Saturday 26 September 2015

REVIEW: Yushoi Snacks (YB)

I was sent some Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks to review...

Yushoi snacks are made from peas - sounds odd right? But they are actually really delicious. Of course, this also makes them a healthy snack and contain less than 100 calories per pack! As well as being a good source of protein and high in fibre! You really can't ask for much more in a snack! In fact, they are also not full of nasties  - no MSG, artificial colourings or flavourings AND they're suitable for vegetarians (this made hubby happy!). They are made from 74% green peas.

First of all, I tried Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks Lightly Salted flavour. You can definitely tell they are made from peas as you can taste it, but in a nice way, it's not overpowering, so even if you're not a big fan of peas, you can still enjoy them. They're really easy to eat as well, not mega crunchy like normal crisps. I think these had a good balance of taste and flavour. The lightly tinged green colour isn't the most appealing colour for a snack versus normal crisps and other similar snacks, but in terms of taste, they are equally as good if not better. They are actually really quite filling compared to other snacks too.

Next I tried the Soy & Balsamic vinegar - a delicious combination of flavours that works well with this snack. Again, just the right amount of flavour and I could eat them all day long! My husband and eldest son tried them too, and they both enjoyed them.

The next flavour I tried was the Smoked Salt & Szechaun Pepper. I expected this flavour to be one of my favourites, but I actually didn't enjoy this flavour. I can't quite decide why, but the flavours just didn't work for me. 

Finally, I tried the Sweet Chilli & Lemon. I saved these for last, thinking they were going to be my favourite, but again, the flavour just didn't work for me. They were OK, but just not a flavour that works with the snack, I felt.

Overall, the Soy & Balsamic Vinegar were my favourites and the Lightly Salted were a very close second. I didn't much rate the other two flavours. Maybe they just don't work with the snack (i.e. they might be fine for normal crisps, but in my opinion, they just don;t work with these).

I could definitely see me buying these again though in the flavours I liked. I really did enjoy them and I hope I see them in the shops so I can have them again. They are tasty, easy to eat, healthy and low cal as well.

Saturday 19 September 2015

REVIEW: Mission Deli Wraps (YB)

I was sent some Mission Deli wraps to review.

I was sent 2 packets of "8 Original Wraps" and 2 packets of "8 Multigrain Wraps" to review.

I only normally buy original wraps, so it was interesting to try the multigrain wraps. I was slightly dubious as it's easy to stick to what you know, but I was very impressed with them, they looked like they should be quite a challenge to eat, but they were soft and tasty and felt healthier to eat and to give to my son in his lunchbox.

Wraps are very versatile. It's easy to get caught up in the thought that they're just for Mexican food, after all, that's what a fajita always comes in, but you can fill them with lots of different fillings, hot or cold.

We had wraps for our tea, filled with turkey ham (hubby is veggy so he had a substitute), garlic & herb soft cheese, smoked beetroot, boiled egg, lettuce and garlic mayonnaise - a delicious, cold wrap.

We did have delicious hot chicken fajitas too (well hubby had vegetarian Quorn fajitas).

One other thing we tried was deep fried jerk chicken (hubby had fried jerk Quorn) with lettuce and garlic mayonnaise - it was a truly delicious hot wrap meal.

I definitely found them very versatile, and definitely not just for fajitas! My eldest son has been taking them to school as part of his packed lunch too filled with ham or chicken salad and he's enjoyed a change from boring old bread.

Alex Hollywood has come up with some recipes to use wraps with your leftovers too, which look good. I'm featuring them below and I'll definitely be giving ome of them a go myself.

Roast chicken leftovers with Harissa roast veg, feta & minted yoghurtChopped leftover cooked roast chicken
Approx. 200g roast vegetables: onions, squash, aubergine, peppers, asparagus, (roast in a tbsp. olive oil garlic cloves, seasoning)
1/2 packet of feta
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 spoon olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Some rocket leaves
175 m tub plain yoghurt
Handful chopped fresh mint or a tsp mint sauce
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Wholemeal Wraps

In a bowl whisk the Harissa with a dash of oil and the lemon juice, season then add the roast vegetables and coat well. Spoon some onto the middle of the wrap followed by chopped chicken, rocket leaves and a little crumbled feta, season then wrap. In a bowl mix the yoghurt with the mint, season to taste and serve as a dip on the side.

