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

Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 31 :: Toby & Roo, daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Baby is roughly the size of a coconut this week (though hopefully not as hairy!)

What’s happening to baby this week?

This week, baby measures over 16 inches long and despite weighing just over 3 1/2 pounds, is heading into a growth spurt! He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He’s probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby’s kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Well I can certainly say that baby’s movements have changed this week! She is incredibly active and is at her peak at around 9/10pm which means I am wide awake! I also have found that I’m really beginning to feel very tired – thought that could be due to the fact that the boys have taken up against me and decided to wake up every night between 12-2 am for cuddles and to get into my bed. Needless to say, being booted from the inside and nudged from the outside, I have had little to no sleep for days… 4 in a bed is not comfortable!

I also seem to have lost an interest in most foods, I’ll eat because I’m hungry but I’m not really enjoying many meals! This is partly because I feel full all of the time and partly because I get stomach acid most of the time!

Cravings.

Nothing really, I will spontaneously decide I need something, and then I have to have it, but I’m generally not interested!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

Well, getting stuck on the bed and in the bath has been highly amusing this week… especially when I’ve had to call Adam to help me!

Adorable:

I woke up to Reuben tapping me on the shoulder at 3 am and asking if he could cuddle into baby. It wasn’t great to be woken up but it was so heartwarming to hear his little voice asking to cuddle baby and he then snuggled into the bump :)

Bad:

Stomach acid and exhaustion are pretty crappy at this stage of pregnancy!

Harriet x

NHS Breastfeeding bribes encourage gender and class stereotypes via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Breastfeeding incentives and bribes are two totally different things. Let’s put the money towards education and support!

I just can’t even decide where to begin with this topic. I really can’t. I feel completely and utterly incensed by this scheme and I couldn’t help but share my thoughts.

For those of you that don’t know, trials in England have just finished for a new ‘breastfeeding incentive’ scheme where new mothers are given shopping vouchers in exchange for breastfeeding their babies until they are 6 weeks, and more vouchers again if they make it to the golden 6 months. The mothers can earn as much as £200! According to researchers the scheme has been successful, meaning that the trials will now be done in a broader area of the country with more mums in the hope that the scheme can become nationwide in the future. You can read the BBC coverage of the results here and more information about the trial here.

The whole thing makes me want to scream! Let me just say, as a mother who breastfed one of her children for 9 months, and would have loved to continue had the child himself not decided he wanted  to wean, I am all in favour of encouraging women to breastfeed, if that is their desire. I want to provide support and care for women who may need a bit of extra help breastfeeding and I think it’s something that is the most natural thing in the world.

This scheme is not the way to do that though. It is a pointless way of giving credence to social and gender stereotypes, while simultaneously punishing those who genuinely wish to breastfeed but can’t for one reason or another. And yes, those ladies do exist.

The scheme is aimed at women from areas where breastfeeding rates are below 30%, and assumes that the majority of women in these areas are not likely to breastfeed because their families and friend’s don’t and it isn’t seen as the norm. That could be true, however what is wrong with using the money that will be plowed into this scheme to provide breastfeeding support staff and even, heaven forbid, open coffee mornings for women to get together and talk about feeding – their fears, their perceptions etc. I think it’s pretty clear that the assumption is that these low breastfeeding rate areas (which are incidentally also often low income) are filled with women who would respond better to a bribe than they would to being given clear information about what is best for their baby.

And what does that say about the government’s perception of women in general? I wonder if this scheme would be rolled out if breastfeeding was something men did? Would it be assumed that a shopping trip would wow and delight, or would men just be given the facts, by trained professionals? I think the answer to that is pretty clear.

It isn’t just the gender and class stereotyping behind the scheme that bothers me so much. This scheme is just another way of tearing down mothers who have tried desperately to breastfeed and have been unable to. With Reuben my labour was incredibly traumatic and eventually I had an emergency Caesarean section. Not something that is uncommon, however after 48 hours of trying desperately trying to get some milk into my little man who was becoming dehydrated, the paediatrician and midwives all recommended that I offer him a bottle. Low and behold he fed like a mad man, and despite several attempts after that to feed him myself, he never would and I never had even a dribble of milk or colstrum. The most extracted through hand expression was 0.8ml. That was it. It was only afterwards that we realised the chances were I couldn’t produce milk because of the extreme infection, which later turned in septicaemia, that was raging through me at the time. I still find this a hard topic to talk about, I felt like such a failure and there really was no support available for me in my area. I desperately wanted to provide my son with the best nutritional start I could.

In this instance, I would have been the mother who was reminded that I just didn’t make the cut, I wasn’t quite good enough, not only in my eyes, but in the eyes of others too. I didn’t deserve the shopping spree because my body failed me, not because I made a choice about anything within my power, and not for lack of trying.

