Sunday, 27 February 2011

World Book Day: My favourite children's book

It's World Book Day in a couple of days and I thought this would be the perfect chance to share my favourite children's book with you.

As some of you might already know, I grew up in Germany, so I guess you won't be surprised to find out that my favourite book has a German title. It's called “Lustige Geschichten” (“Funny Stories”) and was written and illustrated by the Russian author Wladimir Sutejew. I don't know if there is an English version of the book but if you've got the chance to find it in English, I highly recommend getting it for your little ones. I absolutely adored this book and will definitely get a copy for my little girl.

“Lustige Geschichten” contains thirteen lovely stories whose main characters are a little duckling, a bug, a wolf, a fox, a bear, a swan, a little squirrel, three little cats and many more animals. All of them go on their own little adventures or experience life in many different ways. The stories are suitable for kids of a very young age. They are short, they are beautifully illustrated and they are written in a way that captures both children's and their parents' attention. My mum loved reading this book to me as she knew how much I loved it and when she didn't have the time to read it to me, I just sat down in my little arm chair and read it to myself – at least it looked like that to others, because I knew all the stories by heart. My parents even painted some of the characters on my bedroom wall so I could have them around me at all times – I loved my new wall decoration that much that I got my bright red crayon out and helped them colour the characters in. They weren't impressed, I can say that much, but they still let me read the book to my little sister so I guess they weren't that mad at me...

But what about you? What was your favourite book or which book can't your little one live without? If you want to share your book tips, use the Linky below to link to your book posts and let us collect as many must-reads as possible.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Flashback Friday: 1985 - Showing teeth

1985 - Showing teeth (8 months)

You might have found out that I'm very passionate about my baby and toddler pictures. I have got millions of them and now that I am expecting my first baby I really start to appreciate them. This picture shows me in June 1985 testing me first teeth in my little play pen. Although, I can't remember anything, it seems to have been one of the many lovely summers that I spent in my grandparents' garden.

If you’re interested in trawling back through the photo archives, then pop over to Cafe Bebe every Friday for Flashback Friday.
For now, let’s just get the ball rolling. Look back in your photo archives. It can be a picture of you as a child…your child in the early days/months/years…your house before a makeover…a winter photo…a “one year ago today” photo…The sky’s the limit. Just take us back in time. Share some words to take us there and we can all get nostalgic and smiley remembering “when”. Then, the important part: Go back to Cafe Bebe and add your linky in the gadget below the current Flashback Friday post. Then visit a few blogs to continue the nostalgia and smiley-ness. Simples!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Charity Tuesday: The Cots for Tots Appeal

As many of you know I'll be giving birth at St Michael's Hospital in Bristol quite soon, but it's not about me in this post. This post shall raise awareness for a great cause that I have become aware of when going for my regular scans, a cause that helps to support Special Care Babies at St Michael's Hospital and a cause that I find more than worthy to be supported by everyone who has got some spare pennies: The Cots for Tots Appeal. 

The Cots for Tots Appeal is raising funds to support the expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital by providing a Suite of four new intensive care cots and a Family Accommodation Unit so that parents can stay close to their baby on the Unit. The special thing about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael's is that it's the only one of its kind in the South West region able to provide surgery for the most serious and complex conditions in premature and critically-ill babies. As more and more babies are surviving and care for babies born as early as 23 weeks becomes possible, the Unit is experiencing unprecedented demand for the specialist cots and equipment needed for life-saving care.

As The Cots for Tots Appeal receives no statutory funding and relies on the public for support it would be great if you could support the Appeal to help premature and critically-ill babies by donating whatever you can. Hold a tea or cake morning at work, dig out your old photos for a Guess The Baby Competition or fill a money box to the weight of a premature baby. There are endless ways of how you can help. So, please, do help if you can – you could safe a baby's life.
Click the logo to donate!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Birth Plan: To write or not to write?

I'd love to say that it's a question that's been around for centuries, but writing a birth plan has only become a part of pregnancy during the last couple of years. I guess that is also the reason why there are so many different opinions on them and why many pregnant women ask themselves: to write or not to write?

