Why we love Next

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Next dress, hat and shoes

Since both of my girls were newborn we’ve always loved the quality and feel of Next clothing. Next children’s clothing washes very well and I’ve found it doesn’t bobble.

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Next dress, three-quarter length leggings and white pumps

I just love the bright and cheerful patterns and that dresses can be worn with leggings. As my daughter, Amber (4) is sensitive to certain textures and often finds materials ‘itchy,’ she requests to wear next leggings, tops and dresses as she states that they are “soft.” Amber is tall for her age, I find that Next provides generous sizes for their clothes and items often fit for longer than other brands.

Amber loves her white pumps from Next, they are easier for her to put on and take off herself, promoting independence via a Velcro fastening. She also has them in black to use for school PE sessions.

If there is a special celebration I always look to Next clothing, I bought a white Broderie Anglais dress for my youngest daughter’s Christening and many people commented how beautiful the dress was on the day. At Christmas I look forward to ordering a beautiful red or silver dress.

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Next ‘Ditsy’ patterned dress and pink leggings (a favourite pattern!)

Maisie, (18-months) rocks a dress and leggings combo, I like to multi-buy offers and therefore Maisie usually has the same dress but in various patterns, again these dresses are soft and wash incredibly well.

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Next dress and hat

The great thing about these dresses are that they can just as easily be worn without leggings and are perfect for hot weather. Maisie is a big fan of her pretty – patterned floral coat, both myself and Amber also have a Next floral coat!

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Next coat

This coat is very forgiving and light enough to be carried in Maisie’s changing bag, but at the same time, keeps her warm on the more chillier days and is waterproof.

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Next leggings and T-shirt

We have many different coloured Next leggings and patterned tops, Maisie often wears these to trips to the park as they allow her to move freely and are non-restricting.

We are looking forward to seeing the new autum collection, I’ve already got my eye on a beautiful teal-coloured dress with a bird pattern on!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Nicki @ Sensory Sensitive Mummy.

 

 

Guest Blogger ~ Sleep and Bedtime Series

This is this 5th guest Blogger feature for my Sleep and Bedtime series.

Jessica Blogs at ‘Beautiesandthebibs.’ She shares her parenting journey and has done some great product reviews. Jessica has recently written a post called ‘What do I ask at a nursery show around?’ This is a great and informative post for any readers looking around nurseries for their little ones. I could relate to this after I’ve done a few show arounds in previous years, when I was a baby room leader. 

Please explain a bit about yourself. How many children you have and how old are they? 

I’m a first time mommy to a beautiful little girl called Ava; she is 8 months old and a cheeky little monkey. Before starting maternity leave I was a nursery manger, looking after children aged 2 -4 years of age. 

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime routine? E.g. Bath time, story, (how many?) etc.

I try to keep to a strict bedtime routine, this consists of a nice bubbly bath, then a bottle and a cuddle. Where she normally falls to sleep on me and then she goes in her bed. Sometime she stays asleep and I don’t hear from her for a good couple of hours. Ava isn’t one to self soothe so tends to cry if left in her cot whilst she is awake, she will make herself that upset to the point where she is sick if left. Other than crying to gain my attention she has recently learnt that banging her dummy off the bars makes a lot of noise. 

If your child has tried to gain your attention after you’ve said goodnight, what do you do? Go back to see what the problem is? Leave them?

My daughter is very lucky to have her own pretty room although she prefers to come into bed with me. Co-sleeping was something I was adamant I wasn’t going to do, but as the weeks go on I looked more and more like a walking zombie. It got to the point where she would still be awake at 3 o’clock in the morning.

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime? And usual awake time? Do you have any views on putting later to bed, does it mean that they get up slightly later? Or still the same time in the morning?! 

I usually put Ava down to sleep between 7 and half past. I have tried to put her down later in the hope that she will go to bed easier and maybe sleep for longer. Sadly this doesn’t make any difference if anything she is harder to get to sleep as she is over tired. Ava tends to wake up at 5 in the morning for her bottle but then once had it she falls straight back to sleep. Then sleeps until about 8, this is normally in bed with me though! 

