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Wednesday, 12 October 2011
When we went to Germany about two weeks ago, we were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather, so we tried to spend as much time as possible outside. On a gorgeous Sunday, we decided to make the most of the weather and take Amy for her first visit to Rostock Zoo.
Rostock Zoo is the biggest zoo on the German Baltic Coast and a place that I visited many a times with my family when I was a child. It is literally round the corner from where I grew up and where my parents still live and it guarantees a perfect day out for all the family. Young and old can see 1700 animals in 250 different species, enjoy water play and adventure playgrounds and stop for snacks and drinks in the many little cafes that you will pass when you make your way around the 56 hectare extensive grounds. (see map below)
We started our tour at the duck pond, said hello to the penguins and walked along the monkey house where Amy decided that it was time for some yummy banana and apple puree. After finishing the entire glass, looking at animals makes hungry after all, we made our way to the elephants before we came to Amy's absolute highlight: the polar bears. The polar bear enclosure is situated in the heart of the historical park tract (since 1899) and impresses with a huge polar bear castle with rocks, waterfalls and a bathing basin, which has over the years become the zoo’s centrepiece. In fact, due to Rostock's success in propagating polar bears, many European zoos are now housing the white giants from Rostock. Amy really enjoyed watching the bears jump into the water and catch their food and I have to say that I was more than impressed by how attentive she was. Amy followed the zoo keepers every move and giggled whenever the bears landed in the water with a big splash.
After strolling through the historical part of the zoo, we watched the cheeky capuchin monkeys jump from tree to tree, relaxed with the gnus and antelopes that were lazing around in the sun and ignored the terrarium which is forbidden territory as I have a
massive slight snake phobia that would have spoiled the whole day for me. At this point, Amy got a bit grumpy because her teeth started to bother her, so we decided to finish our tour by walking past the flamingos and visiting the wild cats. There is much more to see but we will save that up for our next visit because that one is booked already.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
I love my pram. I love my pram so much that I couldn't bear the thought that something might happen to it on our flight to Germany. So you can imagine that I jumped up and down in excitement when Stokke got in touch after overhearing a conversation with another mummy on Twitter and asked me if I wanted to review the Stokke® PramPack. Of course I did, what a question!?
I might be slightly exaggerating but I am not lying when I tell you that the Stokke® PramPack is the most clever travel bag for pushchairs that I have ever come across. It is designed to protect 99% of all ordinary strollers and 30% of all twin strollers against bumps, knocks, drops and all the other scary things that can happen to a pram when it goes traveling. At around £140 the Stokke® PramPack is not as cheap as other travel bags, but if your buggy cost nearly as much as your car, then it's definitely worth the investment.The
Stokke® PramPack™ is airline approved, super padded and has lots of straps that stop your pram from moving around. On top of all that, it is more than simple to use. We had one trial run before driving to the airport and can truly say that it is easier to wrap up your pram than Christmas presents. Big Mummy Alarm promise!
The Stokke® PramPack™ comes rolled up for super easy storage and only needs unclipping and unrolling for you to start packing your pram up into this cleverly designed travel accessory. Once unrolled, you simply fold out the wings to both sides, put the pram in the centre of the pack and secure it with 2 straps on the top and one on each side to make sure that your pram is not moving about. Finally, you pull the top over the pram and secure it with two more clips and fasten them according to your pram's size.
The Stokke® PramPack™ comes with two wheels that allow you to pull your safely wrapped up pram behind you and has two padded handles that even give baggage handlers at the airport some comfort. There is also a little pocket for an address slip and a big caution print reminding airport staff to be gentle with your fragile cargo.
All in all, the Stokke® PramPack™ is a very impressive product that is not only good value for money but also an absolute must-have for all globetrotters. To check if your pram fits into the Stokke® PramPack™, simply visit Stokke's PramPack checker.
Disclosure: Mummy Alarm received the Stokke® PramPack™ free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced by Stokke.
Monday, 10 October 2011
Do you catch yourself finishing other people's sentences in your head?
Well, now is the time to do it loud and proud. Every Monday, I will give you the start of a sentence that can cover various topics you come across when you are a parent. On Friday, I will then open a Linky for you to share your finished sentences, blog posts, pictures, poems or anything else that fills the gap (for you).
As Blogger didn't want to post my scheduled post, I am giving you another chance to join in with the sentence: "Before having a baby, I wish I had known...".
There are no limits - so let your creativity flow and fill those gaps. If you could pass the info about this new Linky on to everyone that might fancy joining in, that would be great. The more the merrier and if you want to share on Twitter too - why not use the hashtag #fillthegap to let everyone else know that you have updated your blog?
I'm looking forward to see you all on Friday!