When my midwife told me that I should think about writing my birth plan at some point in my last trimester, I didn't even think of questioning her. To me it made perfect sense to do a bit of research on the different options of pain relief or to write down what I want and don't want in case of an emergency or to be positive, if everything goes according to plan. But that's where friends with babies burst my bubble: If I believe them nothing ever goes to plan and no one will even be interested enough to look at my birth plan, let alone follow it. Well, to be honest I don't care: I will still write it. Not because I am sure everything will go to plan (you never know and I think it is important to keep an open mind) but because I believe it is a good way of getting used to the thought of labour. In my eyes it can't ever be wrong to know all the options you have and furthermore, who says that it's not going to be me who has a fairy tale birth? I like being informed about things. I like knowing what side effects different methods of pain relief can have and I like to make sure that my partner knows what I want in case I am in too much pain to speak. I personally think that having a birth plan even helpes me to stay relaxed about labour. Well, so far it does. Whenever people ask me if I am scared of labour I shake my head or answer with a clear “No”. I don't know if that's going to change when I am having my first contractions, but having done my research and having it written down somehow makes me feel that little bit more prepared and in control. I feel like I know my voice will be heard even though I might not be able to communicate properly and it makes me feel safe, because I know that I've done my homework. Do you know that feeling from school? It was always that little bit more relaxed when you knew you didn't have to hide from being caught out by your teacher, wasn't it?

Well, I know that in case of emergency I will do everything possible to help the medical staff to make sure my baby is born safely. However, I do also want to ensure that if everything goes to plan I have the chance to experience labour and birth in a for me perfect way. I know there is no such thing as perfect labour, well at least if I believe my friends, but what's wrong with hoping for it?

My Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway

As I promised in yesterday's big Mumpreneur of the Month feature with Paula Fry from Love Is Boutique, I have got something very special to giveaway to you this month. You can win a gorgeous vintage handbag out off Love Is Boutique's treasure chest plus you will also get a lovely silk scarf to complete your outfit with.

How to enter the competition:

1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect - required
2. Follow @caro_mad and @loveisboutique on Twitter & share the link to this competition - required
3. Leave a comment telling me what you have done to enter the competition - required

For extra entries:

4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm using the email form in the right hand corner
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook
7. Like Love Is Boutique on Facebook

Please, do not forget to let me know how many entries you get using seperate comments.

The closing date of the competition is 14/03/2011
The winner will be chosen at random.
The winner's name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available. - home of competitions and prize winning

And the winner of a vintage handbag and a scarf from Love Is Boutique is...
Congratulations - I'll be in touch shortly!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

My Mumpreneur of the Month: Paula Fry from Love is Boutique

1. Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Paula Fry. I am a married 40 year old mum of 2 - aged 15 and 12 and founder of Love Is Boutique.

2. When and why did you decide you decide to become your own boss?

I used to be a currency trader in the city and after being made redundant and taking time out I reassessed my life and what was important to me. I went back to be a broker, hated it and quit to start my own business 18 months ago

3. What sort of products to you produce and sell? And which one is your absolute favourite?

I own a designer dress agency and vintage boutique, Love Is Boutique. I sell clothes, jewellery, handbags, shoes, accessories and I love them all!! Designer and vintage handbags are probably my weakness though.

4. How do you juggle being a succesful business woman and a mum and wife?

I have always worked hard and I want my kids to understand you don't get anywhere without doing that! Since working for myself I can dictate how I use my time, when I leave for work and come home etc. Though I must say, working never stops in my head! I make sure we have a whole day as a family once a week but I must say, as our kids get older, they don't want to be with their parents all the time! My daughter works for me on Saturdays, so we get lots of time to chat too! 

5. Is there anything you wish you'd known before becoming a mumpreneur or wish you'd done differently?

I wish I'd known more about the accounts side of owning a business and just how time consuming and complicated it all can be. My business is an LLP and it's not always straight forward. I wouldn't really have done anything too different.

6. What do you love most about your job and what are your plans for the future?

I love dressing and styling clients, I love finding amazing pieces of fashion treasure to sell on. I love finding new homes for unloved items of clothing so someone else can enjoy them! I want to expand with maybe another shop, but for now our internet business is growing and we are concentrating on ASOS Marketplace where we are doing really really well.