Do you have any strategies or tips for a smooth running bedtime?

When Ava was really little she was such a good sleeper I mean when she was new born she would go 5 hours in the night between feeds. If she did wake up and didn’t need a feed I would put on her musical hippo nightlight on and this sent her straight back off to sleep. We did go and buy a Ewan the dream sheep and this used to work wonders. Not so much now as she just throws it around her cot! 

Does your child still have day time naps? Morning or afternoon? Morning and afternoon?

I would definitely say a good bedtime routine is important even from a young age. We got really lazy with ours and let Ava win by staying downstairs with us when she should be in bed. We are now paying for this as she won’t go to sleep in her cot by herself anymore and sometimes will still be awake at 11pm. 

As Ava is still only little she has two naps a day neither of them are for very long. The first one is around 10 for about half an hour. Then her second sleep is around 1 for around half an hour again. We do have a little rule that she isn’t allowed to have a sleep after 4 as this makes bedtime so much harder than it already is. 

Thanks goes to Jessica for joining in with my Sleep and Bedtime Series.

You can find her Blog here:
www.beautiesandthebibs.co.uk
And on social media: 

Facebook

Twitter 

Instagram 
Thanks for reading 🙂 

Back to School 

A little background information.

This is Amber she is 4 years old and has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) with traits of ADHD and Autism.

Amber has a younger sister Maisie who is 18 months old and lives with Mummy – Nicki and Daddy – Paul in a village in Worcestershire.
Amber is a lively little girl who’s always on the go, she finds it difficult to control her emotions and frustration. She requires a calm place if it all gets too much at home. Amber is a ‘Sensory Seeker’ and therefore will thrive on all sensory experiences, the messier the better! Family Fund provided Amber with a grant for Sensory toys and equipment from Learning SPACE and sessions at a local multi-sensory centre called SMILE (Sensation Movement Interaction in Life Experiences) at ARCOS (Association for Rehabilitation of Communication and Oral skills,) in Malvern, Worcestershire. We have noticed a marked improvement in Amber’s ability to cope with sensory overload, frustration and anger and will use the toys and equipment in her calm place.

Preparation for starting school this September. 

Amber has just finished a year at our local Pre School which she throughly enjoyed, and this enabled her to start to build friendships ready for school. I’m not sure who’s more nervous about Amber starting school – Amber herself or me! Coming from an education background, for the last 12 years I have been so used to receiving a new class every September, it’s a whole new experience for me to be on the other side! Since May 2016 there has been input about starting ‘big school,’ which has been important for Amber to prepare her for the change that is about to happen. However,  we have noticed a spike in Amber’s behaviour at home and in particular, her bedtimes have been disrupted. 

Amber thrives on structure and routine, she gets up every morning and asks “what are we doing today?” We use a visual timetable to inform her of what is happening each day. Amber likes being around other children and many adults in an education setting, in order to prepare her of the change in setting, adults and surroundings, her Pre School made a special key ring with pictures of the staff, various rooms and areas of the school. Therefore we have been looking at these pictures frequently over the holidays and have been talking about it together. 

We were impressed with the amount of transition visits Amber’s new school had arranged for their new intake. Some of these sessions I attended as well and I could already see that the classroom is going to suit Amber due to the sensory play opportunities on offer and a large outdoor space. I was so impressed when the school’s Inclusion Officer said that Amber will have a specified quiet area of the classroom with a basket of sensory items if she gets a bit overwhelmed. The key here was to arrange a meeting before Amber starts the school and this will then be followed up with a multi – agency meeting at the school during her second week. The class teachers have arranged a home visit for the first week of term to allow them to see Amber in her home surroundings, which I think is so important as Amber does tend to behave differently at home than she does at any educational setting.

Uniform

Such a cheeky grin!