I had a different story with Toby, though I had the initial problems with feeding that lots of women have, I was blessed to have a wonderful level of milk production. The issue was his latch. Was there a breastfeeding support worker in my area? Yes. Was she helpful? No. The lady that came lacked training, or maybe just people skills, she merely told me it was a latch issue and we’d ‘get there’. I had hardly any advice about how to change this situation and help Toby latch because she didn’t really know! There was no offer of a breastfeeding peer support group, no chance to speak to other’s who were having the same problems and I wasn’t even given advice on how to minimise the pain I was in with a huge blood blister on one nipple. Was my health visitor helpful? No, she was quite clearly repulsed by breastfeeding and advised me to move on to a bottle if I couldn’t cope.

Why is the government throwing money at these schemes when we could be putting things in place that genuinely help breastfeeders.? Why not, instead of assuming that women are more interested in handouts than the welfare of their children, put the money towards peer support groups, breastfeeding classes, breastfeeding support workers, better breastfeeding support training for health visitors?  Why not, shock horror, make breastfeeding something we talk about in colleges and schools alongside sexual health classes, to encourage the normalisation of it?

I have met some amazing peer breastfeeders and support workers, I would like to see these people more frequently and given more support to continue in their roles, not just as volunteers, but as paid and respected professionals.

So, I think it’s relatively clear how I feel about these ‘incentives’ but what do you feel?

Harriet x

Stacking dolls, the perfect gift for encouraging concentration in young children via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These are the stacking dolls that I bought for Reuben to play with, on display in his room.

As I’ve mentioned before Reuben is quite a loud and vibrant young man… he certainly never lacks for enthusiasm let’s put it that way. The problem is when he is doing his ‘work’ at preschool, he often becomes distracted and can act out – not unlike most 3 year olds. He certainly lacks focus when the topic isn’t something like Transformers, Thomas the tank engine or Paw Patrol!

Preschool have suggested that I sit with him on an evening before we do his number and letters (he has a small amount of ‘optional’ homework!!) and work with a nesting doll set to get him to place the smallest to largest into the right position. It’s something they feel he doesn’t do well at school and want to try and work on it to give him the chance to focus and calm before he starts furthering his reading and number skills.

I have always had a very old set of Russian dolls, though I felt if Roo was going to be using nesting dolls for a variety of things, then he should have his own. I never truly appreciated how much you could do with nesting dolls! They are great for preschoolers and babies, pretty much one of the ultimate teaching toys.

I have ordered this fantastic set from THE KID WHO, a wonderful site filled with all of the most eclectic things that would make the perfect Christmas gift.

Harriet x

Be Brave Make Waves sculptures via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Be Brave Make Waves sculptures via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Be Brave Make Waves sculptures via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I think it’s safe to say that we all have that friend or family member who has a slightly eclectic taste, you know, the one who you have absolutely no idea what to get them for the holidays!

This is a really unique and totally unusual gift for Christmas for just that person. These little handmade wooden kinetic boat sculptures are so lovely for decorating any room – a nursery, an office, a living space… anywhere! Either enjoy the piece as a beautiful sculpture or turn the crank and watch the little boat sail on the waves.

The boys would find this fascinating and this is the perfect little gift to transport anyone to a whimsical time and slow the world down.

You can order one in time for Christmas here.

Harriet x

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Handmade dolls really seem to be coming back into their own (though, I suppose they haven’t ever really been ‘out’) and I’m so excited by this! I have seen so many of these lovely dolls about recently and just in time for Christmas too!

The one thing I really love about a rag doll (or even a cloth doll) over the newer moulded plastic is that children can snuggle and sleep with their dolls as well as nurture them. So sweet!

I came across these beautiful dolls from PiggyhatesPanda on Etsy earlier in the week, and I just instantly fell in love with them. They are hand embroidered and made from linen, soft cotton and felt… perfect for any little one this Christmas, no matter how young as most of the dolls are baby safe.

I could literally add pictures of them all day!

You can find out more about the dolls, or order one in time for that special little someone, here.

Harriet x

Dekanimal artwork prints via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

A lovely little town print, simple and elegant.

Dekanimal artwork prints via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The Polar Bear’s print is one of my favourites. I love it! The colours are bright and vibrant, while the artwork itself isn’t too babyish to feature anywhere in the home.

Dekanimal artwork prints via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The Peacock. I love this print because it comes in several different colours but all in the same manner.

This could be one of my new obsessions from Etsy. I’ve been searching relentlessly for stylish childrens art work for the boy’s new bedroom, something that they can relate to, that will make them smile and brighten up the space. I have set a few criteria, such as the above, but I also need to make sure that the artwork in there will last for a good time, this room is supposed to be their new ‘big boy’ room after all.

That is one of the reasons I’m drawn to the beautiful prints from Dek-animal a fabulous artist from Hong Kong who focuses on bright, bold colours and takes inspiration from nature and animals. I can’t get enough!

I will definitely be adding one of these lovely prints to the boy’s new room, I really can’t wait!