If you love the sound of Love Is Boutique, pop around tomorrow to win a vintage handbag and a silk scarf in my big Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Flashback Friday: 1984 - Leo and me

1984 - Leo and me (2 months old)

I love old photos so it's no surprise that I was delighted when I discovered that Karin over at Cafe Bebe had come up with the great idea of showing off our blasts from the past - Flashback Friday.

The picture above shows Leo and me chilling on the sofa. Leo was my favourite stuffed toy and he still lives somewhere in my parents' house because I refuse to let them chuck him out every time they're clearing things out. He was my first ever stuff toy and was a present from my mum's uncle who gave it to me when I was born. In the picture I am 2 months old and yepp, I have lots of hair. Apparently, the nurses even took me for walks on the ward to show off my mop of hair to everyone who was interested in it. But that's just rumours...

See, isn’t it fun to look back on days gone by? Doesn’t it just make you nostalgic and smiley? If it does, feel free to dig around in your files for an image to share, create a post in which to display it and a few words to tell us why it’s so special to you and press publish.
Then, the important part. You must come back to Cafe Bebe and add your linky in the gadget under the post. Then visit a few blogs to continue the nostalgia and smiley-ness. Simples!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Q&A: Your questions answered by swimming expert Anne Hawley

A couple of days back I asked you to send in your questions for swimming expert Anne Hawley and I have to say you've done me proud. Today is the day that you'll get the answers to your questions. Where questions have been very similar to each other, I have simply transformed them into one single question. So if you find a paragraph that answers your question but the question doesn't sound exactly like you've sent it, that's the reason:

My partner keeps telling me to take our daughter to a baby swimming class. I only learnt swimming when I started primary school. So why should my baby learn swimming from an early age?
There are many benefits to babies swimming. Any form of exercise is fantastic at any age and swimming is great for the respiratory system, thus helping to promote healthy sleeping and feeding routines. There is also an important bonding factor which many fathers experience especially with a newborn when Mummy is breast feeding, they can sometimes feel left out. And of course to learn the breath holding skill from a baby means they will never remember learning to swim it will just be a second nature to them but a reassuring life saving skill for the parents.

Some pools say babies should have their immunisations before swimming others don't. What should I believe?
The World Health Authority recommends infants receive their first course of injections before visiting a public pool. Breast fed babies however, receive immunisation from the mother but always check with your health visitor or GP before going to a public pool.

What equipment do we need and which swimming nappies are the best to use?
No swimming equipment is necessary to teach your baby to swim and good quality swim nappies are readily available at many stores. I do not at present endorse any particular brand.

My eyes are always burning because of the chlorine. Does my baby/toddler need goggles for protection?
For safety reasons manufacturers do not make swimming goggles for infants under 3 years old. If your child is suffering perhaps try a different pool. There are many chemical free pools now, such as Ozone and Mineral water treatment pools.

How do I find the right class for my baby? Should the instructor have certain certificates?
Instructors should always be qualified and only use experienced swimming teachers who can demonstrate their ability to teach all ages not just babies.

Five Top Tips:
1. Visit classes.
2. Look at the progress of the infants and watch to see if they are happy.
3. Visit your local pool: most local authority pools now run regular and affordable sessions.
4. A qualified lifeguard should be present.
5. The safe supervision ratio is 1 instructor to a maximum of 6 infants larger classes are dangerous.

I'm afraid of water. How do I make sure I don't pass my fear onto my child?
Possibly now is the time to try to overcome your fear of water. Try adult classes or even a simple holistic approach of hypnotherapy sessions to help you feel more comfortable in water. In the meantime a close relative may be able to help?
I can't afford paying for a baby swimming course and would like to teach my child myself. What exercises do you suggest for which age group?
Teaching your baby to swim is now available by either downloading my iTune apps or buying from Amazon my book Swim Baby Swim. If you do choose classes ensure you are getting your monies worth. You shouldn't be attending classes for more than two terms without seeing some amazing results. If that's happening to you talk to your swimming company. Ask why you are not seeing results! 

