On our recent trip to Walt Disney World Florida, mobile network Three kindly loaned us a Samsung S8+ to test out. Amy and I are both iphone people, having been with iphone since the iphone 3G when that came out what now seems like 100 years ago!
The Samsung S8+ is the bigger version of the S8. It measures in at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and weighs 173g. I did worry that it would feel huge, but it really didn’t. It fitted into a pocket just fine, as well.
It comes with talk time of up to 1,500 min for 3G and up to 400 hours standby time. I found that nine times out of ten it ran circles around my iphone battery by hours. It also charges very quickly and holds charge well.
I really don’t like phones that run on the android operating system. I just don’t find it as intuitive as IOS by apple. Amy, however, is probably going to make her next upgrade a Samsung as she gets on with the system so well.
The star of the S8+ is easily the camera. Pictures taken on other phones paled in comparison to the bright, beautiful images captured on the S8+’s Dual Pixel 12MP OIS rear camera. We got some absolutely beautiful pictures on this camera in Florida and they were in all different lighting conditions too. The camera was easily my favourite part of the phone.
All in all, Amy was more of a fan than I was. I’ll likely be sticking with my trusty iphone, but Amy is on the road to a Samsung phone!
When it comes to potty training, we’ve always taken the relaxed approach. Eden was only two in December, so we’re in no hurry. Last time we went to IKEA, we picked up a potty and put it in the bathroom, just to get her used to what a potty was and what it was for. For the longest time, she would sit on it with her nappy on but wouldn’t under any circumstances take off her nappy.
Imagine our surprise when Eden turned to us a few days ago and announced “I want to go on my potty”.
So, off we went upstairs to the potty. The nappy came off and she sat down. We waited. We waited some more. And then… FART! “Mummy I done!” Nothing but a fart. But the fart was a start and the following morning she was back on the potty and managed a little pee in there.
Now she’s peeing in there a few times a day and has pooped in there too! I wasn’t sure when I expected her to start to want to potty train and I’m absolutely amazed and mystified about how it’s just popped up from nowhere. Part of me was hoping that she would wait until after our holiday in June, but if now is the time for her then now is the time! We ask her a few times a day if she wants to go potty. Sometimes she just tells us out of the blue. It’s amazing how she has just all of a sudden picked it up!
I just wished we’d picked up the Doc McStuffins pull ups when we were in Florida!
In our house, we cosleep. We never intended to, but when Eden came home she wouldn’t settle anywhere else, so it was a quick read through of principles of safe cosleeping and away we went. It meant she got sleep and we did too. It meant that we were right beside her should we need us. It meant that she was close. It worked for us.
It also meant that we sold her crib without her ever having slept in it! And the two moses baskets… and the sheets etc etc. You live and learn, right?
Recently, we redecorated Eden’s room and got her a brand new, super duper toddler bed. We let her pick out her duvet and pillows and set it up in her room. We haven’t put her under any pressure to sleep there and it’s been up maybe three or four weeks now. She usually brings her pillow into our room to sleep, so last night when she said “I want to take my pillow to my bed”, we decided to give things a try. Amy told her “ok, but if you put your pillow in there you’ll need to sleep in there too”. “Ok!” Eden said.
And sleep in there, she did! Amy took her in and Eden spent the whole night tucked up in her big girl bed. She had a little wobble at around 5am, but Amy went in there to settle her and she went straight back to sleep. It was finally time to wake up at about 10am and she woke up happy and well rested.
I’m not going to lie; I will miss the sleepy cuddles but I’m so excited about her having her own space. I’m also excited that following her lead worked out for us. I didn’t want to force the issue of her own bed, but obviously we wanted her in there at some point. We followed her lead and it worked out! No tears, no tantrums, just a little girl who is enjoying her super duper new bed…
(and a border collie who loves sleeping on her floor next to the bed…)
Promotion of good mental health is something that is very important to me. The promotion of self care and signposting to appropriate services is something that in my opinion makes a massive difference to anyone suffering with mental health issues. I spoke about Time To Talk Day in my last post and about how I was planning to promote the cause in my workplace – on my day off no less!