You can find Dekanimal’s website here and buy the beautiful artwork in their etsy store here.

Harriet x

I have to admit I find stocking fillers to be one of the most exciting things about Christmas. I really do! There is something about little gifts, knick knacks and things that are maybe just to put a smile on a family member’s face that excite me beyond belief. Both of my boys have huge stockings that I fill to the brim with chocolates, little gifts, useful things like socks and pants and even clementines! I have put together a list of stocking fillers for children to enjoy and delight in… I’ll let you do the fruit and chocolate for yourself!

Stocking fillers 2014 gift guide via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

As before from left to right:

1. Farmyard Nail transfers from Worldwide Co £4.95

Last year I bought these for Roo and I plan to buy some more this year as he loved them! There are loads of different styles but this was the one we had and everyone (including all of his preschool teachers!) loved them – plus, they lasted forever!

2. Earring Tattoos from B*Ink’d from $4.00

These are such a great stocking filler for a young girl who doesn’t have her ears pierced… or even a young boy!

3. Djeco stickers from £3.00

Stickers, can you really ever go wrong with them? These are my favourite from Djeco, you can get pretty much anything, but they are all super stylish and perfect for adding to drawings to make a really old story!

4. Nanoblock figures from £8.00

Nanoblocks are the newest craze, forget lego! Tiny blocks that you fit together to make one awesome toy – perfect for little crafters.

5. Magical slate from Moulin Roty £3.00

What child doesn’t love to draw and watch the image magically wipe away. These are the most stylish from Moulin Roty.

6. Djeco Origami faces £8.00

I love origami, especially for little ones. It’s the perfect way to get chilled out and craft without having lots of mess.

7. Dragon hand transfers from Worldwide Co £4.95

We also had a version of this last year, Roo thought it was hilarious to put on my hand and pretend to have a monster hand… it was wonderful fun.

8. Sonny Angels Xmas figures from €8.95

The ultimate collectors item, a great little gift for any child who loves figures or loves to have these beautiful Sonny Angel figures on display.

9. MIBO Paper pop out animals £7.00

I have recently bought the Christmas version of these (not for a stocking filler, but as a build up to Christmas craft) and they are very easy for children to do, but sturdy enough to play with (gently) afterwards!

10. Magical dragon eggs from MuddyFeet £5.57

Add a touch of magic to your child’s stocking.

11. 32 ways to dress a … colour pad from Wee Gallery $4.95

For the creative kids who love to draw. The possibilities are limitless with these little drawing books.

12. Scribble Downs scratch transfers activity pad £2.99

Do you remember these as children? I don’t but my boy’s godmother and I recently bought a few from a Christmas fair because she remembered them and said how much fun she thought they were as a child. This is ideal for the boys because they are still in that ‘scribble’ stage, but they can create the best pictures here!

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: 30 Weeks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

My bump feels huge but this is 30 weeks!

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby’s weight growth is beginning to increase while length growth is slowing down, but baby is around the same size as a large cabbage! The lungs and digestive tract are almost fully developed,and can track light from inside your uterus now. If you shine a light on your stomach, baby may well follow it (it’s something to give a go while you are lying in bed at night!) Though this founds like baby’s vision is well developed, she won’t be able to see much when she is born with only a distance of 20-30cm. The volume of amniotic fluid is decreasing as baby gets bigger and take up more room in the uterus. Breathlessness isn’t unusual at this stage of pregnancy as your uterus is squashing your diaphragm! This should ease off at around 34 weeks for most women.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Ha. Breathless? No. High up? No. This baby is down low and pushing more on my cervix than on my diaphragm… though she does have a tendency to bob up and down, over the last few days she has been a bit higher. I haven’t had anymore pains fortunately but I am hoping that baby is planning on coming a little bit early if she insists on riding so low all the time!

Stomach accident, constipation and farting are the names of the game this week… I’m one sexy beast if ever there has been one! I’m also beginning to feel that heels are a no go, unfortunately I feel that after an evening out I have hippo feet that are so filled with fluid I can’t wriggle my toes without hearing sloshing. Great for the party season!

Cravings.

Chilli as always, but unfortunately I have still gone off food a little bit this week… I am eating like a piglet, but nothing really excites me anymore. How depressing at this time of year!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

My husband came and gave me a kiss on the cheek just before we got into bed and said, ‘Thank you darling, thank you so much.’ I was totally confused and replied, ‘What for?’ to which he replied, ‘Farting in the door way before you came up the stairs so I was hit in the face with a great waft just before I came up… you are a lovely wife!’…. Hmmm, no sexy time tonight then.

Adorable:

I had another scan this week! So exciting! Not only did I get to see baby in a wonderful 4D scan, but I also got to see a bit of her personality… stubborn and cheeky, keeping her hands in front of her face, no matter what we did!

Bad:

Though my energy is a bit better, I’m struggling with the lesser effects of iron tablets… needless to say it isn’t too pleasant.

