From a Mama in the know to Mamas on the go!

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 34 :: via Toby & Roo, daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Baby is roughly the size of a cataloupe melon this week!

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby weighs about 4 3/4 pounds at this point in pregnancy, which is now officially the time you can claim you look like you have swallowed a melon! Her skin is getting smoother and she is filling out with her fat layers, this will help to regulate her body temperate once she is born, though it won’t be a faultless system. Her nervous system and lungs are maturing really well now and the best of news is that after 34 weeks pre term babies usually do just as well as full term babies! Hooray for less stress!

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

This week seems to have been a little bit better, especially for my pelvis! I feel like the aches have eased off a little bit and I’m not struggling to get up and down on the mornings and evenings! One thing that has made a massive difference (and it’s worth noting down for those of you that are suffering or in earlier labour) is keeping my feet and knees together when lifting my legs – so getting out of the car in the same fashion as the queen, lifting my legs off the sofa as if they have been glued together etc… all really helpful!

I’ve still been pretty exhausted this week, the boys still aren’t well and they have been hacking and coughing through the night… plus, my efforts to ensure they are good at sharing have paid off. They have kindly offered me their cold too, so I have been struggling to breathe at night myself. In the third trimester of pregnancy you really are limited to paracetamol because anything else can seriously affect baby’s breathing. I can also recommend 4HEAD for getting rid of headaches and that woolly head, it genuinely works and is totally natural :)

Cravings.

Still with the constant snacking. I seem to be wanting chilli all of the time, but lack the energy to cook myself anything separate to the rest of the family! Oh and mince pies… always mice pies at this time of year!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

Earlier this week Reuben decided to come running through to the toilet when I was mid wee… needless to say, jumping off the toilet for a 3 year old in desperate need who is in peril of wetting his pants and increasing the permanently huge laundry pile again, is no easy feat.

This was not only hilarious, but a proud moment for me as we both managed to avoid puddles. Win.

Adorable:

Reuben keeps talking about baby, and keeps patting my tummy – as does Toby. I’ve also been lucky enough for a few really close friends to feel baby kick this last week or so – it’s a wonderful thing to share with people!

Bad:

The head cold has been my big bug bare this week. What I wouldn’t give for some extra strength night syrup and the chance to curl up on the sofa for a few hours. Apparently I’m more likely to receive a glitter-horned unicorn in my stocking on Christmas morning.

Oh well, there’s always cake.

Harriet x

Christmas Eve box ideas from Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Do you have a Christmas Eve tradition? I love our Christmas eve boxes – they just add such a touch of magic to our night together!

I LOVE doing Christmas Eve boxes – I know some people think that it is a bit too much, especially when children get so much over Christmas, but I just think it is the perfect way to build the (already tangible) excitement and to add a bit of magic to the lives of our kids.

Everyone does Christmas Eve boxes differently, but I thought I’d share what goes in ours and why I do them… this year I have been toying with the idea of doing grown up Christmas Eve boxes (complete with a little tipple, a chosen DVD and some new pjs!), after all we deserve a bit of Christmas magic too! We always do our Christmas Eve boxes about 4.30/5pm so before bedtime and before dinner, otherwise the excitement can be too much!

So for the boy’s Christmas Eve boxes I do:

  • A Christmas sticker book – it’s something fun and easy to play with! I always try to make sure that it is something Christmassy so we can build excitement!
  • A new Christmas story – This is the perfect thing for bedtime reading and is a must for us. I read to the boys every night as part of our bedtime routine, it helps them get into a peaceful sleep and they enjoy hearing a story as they drift off. I like to add a Christmas story to their box because their is nothing better than slipping into a peaceful sleep with the anticipation of the morning!
  • New Pajamas – An absolute must! I love a new pair of pjs for Christmas eve, though I will say I usually avoid the traditional ‘Christmas’ themed pjs because I want something that will last and last. We have our dinner and bath a little bit early and get snuggly on the sofa in our new pjs early!
  • A DVD – Some people may not do this, in fact most don’t, but I always have a DVD each for the boys. It’s always something that I know they love – this year it will be Planes: Fire and Rescue for Reuben as it was the film we went to see at the cinema earlier in the year (his first cinema trip!) and every time he sees a picture or advert of it he gets so excited. We still haven’t made our minds up for Toby! One of my favourite memories of Christmas is curling up and watching movies as a family, so that’s what I want to achieve with the boys – we all sit together and watch one (or both) of the movies while using the rest of our box!
  • A packet of Christmas themed chocolates – We don’t eat these all in one sitting! Last year Toby got a packet of Letters to Santa (white chocolate) and Reuben got a packet of Reindeer dropping (ew… milk chocolate!). These make lovely nibbles while enjoying a cuddle on the sofa and watching a movie. If you didn’t want to do chocolate there are so many chocolate free fruit based Christmas themed options out there, most of which you can find in the supermarkets.
  • A packet of reindeer dust – this was something a friend of mine taught me to do and I think it is awesome. You just need a little bit of chiffon or a food bag and all you do is add a little bit of glitter to a tablespoon or so of porridge oats (or crushed up cereal!) then add it to the bag of choice or make a bag from the chiffon – tie with a bit of ribbon and add a little tag telling your child how to use their ‘reindeer dust’ – my favourite little poem is this : “Sprinkle on your lawn at night, the moon will make it shine so bright. As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam, this will bring them to your home!” There are a thousand and one rhymes though try googling ‘Reindeer dust poem’. We put our coats on after we have brushed our teeth and go outside to sprinkle the dust, then it’s straight to bed to make sure Santa won’t miss us!