Our son has almost finished his baby swimming classes. What is next?
If your son is not swimming solo you will need to ask your swimming company what happens next? My babies all swim before their first birthday often achieving swims of over 10m unaided.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Review: Blinc mascara, primer and eyeliner

Having a baby or toddler can be hard work, so it's just normal that you do not have the time for an extensive beauty routine. And even being pregnant makes me sleep much less than before. Because of that it doesn't come surprising that I often wake up with deep deep circles around my eyes and scare the the living day light out of the man that is unfortunate enough to be my post man. As I am not brilliantly talented when it comes to applying make-up, I tend to just chuck on a bit of foundation and mascara to hide the obvious, but especially when I am tired I often find myself rubbing my eyes and smearing my mascara all over my face.
You can imagine how delighted I was when Blinc UK offered me to review their new mascara that does not only promise to be water-resistant but also to be smear-prove while still adding both volume and length to your lashes. At £18.99 the mascara is a bit pricier than your average mascara but I have to admit it absolutely stunned me. I have tried dozens of mascaras promising to be water-resistant and none of them actually are. Blinc mascara truly does the job. It forms tiny tubes around your lashes and once applied, the tubes bind to your lashes and cannot run, smudge, clump or flake, even if you cry or rub your eyes. And believe me, I have taken it to the ultimate test. I used it running though the rain, I purposely rubbed my eyes and I cried while watching a sad film. Nothing happened: the mascara stayed where it should be, it didn't clump and it didn't make my lashes stick together.
With my mascara I did also get a lovely primer (£12.80) that nurishes my lashes and an eyeliner (£18.50) that makes my eye make-up look more dramatic. Until now I never thought of using a primer, but it really does make a difference. My lashes are more flexible and the coating makes them look longer and thicker, which gives them an overall healthier look. I know that you still might think that £50.29 for all three items is a bit steep, but I have noticed that I use less of each product so I think that overall I might even save a bit of money. And if you aren't sure if the Blinc products are the right thing for you, you do not have to spend a furtune, just get a trial size and see if if works for you how it works for me.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Competition and Review: The Me Finder

A busy shopping centre, an amusement park or a hectic train station can all be part of your much loved family trips but they are also crowded places that make it easy for your little one to get distracted and lost. To make sure that your day out doesn't end in a scary hide and seek game, Claire Barnder from Show & Tell Ltd. has developed a digital security wristband for children.

The Me Finder allows you to store up to 5 phone numbers that can easily be saved and accessed by pressing just a couple of buttons. Before you leave the house, make sure that the monitor displays the number of the person that is with your child. You can then teach your child to “Show & Tell”: This simply means that they show their wristband to a safe adult and tell them to phone you while they wait for you to pick them up. The Me Finder comes in three funky and colourful designs and is super-lightweight. Its straps are made form very soft plastic so the Me Finder is comfortable to wear. Furthermore, there is a child-proof safety catch on the wristband to make sure that it doesn't get lost while playing. But that's not the only thing Claire thought of when developing the Me Finder: The wirstband is also water-resistant so that it is ideal for the beach or pool and most importantly, your child can't change the settings by playing with random buttons. Instead, they will be rewarded with some simple animations before the screen automatically defaults back to the phone number. Sounds too easy? Well, it gets better: If you don't belong to the group of tech-savvy parents you can even get your numbers pre-programmed. Simple fill in a form when ordering the wristband online and it will come ready to use.

The Me Finder costs £14.99, is available in pink, green and brown and can be ordered online from Show & Tell Ltd.

I have a whopping ten Me Finders to give away to ten lucky readers.

How to enter the competition:

1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect - required
2. Share this competition on Twitter including @caro_mad and the link to this competition (you can use the button below) - required
3. Leave a comment telling me what you have done to enter the competition - required

For extra entries:

4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm using the email form in the top right hand corner
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook

Please, do not forget to let me know how many entries you get using seperate comments.

The closing date of the competition is 04/03/2011
The winners will be chosen at random.
The winners' names will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

And the winners of a Me Finder each are 
@ Northernstar6

Congratulations - I will be in touch shortly!

Friday, 4 February 2011

The colourful Me: a meme

Yippie, I've been tagged in another meme. This time it was Catherine from Baby Genie who asked me to get thinking about myself or more precisely about what certain colours mean to me. But on to the meme now: Copy the following five colours to your blog post and add what they mean to you. It could be a word, it could be a more detailed description. The important thing is not to think too hard about it.