Harriet x

I have put together a little gift guide for girls, though because I abhor gender stereotypes I couldn’t help but add that this could be for boys too! Toby would no doubt love a lot of these things as he always seems to like the ‘girls’ products just as much as he does his cars! So, my 2014 guide gift for girls!

Gifts for girls 2014 gift guide via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

From left to right:

1. Janod Portable bakery £59.99

I love portable wooden sets, they are perfect for Mamas who can’t stand loads of clutter (me) and for little ones who want to take things with them (every child!!) This bakery is the perfect patisserie for any little lady!

2. Victorian Doll House from Plan Toys £249.99

I love Plan Toys, there is something so wonderful about knowing that not only have you got a wonderfully designed dollhouse, but also a purchase that gives back to the community it was made in and has been made in a genuinely ethical way. Read up on Plan toys here.

3. Little Bu wristlet nail polish gift set £75.00

This is the ultimate set from Little Bu, the amazing non toxic and wash off nail polish. I love love love it! Little Bu have provided 1 top coat, 1 base coat, a nail care kit and 8 gorgeous colours in this pack. Perfect!

4. Seedling Make your own Dolly kit £24.00

Children love to make and design things, there really isn’t anything more fun. This is one of my favourite Create it Yourself sets from Seedling, though they make so many. The dolls are a great size for cuddling after you have designed them too!

5. Maileg bunny from £14.95

I have recently purchased a Maileg bunny and 3 mice for my little bump to decorate her nursery and give her something soft to cuddle and play with. I adore the design and I love that they are so beautifully made with delicate fabrics – the perfect gift for a special little lady. They come in a variety of styles and sizes to suit every need.

6. Velvet Moon Coral Dress £95

I love Gorgeous always have such wonderful party dresses and occasion wear for girls. This is my favourite piece from their current collection, I think any little girl would love the flower details and back bow!

7. Vilac puzzles from £16.99

Vilac shaped puzzles are not only thick cut and beautiful for kids but they are also wonderful pieces of art work. I love this particular one it is called Flower girls and is just so pretty! There are lots of different styles to suit every little lady.

8. NICI Minilotta Bath time doll £24.95

MiniLotta is a favourite in our house. You can take her in the bath with you and she dry’s quickly and without any misshaping. Read all about her here.

9. Pigmee liberty print doll €38.00

Pigmée liberty print dolls are totally unique and made from the most wonderful fabric. You can read about them here but they are perfect for any little girl’s room.

10. Sewing kit from Moulin Roty £35.00

This sewing kit from Moulin Roty comes with a gift set box and it’s very own knitting pins. I wrote all about it here, it’s perfect for a budding crafter.

Harriet x

 

 

 

Bonnet à Pompon clothing via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just love this picture of Roo, he looks so sweet and so peaceful. The peter pan collar on a boy’s shirt is wonderful!

Bonnet à Pompon clothing via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is the shirt that Roo is wearing but from the front. See that collar?! Toby was sent a slightly different shirt, though I couldn’t quite get him to sit still! Hopefully, I’ll get one soon and I can add it for all to see his cuteness!!

I always think at this time of year we are all inundated with pretty dresses and outfits for girls, which I’m not complaining about, I can’t wait to dress my little lady up, but I can’t help feel as a Mama to two little gentlemen that there isn’t as much for boys to dress up at Christmas time!

With Reuben and Toby having better social calendars than me at this time of year (no really: birthday parties, plays and rehearsals, preschool and nursery parties and all other manner of things!) I really wanted them to have something special for the Christmas season that was comfortable and practical for them to wear to special events or even just to be a bit more smart casual with chinos and a big chunky knit!

That is where Ana from the fabulous Lace & Ribbons boutique has really come in and saved my bacon by sending over these adorable shirts from Bonnet à Pompon, a super chic Spanish brand. The shirts are 100% cotton and look just right with chinos and a big chunky jumper or even fitted trousers and braces for the party look… not that they stay looking so adorable but still!

I especially love the peter pan collars on the shirts, they are adorable and so sleek, but something you seldom see on little boy’s shirts… another thing that bugs me!

You can buy from the Bonnet à Pompon range here at the brilliant Lace & Ribbons, who have a full range of Christmas party wear for boys and girls!

Harriet x

How many children is too many? via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

How many children is too many? Why would anyone want to have an opinion on that!?

This is something that I find to be a really uncomfortable topic of late. I follow a lot (and boy do I mean a LOT!) of parenting sites, groups and forums and I feel like lately I’ve become more and more aware of people posting about other’s reactions to the news of their latest pregnancy or that they are trying to conceive again in a less than positive way. Maybe it’s because I’m more sensitive about it at the moment.

So, how many kids is too many? Who decided there was a limit for each person and at what point did we become China circa 1985?

Is it just me that this grinds on like a pestle and mortar in a spice shop? Really now, the only appropriate response to a pregnancy announcement or discussions of more children is CONGRATULATIONS! Other than that, zip it and keep your opinion schtum.