So that’s it! We also make it a tradition that once we have had bath time and got comfy in our new pjs with a movie we break out the Christmas mugs and have some warm milk or hot chocolate! Yum!

What do you include in your Christmas Eve Box?

Harriet x

A - Z of Dangerous Foods by Rebvik via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is such a unique stocking filler, especially for preschoolers who are just learning their letters – it beats the usual A is for Apple does it not!?

I think that all children have a fascination with animals, ‘dangerous’ ones in particular, and food. We all have obsessions with food!

This little flash card book is the perfect unique stocking filler for any baby, toddler or young preschooler who is starting to learn letters. Reuben is quite obsessed with his letters at the moment (not to mention his numbers!) and I know he would find this absolutely hilarious – people really eat Jelly fish??!

A - Z of Dangerous Foods by Rebvik via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I can just see how much fun you could have with a child with this one – J is for Jelly fish… actioning out a jelly fish will mean hours of fun!

A - Z of Dangerous Foods by Rebvik via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

F is for Fish. Make sure you are using phonics all the way too if you are teaching little ones – using letter names as opposed to sounds can be detrimental to their learning!

A - Z of Dangerous Foods by Rebvik via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Reuben in particular would get such a kick out of this one… people eat ANTS???

I also think that the illustrations in this are worth buying it for, they are simply lovely – of course they would be, the book is written by the uber talented duo of Rebecca Sinker and Victoria de Rijke, two artists who collaborate on various products to bring us this kind of awesomeness.

You can order one of these unique stocking fillers from Tate.org who stock Rebvik products.

Harriet x

What we read : Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

What we read : Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, the perfect book for budding astronauts!

It’s been quite a time since I added anything to the What We Read series, but I thought that this book needed to be added in time for Christmas! Reuben seems to have gained a fascination recently with space and the planets (I think it is a part of their group activities at school). He is so proud to be able to stand in front of a willing audience and tell everyone what the planets are called!

This book has been highly recommended as the perfect book for Space fans – the graphics by the very talented Ben Newman are wonderful and the whole thing is written by a Quantum Physicist so your kids are getting all the right facts in all the right ways.

You can get hold of this lovely book in time for Christmas by visiting Amazon UK or US, it’s definitely on our Christmas list this year!

Harriet x

FREE printable Christmas cards from i heart nap time via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

It’s purely by chance that I found this wonderful blog and these awesome printables! Click the image and have a browse of a whole host of great downloads and printables!

FREE printable Christmas cards from i heart nap time via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

All you need is one finger and the rest is done for you! Takes the stress and mess out of homemade Christmas card gifts!

I came across these free printable christmas cards from i heart nap time when I was searching for a site that a friend had recommended for all things downloadable for christmas hampers and I’m so pleased I did!

This printable Christmas cards are so much fun and really take the stress out of making your own Christmas Cards this year… all you need is one finger and you can make the perfect cards for teachers, family and friends… without the mess! Hooray!

You can download these lovely Christmas cards here.

Harriet x

Railway Breakfast set from The Letteroom via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just love this set, and the best thing is that you can buy it as one, or in separate pieces to add to your existing track!

Railway Breakfast set from The Letteroom via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Each of the components of this breakfast set will fit with any of the usual wooden track sets, so you could really go to town on making this crazy fun for the kids!

As a mama whose boys have an obsession with all things wooden railway this really appeals to me! Many a time I have had to succumb to allowing the boys to deviate from the normal seating arrangements at breakfast and toddling into their playroom, with me following behind trying to get them to eat their toast!

With this wooden railway breakfast set you could make breakfast so much fun!! What am I saying, you could make any meal time fun!

There is a ‘docking station’ for your toast, an egg cup and a spoon holder and a place for your child’s drink to go too. It even joins up to the usual train track sets like Brio, ELC and others – just to make it all the more fun for you!

You can find this brilliant set by The Letteroom here.

Harriet x

Hatley pajamas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The boy’s both have a real thing for prehistoric animals at the minute – especially dinosaurs and mammoths. These would be a great and practical Christmas gift for them!

Hatley pajamas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I’ve ordered a pair of these for the boy’s Christmas Eve box. To me, they are Christmassy, but they could be used after too… which is so important!

I am a huge fan of Hatley pajamas, they are just such a perfect blend of adorable patterns, super soft organic cotton and lovely design.

Each year I buy the boys new pjs for their Christmas Eve box, though I have to confess I am not a fan of the ‘christmas pajama’ because they just don’t seem worth it to me. I mean, you give them for Christmas Eve and then after a week they are finished with for the year… and we can all say they won’t fit next year! So I try to make sure that the pjs I give the boys are big enough to fit now (with tonnes of room for growth) and will last all the year round… or at least a good portion of it.

Hatley pajamas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This was Reuben’s first night in his new room and he just looks so cosy and peaceful in his pjs! I love the pattern!