Amber is not a fan of ‘itchy’ materials as she calls them, nor socks as she takes them off everytime at home. Amber hasn’t worn a skirt since around the age of 2 and she isn’t keen at all on tights, again calling them “itchy.” We are lucky that trousers are permitted for girls to wear, so I ensured that I bought ones that are of soft and light texture. She may request to wear a skirt if she sees that other class – friends are, so I’ve ensured that I have both options. Amber is also not keen on labels in her clothes – I’m the same and can remember an itchy label in my neckline once affected my whole day at school. I will therefore cut the labels out to avoid any discomfort.

Amber has a staggered entry into school for the first 2 weeks which will allow her to stay for the morning then experience a week with lunchtimes before starting full time in the 3rd week. I can imagine that Amber will be very tired in her first few weeks whilst adjusting to the change, so will be be prepared at home when she returns and I would think that she’s going to require quite a lot of time in her ‘calm area’ where she has Sensory toys, bubbles tubes, etc.

We are excited about this new experience but you always have in the back of your mind – will everything be ok? But we’re luckily to have such a supportive team already at the school to aid the process.

We can’t wait to take that all important ‘First Day of School’ photo – my mum still has mine! Daddy has even taken the day off to share the experience! 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

I can’t believe where those 4 and a half years have gone!

Week 5 of our holidays 

Wow what a busy week! We were hardly at home this week which meant that we hardly touched on any planned activities for craft and sensory play, but we were so lucky with the weather that time was spent at parks, friends’ houses and trips out.

1. Cous Cous sensory play.

I am always looking for more materials for sensory play, we’ve never tried Cous Cous before but Lou loved exploring this, “it’s like sand mummy” She observed. And then also explored what happened when adding a bit of water: “Now it’s slimy!”

2. Good old cut and stick.

Lou has always taken a great interest in catalogues! I remember when I was younger, myself and my younger sister would cut up old catalogues and stick the items we like onto paper, Lou really enjoyed this and has been waiting to get her hands on the scissors for a while now!

3. Our day out at ‘All Things Wild,’ Honeybourne, Worcestershire.

We love this place! We’ve visited ‘All Things Wild’ a few times since Lou was 2, there’s a bit of everything. We found that there are some new additions to the park such as a large climbing frame with a twisty slide that Lou just loved. Moo really enjoyed watching the Guinea Pigs, Prairie Dogs and rabbits, they were on her level and had domes to put your head in right up close to the animals. Another favourite were the Meerkats and Porcupines. We travelled on the Dinosaur train this time and enjoyed walking around the Dinosaur structures even though it was raining! There were new Digger pits and a sandpit where the children had to uncover Dinosaur bones.

We were lucky with the weather in the afternoon but Lou and Moo enjoyed the many indoor activities on offer, which is great if the weather is bad. Such as soft play, play tractors, and reptile house. There is also a great indoor sand pit room but we didn’t manage get in there this time as we were so busy!

We hope to visit again in October half term.

I cannot believe that were in our last week of the holidays! There’s going to be a bit of preparation this week for Lou starting school, but hopefully also time for more fun!

Thanks for reading 🙂


 

Guest Blogger ~ Bedtime and Sleep series 

This is the 4th of my guest posts in the sleep and bedtime series.

Today I am featuring Lauren from ‘The Mummy Side of Life.’ 

Lauren Blogs about ‘Parenting Adventures, Lifestyle and Memories.’ I absolutely love the illustrations and design of Lauren’s Blog, and I enjoy following the journey of Lauren and her little boy, which includes some gorgeous photographs. I really like that Lauren describes her Blog as “digital record of our life as a family.” How wonderful to look back on in years to come.

Please explain a bit about yourself. How many children you have and how old are they?
My name is Lauren. I have a 17 month old boy called Oliver.

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime routine? E.g. Bath time, story, (how many?) etc.
We have our dinner, have some family time in the lounge and head up for a bath around 6pm. We spend around 15/20 minutes in the bath playing with his favourite toys and reading his bath books.

If your child has tried to gain your attention after you’ve said goodnight, what do you do? Go back to see what the problem is? Leave them?
I leave Oliver as I know that he will eventually settle. He doesn’t really attempt to get attention anymore due to that.

Does your child share a room with a sibling or have their own room?
Oliver has his own room (typically the biggest one in the house, of course!)