When I fell pregnant with Toby Reuben hadn’t quite turned one year old, in fact we found out about 3-4 weeks before his birthday. We were over the moon and with this only being our second child most people didn’t have anything to say other than the usual, ‘Oh that’s lovely news’. There was, however, one friend. A friend of my husbands, who we don’t really see anymore. Him and his wife had a child already and they had had a mountain of complications with the pregnancy, birth and sadly with their child, who was finally fighting fit and as wonderful as any child could be. Nothing was ever said directly to us, including a congratulations – my pregnancy news and subsequent bump were virtually ignored, but I did find out about a conversation had with close mutual friends and a family member that really frustrated me. To cut a long story short he expressed the opinion that he was horrified that we would be having another child so close to Reuben, that it wasn’t fair on Reuben and he would miss out because I would no doubt be unable to cope with a new baby and a toddler. Didn’t we know having a new baby was hard work? (Yes). Didn’t we understand that we might have to actually potty train while we had a new baby? (Yes). How would we cope financially? (like everyone else!) He also sincerely hoped I wasn’t planning to try breastfeeding with this baby (I was and did for 9 very happy months!)… what would Reuben do whilst I was doing that?! All sorts of things were wrong with us having another baby so soon according to this guy.

At first I was shocked when I found out. It seemed so odd. Who the hell did this guy think he was? How would we cope financially, didn’t I know it was hard work? How dare he! This was surely not the normal response to a pregnancy… and yet since falling pregnant with this baby (and the pregnancy I miscarried earlier in the year) it’s come to my attention that this really isn’t as uncommon a response as you would think!

This pregnancy, there have been more than just a few who have had anything but positive things to point out. Yes, my children are 19 months apart and yes, there will be 22 months between Toby and baby… I will have 3 children aged 3 years old and under. It will be hard, it will be tiring but it will also be the most wonderful, gratifying and rewarding thing in my life to date. It’s what I want and it’s what I have chosen. I hate to frighten you too, but I always planned on having AT LEAST five kids… yep, five.

A lot of people don’t think of it like that though. I’ve had more people ask was it an accident than I have congratulating me! I’m asked, ‘So is that it now?’ all the time (which is normal I suppose) but there is usually such shock that the answer isn’t an immediate ‘Yes, that is it, never again… good god we aren’t rabbits!’ If I’m with mummy friends and I return that question I’m frequently met with a ‘Ohh no, we won’t have anymore, we can’t afford it… I don’t want to make my children miss out on their activities and having the best things in life because we chose to have too many children.’ Again, what is too many? And how exactly do your children miss out on activities when they can have different activities with their siblings that will last forever? What’s wrong with not being a paid up member of every local club in return for hours spent at parks playing football or on swings with your family? When did quality family time become a hinderance to a child’s life?

It works on the flip side too, don’t get me wrong. I read a thread a few weeks back on a parenting site about a lady who had made a conscious decision to have only one child and wanted to know from other parent’s with only one if they had been treated to a similar animosity from other about their choice. The response was huge, so many people had been told they were being unfair and should be having more than one child, the child would be lonely and on and on and on. This isn’t a dog you know, it’s a human being, perfectly capable of making their own friend’s and finding alternative entertainment with their parents or toys. I respect their choice to have one child, it’s just not a choice that would work me.

I think it’s important to remember when someone tells you they are expecting, the answer is congratulations and not anything else, unless it is your uterus it isn’t your business what’s in there or how many times something has been in there.

Smile, congratulate and shut up.

Harriet x

 

We have started a bit of a family tradition over here, without even really realising we were doing it! A few years ago everyone told us that Center parcs was the place to go over the winter period because they did so much for little ones and the whole Christmas theme. Luckily for us, Toby’s birthday falls on the first weekend that they offer their special Winter Wonderland theme, so we take the weekend off, pile ourselves in the car and take the short trip to Center parcs to celebrate his birthday and visit Santa. While it’s not an extravagant trip, it’s one of my favourite weekends of the whole year, and it seems to be for the kids too. Reuben has made a special request that we go back for his birthday in March, which is now all booked up… exciting but scary with a possibly only 4 week old baby!

We usually visit Santa’s Winter Wonderland Workshop on the first day, and then celebrate Toby’s birthday the day after with presents and the such. We eat mince pies, get the log fire burning and spend our days splashing around the pool, taking family walks and enjoying spotting red squirrels and rabbits! We go on reindeer hunts (they do bring them in from a local zoo at the winter workshops, so we always get to find them) and write letters to Santa. I wanted to share a few of my favourite pictures with you from this past weekend, I really can’t wait for next year and it always gets us right into the mood of Christmas (though I’m banned from decorating the house until December 1st!).