Veggie curry leftovers with paneer & toasted cumin yoghurt dip
Leftover vegetable curry ( bulk up with frozen cooked peas if necessary)
1 packet paneer ( Indian cheese for cooking) chopped into small cubes
Garam Masala
Coriander leaves chopped
1 pot Greek yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 crushed garlic cloves
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Multigrain Wraps

In a dry pan, dry fry the cumin seeds until they pop then transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush well, stir into the yoghurt with the crushed garlic and a little salt. Heat the vegetable curry, if necessary cook some frozen peas and add in to bulk the curry out then in a frying pan, dry fry the chopped paneer until browned all over. Throw into the curry and stir in the chopped coriander and a pinch of Garam masala then spoon into a wrap, wrap tightly and serve with the cumin garlic dip.
Tip: If you have any leftover roast lamb or chicken, chop it up, add it to the curry and serve with a dollop of Mint yoghurt and some mango chutney.

Leftover Bolognese ( chilli)  with sour cream & chilli cheddar
2-300g of leftover Bolognese sauce
1 can kidney beans drained
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
I small handful chopped fresh coriander
1 small lime
I pot sour cream
Grated mature 'chilli' cheddar
2-4 Mission Deli Original Wraps

In a heavy bottomed pan bring the Bolognese to a simmer; throw in the beans and spices. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes (if it begins to dry out too much, add a little water). Add the chopped coriander and a good squeeze of lime, adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon some onto a wrap with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of the grated chilli cheddar, wrap and serve with green salad leaves.

To give your Bolognese more of a kick & authentic chilli flavour - add a dash of tequila!

Quick baked pudding wraps with mango chocolate sauce & granola
1 Bottle of good quality, thick hazelnut sauce (Nutella or home-made sauce would work too)
1 can mango slices (or 1 fresh prepared mango) or peach slices
150g granola
Icing sugar for dusting
Vanilla or hazelnut ice cream
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Original Wraps

Drop 2-3 spoonfuls of the hazelnut sauce on the wrap.  Arrange slices of fruit over then sprinkle a spoonful of granola on top. Fold over and wrap tightly. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 8-10 mins 180c. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream.

Tip: if you want to make this more 'grown-up', use fresh orange slices that have been soaked in a dash of Grand Marnier and crumble toasted pecans over the top before serving with hazelnut ice-cream

Sticky chicken with tomato, avocado, lettuce, cucumber slices & mozzarella
2 leftover chicken breasts - cooked & sliced
2-4 rough chopped tomatoes
1 ripe avocado sliced
some chopped lettuce
Sliced cucumber
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Lemon juice
Salt pepper
1 Mozzarella ball torn
Some fresh basil leaves
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Wheat and White Wraps

For the sticky sauce;

1 tbsp ketchup
1tsp Moroccan spices, e.g.
Ras el Hanout (available from all major supermarkets)
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2tsp sesame oil (or veg oil)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and throw in the sliced chicken to coat well.  Heat a griddle pan then add the chicken slices and griddle until slightly darkened. In a bowl mash the ripe avocado with the Greek yoghurt add a squeeze of lemon and season, dollop a little on the wrap add some chicken then tomato lettuce cucumber and torn mozzarella, finish with some basil leaves, wrap and devour!  
Tip: this sauce works well with any leftover BBQ meat - sausages, pulled pork or even fish!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the products for free to review, but thoughts & opinions expressed are my own. I pride myself on an honest review, good or bad. Recipes provided by Mission Deli in collaboration with Alex Hollywood.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

REVIEW: Bepanthen Products (YB)

I was sent Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment and Bepanthen Sun Cream to review for my little man.

The Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment is really easy to use and is a great way of protecting your baby from the inevitable nappy rash.

I've been using it on my little man at most nappy changes since I received it, and I can honestly say I've noticed he has been much more comfortable looking since having begun using it.

He's often had nappy rash and I've treated it, but Bepanthen really helps prevent it from occurring in the first place, which is a big relief for both me & little man!

Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment can be bought in 30g, 50g or 100g tubes starting at RRP £3.99 and is available from Boots, Asda or Tesco.

The sun cream - not something you get to use all too often up here in the north of England, sadly! But very handy when you do need it or if you're going on holiday.