Hatley really do just do it for me. I bought the boys some of their fab bear print earlier in the year when the boys moved room, as they really were growing out of the ones they had and you can see how lovely and peaceful Reuben looks tucked up in them!

You can buy Hatley pjs in loads of places, but amazon is probably the one with the best selection! And if you really like the idea of Christmas pjs, then why not try their red and green striped ones – they will be perfect for Christmas Eve and beyond!

Harriet x

How to make handprint Christmas baubles via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The perfect Christmas present for Grandparents or any family member and it lasts forever!

These are so easy to make and they were so much fun!

Hand print baubles are a great gift for teachers, grandparents or pretty much any family member at Christmas, and they can last forever! The boy’s loved making these, it was one of the quickest and easiest crafts that we have done for a time too, which is perfect for me because I am exhausted at the moment with both of them failing to sleep due to coughs and colds!

How to make handprint Christmas baubles via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The boy’s both loved doing these baubles and they were the perfect craft for a late afternoon to just have a bit of fun before bath time!

Here’s how to do it and what you will need:

  • A plain bauble – I used red and green, it didn’t matter that some were shiny and other’s glittery – in fact the glittery ones worked the best. All that matters is that the bauble is a plain, non patterned colour.
  • Some complimentary paint – I used white, which goes with near enough everything and shows up really well, but you could use any colour, just remember it needs to stand out and show up.
  • A paint brush or roller – for painting their hands of course!

Start by making sure your little munchkins have clean hands, then paint their hands with your chosen paint. Take the bauble and hold it by the top, ask your child to hold their hand out flat (if they are really little then you may need to help them hold out their hand) then pop the bauble in the centre of their hand and ask them to wrap their fingers around if they can. That was an easy task for Reuben, but I did have to help Toby to wrap his hand around the bauble!

Easy peasy!

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 33 :: Toby & Roo, daily advice and inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This week baby is about the size of a pineapple (not to mention the weight!)

What’s happening to baby this week?

This week, baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (no wonder everything feels so heavy!)  and is probably just over 17 inches long. The wrinkled alien look is fading, in place of a hardening skeleton and a good dose of body fat. The bones in his skull aren’t fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. These bones will continue to fuse right until adulthood where they will become fixed and strong.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Well, I’m not sure what is going to cave first, my pelvis or my sanity!

This week has been a little tough, I’ve had a very poorly Reuben, a poorly Toby and a poorly husband… on top of it all I’m full of cold myself. Ahh the joys of winter.

On top of this head cold and a house hold full of poorly people, I have been feeling a tremendous amount of pressure on my pelvis when I am stood upright over the last few days. Bambino really seems to be weighing down on me this week and I have found it quite a challenge to cope with her baring down so much… this isn’t something I was treated to in my past pregnancies, especially not this early!

I’m also experiencing a touch of dry skin around my boobs – something I never had before either, and something I hadn’t been expecting! I’ve been making good use of my Boo Boo Miracle oil included in my gift box from Almondella (which you can read about here) on it and it seems to make a wonderful difference!

Cravings.

Nothing. I have turned into a perpetual snacker and I can eat a copious amount of chocolate in one sitting, but sadly, I don’t actually fancy any food at all!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

I’m beginning to resemble a bit of a duck when I walk – I waddled from side to side and struggle walk normally!

Adorable:

The baby has started to really respond to my husband’s voice now, she seems to really love Daddy!

Bad:

Mainly the pelvis – it is ridiculous to feel so much pressure all of the time, but I’m confident it is just a normal part of my pelvis softening!

Harriet x

It’s that time of year – exactly 2 weeks to Christmas! Can you believe it?

Now if you are planning on making a Christmas hamper, packed with divine and devious things that are sure to encourage the expansion of anyone’s waistline, then you are beginning to run out of time for anything that will need to ‘mature’ so now is the time to do it!

Usually for me, Christmas hamper drinks are alcoholic, it’s a must and I don’t apologise for it. I have upon occasion made a non-alcoholic mulled apple drink, but it was the last thing touched in the hamper on that day, so never again! Christmas is a time when we can all indulge a little, and I include my drinks in that – only a wee tipple mind – and this year, I will be relishing the chance to watch everyone else enjoy the fruits of my labour, without a sip myself!

So without further a-do, here are a few of the recipes I have made in the past:

The Classics

Eggnog by Vikalinka

The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Eggnog.
I love the passion with which the blogger, Vikalinka, writes about this recipe… I’m also mildly shame faced to admit that I haven’t made Eggnog yet, so this year I will be giving it a go!

I love Eggnog, but I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have never attempted to make it myself! I love the way this blogger (Vikalinka) writes about Eggnog and her simply recipe is exactly what I’m going to try this year… though I won’t be sampling my product with even just a mouthful as this does contain raw eggs so is a big no no for pregnant ladies to even try!

Cherry Brandy (yum!)

The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Cherry Brandy is one of my faves for a Christmas Hamper and it lasts and lasts! The longer you leave it the better!