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is something that I love. Center Parcs place these woodwork reindeer all around the resort and at night they are lit up. Reuben was in his element spotting them! I also love the fact that they run workshops so that you can learn how to craft one of these amazing sculptures yourself!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

There are so many things like this for the kids to get into and to enjoy. Reuben thought this was hilarious!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I may have shed a little tear or two in the tub that evening. This was the day before his birthday. He turned 2. There is just no way those chubby, chip filled cheeks are that of a baby anymore, he is officially a toddler!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

When we went to visit Santa we took as Horse & Carriage ride to the Winter Wonderland. It’s only a few minutes, but the boys get so excited and they love it!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love this picture. Roo thought that the reindeer buckets were great, and I think that might be something we recreate this year at home for the garden.

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

He was feeling cheeky and decided that a spot of hide and seek was needed to liven everyone up!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Visiting Santa, Toby insisted on being carried, despite the fact that I was already carrying a heavy enough load!

Center Parcs 2014 Winter Wonderland & Toby's Birthday via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Birthday ice cream for the world’s cheekiest two year old. *Sob*

I hope you liked looking at our pictures and that you will give Center Parcs a go one year? It really is worth it and it’s just what is needed to get the family away from technology and into the wild while everyone gets in the Christmas spirit!

Harriet x

mamtobeguide2014

There are lots and lots of things that any Mama would love, but at Christmas when you are expecting, I always think there are a few things that really make it special, a reminder that you are making this wonderful life and a treat for you. So from left to right here is my mama to be / new mama gift guide:

1. Midwife in a Box by the wonderful Natural Birthing Company £75.

I love this one because I have been using their products and they simply make you feel great. not only are they perfect for pregnancy but ideal for labour to help sooth and relax you (as much as is possible when you have a baby coming out of your hoo-haa anyway!) and afterwards for breastfeeding and helping to calm fraught nerves!

2. Lingerie set from Cake Lingerie from £40

There really is nothing worse than feeling fat and frumpy after you have just had a baby. Some ladies are really confident and accepting of their new figure, and others want something to make them feel special. I fall into the latter category and I would love to have some new lingerie to make me feel beautiful and special after baby.

3. Emily Evans body care gift set from 9 London £45

I love this set for it’s beautiful packaging just as much as for it’s wonderful scent and divinely softening lotion. 9 London are a lovely designer maternity brand and this is the perfect gift for a mama to be or new mama to encourage a bit of pampering!

4. Sterling silver personalised necklaces from Blue Dove Studio from £24

I love Blue Dove Studio jewellery, I think it is so lovely, and unique for each person. There are so many pieces to choose from in their Etsy shop, but this was one of my favourites!

5. Rowsley maternity jacket from Isabella Oliver £299.99

Ahh I have been lusting after this coat for a long time now and I still haven’t managed to get anyone to take the hint that I simply have to have it! Isabella Oliver are one of my favourite maternity brands because they offer quality clothing that can be used during pregnancy and forevermore! I love this coat, it’s bang on trend, and let’s face it, it’s never going to go out of style. So a new winter coat for her changing figure is the perfect gift.

6. Loveyush multipurpose nursing scarf from £27.50

I am going to be using a Loveyush nursing scarf and I can’t wait! Not only are they the perfect nursing scarf for babies who don’t appreciate covers over their heads, but the fabrics are so stylish and elegant. The scarf can act as a cover for your pram, stroller or even a car seat cover. You can wear this as a poncho, a scarf or a shawl, it’s so versatile and there is a fabric for everyone in their shop!

7. Unique piece of jewellery from Mom’s Own Milk from £20

I wrote about Mom’s Own milk jewellery not so long ago, and what I would recommend if you are buying for a mama to be instead of a new mama is that you take the opportunity to get a gift voucher for mama. Let her choose between breastmilk, placenta, umbilical cord or even first curl keepsake jewellery once baby is here.

8. Nursing pjs from mamamoosh £69.99

Good nursing pjs are so hard to find. These ones from Mamamoosh are ultra soft and have an easy to release clip to help with nursing on a night. They also do a matching dressing gown which I love, especially if Mama is due in the spring/autumn/winter months when the nights can be a bit more chilly.

Harriet x

 

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 29 :: Toby & Roo, daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This week baby is roughly the size of a butternut squash. Can you believe that?

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (no wonder I feel so heavy!) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel, making her about the size of a butternut squash! The muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, as is the brain. At this time in pregnancy, it’s important to support baby’s developing bones by and get lots of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron into your diet. This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby’s hardening skeleton each day so it’s vital to make sure you drink your milk or find calcium another way!

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Goodness me it has all gone so quickly! The last week before I’m into ’30+ weeks’, the real home stretch. It just seems to be flying by. This week I have been feeling a little bit more energetic, though still not 100%. Hopefully this means that the iron tablets are working and my ferritin levels are increasing, otherwise I will be feeling incredibly anxious about the birth!