On a positive note there are snow and big fluffy clouds, on a not so nice note there is white food. You know about my dislike for it if you have read my last meme. If you haven't, it's simple: I do not like white food: no milk, no rice pudding, no egg white and and and...

My hair is brown, dark brown to be precise. Some people do even try to tell me it's black but I tend to end up in endless discussions about it because I think it's simply not right. But back to brown: My leather sofa is brown and comfy, freshly baked bread is yummy and both together make the best combination in the world, no stop, the second best combination. I forgot about my big passion for chocolate.

Our new pram for our baby girl is purple and I can't wait to use it and purple is also the colour of my bedroom wall. And yepp, there are Deep, Deep Purple. I do not particularly like or dislike them. They just came to my mind when I read the word purple.

To be honest orange is always a tad too bright for me to fully like it. I wouldn't paint my walls orange nor would I wear anything orange. It makes me look pale and it's just too much for me. It's my boyfriend's favourite colour though.

Tennis balls, the sun and bananas – I like the first two (Well, wait a minute liking tennis balls is a bit odd, isn't it? Let's say I don't mind them as they make my boyfriend, who is a keen tennis player, happy.) but I can't stand bananas. They make me gag and I don't like their smell either. But hey, baby chicks are yellow, aren't they? They are cute...

But now it's on to you, ladies. I tag Carol from New Mummy's Tips, Karin from Café Bébé and Jenny from Mummy Mishaps. Can't wait to read about your colourful confessions.

Jamie Oliver's "Jamie At Home" giveaway and Sun Buzz promotion

If you are struggeling for new exciting recipes and do not want to be stuck in the kitchen all day, then this offer from The Sun Buzz is exactly what you need to get some inspriring ideas for family-friendly home cooking:

From 5th to 11th February you can collect a token to receive a free Jamie At Home DVD with every paper that you buy. There are 2 episodes on every DVD which means that across the week you can pick up the entire series of the TV hit Jamie At Home. The tokens are instantly redeemable at Tesco, on the day of print. The first token will be in this Sunday's Buzz magazine, the rest of them will then be featured for the rest of the week.

If you can't wait until the end of the promotion or just want to make sure that you do not miss out on a DVD, I can let you know that it's your lucky day.

I have one entire series to give away to one lucky reader.


How to enter the competition:

Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect (required) and leave a comment

For 1 extra entry:
● mention this giveaway on Twitter including the link to this competition and @caro_mad and @TheSun_Buzz (you can use the button below to share this post, but do not forget adding my name to assure I see you have tweeted)

The closing date of the competition is 07/02/2011
The winner will be chosen at random.
The winners' name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

And the winner of the Jamie At Home DVD Set is
mummy24 - @ashlallan

Congratulations - I will be in touch shortly!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Q&A: Your questions for swimming expert Anne Hawley

I am happy to announce that Mummy Alarm is doing its first big Q&A (15th February 2011) with baby and toddler swimming expert Anne Hawley.

Since 1974 Anne Hawley has been widely recognised as the pioneer and expert of infant swimming. As a published author of two best selling 'how to' infant swimming books, Swim Baby Swim (1984) and (1987) Penguin books and more recently My Waterbabies (1991) both still available from Amazon Books today. Her reputation and lifelong commitment to safely swimming infants has resulted in her distinct, innovative and unique method of swimming babies being copied all over the world.

Whether you are a keen swimmer who wants to know when to introduce your baby to the swimming pool or whether you want to find out about tips and tricks to make your little one more comfortable in the water, now is your chance to get advice from a true expert - so get involved.

Send me your questions for Anne either via email through the contact form or leave a comment underneath this post. Dead line is 10th February 2011.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Tuneful Tuesday

Last week, I decided to join Carol's Musical Week. Well, at least I knew that I was going to post at least one video a week. I simply like too many different songs to be able to make up my mind every single day of the week. I know, tough problems but hey, I've found my Tuneful Tuesday song.

Glee Cast - Halo and Walking on Sunshine Mash Up


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...