Monday 7 September 2015

FUN & FROLICS: I'm Going To Mars! (YB)

Well, not quite... But my name is :P

And it did a couple of years ago too... 

Thursday 3 September 2015

REVIEW: Bio-Kult & Bio-Kult Infantis (YB)

I was sent samples of Bio-Kult and Bio-Kult Infantis to review.

Bio-Kult is a capsule of live bacteria - 14 strains - good bacteria, bacteria that helps promote a healthy gut and boost your immune system. You take 1-2 capsules a day. I was really pleased that there is more than one way to take them. I have a throat problem which means I can't swallow tablets/capsules whole, but fortunately, you can open them up and sprinkle them onto food or mix with a drink which for me, was perfect. It does not need to be refrigerated and can be taken alongside antibiotics, by babies toddlers and children, when travelling, by vegetarians, as part of a healthy diet and when pregnant - so pretty much all the time.

The Bio-Kult Infantis is specifically made for babies, toddlers and young children. As it's currently around back to school time - it's now more than ever that children need an immunity boost and Bio-Kult Infantis provides this. It comes in a convenient sachet that you can mix with milk, water or food to make it easy for them to take. It contains 7 strains of bacteria, is high in Omega 3 and contains Vitamin D3. I mixed it in with my little mans drink and he had it no problems and I like knowing that it's giving his gut a good immunity boost.

Bio-Kult’s nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb has provided some back to school tips...

Back to school is fast approaching and many parents will be starting to worry about the stresses and strains that a new term can put on a family. Stress can upset the delicate balance of the gut microflora in a child, depleting their immune system and causing symptoms such as stomach upsets and increasing their susceptibility to colds and flu. With 70% of our immune cells located in the gut, a child’s are still growing and changing during childhood. Their gut bacteria play an essential role in supporting the development of a strong healthy immune system at this time. This can be compromised if they are busy fighting off a wide range of new bugs shared out amongst new class mates. As well as being well organised and making sure your child is getting plenty of sleep, the following tips could help support a healthy immune system:
  • Get the most of the last of the British summer sun to boost natural vitamin D levels, important for ensuring a strong immune system.
  • Have fun picking local berries and fruits mid-summer such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, elderberries and black currants are said to be rich in Vitamin C & E and full of antioxidants.
  • Eat a varied wholefood diet high in a rainbow of coloured vegetables, salads and some fruits. I’d also advise choosing meats, eggs and oily fish over processed sugars and refined carbohydrates which could feed unwanted bacteria and are generally low in useful immune boosting nutrients.
  • Multi-strain probiotics such a Bio-Kult Infantis have been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of common colds commonly picked up in play groups.   
Bio-Kult retails for £14.95 for a box of 60 capsules and is widely available in high street retailers, independent pharmacies, health food stores and online at

Bio-Kult Infantis retails for £11.95 for a box of 16 sachets and is widely available in high street retailers, independent pharmacies and health food stores and online at

COMPETITION: Turbospoke Competition (YB)

Turbospoke is a brand new toy for kids that is a toy exhaust for fitting to a bicycle that has realistic motorbike exhaust sounds - mega fun for kids!

The Turbospoke can be easily attached to back of of the bike frame with the mounting kit which comes with tools in the box to fit it with.

It comes with 3 sound cards that you can tune for up to 6 different realistic sounds. It's a great gift for children of all ages (recommended age of 6+) and I think it's probably going to be a big hit this Christmas, which is quickly creeping up on us!

  • Bicycle exhaust sound system
  • Makes authentic motorbike noises
  • Three interchangeable sound cars
  • Activates as bike is pedalled
  • Does not require batteries
  • Modern take on a classic
  • Includes stick-on decals
  • 35cm

If you would like the chance to win one, simply read the terms & conditions below and enter using gleam.

Open to UK residents
Closes 23:59 03/10/2015
Winner has 7 days to claim their prize (send over name, address, e-mail address & phone number) or a new winner will be chosen

Wednesday 2 September 2015

RANT: Childhood Obesity - What Is To Blame? (YB)

It seems everywhere you turn, there is some talk about childhood obesity and I wanted to voice my opinion.