I have been feeling incredibly heavy and like moving around is a huge effort (already!!), I’ve noticed that I get very stiff very quickly and I will be lying in a funny position, suddenly to find that I am stuck and need a bit of help to get up. Hopefully this is just the position the baby is lying in and not indicative of her being a huge baby… though it’s probably likely that I have gained so much excess weight it’s not helping (blame the chocolates!)!

I’m also feeling a touch useless this week. I can’t seem to keep on top of things, I have a million and one things to do and I just don’t seem to get round to them! Cooking, cleaning, running around after the boys, trying to decorate, being reminded that I shouldn’t move furniture or do too much, working, writing… the list never stops! I just want to curl up in a ball and relax after I’ve put the boys in bed, but you can guarantee that when I am feeling low after having done so, some idiot will point out what hasn’t been done around the house or what should have been done somewhere else. Me time is a luxury that I miss this week!

Cravings.

I feel mostly off food this week. I’ve still got a bit of a hankering for chilli but I just can’t honestly be bothered to cook anything nice for myself or eat it!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

Reuben told me in a very loud voice during a shopping trip that I was “too huge” to go down the slides at Center Parcs. It could be because I have been saying it, and he did mean too huge as in too tall/grown up, but it was still amusing to hear this little voice reiterate how very rotund his mother has become during this pregnancy!!

Adorable:

The baby’s first ‘special’ teddy, which my mum has kindly bought for her, has arrived this week. It is so sweet and I can’t wait to see her fall in love with it the way the boys have with their Fudgy and Harold!

Bad:

I still don’t feel like I have much energy, though it is better than last week (unless of course, I’m just more accustomed to the exhaustion). I also feel so heavy and keep getting back spasms when I walk about because baby is lying on my nerves in this pregnancy. Ouch.

Harriet x

MIBO Christmas cards via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Each card has it’s own little pop out figure for the kids to make and enjoy. you can use it to decorate or just to play with!

MIBO Christmas cards via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I think these are such a cute treat over the Christmas period, perfect for the kids to give out at school.

Hmm, I haven’t even bought any Christmas cards yet, and already Reuben and Toby have started bringing them home from preschool and nursery! Some people clearly have far better organisational skills than me!

So, when we received another card on Tuesday I decided that I was going to have a look online for some really cool cards just for the boys to take to preschool/nursery that I know kids will love and get a real kick out of. I came across these fab DIY cards from MIBO.

Each card has a tear out template inside so that you can make your own MIBO animal (in this case a reindeer or polar bear!). I thought that these would be the perfect little card and gift for the boys little friends this year. After all, they are only little once and doing this kind of thing at Christmas is so much fun!

You can find the MIBO cards in lots of online boutiques, but I came across them here at Psikhouvanjou, a fab little boutique that is well worth looking into this Christmas!

Harriet x

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

I love Mariann’s words, it truly depicts the wonder of holding your baby in your arms.

You may remember my post from Mariann Hornyák a few months ago about baby wearing and how it can secure the bond that is born in the womb between mother and baby. I really loved the way that Mariann put across just how vulnerable to transition between being a baby in the womb to being born and essentially without the constant protection of a mother. Mariann has made me question my own parenting and my desire to hold my boys close as often as I can. Baby wearing will be even higher on my agenda after her beautiful words. I hope you enjoy her second article.

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Why should I keep my baby close?

Do you have a place where you feel safe and warm? I feel really relaxed if I am cuddled by my husband. I also love the hugs from my father and mother and even my sister can make feel secure and happy. I am very lucky. I also like sitting in the window wearing a warm wool jumper, drinking hot chocolate and watching how the rain cleans the world. I feel safe in the house. Safe from the rain, from the cold wind.

Listening to the well known sound of your body can give the same safe feeling to your newborn. He was happy and relaxed in your womb. He had never felt hungry before being born to this noisy world. He was safe and warm.

Now he is cold, hungry, lonely.  He does not have any knowledge of this world, his mother is the one who will make him learn the basics. His basic vocabulary will grow from the emotions he associates with actions that happen to him in his first year of life.

He will learn that he feels hungry, he is stressed, he is sleepy. But at the moment, he only knows that something is wrong and he needs his well known heartbeat. He needs his mother to change the situation. His tool to tell you that something is wrong that he signs through his face, gestures, mimics and small movements. If you can read his cues you will be able help him. He will sign you and he will learn that you respond. Or he will sign you once, twice, more and then he will be desperately in need of you and he starts crying. When you will respond. Or he will cry, you ignore it without the intention of helping him and he will learn that there is no use to tell you that he is unhappy because he will not get any help anyway.

It does not matter that you are really able to help or not. What matters that you respond gently ensuring him that you want to help and you do your best to make him calm and happy again.

If your baby is close to you, you can see his face all the time, you can sense his moves and the change in his breathing, you will be able to know him better. You will read him more easily. You will know what is wrong and what to do. You will be more confident. You become quickly the master of your own child.