Who doesn’t love cherry brandy?? And the homemade stuff is always the best. I used our homemade cherry brandy in quite a lot of things, from mince pies (yep!) to my Christmas cake (I also use it to baste the Christmas cake daily in order to keep it moist and packed full of alcohol… oops, I mean flavour. The best thing about Cherry Brandy is that you can get your kids to help you pick cherries for it if you live nearby to a cherry tree or farm! You will need roughly 300g of cherries (not pitted), 600ml of Brandy, 1 tablespoon of sugar and (optional) a stick of cinnamon. Add everything together and seal in a kilner jar or similar. Shake daily for a minimum of 2 weeks!

Advocaat

The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This recipe (from pin-upcake.blogspot) is one I am itching to try, and might just be the perfect thing for my Mum’s hamper this year as she is a big fan of a Christmas snowball on Christmas eve and day!

This is another one I have to fess up and say I haven’t tried, though Snowballs (1 part advocaat and 2 parts lemonade are a regular feature in our home over Christmas!) This recipe is from pin-upcake.blogspot (you may need to copy and paste the recipe into google translate!) and so is the image – doesn’t it look and sound awesome??!

Mulled wine

The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Image from Jamie Oliver’s website as we don’t have any mulled wine left in the house! Oops!

I love mulled wine and I have made this on a few occasions! I think it’s the ultimate Christmas and festive season classic, especially when it is so cold outside! You will need 1 bottle of good quality red wine of your choosing – don’t be tempted to go for the cheap options because wine doesn’t work in the same way that spirits do, so pick a good one – 1 orange (sliced), 1-2 sticks of cinnamon, 3-4 whole cloves, a vanilla pod (sliced down the middle but not completely), a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, a star anise (whole), a teaspoon of grated lemon zest and 2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar. Bung the lot in a big pan and allow to simmer for around 5 minutes, allow to cool slightly then serve. If you are giving this as a hamper gift, allow it to cool completely and strain it into a bottle, leaving a couple of whole spices in the bottom!

The not so classic…

Clementine and Vanilla Vodka

The best Alcoholic recipes for your Christmas Hamper via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I think I’ve shared this on the blog numerous times, but it’s so delicious and a winner with everyone!

I can’t help but keep coming back to it, it’s so easy to make and certainly one of my favourite liqueurs to share with family at this time of year!

Harriet x

Almondella gift boxes via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This was my little treat a few weeks ago from Almondella! Everything in the gift box was such a delight, and filled with things I would otherwise never have bought for myself or baby!

Almondella gift boxes via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Even the packaging is to die for! So simple and sweet, with a lovely note of congratulations, well wishes and an explanation of every item in the box.

 

I am so so excited by the wonderful gift box that the lovely people over at Almondella sent to me! It was enough to move me to tears!

I have been a fan of Almondella for a while, I love the concept behind the company. So what is Almondella? Well, this wonderful company from Finland is inspired by the tradition that the government over there have of giving a ‘starter box’ to new mamas filled with things they may wish to use or will need. Isn’t that sweet? Almondella carries on the wonderful tradition and has a range of 32 boxes for various stages of Mama and baby’s journey, such as pregnancy, weaning, bath time, playing and many more. I’ve written a bit more in depth about Almondella back when I first started the blog, you can read it here.

The reason I am so excited to share with you again is because I really think that at this time of year, companies like Almondella are a MUST know about tool in your box! Christmas gifts could not be easier, no matter where your family or friends are around the world. You can choose from a monthly subscription of boxes for someone really special or a gift box for a dear friend. I’ve received the pregnancy gift box and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to open a box filled with delightful things I would never think to buy myself! Inside my pregnancy box was a Bola chime necklace (which is perfect for helping sooth baby while they are still in the womb, and continuing to sooth them afterwards while helping them stay alert enough to fininsh a good feed), some luscious smelling miracle stretch mark oil from Boo Boo (which has been perfect for the little flare ups of dry skin I have been suffering in this horrid weather), an adorable baby rattle from Paapii and the absolute cutest romper suit from Organic Zoo – how sweet are those heart shaped knee patches! I couldn’t have picked a better set of gifts for myself!

So if you want to send the ultimate gift for a new mama and her baby this Christmas, you can do so here.

Harriet x

P.s – Thanks to the lovely people over at Almondella I can include a special discount code for Toby&Roo readers of XMAS25 – enjoy!

Why should I hold my baby close by Mariann Hornyák via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Having a new baby is often incredibly scary and daunting. Hormones are raging and it’s easy to get into the pattern of being told what to do and how to do it. Mariann reminds us all with her beautiful words that YOU are the expert of YOUR baby.

I am truly becoming a fan of this beautiful series by Mariann Hornyák about the beauty of baby wearing and keeping your child close to you. It speak to me as someone who is going to have a new baby soon and has two little boys, we forget how fast our world moves. How scary it can be. Mariann inspires me to hold my babies closer, to love more fully and to be the mother I want to be. In this post Mariann reminds us all that you are the expert of your own child, and no one can take that away from you!

If you haven’t been following her series then please click on her link here and you can read them all in one fell swoop, shortly Mariann will be explaining the more technical side of baby wearing and how to go about doing it.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

When you open your heart to your child you will feel how quickly the love for him warms your soul up. You might feel that a warm slow river flooded your heart and you are filled with emotions.