And the five winners of a Green People toothpaste of their choice are
Joan Sawka - @joanna_kow
Maya Russell - @maisietoo
Claire Butler - @BBDIVA1977
Clare Leahy - @clareandtribe
Helen Harris - @picklepie35
Congratulations - please get in touch via the contact form and let me know which flavour you would like to receive!
The two winners of a GumiGem teething necklace of their choice are
Jodie Smith - @meetjosmith
Carolina J.- @pandcands
Congratulations - please get in touch via the contact form and let me know which necklace you would like to receive!
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Remember my panicky post about going on holiday with a baby two weeks ago? Well, we are back and there was not the slightest reason to panic. Amy was an absolute diamond and we had an absolutely fantastic time with my family. Even my biggest worry, flying with a 5 month old baby, was completely unnecessary as Amy was on her best behaviour and slept during both flights and as you can see in the slightly blurry picture below.
We flew with Easyjet from Bristol to Berlin Schoenefeld and although I had done some research online, I didn't know exactly what to expect? Do you check in your pram at check-in or do you keep it with you until you board the plane? What happens to the car seat? How does the baby seat belt look like? How does it work and how do you stop your baby from kicking off whilst on board the plane? I had absolutely no experience about traveling with a baby and I think this is what scared me the most. Along with the stressed parents and screaming babies I have seen on previous flights, of course.Amy really made me proud though and I really think now, that if you follow some simple steps, you too can have a relaxed flight and start into your well deserved holiday!
Here are my five top tips for parents that fly with babies:
1. Make sure that you arrive at the airport in time
If possible even arrive a bit earlier than planned, so that you can make sure that you can check in your luggage plus buggy, car seat or travel cot without getting stressed. With Easyjet you can get your items tagged at check-in and then decide if you want to keep them until you board the airplane (a member of staff brings them into cargo for you when you board) or if you want to leave them at check-in before proceeding to security.
2. Take a sling
The queues at security, passport control and baggage reclaim can be long and even the lightest baby can get heavy when holding them, so make sure you take a sling so that your little one and you are comfy while waiting and you have your hands free for luggage, passports & co.
3. Pack wisely
When carrying a baby, pulling your suitcases or wearing a rucksack you don't want to carry any unnecessary excess weight with you, so make sure that you pack wisely. Nappies can be bought wherever you go and so can dummies, formula and many other baby items. What you really want to focus on is your changing bag. Pack enough nappies for the time at the airport, the flight and possible delays. Take spare clothes for you and your little ones - think explosive nappies, sicky babies - and don't forget a blanket and a couple of toys.
4.Get your little one sucking
It is important for your little one to be sucking on something during take-off and landing to help them to cope with the pressure that builds up in their ears, so have a bottle ready (you will have to get cartons in one of the shops), give your baby a dummy or breastfeed them when taking off. Breastfeeding with a seat belt around you and your baby isn't the most comfortable thing in the world but Amy even managed to fall asleep during both our flights.
5. Don't panic
I know that I did panic but most of the airport staff are really understanding and helpful. Don't feel ashamed to ask them for help and don't be afraid to accept help if they are offering it to you. The less you have to do, the less you can feel stressed about and that can only be a good thing, don't you think?
If you are a regular reader of Mummy Alarm, you will have noticed that it was a bit quiet on the blog during the last week. The reason for this is that we were on our first holiday as a family. We didn't go anywhere fancy or stayed in a hotel or beach resort but enjoyed a week with my family who live in Germany.
Quite a lot happened during these last days. Amy went on the plane for the first time. We surprised my nan who was in a rehabilitation centre after a hip operation and had never met Amy before. Amy cut two teeth without me even noticing (I know, I'm a bad mummy) and she went to the zoo for the first time. I'm a firm believer in the saying that traveling educates and although Amy is obviously too young to visit museums, go to the theatre or do other educational things like this, I have to say that this holiday was just amazing for her development. She usually is quite shy when meeting people she isn't used to but after this holiday, she has become so much more confident with new people. She has learned to play for herself for a bit longer and she can now produce a truly German sound - my mum and sister can give themselves a pad on the shoulder for that one.
If you want to know what we were up to in more detail, pop over during the next couple of days. There are some lovely pictures and stories waiting for you!
Sunday, 2 October 2011
Thanks for heading back for this month's Mumpreneur of the Month competition with Heidi Crawford and Claudine Sinnett from Organic Monkey. This month there are two Protect and Nourish gift sets (£20.00) up for grabs and all you have to do to win, is answer a simple question and follow the following steps:
4. Subscribe to Mummy Alarm via Google Friend Connect
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook
7. Like Organic Monkey on Facebook
5. Follow Mummy Alarm via Networked Blogs
6. Like Mummy Alarm on Facebook
7. Like Organic Monkey on Facebook
Terms & Conditions:
The closing date of the competition is 31/10/2011
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.
Loquax - The UK Competetion Portal
Saturday, 1 October 2011
1. Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?