Keep your newborn close every day. He is part of you, extension of your heart that beats outside of your body.

Mariann

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You can find Mariann on her wonderful website which is jam packed full of great information for expectant and new parents.

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Ethical toy puppets from Green Tulip via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

There are so many different puppet styles to choose from, but what really makes these special for me is that they are made using up cycled clothing, therefore they are totally unique and wonderfully ethical!

Ethical toy puppets from Green Tulip via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Each puppet is 100% unique to the child that adopts it because of the nature of production.

Ethical toy puppets from Green Tulip via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Christmas puppets make wonderful, ethical toys to fill up the stockings!

These recycled wool puppets from Green tulip are just so cute! They are hand made in Canada from up cycled clothing, so although they will always follow the same design for each style, no two will ever be exactly the same!

What I really love about this is that the company are genuinely making ethical toys for kids that they themselves can learn something from. This is a great way to introduce your little ones to the concept of recycling and why we want to do it.

You can order your favourite style of puppets here.

Harriet x

The Blue Basket, ideal gifts for dads via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Choose from a road scene or a train track for your t shirt.

The Blue Basket, ideal gifts for dads via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Let Daddy lie down for a while and enjoy a ‘massage’ while the kids play!

The Blue Basket, ideal gifts for dads via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love the detail and thought that goes into the t shirts. My boys would be bedside themselves with glee driving along the track or road, over bridges, through ‘tunnels’. So much fun!

I think these T shirts are great! What a fun way to give Dads (or Mums) some chill out time while the kids play!

Designed by Michigan mama, Jessica, who first made one of these shirts for her husband just using Sharpies and a plain top. After driving on Daddy quickly became a favourite activity on lazy Saturday mornings or after he arrived home from work, Jessica posted a tutorial for a simple “Car Shirt” on her blog, The Blue Basket.

Finally, after a phenomenal response to the shirts, she decided to have the design printed onto the shirts and sell them!

Not only does Jessica design and make these fantastic shirts, but she also makes alphabet tracing shirts too, these are the  perfect gifts for Dads this Christmas that will benefit your kids too!

You can get hold of one of these brilliant shirts here.

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 28 :: Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

At week 28 baby is about the size of a large aubergine.

What’s happening to baby this week?

This week, baby weighs around 2 1/4 pounds and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. That is about the size of a large aubergine.

She now has eyelashes (hopefully they will be as long as her brother’s!) and can blink her eyes. As she can now see the light that filters through the womb you may notice more movements if you shine a torch over your bump! Her body is still fattening up and that brain is developing more neurons every second.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Wow I am shattered this week! My iron and ferritin levels are still low as is my blood pressure, all of which adds up to a very tired me! On a hugely plus side I haven’t had many pains at all this week, I just feel swollen, fat and unattractive! Hello third trimester!

I have also been suffering the less glamorous effects of iron tablets, though with a continued obsession with chilli ramen that is hopefully going to improve. I still have to ‘keep my feet up and rest’ though that is so difficult with little children in the house. I will say that it is a miracle if I am still awake by 9pm, something that my night owl husband is totally confused by!

I’ve also found this week, and I think it is a team up of hormones and tiredness, but I have been very quick to get emotional and tear up, another natural part of pregnancy. Oh and elephant feet, I can’t forget to mention those!

Cravings.

Mmm chilli ramen. Delicious and helpful with keeping me hydrated, and avoiding the effects of iron tablets.

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

Ahh, pregnancy. You make me so attractive! Earlier this week I was sat in a restaurant with my mother and suddenly let out a very loud belch. Needless to say I was mortified, though I don’t think anyone but me noticed! Completely out of the blue and unexpected. Sexy.

Adorable:

The boys are still quite cuddly with my bump, though they still haven’t felt any kicks. Reuben keeps telling people there is a baby in my belly. Just in case they thought I was this rotund anyway!

Bad:

The lack of energy thanks to my ferritin levels and low blood pressure. It hasn’t been fun with two energetic toddlers to entertain and an inability to actually rest. Lots of early nights have been required!

Harriet x

Little Pink Peony girlswear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Each dress is presented like this in the Etsy shop and with a series of images to show it off in the best light. I love it!

Little Pink Peony girlswear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is the peony dress and one of my favourites. It’s bright and bold, pretty and perfect for the party season.

These little hand sewn dresses are so adorable!

The brand is the brain child of one lovely Mama in Palmyra, USA, called Danielle, who has always had a passion for sewing and making things. When she became a stay at home mama she decided it would be the perfect time to turn her hobby into a little shop, and what a great idea!

Little Pink Peony girlswear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is such an everyday staple for me, I can just imagine a little girl enjoying this dress with some thick winter tights! My perfect combination when it comes to clothes for girls!

Little Pink Peony girlswear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love the detailing on these dresses, so sweet!

Now a self appointed creator of pretty things for little girls, you can buy her lovely creations here and her blog here.

Harriet x