In the first days and weeks after giving birth lots of changes happen. The biggest will happen in you.

Before your delivery, you might feel scared, lost, worried. I even had nightmares about not making it…

I was scared.

And it is normal.

I was lucky to find support from those who were there for me. I needed them. I asked them to stay with me once our baby is here because I will not manage.

Then I started to feel the change. Day by day. After a week, I felt that I am actually confident what my child wants from me and what I should give. However, for some reason, the whole world became suddenly so noisy, full of recommendations, lists of things to buy, to do. I was truly overwhelmed by  advice from the people who I specifically asked to stay and help me manage this new situation. I got frustrated. I wanted to do things differently.

I had a very strong feeling growing in me that I know this child, I know what to do. But I got all the guidance, instructions, comments and sometimes judgemental and educational messages from almost everyone. I could tell that he was hungry, warm or cold. I was unable to leave him cry. I could feel the physical need to respond him, to keep him in my arms.

But the noises around me, the GP, the health visitor, my family, the neighbours, everyone; became The Expert. The Expert of my own baby.

And I let them be.

It was against everything that I felt natural. But I had no power.

That was the moment when I betrayed my own child.

I wondered what to do. I struggled a lot. I felt isolated, I felt lost, I felt depressed. I had lots of issues. With all these people around me I was completely alone. And it was only a few days after he was born.

So I decided: I will stand up for my baby. This is my child. Me and my husband will raise him. Nobody can tell me that I am a bad mother. Nobody has the right to judge me. Only my child can tell if I was a good or bad mother to him. Nobody has the right to take my power away. Nobody can force me or manipulate me against my own mother intinct.

I stood up and I showed up in our first sling. I also admitted that little baby has never slept in his room after his first night at home. I told everyone that I let them know when and if I need any further help.

Nobody ever commented again. It was painful – for everyone. A few months later when they all saw how happy we all are, everyone opened their heart to us and started to listen to our story. They understood that this is our way and this is how we are relaxed, happy and loved. This is what my baby needs and how we feel perfect.

I wondered why I had to rebel to be left alone with my own parenting style? It is not an easy journey, especially if you stop the cycle of being pushed into decisions or having things decided for you. It is quite scary. So why do not we just respect and support each other?

If you see a mother who struggles or who is full of doubts, tell her that she is the perfect mother of her child. Give her a hug and put her in charge. Give her mummy power back!

Mariann x

Mince Pie recipe from Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Taken from lookingtocook.com because I simply cannot make my mince pies look photography worthy… as I have generally eaten half of them before I remember I need a picture!

You can’t tell me you haven’t indulged in a mince pie yet this Christmas? We are into the second week of December and I think it is imperative that if you haven’t made (or bought!!) mince pies yet, you do so NOW!

I like my mince pies to be a certain way, not too much pastry, lots of filling and icing sugar on top and I love to be able to taste the orange (and booze!) in them. So I thought I’d share my mince pie recipe with you, for those indulgent mamas and their families to tuck into… but mainly for the mamas!

What you need for the filling:

  • A jar of pre-made mince pie filling
  • 1-2 tablespoons of orange zest
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lemon zest
  • A handful of finely chopped dried apricots
  • A handful of finely chopped glazé cherries
  • 1 apple grated (skin on!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cointreau (or if you prefer a less orangey flavour something like whiskey or rum!)

What you need for the pastry:

  • 8oz Plain flour
  • 5oz VERY cold butter, chopped
  • 3oz icing (which I prefer but it is a much more difficult pastry to work with) or caster sugar
  • 1 egg

Place all of the filling ingredients in bowl and leave overnight to mash together and really indulge in each other’s flavours (yes, I just wrote that – I’m very passionate about mince pies!)

Make your pastry at least 1 hour before you plan to bake your mince pies so that the pastry can rest in the fridge.

To make your pastry, rub the flour and butter together, add the egg and sugar. If you are using icing sugar the mixture will possibly be more like a paste than a pastry – don’t panic this is normal and the pastry will firm up once it has rested in the fridge for at least one hour.

When you come to roll out the pastry, do it on a very well floured surface and roll quickly. Cut out the base of the mince pies and add that straight to your pan. Take one teaspoon (or a bit more if they are going to be quite deep mince pies) of your filling and plonk it in the middle of the pastry. To add a top you can either use a traditional round top, or if you prefer less pastry like me – try a shape like a star, Christmas tree or angel.

Bake for 12 minutes or until they are starting to become blissfully golden.

Once cool give them a dust with either icing sugar (my favourite) or caster sugar if you prefer.

Enjoy!

Harriet x

Helping children see the true side of Christmas Via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

There is another side to Christmas that I think we all too often forget to talk to our children about, and we can help our children understand the true meaning of Christmas (and the concept of giving in general) in a few simple ways.

Call me Sancti-mommy if you wish, I’m sure some of you will, but for me there is another side to Christmas, one that get’s lost in all of the hum-drum of trying to get your hands on the latest toys, or the one thing that your child has suddenly announced they really neeeeeeeeed, despite it being sold out internationally since October!

It’s the spirit.