Do you have any tips for siblings sharing a room? Do they wake each other up in the night/morning? Do you put your youngest or eldest up first?
Oliver doesn’t have siblings but I used to babysit my niece and nephew a lot, day and night. What I found was that the younger one would go and wake the older one up in the morning which he definitely wasn’t happy about – she soon grew out of it once she turned 3 and done her own thing.

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime? And usual awake time? Do you have any views on putting later to bed, does it mean that they get up slightly later? Or still the same time in the morning?! 
I’ve found that the later I put him to bed, the earlier he will get up. We go into his bedroom around 7pm, read a story or two (they’re only short ones, the longer they are the more awake he becomes), I turn on his mobile on top of his wardrobe and shut the door. He’s usually asleep in 5 minutes.

Do you have any strategies or tips for a smooth running bedtime?
I do find that the stories help him settle and if I don’t switch his mobile on, he won’t go to sleep so I think soft music definitely helps calm them down.

Does your child still have day time naps? Morning or afternoon? Morning and afternoon?
Oliver only has 1 nap a day now, last month he was having 1 in the morning also from around 11am to 11:30am but now it’s 1pm until around 3pm. Without his afternoon nap by 5/6pm he’s desperate to go to bed and our house is like tantrum city. The only way I find this manageable is playing with his favourite toys or watching a film together – usually Madagascar or Antz!
Thanks go to Lauren for sharing her experiences, it is great to get a perspective of sleep and bedtimes from a range of ages, especially as Oliver is the same age as Moo. 

You can find Lauren’s Blog at:

The Mummy Side of Life

You can also find her on 

Facebook

Bedtime + heat = grumpy toddler

My daughter normally falls asleep by 7pm as she gets up at 5am. Thought the same about the heat she didn’t go to sleep until 9.30pm! X

Mummyemblog

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Why is it that at bedtime my happy, giggling little girl, turns in to a grumpy, whiney devil?
I can only assume it is the heat tonight that made her turn in to an absolute terror, and made bedtime last for 2 hours! Yes that’s right 2 sodding hours.
It all started out well, cuddles on the sofa with milk and lala (dummy) and then it started, we needed a bum change, and then some more milk. And then the whining started, that awful noise that is half cry half moan but fully annoying. Then we had full crying for daddy, and then the request for more lala’s.
We had singing, bribery, begging, and finally after 2 hours she fell asleep clutching 6 yep 6 lala’s!!!!
It must be the heat, that turns her in to this crazy little person, like a mini drunk person, singing random songs, begging for another drink &…

View original post 31 more words

More mind blowing stuff! 

Lou had a Microarray blood test to check for genetics at the beginning of July. Today we had the results, I’d kind of predicted that I wouldn’t hear the words “clear” but I was still quite surprised to hear the words “anomoly.” I was told not to worry about this – although I naturally am! And I still can’t remember all of the conversation! I was relieved to hear that the results will be sent to me via post to clarify. But the way forward is to now check if this anomoly has been passed down by either myself or Lou’s father in the form of blood tests for ourselves. I’m a terrible ‘Googler,’ I Google absolutely everything, but I’m refraining from doing this until we know more. I am hopeful that the results will show a clarification for some of the difficulties Lou displays, to then be able to help support her more. 
I will update as and when we find out more.

But I know one thing – nothing can or will change –  we love our big girl to the moon and back, she is so funny, she loves to make people laugh and she is picking up so much now, she continues to surprise us everyday, yes there are still difficult behaviours but we hope to gain answers to help her more. 

If anyone has any similar experiences I’d be happy to hear from you.

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Guest Blogger ~ Sleep and Bedtime series 

This is the 3rd of my guest posts in the sleep and bedtime series.
Today I am featuring Katy from Katykicker.com

 I love the catchy heading of Katy’s Blog:

‘Katykicker’s bakes, makes & money making escapades.’

Please explain a bit about yourself. How many children you have and how old are they?
I am a 28 year old mother of one. I work from home full-time blogging and making money online. My daughter is Daisy, 5 months old (on the 21st of August) and she is my only child at present.