I put together little self care bags. Here’s what they looked like in the end…
The contents were a veritable delight of self care. Each one contained two sticks of Beanies Flavour Coffee in a combination of flavours. Available flavours included Creamy Caramel, Mint Chocolate, Very Vanilla and Cinnamon Hazelnut from a choice of ten flavours. I also put in there a treat size pack of either Oreos, Party Rings or Iced Gems and a fruit tea bag in an individual envelope. Some had Time to Talk games in there. Others had flyers or postcards talking about Time to Talk Day and how any time is a good time for conversation. Finally, my unicorn went on the front with a message…
Between us, Amy and I made sixty of these little bags of self care. All of the bits were placed together in a gift bag and tied with a pink ribbon. It took a good few hours of Amy and I folding and tying and such, while Eden stole the occasional biscuit.
February 1st rolled around and Eden and I headed into the hospital where I work. Eden had decided that she wanted to wear her Doc Mcstuffins outfit, which was perfect for the occasion if you ask me! I worried about what our reception would be like and whether people would think it was a really stupid idea, but it was quite the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, a couple of people did give us the side eye, but it really was a tiny minority. Most people welcomed the packs and the message behind them with open arms, and Eden very much enjoyed handing them out.
Did we achieve what we set out to achieve? Absolutely! People loved their little packs of self care and it did serve as a great reminder of the importance of taking time out in a busy shift. It also got people talking; whether that was about swapping coffee flavours or about mental health, conversation is conversation. We also raised a smile with Eden being Eden and it got me started on the journey of teaching Eden about the importance of good mental health.
All in all, a success! I was also forwarded a lovely email from one of the midwives who was on shift that day. It’s good to be appreciated
So, what’s next? Well, Mental Health Awareness Week is from May 14th to May 20th. I want to do it all over! I’m going to be seeking assistance from some brands to do this, and I’m hoping that they will help in my quest. The only issue I had this time was that we ran out of bags! We made sixty this time and next time I would like it to be more like two hundred, so that I can get around every member of staff on shift on our busy maternity dept. I had to miss a couple of wards out this time, which was a shame.
Watch this space! I feel like I’m starting a self care revolution…
I’ve written about mental health here many times. My mental health, mental health in the workplace and all kind of other things. Did you know that this coming Thursday 1st Feb is Time To Talk Day? A day where we can open up and really make some noise about the importance of good mental health.
Charity Time To Change, who are spearheading the day, say…
“It’s easy to think there’s no right place to talk about mental health. But the more we talk about it, the better life is for all of us.
Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Time to Talk Day is a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.
Wherever you are – at home, at work or up the top of a mountain! – have your conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.”
It won’t be surprising to hear that in my mission to keep myself occupied, I decided to get involved with Time To Talk Day this year. I’m not actually at work that day, but I’m going to drop in and spread a little joy in my workplace.
I spoke about the barriers that I faced in work because of my mental health in these posts – When Mental Health Is A Barrier,Why Can’t We Talk About It? and also in my personal life in A Doctor Visit. Unfortunately I do find that healthcare is one of the areas where ironically mental health problems can be ignored. There’s a certain amount of bravado and such that comes with working twelve-hour shifts and dealing with situations that you just wouldn’t see in a normal nine to five type office job. It’s very easy to cast aside those with mental health problems as “not being able to handle it” or similar, rather than treating them (us!) with the same care that you would a person with any other kind of illness.
Anyway, so in order to do my “bit” I’ve got some awesome Time To Talk posters, info cards and stickers to take into work. I’m also making little “self-care packs”, which I’ll hand out on the day. I’m bringing Eden with me, as I think it’s important to learn about good mental health from an early age and she always bring smiles with her too. My self care packs are going to look like this…
And will contain a few little self-care bits. I’m aiming for a packet of mini biscuits, a fruit tea bag and a couple of sticks of Beanies coffee. I’m also putting a Time to Change leaflet in there.
Even if some people think they are lame, I’m hoping that they will get people talking or at least remind people to take five minutes for themselves on a busy ward. I think it’s important to tell people they’re doing a good job in a world where criticism is usually more forthcoming than praise.