Christmas is about giving, yes, and if you are religious it can have many other meanings, but giving doesn’t have to be about gifts or treats, it can be about so much more and I really want to show the boys that side of Christmas, especially at such a young age, so that they can really understand what it means to be as fortunate as they are. I want them to understand that there are kiddos out there who will never receive any advent calendar gifts or chocolates, who will never open a single present on Christmas day. I want them to know that at this time of year some people are very sad because they don’t have any family or anyone to love and to say Merry Christmas to. People may have to be away from their families if they are brave soldiers or even if they are sick.

All of these things are easy to talk about (well, they aren’t but they are easy to pay lip service to, and do nothing about) so I wanted to come up with a few things that I think I could do with my boys that would explain the idea of giving and would help them to realise that people aren’t always as fortunate as them. I also wanted to do it without scaring the life out of them, or giving them the impression that we only ‘give’ or think of other’s at Christmas. We should be kind and thoughtful all year round, but when we have a bit more at this time of year, and it is especially hard for some, we can do what little we can.

So, my ideas:

  • Giving away our ‘old’ toys to make room for new.

This is something that I feel really strongly about, and I’m going to make it into a bit of a tradition in our home. My boys have the most obscene amount of toys, some of which they hardly ever play with. So, this year I have explained to them (Reuben get’s it a bit better than Toby for obvious reasons!) that we are going to choose a toy that we don’t really want anymore, that we never play with, and that we won’t miss and we are going to take it to a little boy or girl who doesn’t have many toys (or any) and donate it. I’ve taken the boys with me to do drop offs at the local charity shop before, but I wanted to go a bit deeper with this one because to the boys a charity shop is still just a shop. I’ve planned to take them to give a few things to a local women’s shelter in our neighbouring town, but other options are the local children’s hospital, a local children’s centre, Salvation Army centres, or even a local play group! Many places will happily take donations and be grateful for them.

  • Visit the local hospital on Christmas Eve with some ‘thank you’s’ for the staff

I don’t know if this has been imbedded in me because my Mum used to work as a manager in a local hospital, but I think it’s important to give back to the people who are providing a really important service over the holidays. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty sucky to be at work when you have families to be at home with (after being married to someone who managed in the hospitality industry for years, I’m used to saying goodbye on Xmas day, albeit for a handful of hours) and I’ve always hated it. I think it would be lovely to nip round to the local hospital with some mince pies or a box of quality streets for the staff, just to say thanks for looking after us. Plus it’s a great opportunity to explain to the boys what important roles nurses and doctors play… and for them to play spot the ambulance!

  • Taking some of the things from our pantry and boxing them up for a homeless shelter.

The boys gave me a hand with this one, we bought a few tins of soup and other things, and put them in a box to take to our local Salvation Army centre. It was a great chance to have a chat with Reuben about the situation that some people face and how they won’t have a permanent home for Christmas this year, but this kind of place (a shelter) is a place where people are kind enough offer there time and help to make sure that no one goes hungry or gets cold. By giving some tins that would probably just sit in the cupboard, we can make a real difference. I also explained that some people don’t have money to buy their own tins, and that can be very hard, but when we do have that little bit of extra money, we can help them by getting some tins to share. He did ask me if Santa ran the shelter (bless him!) to which I explained that no, because this happens all year round and the shelter was run by kind people.

  • Not forgetting the animals, visiting the local animal shelter (ours is an RSPCA) and giving some food.

The boys (especially Toby) love animals, they really quite obsessed. So we will be taking some food to the local animal sanctuary to donate, and I will be explaining that some animals aren’t loved like ours, but are mistreated or get lost and they need to eat too, just like people.

  • Shoebox appeals, gifts for soldiers etc

I don’t often do these kinds of things, because you hear so often how the goods never received the intended recipient, but if you do do this, I think it’s the perfect way to get your kids into the giving spirit. You can go and pick up the items that you intend to give together and you can pack the box together. If you didn’t want to do this kind of appeal from the doorstep, but wanted to give to a charity of this kind, then google local charities that you can physically take things to that will be donated to troops etc.

I hope this gives you a few ideas, there are so many things that can be done, but these are a few that I thought were appropriate for my boy’s age group. Maybe when they are older they can do something different, but I think this is the right amount now.

Is there anything you do over the Christmas period (or indeed the rest of the year) to share with your children how important it is to look after the rest of the world? Would you do any of these things?

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 32 :: Toby & Roo, daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Baby is roughly about the size of a long kale or jicama (mexcian yam)! She is growing so fast, and it’s estimated she’ll look like this!

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby weighs  approximately 3 3/4 pounds and is about 16.7 inches long, which means there is little to no room left in your uterus! You should be gaining around one pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Baby is still really active this week, or maybe it’s just because she is totally out of room! Everything is beginning to feel really cramped and I feel so squashed all of the time!

As for food, I’ve little to no interest in what I’m eating (especially at breakfast – urgh!) but I am constantly eating… I never seem to stop. Of course with it being Christmas the flavour of the day is chocolates and mince pieces, which I really think I need to knock on the head unless I want a big baby! I’ve been struggling to get to sleep on a night, though once I’m asleep I’m out like a light! Very little can wake me, but again once it does I feel quite wide awake.

Thankfully the boys seem to have settled into their beds again a bit more, and we don’t have quite as much unrest in the house, so I feel less exhausted than I did! At least I’m not lying in bed every night squished into a corner and uncomfortable… well, more uncomfortable than I already am!!