Organic Monkey is a new range of organic, Fairtrade skincare created specifically for babies delicate and sensitive skin. We set the company up a year ago after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. “Becoming mums made us more and more interested in what goes into baby products, especially for their skin. We like to see what ingredients are used, how they work and even their packaging”. (Claudine)
“It was important to us that we sourced both organic and Fairtrade ingredients to guarantee the purest, best quality products for the newest and most sensitive of skins, whilst also having a respect for nature and respectful partnerships with the farmers that produce the raw ingredients and throughout the supply chain”. (Heidi)
Heidi and Claudine both live in Brighton. Heidi has two boys, Forrest (2.5 years old) and Cassius (just had his first birthday). Claudine is mum to Dylan (2.5 years old). We met through our NCT classes.
2. When and why did you decide you decide to become your own boss?
We set up Organic Monkey after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. After having our babies and reading many of the labels on the everyday baby skincare brands on the high street we were both worried and disappointed at how hard it was to find both organic and 'free from' products. As mums you want the best for your baby and so we started looking at the ingredients being used by some of the big brands and didn’t like what we found so decided to produce an effective range using natural and organic ingredients that would only have beneficial qualities.
My son Forrest was very sick when he was born, suffering from birth asphyxia. He spent the first 8 days of his life on the special care baby unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Whilst he made remarkable progress, his development needed to be carefully monitored to ensure that he reached all his important milestones so when my request to return to work on a part time basis was rejected, I decided this would be my opportunity to set up my own company whilst also spending quality time with my son.
(Heidi Crawford, Managing Director).
When Dylan was born he had bad eczema, so finding a baby skincare product that didn't irritate his skin was very important right from the beginning. After reading many of the labels on the everyday brands on the high street I was both worried and disappointed at how hard it was to find both organic and 'free from' products for babies. Surely it should be easier to look after your baby's skin? So together with Heidi we have created a very special range of products for babies with sensitive skin like Dylan's. (Claudine Sinnett, Creative Director).
3. What sort of products to you produce and sell? And which one is your absolute favourite?
Organic Monkey is a new range of organic, Fairtrade skincare created specifically for babies delicate and sensitive skin. All of our products are made from food grade, organic and Fairtrade ingredients with no nasties like parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, artificial colours or fragrance.
Our initial range comprises of:
Bumfluff - Organic Nappy Balm
Hello Mellow - Organic Massage Oil
Rock the Cradle - Organic Cradle Cap Oil
Cheeky Monkey - Organic Cheek Rub (for teething)
Belly Better - Organic Tummy Oil
In addition we will be launching a body wash and sleep balm later this year.
Organic Monkey Cheek Rub for Teething Oil is my current favourite as Cassius has 4 teeth coming through. The arnica oil really soothes his gums and the spearmint, lavender and roman chamomile essential oils have a calming effect on him as well as smelling wonderful too (Heidi).
It would definitely be our Bumfluff Nappy balm, even if Dylan wasn’t with me. I use our nappy balm as a skin balm for me too for dry bits, sore bits, as a lip balm and even as an eye cream! A handbag essential for us mums (Claudine).
4. How do you juggle being successful business women and mums and wives?
Starting a business with small children is tough, I was 7 months pregnant with my second child when we launched last June and with 3 small boys between us the main issue is trying to fit a full working week into 3 days and evenings. We constantly juggle childcare with company deadlines and have to plan our diaries weeks ahead whilst also running a home. (Heidi).
Sleep is a luxury at the moment and we definitely don’t get the recommended 8 hours anymore but all the hard work is starting to pay off. Weekends are sacred family time and we both live in Brighton so try to make the most of being on the beach in the fresh air. (Claudine).
5. Is there anything you wish you'd known before becoming a mumpreneur or wish you'd done differently?
It has been a huge learning curve, we have made mistakes along the way but feel that these have helped us to learn and grown. More than anything, we wish we had taken the leap to start the business earlier. Enrolling on a time management course might come in handy though!
I love formulating and creating products that really benefit babies skin, knowing that all the ingredients are beneficial and the best quality they can be. The great feedback and reviews we have received from customers and testers too makes all the hard work worth it (Claudine).
We are also able to adapt our working day around our children so although it frequently means we are still at our computers at 10pm it means that we are able to be there to watch our children grow up and have the flexibility to work during hours that suit our families. Being your own boss and working from the dining room table is also very liberating.
Over the next five years we would like to have increased our current baby product range and have expanded into the toddler and mum skincare markets. Our vision is to educate more parents about the benefits of using organic skincare for their babies as well as making our products more accessible to more people. We would also want to have been instrumental in aiding and supporting farmers to adopt Fairtrade practices and gain Fairtrade certification for more of our key ingredients.
If you love the sound of Organic Monkey, pop around tomorrow for this month's Mumpreneur of the Month giveaway. This time, we have two main prizes for two lucky winners!