Whatever you’re doing, talk about Mental Health on February 1st. You never know who needs to talk!
Technically, we’ve had a two year old for almost a month now! On December 14th, the Girl Who Changed Everything turned two whole years old. And she did it at Walt Disney World, Florida. We had a great day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios having breakfast with her Disney Junior favourites and meeting Star Wars characters. Here’s how Eden is doing at two years old…
Eden is firmly into 2-3 year clothing now. Although oddly, she still fits some 12-18 month onesies, but they’re becoming fewer and fewer. As usual, I’m not sure how much she weighs or how tall she is. She was measured and weighed in Orlando and placed under “distinctly average”, so that’s always a good thing. When we were in Orlando she had a rush Minute Clinic visit and was diagnosed with her very first double ear infection, which meant her first set of antibiotics ever. That was fun!
The most remarkable thing about Eden’s development is that she TALKS! Not just a little. She talks A LOT. She can put short sentences together like “more juice please, mummy?” and “Mama, I phone Sarah please?” as well as “Put water in there please?” She is very good with her “please” and “thankyou” but believes that you can get pretty much anything you want just by saying please – “share chocolate please? PLEAAAAAASE PLEAAAAAAAAASE” is not unheard in our house… I’m loving being able to hold short conversations with her and getting an insight into what goes on in inside her little head.
Eden still loves to walk. If she had it her way, she would walk pretty much all day every day until she fell down with exhaustion. We do still take the buggy out, but we take our small one now instead of the bulky one. When we were in Disney she walked A LOT. She has a surprising amount of stamina for a two year old! She loves to climb things and usually narrates her intention to climb with “climb climb climb”. The narration is helpful as sometimes she does it BEFORE she climbs something – haha. Sometimes the biggest issue we have with her walking is getting her to SIT DOWN when she is tired. I think if it was up to her, she would walk until she had stumps for feet… She got a scooter for Christmas. I fear giving her wheels is a bad idea!
Between our last update at 18 months and this one, Eden has taken another two transatlantic flights. We flew London to Orlando and then Orlando to London. I was nervous because she haven’t flown with her since before she was a year old, but she did a great job! It was a little harder on the way out there, but she was entertained with Elena of Avalor, Mickey and the Roadster Racers and Little Baby Bum, which is essentially crack for toddlers. She sat through 53 minutes of nursery rhymes three separate times over a nine hour flight – go Little Baby Bum! On the way home she ate and then slept, so that was easy enough. Because she was two on the way home, she also got her own seat and she did GREAT!
Doc Mcstuffins is still largely her favourite thing in the whole wide world – she even has her own doctor set now and Doc outfit. She loves to give her toys checkups. Eden also loves learning makaton with Mr Tumble, and My Little Pony too. She loves Elena of Avalor (and was asking for her the WHOLE TIME we were in Disney) and Frozen. Over the last few days we’ve been watching the Toy Story movies, which she has also enjoyed. I love that her having some kind of attention span now means that she will sit and watch things and react to what happens. She’s got a massive amount of empathy and will often ask questions about what she’s watching. That always makes me smile. At the time of writing, she still naps during the day. Just one nap, and it’s usually an hour or less. I’m sad that day time naps will likely soon some to an end. Generally if we dont go out during the day, it means no nap. She sleeps great at night – usually 10pm until around 9am and still in with us at the moment. We’re going to be getting her her own bed soon, though, so it’ll be an and of an era for cosleeping. She will still of course be welcome with us, but I think it’s getting important for her to have her own space sometimes. Cosleeping has been awesome for us. It wasn’t something we had ever considered but we fell into it and it ended up being the best thing for our family.
So, that’s two years! Two whole years of Eden in this world. Two whole years of being parents. Has it been hard? YUP! Has it been rewarding? YUP! Am I looking forward to our future adventures? DEFINITELY!
Before we had a toddler, people used to tell us how hard it was to press pause on life. Toddlers are always on the move, always getting into things and always one step away from breaking something or themselves. So, when mobile network Three asked us to have a “Night in With Go Binge”, needless to say we were up for it!