I’ve found that my bump is beginning to ache quite a lot now, it’s not very comfy and can be quite sore down my right hand side (something I remember with both of the boys!) I’ve also started to get them odd tiger stripe on my tummy – it’s inevitable for my skin unfortunately!

Cravings.

Nothing much, I can’t count mince pies as a craving, I know it’s not – it’s just me being a guts!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

One evening I was trying so hard to get comfortable on the sofa with my husband while reading, and I ended up legs akimbo, knees up (think smear test position) with a huge bump pointing upwards. I happened to nudge Adam with my foot as I was getting into said position so he looked up at me and just laughed… and laughed… and laughed. Jerk.

Adorable:

Toby is going through a phase (which I desperately hope never ends!!) of kissing you every time you tell him off, or look at him, or just totally spontaneously! It’s so sweet, and he kisses you with such a loud ‘mwah’ noise! This week he isn’t really bothered where he kisses you, but several times he has leant in and kissed my bump for no reason at all. Adorable isn’t the word.

Bad:

I have felt quite puffy and like I have a lot of fluid in my legs and face the last week of this pregnancy, which makes for a chubby and grumpy me! Some days I genuinely feel like I can feel fluid sloshing in my calves! Not a good sign in pregnancy if coupled with headaches and high blood pressure, but fortunately both of those seem fine!

Harriet x

Gift guide for babies and toddlers 2014 via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The perfect gift selection for babies and toddlers.

I do love doing gift guides, though sometimes I find trying to narrow down exactly what I want to include in my gift guides can be really hard – after all, I’ve kept them pretty small this year (call it inexperience and a fear of over stretching myself in these last few weeks of pregnancy). This gift guide has been so much fun though and I knew almost instantly what products I wanted to share with you all – they are a mixture of adorable, educational and fun.

As always left to right:

Wobble toys from Kid-O £7.99 each

These are perfect for little ones. Not only are they stylish and cool to look at (baby translation – the bright colours are engaging and stimulating!) but they are perfect for bashing, chewing, rolling and exploring!

BooBoo Dolls from Sorgenfresser £24.99

These German worry eater dolls are perfect for cuddling and the ideal toy for little ones who are coming to the dreaded ‘nightmares and fears’ stage. I’ve written about them here before so you can brush up on them!

A village friend from Hazel Village $29.99

Perfect for cuddles, I have one for the impending bambino I’m brewing and I’m so excited to give it to her!

Pull along toys from Djeco from £18.00

I especially love the one pictured, though there are several styles! Each toy is uniquely designed to look amazing and retro, perfect for building your child’s balance and confidence as they start to walk.

Woodland teething toys from Oli & Carol £30.00 for a set of 3

Teething is always a tough time for little ones and anything that can help out is a really big bonus. These are super stylish and perfect for helping out ease that pain!

Musy gift set from aden + anais £64.95

This is the ultimate gift for a new baby in the family – let’s be honest, there is no point in buying lots of little toys for a baby that is a few weeks old (Toby was only 6 weeks old on his first Christmas, so speaking from experience) and it can be daunting for new parents to have to deal with all of the new stuff! This is useful and includes a little gift for the little one too!

Firetruck ball from Crocodile Creek £7.99

Balls are one of the best things you can give to your little one, they help build co ordination and so many other things. This is really cute and well designed!

A-Z flash cards and Wooden blocks from Hungry Little Minds £30.00

These are just great, not only are they flash cards but they come with wooden blocks for older kids to build into various things.

Gaki by Kukkia £50.00

These super stylish music toys are the ultimate noisy gift for your toddlers this year. They are brightly coloured and look so cool, perfect for your design tastes and their… well, noise and chewing tastes!

Ingela P Arrhenius Stacking dolls set by OMM design £20.00

I have these for the boys and they are great. Durable (they’ve really tested that one!) and so pretty to look at, after playtime they double as decor in their room.

Harriet x

Christmas gift guide for boys (and girls!) for 2014! via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids

My Christmas gift guide for boys (and girls!) for 2014!

In the same way I felt about my girl’s Christmas gift guide, I wanted to make sure that it was clear that these gifts could be for any little girl too, especially if that is her thing – so take the title with a pinch of salt and Merry Christmas shopping! As always from left to right:

Early rider classic balance bike from Toyella £98.90

I intend to buy Reuben is first proper bike for his birthday in March, these balance bikes are perfect for avoiding the old stabilisers and encouraging children to balance right from an early stage!

Builder: Firetruck from Brio £59.99

Every child loves to build and create, this fire truck from Brio would be ultra popular in our house!

Giant Circus Play World from Janod £88.00

Perfect for little railway lovers like my boys. This set is compatible with all of the usual brands and is absolutely stunning, not only that – you can take it visiting later on in the day if you like!

Pocket Microscope from NPW £12.00

For mini adventurers who need to explore everything because there are so many cool things to look at through a microscope!

Maps book by Big Picture Press £18.99

One of our all time favourite books, so much fun can be had with this amazing book and it’s wonderful to see a child’s imagination working over time!

