran  down his cheeks. Normally he is so cheerful, I sat wondering why I was torturing him (and myself!) maybe I should continue?! The voice of reason spoke out, Mr G reminded me that I had to stop at some point and as I had started the process I should continue. It sounds silly but a little part of me resented him saying that, I almost wanted him to say ‘Gosh Darling, you must continue until Elvis is at least 12months old’ I suddenly felt..redundant? Seeing my eyes drop to the floor, and well with tears, Mr G swung an arm around me and said ‘Let me put him to bed while you jump in the bath’
Of course Elvis settled straight away with Mr G, and while I lay in the bath a sense of relief came over me, and I knew that I wasn’t doing anything wrong by stopping breast-feeding at 5 1/2 months. 
Elvis is doing well and is happily taking a bottle of formula. 11 days on, I am still carrying alot of breast milk but it is reducing and I’ve not expressed since day 3, I wonder when it will totally dry up?
The only advice I have is keep wearing a supportive nursing bra, does anyone else have any tips on what to do when you decide to stop breastfeeding?

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Baby G & me..

I persisted with breastfeeding Baby G, and over the past 7 days I am delighted to say that I have lost 3lbs and he has gained 11oz which is amazing! I was so delighted that Baby G has made such a good gain as I was contemplating giving up breast feeding altogether. I have made sure that each day I try to express atleast one bottle of milk so Mr G can feed Baby G. This way I get a little rest, as well as having a monitor of how much milk he is taking in. I now feel less guilty for consuming approximately a kilo of chocolate over the last few days as clearly it has been doing neither of us any harm!

I’m so far from perfect…I don’t know where to begin!

Today is one of those days when I really do wish to curl up in a corner with my head under a duvet. 

I am having a day where i am suffering from what i describe as ‘Man Complex’ by that I mean I feel totally unattractive as I wipe away the baby sick which is somehow smeared in my hair, and my attire is condusive to a teenage boy – that is to say I am wearing maternity trousers which are hanging around my hips revealing rather more of my bottom than even Mr G would appreciate. 

Of course that alone i could rectify, but add to that Boo seems to have turned into the Tasmanian devil over night, wrecking everything in sight and refusing to use the potty…well..let’s just say he is now wearing his bedtime nappies again as I don’t seem to be able to get through to him today. 

Baby G, is sat gurgling happily watching me type, I feel sure he thinks that Mummy is really rather silly, and of course really I am! I wrote yesterday the words ‘I just want to be perfect, and I am so far from perfect, i don’t know where to begin..’ perhaps this is the problem with being a Mummy, sometimes we do just want to much from ourselves. 

On a positive note, with the sun shining so brightly today, and after an incident where I managed to nearly kill myself on a cross trainer yesterday, I’m looking forward to a more relaxing walk in the country tomorrow!

Adventures in losing the baby weight.

I’m grabbing the bull by the horns, Baby G is 7 weeks old, and I’m fed up with having to wear my tracksuit everywhere. I have no intention of starving myself, firstly I love food far too much and secondly Baby G is being breast fed. In honesty my main incentives are nothing to do with vanity, they are the realisation that I am no longer very fit – ( I get out of breath running to the kitchen..) and family health issues which make me think I really do need to sort this out! While I don’t look fat as I’m almost 6ft tall (no really, I am) I am more than aware that my BMI is creeping towards the big ’30’ and I’d rather deal with this right now!

Enough justifying my actions, and now to lay down my plans in writing so I can’t change my mind and deny any knowledge of plans to get fit! 

Until I met Mr G, I was physically quite fit, I have never had any speed but always had endurance, now have neither (unless we count chasing a 2year old around the supermarket while shouting ‘No! Mummy does not need 12 bottles of bubble bath…’) So, I am going to exercise 3times a week and set myself goals – the first one being to actually do it. Like many of my friends who are Mummy’s, I have often made excuses as to why I can’t exercise ‘I haven’t got the time’ ‘No babysitter’ ‘The house needs cleaning’ (you catch my drift?) so I’m aiming to involve Boo and Baby G as much as I can, as well as keep one of my three as Mummy time.

I started yesterday, getting out in the winter sunshine and taking a walk, Mr G had the day off which made it an ideal opportunity to explore the countryside and get Mummy walking! Having wrapped ourselves up, put Baby G in the baby carrier, and ensured we all had wellies on (it may be sunny but it is still muddy!) we set off. Boo loved it, and we found ourselves jumping in puddles, laying on the ground to closely inspect caterpillars and searching for the lost tractors whose tracks we found on the bridleway. When we got home we checked the app on Mr G’s iphone to see how far we’d walked and were suprised we had walked 4miles…it really hadn’t felt that far! So I’m inspired that I can do this!

I will be blogging my efforts (and failures!) and hope to include some relevant reviews of products too, watch this space….. Any comments welcomed! Mrs G xx