A handy parcel arrived from Three, packed full with a cosy blanket, a popcorn maker, popcorn and everything else you need for a cosy night in front of the box! We haven’t yet taken Eden to the cinema to see a full length film (unless you count The Force Awakens at 9 days old…) so we figured this would be a good opportunity to test out whether she actually could sit still for the duration!
Pizza ordered, popcorn at the ready and toes tucked into blankets, we were ready to go. A quick scroll through what was on led us to Cars 3 – Eden is currently a little obsessed with Cars, so it was a good choice. But who knew that Cruz Ramirez was a girl?! You learn something new every day. And little girl sat still for the whole thing, wide-eyed and in her little fantasy world where cars talk… I love this age because she is really starting to watch things, rather than just watching the songs and then carrying on destroying the lounge!
So, why did Three send us a bag of stuff and tell us to watch movies? Three have great new initiative called “Go Binge”. Go Binge allows customers to use Netflix, TV Player, Dave, History, Deezer and Soundcloud without using mobile data. So, you can fill up on as much Netflix as you like without it touching your data allowance, even when you’re out and about! On the bus? Go binge! On a train? Go binge!
Go Binge is available to all new and upgrading customers on the following tariffs:
All handset Advanced plans of 4GB and above.
All SIMO Advanced plans of 4GB and above.
All Pay monthly MBB plans of 5GB and above.
You can stream as long as you want as long as you have some data remaining in your allowance. And no need to worry about that pesky “you are approaching your data limit” text message – hooray!
You can find out more about Go Binge by heading over to the Three Website. There is also a helpful hub, where you can find lots of Go Binge related content and the Sim Only page covers the Sim Only contracts available.
I think Go Binge would be super helpful on a long car journey, train journey or when staying over in a hotel. Sometimes it’s important to get a few minutes of quiet as a parent, so having access to Netflix and such without running down your data allowance is a blessing! After all, there’s only so much Minnie’s Bowtique you can watch without resenting the hit that your data allowance takes in the process.
So, there you have it. It seems a (nearly) two-year old WILL sit still for an hour if the right film is put in front of her. Hooray! Here’s to more family movie nights.
Disclaimer – Three sent us a goodie bag in order to write this post, however we received no financial incentive and all opinions remain our own.
I wanted to write about something that happened at work recently. I’m going to go right ahead and put a trigger warning here as this post will be discussing issues surrounding baby loss, stillbirth and neonatal death. Please make sure you’re in a good place before reading on.
I work as a receptionist on a maternity ward. We often have families come in whose babies have sadly passed away in utero. A lot of the time these patients don’t know what to say when they come to reception, leading to receptionists like me ending up with our foot in our mouth because we just didn’t know and we end up asking too many questions. It’s happened to me a couple of times before and I’ve felt awful for the rest of the day. I’ve heard receptionists mistakenly ask couples if they are excited or wish them luck. These situations make my heart hurt.
About three months ago I spoke to my manager about it and said we should have a notification system so that these families didn’t have to explain all over again why they were at reception. I heard nothing back from her. Last week I escalated this to her manager and also to the bereavement team by email. Discussions went on and my manager’s manager recommended that I be involved going forward.
Today, I got confirmation that families who are coming in to deliver a baby that has passed or is expected to pass soon after birth will be having a card tagged onto their patient notes (which the lady carries) stating that they are coming in for induction and carrying the SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) logo. That way nobody asks awkward questions and what is an awful day anyway is not made worse for these families. I know I can’t make it better, but I hope this will make it a little easier. This was formulated in conjunction with the bereavement midwife, but was set into motion by my original email.
I like to think I’ve made a small difference on what must be a dreadful day for these families. I don’t know much about stillbirth or neonatal death. I’ve never been there. I don’t know what these families are going through – I haven’t a clue. I’m not clinical, so I don’t understand from a clinical point of view either. But what I do know is that the process should be as easy as possible and fighting to make it that way is important. That’s what I know from a human point of view.