Peter Pan Checked shirt by Bonnet à Pompon £39.95

My boys were sent a shirt by the lovely Lace & Ribbon’s Boutique and I have to say it is the ultimate in party chic for boys, it simple has to go on the list!

3 month Sticker Subscription from Pipsticks $45.00

I came across this on the Babyccino Kids boutique directory not so long ago and I just knew it was going to make it into my list – so cool and a great continuation gift.

Machi from Kukkia £34.00

Design it yourself, play with it and then wipe it clean!

The Mega Stick-lets set from Stick-lets £33.99

For creating … well… everything! These stick-lets are a must have for adventurers everywhere, design, create and live! Get them outside and enjoying whatever the garden has to offer!

Wooden Airport play boxset from Tiger Tribe AU$59.95

I wrote about this toy last year and I still can’t get over how cool it is – come on now, it indulges every child’s dream of being an airport controller, while simultaneously indulging mama’s dream of keeping to house tidier… sort of!

Harriet x

 

http://vimeo.com/110725534

You remember my post at the beginning of November about the Lulla Doll special discount preorder? If not, you can read it here.

There is only one more day before the campaign to launch the Lulla Doll comes to an end and that means you may not be able to get your hands on one of these life saving dolls for a while. Here are the packages that you can order and the help that you can offer to the campaign to get these off the ground:

Preorder discounts for the Lulla Doll via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Here is what you can order as part of the Lulla Doll launch campaign.

I also wanted to remind you that for every purchase Rórócare are helping UNICEF out and you will be giving a nutritious, therapeutic drink to a severely malnourished child. Can’t get much better than that can it!? You can order one here.

Harriet x

 

Toby & Roo :: daily tips and inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Toby & Roo is 1 year old today!

Well today this blog turns 1 year old! Still a baby in relation to a lot of blogs out there but I am so proud of what the blog has managed to achieve in just a year.

I’m so honoured to have the readers that I do, it means the world to me to know that there are so many people out there who enjoy reading what I write and I hope that I have given you some good tips and stylish ideas for your little ones. Please continue to join in with me, I have so much to share with you and there are so many wonderful finds out there that are not on the high street for me to share with you all.

Next year I’m hoping to bring you more competitions and giveaways, more discounts from some of the outstanding online boutiques that I love and more crafts and recipes than ever before! In the new year I’m going to be having a new baby and adding to our family, so please let me share that with you all (along with the new room decors in all of the children’s room!)

So, Happy Birthday Toby & Roo!

Harriet x

 

If you are anything like me then the chocolate consumption in your household will probably triple over Christmas…. ok, it’s probably not a quantifiable amount if we are honest, let’s call it A LOT!

We are big chocolate lovers in this house, but for the boy’s advent calendars I really like the idea of doing something a bit more unique. It’s not because I have anything against giving kids a bit of chocolate on a morning, I don’t, but they get so much else what with all of the parties and Christmas plays etc that I think something different can be nice too!

Here are some of my favourite unique advent calendars (all of which you can order speedily if you have forgotten and are on the last minute mad rush!)

24 sleeps til Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

Unique advent calendars for Christmas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Such a fun and creative alternative to the standard advent calendar!

I was really surprised to find this in a local Mothercare, I think it is a wonderful alternative to the chocolate based advent calendars we are used to. Every day your child gets a new activity, be it dot to dot, a puzzle or a maze. All of it is Christmas themed and if you wanted to you could save up some of the colouring pages and add them to Grandparent’s hamper baskets or give them to teachers. You can get one (on next day delivery) here.

Nutcracker Advent Jewellery box

Unique advent calendars for Christmas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This has to be one of my favourite advent calendars out there! Definitely a totally unique advent idea!

This is just so cool! It is limited in stock already, but who could be surprised by that! The ‘jewellery box’ style advent calendar holds 23 adorable charms and comes with a little bracelet for you to attach them to – what child wouldn’t be excited by that?! You can find them here at Little Lulubel.

Make your own advent village

Unique advent calendars for Christmas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Perfect for crafters and ideal to decorate your house with!

 

Another one perfect for little crafters! These little pop up houses can be filled with anything at all and are so cute! Each box is shaped like a little house so this makes a lovely decoration for a child’s room or your living space! You can find this one at Little Lulubel too!

MIBO festive friends

Unique advent calendars for Christmas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I think this is a great side bar to an advent calendar, or even as a main advent with a little piece of chocolate to go alongside the making of these cuties!

I’ve recently just bought this to go alongside Reuben & Toby’s advent calendars (which are homemade fill them yourself type things) as I think popping one of these little characters out every day until Christmas to make a wonderful little garland for our kitchen will be so much fun! You can find this at The Kid Who.

Advent book calendar

Unique advent calendars for Christmas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Taken from the wonderful Babyccino Kids blog – what a fantastic idea!

I love love love this idea, and it couldn’t be easier for you to do if you are one of the last minute mamas who hasn’t had time to sort out an advent calendar yet but doesn’t want to have to dash to the supermarket for one of the usual kind. Your local book store is your best friend, some lovely wrapping paper and a bit of pizazz – voila! I first saw this idea on Babyccino Kids and they have a tutorial of what to do (along with some super cute book suggestions!). You can see it here.

Harriet x