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime routine? E.g. Bath time, story, (how many?) etc.
Bedtime starts between 6-7, depending on how tired our daughter is. Our routine typically consists of a bath, bottle, one story (books are so short for little babies!), cuddles and then laying down in the bedroom together. Daisy’s cot is by our bed so I tend to lay down, and relax for a short while, until she begins to self soothe and fall to sleep.

If your child has tried to gain your attention after you’ve said goodnight, what do you do? Go back to see what the problem is? Leave them?
If my daughter is simply grizzling, or making noises to herself, then I leave her. If she is crying or distressed, then I will pop back into our bedroom to check she is ok. As our daughter has GORD she is sick sometimes in the night and often the first we know is either hearing the sick or hearing her cry so I always check on her again for this reason more than anything else. When Daisy was first beginning her bedtime routine, at around 3 months, we left her to ‘cry it out’ for a short while one evening and promptly realised that this isn’t the method for us. We are happy to allow her to self soothe, which sometimes involves her grizzling, however we don’t leave her crying unattended as she is very young and crying is her method of communication.

Does your child share a room with a sibling or have their own room?
N/A

Do you have any tips for siblings sharing a room? Do they wake each other up in the night/morning? Do you put your youngest or eldest up first?

N/A

What is your child(ren)’s usual bedtime? And usual awake time? Do you have any views on putting later to bed, does it mean that they get up slightly later? Or still the same time in the morning?! 

Daisy is usually asleep somewhere between 7-8pm and sleeps until around 5-7am depending on when she goes to sleep. We have had a couple of 1am wakings recently, as she has been sick from all the excess saliva from teething. Daisy tends to wake up between 5:30 and 6:30 mostly, and seems to be moving towards this as her waking time, regardless of when she goes to sleep now. This has changed in the last few weeks and got earlier and earlier for a few weeks before gradually moving back towards 6:30am more – a bit more reasonable!

Do you have any strategies or tips for a smooth running bedtime?
We try and keep consistency. If Daisy is not asleep within 30 minutes of going into her cot and doesn’t show any signs of settling down then we will sometimes try cuddling her to sleep on our bed. This has happened maybe 3 times in the last month and it seems to work. I think sometimes she just needs a few more cuddles and a little more time with Mum or Dad before bed. We have also found that her cot mobile helps her know that it is bedtime.

Does your child still have day time naps? Morning or afternoon? Morning and afternoon?
Daisy naps around 9am, 1pm and then a few short 10-20 minute naps if we are out in the pram etc. She is only young though so we are happy to be quite loose and let her sleep. We’ve personally found that the more she sleeps in the day the better she sleeps at night. Late afternoon is her fussy time and she is often grizzly and not very interested in anyone until she has a short nap. Sometimes she is napping as little as 1.5 hours before bedtime but still sleeps overnight for 10-11 hours without trouble most nights.

Thanks go to Katy for sharing her experiences, it is great to get a perspective of sleep and bedtimes from a range of ages. 
You can find Katy’s Blog at:

www.katykicker.com

And via social media:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/katykicker

Facebook: 

www.facebook.com/Katykickersblog

Instagram – 

www.instagram.com/Katykicker

Katy has written her own post on: 

Bedtime Routine 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

What a difference a year makes…

Tomorrow, on Monday 22nd August we have been in our house for a year. We were keen to move closer to my parents and we were also keen for Lou to go to a school with smaller classes. When we went to view the house I was quite taken aback as it needed a lot of work! I’d always wanted a project but unsure of how much could be done with a 6-month-old and a very lively 3-year-old Lou. My parents helped such a lot whilst we were away on holiday being at the house whilst new carpets were fitted as there wasn’t a single carpet left from the previous occupiers! My parents had to wash the walls as they weren’t left in a great way! And the whole building smelt of stale cigarettes, we decided that neutral tones throughout would allow it to be brightened up and would allow us to start on a blank canvas. Upstairs there were staples in the wooden floors, walls and ceiling, we aren’t sure exactly why! We spent ages picking the staples out to make it safe for the girls, and I had to pick remains of a green carpet out before our new carpet was put down! There are now only a few finishing touches to add to the girls’ bedroom. 