So, there we go. A little something I achieved to make life just a tiny bit easier for bereaved families… Some things definitely are worth fighting for.
Today I had one of those days that reminded me why I wanted to become a parent in the first place. We had been invited along to the Parent Blogger Day at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, and I had gone back and forth on whether we would actually go or not. Amy was working and the idea of Eden potentially having a tantrum while it was just me and her was a lot to handle. Plus, holding her on the reins and steering the buggy is not one of my talents, especially with the buggy’s tendency to veer to the left and Eden’s tendency to veer… well… everywhere. I had a tough day yesterday and I didn’t feel like I wanted it to continue into today.
This morning I put my big girl panties on and decided to go. We had a mad rush getting there thanks to bad planning on my part and Sunday transport issues – the joy of travelling in London. I basically ran from Green Park up to Hyde Park, collected our tickets and headed into the Sooty and Sweep show. We only caught the last ten minutes of it, but Eden sat like a pro and munched on her popcorn. After Sooty and Sweep (which was hilarious) it was time to poddle over to the toilets to freshen up. I worried about getting both me and her there in a timely manner as she was (quite rightly) distracted by all of the shiny things. But she surprised me and we walked right there without issue or anyone laying on the floor…
We rode a couple of rides before the circus began. First the Jumbos (flying elephants… I wonder what that is based on? Hmmm…) and then a spinning hot air balloon kiddie ride thingy. She LOVED that and giggled and shouted “AROUND AROUND!” the whole time as I span the ride faster for her. She’s only ever been on really small rides before so it was great to see her having such a great time – especially with us going to Disneyworld next month! I was always scared of rides and stuff (partly because my parents told me they were scary…) as a child, so I love that Eden is a total daredevil. She will generally give anything a go once.
We had another little walk around and then went back to the MegaDome to see Zippo’s Circus. I’m really not a circus fan, but I thought we would see how we went seeing as we had tickets for it and also because it was warm in the MegaDome… I was also a little worried about whether Eden would sit in her seat and actually watch forty five minutes of Circus. Like most two year old’s, she didn’t stay in her seat. She sat in her own seat for maybe fifteen minutes before spending the remaining half hour on my lap. But there was no shouting, no screaming and no running around like a hooligan. I even enjoyed the show too as I didn’t spend it restraining a struggling toddler. We danced, clapped and sang along. And it was great.
After the circus I told Eden that she could go on one more ride and then we’d pick up her buggy and go home. She picked the mini rollercoaster, so we handed over our tokens and hopped on. I thought this was a bit rough, but she absolutely loved it and was shrieking and giggling all the way around. Rollercoaster all done with, we walked back to the buggy park and I asked her to get into her buggy. Eden told me “no. I walk!” whilst climbing in… Once we were all strapped in and she had the Gruffalo’s Child (her current favourite toy) to cuddle, we were off for coffee and to meet Amy from work. Within what seemed like moments, Eden was asleep.
Once Eden was done with her nap, we met up with Mama and went to see the dregs of the Hamley’s Toy Parade event. Most of the queues to meet characters were shut by this point, but Eden had a great time waving to some of her favourite characters. She was talking all night about “Bing and Flop” and how she waved to them. It made me smile. Not once did she lose her mind because she couldn’t get close to the characters. She was happy to have a little wave and then be on her way. When she was on the floor, she walked nicely. If she had to be carried because it was busy, she didn’t fuss. We did have tears when we put her back in her buggy, but once we explained to her that she was going in there because it was very busy, she was ok.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Eden is not a “bad kid”. However, she is a pretty average (almost!) two year old. Like every (almost!) two year old, she is learning a lot in a very short space of time. She’s learning new words every day, seeing new things every day and having new experiences every single day. Is it any wonder that two year olds get moody and have tantrums? Think about how much their little brains are taking in just day to day. It’s crazy! That being said – as a parent the bad days are horrendous. Like, get back in the house and refuse to come out horrendous. Horrendous like “am I even meant to be a parent?” horrendous.