Lou and Moo’s bedroom
Our ‘toy den’ living room! (How I like it!)

Once a carpet was added, (we were left with just a concrete floor!) Curtains added and the living room was freshly painted it felt more like home. 

We still have the kitchen to decorate which was just left white, so my next task is to create a Parisian – style theme. 

The garden needed to be made safe for young children, hardly any grass had been left, and we had to dig it up and start again by adding grass seed to try and get a lawn back. I have never seen so many random objects dug in a garden! I found computer keys, Sim cards, kitchen utensils, etc! All underground. 

We now feel so happy for our girls to play in the garden, when it’s been good weather, we’ve been out there everyday. I added in pots of flowers (just out of picture) and decorated tyres to create a mud pit. My future projects are to replace more fencing that is getting old and to create my own outdoor furniture for the girls, made from a wooden cable reel and pallet. 

We have a very limited budget but we have been pleased with how much we’ve managed in a year, we love our little house in the countryside and have no plans to move! 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Week 4 of our holidays

We haven’t got a lot of craft done this week, we’ve been busy with appointments, parties, play dates and park visits! It was lovely this week to catch up with people we haven’t seen since the schools broke up, Lou was desperate to spend time some time with her friends, she’s done so incredibly well over the last 4 weeks, out of routine and the structure that an education setting provides, but I felt a bit of “I’m bored with you now mummy” this week! I can’t believe we’ve already done 4 weeks, I think the last 2 weeks will surely fly by! 

Activities this week:

1. ‘Cloud Dough’

I’ve been wanting to try this out with Lou for a while now, I used to make it for the children I worked with in the nursery. We used baby oil and plain flour to make a very soft consistency,  you can use food colouring but we left it plain. We did this outside with a tray as it does create quite a lot of mess! Lou loved the way she could create shape moulds with the dough she said “it’s like my motion sand!” 
2. Sensory play dough

I made play dough using our normal recipe of:

2 cups plain flour

2 cups salt

2 cups water 

2 table spoons of oil

2 tea spoons of Cream of Tartar

In the past I’ve then added to the microwave but I’ve found that adding boiling water works just as well.

I coloured the dough pink with food colouring and added Cinnamon. Lou liked smelling the dough and creating her own cupcakes.

3. Glittery Foam

Lou requested to have foam outside so I used shaving foam and to add an extra touch, glitter. She absolutely loved getting it on her hands! 

4. Spaghetti, pasta and rice play.

I am hoping to buy a ‘Tuff Spot’ or ‘Builder’s tray’ for sensory/messy play purposes. But for now I used an old under the bed storage box to put some rice, pasta and spaghetti in, both girls immediately wanted to get inside to sit amongst the materials! They used tea set items to transfer the rice, etc. Moo wanted to eat the pasta! 

5. Nature shot of the week

There was excitement on Thursday evening when a hot air balloon went straight over our house and landed only a few fields away! 

6. Baking ~ Cupcakes 

We made some cupcakes for Lou’s friends’ joint 3rd and 4th party. It’s strange how Lou just wants the icing off the cake – yet I gave her a bit of icing and sprinkles in a bowl and she said “I don’t want this mummy!” 

This week was a big one for me, some very positive steps forward in terms of my Blogging:

You can find the link to the article 

Here

  • I was asked by a local children’s centre to help run a group for parents that have children with additional needs, I will update more on this as I find out more.
  • I was approached by the charity Family Fund, who I write posts for, if they could use one of my photos in their marketing materials 🙂 this was the first time that I’ve received recognition for my photography. I now hope to pursue this and get a better camera than just taking pictures on my smart phone!
This photo was a natural photo taken on the spur-of-the-moment whilst Lou was going through the tunnel at a local park.

We’re now looking forward to week 5 🙂 Where I’ll be labelling lots of school uniform and thinking about the complicated task of school shoes! 
Thanks for reading 🙂