But, days like today? When days like today happen, you realise why you try so hard. You realise why you tell her things four hundred times even when it feels like it will never go into her head. You realise why you work so hard on explaining why she’s not allowed to do something, rather than just saying no. You realise that this little person who came into your world and changed everything is changing every day. You realise that she’s turning into a pretty awesome little girl, and that’s amazing. Most of anything, you realise that even on your worst days, you are doing a great job. The good days are testament to that.
I posted some videos and pictures from today on Facebook if you wanted to head over and look. You can get more information on Winter Wonderland on their website. I definitely thought it was worth a visit for those in London – entry is free and you just pay for whichever attractions you want to enjoy. It’s HUGE this year too!
Disclaimer : We were invited to Winter Wonderland as guests and were given free passes for shows and attractions as an incentive. All opinions and experiences remain our own.
A little while ago I decided that I was going to learn to crochet. I’d seen some tiny sloths online and fancied making some fuzzy faced, claw-handed little friends for myself. ‘How hard can it be?‘ I thought. Erm… hard. The first night I tried to crochet, I ended up with nothing but a large knot and pretty much launched my pointy hook across the room. I’d purchased a magazine that promised their “Christmas dog” pattern was for beginners. I’m not sure what kind of “beginner” they meant, but it was definitely not me!
I was whinging about my predicament on Twitter, when a tweet appeared from one of the lovely folk from Hook-A-Monster. They promised that even I could make a beautiful (or terrifying) monster with the help of one of their classes. They offered for me to come along and see for myself, so off I went to rainy Stockwell to see if they could fix me and my massive ball of knotted wool…
Hook-A-Monster is the brainchild of friends Viv, Mya and Mel, who launched the classes with their shared love of crochet and of Amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami – meaning crocheted or knitted – and nuigurumi – meaning stuffed doll. I was invited along for one of their three hour workshops.
I’m going to be honest here and say that I definitely considered cancelling. My social anxiety can be pretty crippling at the best of times, and the idea of trying to do something that I knew I was no good at with loads of eyes on me was horrifying. I was scared that I would look like the class noob or just not be able to do it at all. I was also scared that everyone else would pick it up really quickly and I’d be left behind tying my yarn into a huge knot and making everything except for the planned monster.
Things I learnt? Never listen to social anxiety. Social anxiety is a big ole liar. I had a fantastic time at the class. And yes, there were people with varying abilities. Yes, some people were ahead and some were behind, but was there pressure? No. Did it matter if you had to be shown things four or five times? Nope. Was anything too much of a problem? No. Did I get mocked when I made my 100th mistake and had to unpick my monster’s head AGAIN? No! Absolutely no need for the anxiety at all. I was completely comfortable, and that is testament to the excellent teaching.
The three hours went by super quick and guess what? I made a monster! A lovely, pink, slightly-donkey-faced monster! And I made it all by myself!
Look at his little donkey face!
The class literally covered EVERYTHING. From how to hold the hook and the yarn, through to several types of stitches and some troubleshooting too. I missed out on how to do the magic circle, so I’m going to go back over that myself once I’m more comfortable, but everything I learned was SO useful! I’m not going to say I am a crochet expert now – far from it – but the achievement of actually making A THING that isn’t a knot is immense!
I also purchased the Hook-A-Monster goodie bag after the session. It costs £15 and contains a workshop booklet with extra patterns for monster accessories, 1 ball of stuffing, a bag of yarn, a darning needle and a hand
y stitch marker. All thrown together for the princely sum of £15 – which I thought was great value.
The class definitely gave me what I needed in terms of crochet basics. I feel like I’ve got a fair bit to practice now and a good solid foundation to build on. The teaching style was absolutely excellent and I loved that no matter what went wrong, there was a number of ways to fix it satisfactorily. My only regret was that I haven’t quite mastered eating HobNobs and crocheting at the same time!
I was gifted the class in exchange for an honest review, but the classes themselves retail at £35.00 for the three hour class. You can add on the goodie bag at booking stage too, making your total £50.00. You can either book a specific class, listed on the Hook-A-Monster website or you can buy a gift voucher to use for a future class or to give as a gift to a friend or family member who wants to learn to crochet. Classes are mostly in London.