You've got know-it-all chefs like Jamie Oliver telling the world and their children what they should and should not eat, when really, all he cares about is getting his name out their, and making money.

Then there is the government dictating to people what their children should and shouldn't be allowed to eat. Acting like people are incapable of looking after their own children, treating adults like children!

And that brings me onto my opinion...

When I was a young child - 25 years ago, I was 7 years old - my spare time was spent playing out - be that with the kids that lived nearby, my friends from school, on my bike on my own, using my imagination - but always active. Then, 20 years ago, I was 12 years old, almost a teen and at senior school, a lot of my spare time involved going for a walk with my best friend or going into town shopping or just looking around the shops.

Kids nowadays, get not near enough exercise - has anyone stopped to think that this could indeed be the cause of childhood obesity?

When my eldest was younger, we always tried to encourage to play, but the more technology became and everyday piece of life, the less he wanted to do. Now as a 12 year old, despite our protests, he spends most of his time glued to his iPad - be it playing games or watching TV! Sometimes we take away his iPad as we get so sick of it, and get him crafty stuff to at least try and promote creativity and imagination, if he can't be encouraged to go out with his friends and play or do something.

His life is centred around technology. He's not obese, but his lifestyle could make him so. What I'm saying is, maybe the biggest cause of childhood obesity, is technology - the distraction from real life, the thing that stops children going out with their friends and playing as instead they can sit there on their tablets playing online games against each other and chatting online.

So there is the government preaching about childhood obesity, the very people who force technology on people more and more - insisting that absolutely everyone should be online. So instead of forcing ridiculous food changes to stop childhood obesity, maybe they should stop forcing technology on everyone and start making more ways for and encouraging children to get out there and play and interact in person with their friends more often!

Just recently, I saw that Tesco had took Ribena off the shelves in an effort to help solve childhood obesity. And of course, most supermarkets you go into now sell only oven chips rather than frying chips. All in a bid to force people to be more healthy while the real problems get ignored.

We are babied by the government, they even treat us adults like children that need telling what they can and can't do, what they can and can't eat. And then they feel the need to take over the upbringing of our children as well - OUR children.

I think exercise and a good diet are essential to curb childhood obesity, but that does not mean we need to take away every scrap of fun food and drink - it's all about doing it in moderation, making sure they eat a good varied diet with plenty of fruit and veg but also get plenty of exercise.

So if Jamie Oliver and the government really care, they need to stop solely preaching about the food children eat and get out there and make more children get active and get away from technology!

Friday 21 August 2015

COMPETITION: SafeTOTS Competition (YB)

As a parent of a 13 month old, safety is paramount when it comes to having a toddler around. Once they start crawling and walking, they want to go everywhere and get into everything.

SafeTOTS offer a huge range of safety products to help you make your home baby & toddler proof.

If your little one is anything like mine, he wants to go everywhere! And so a safety gate is one of those must-have items when you have a little one running around.

SafeTOTS sell over 100 safety gates to fit all size gaps and prices start from as little as £15.49 and offer FREE delivery when you spend just £50.

SafeTOTS have an easy to install, self closing safety gate available for a very reasonable £27.99 - SAFETOTS SELF CLOSING GATE WHITE STANDARD 75CM-82CMand they have kindly given me one to give away to one of my lucky readers.

The safety gate you have the chance to win is a pressure fitted gate with self closing mechanism - making it easy for you to get in and out, but keeping your little one safe from escaping. It is suitable for children up to 24 months old.

If you would like to win, read the terms & conditions below, then enter using Gleam.

Open to UK residents
Closes 23:59 21/09/2015
Winner has 7 days to claim their prize (send over name, address, e-mail address & phone number) or a new winner will be chosen

REVIEW & COMPETITION: Hedrin Protect & Go - Protection From Headlice (YB)

The UK’s No.1 head lice brand has launched Hedrin Protect & Go, a clinically proven head lice protection spray which offers parents greater control in the battle against head lice. Visit them over on Facebook:

Hedrin Protect & Go is a fuss-free spray which, when applied twice-a-week, protects children from the parasites by breaking the life cycle and killing lice before an infestation can be established.

The Orange & Mango scented conditioning spray is also ideal for times when the risk of infection increases such as the beginning of a new school term, at children’s parties and sleepovers and following an outbreak letter from the school.

The protection spray contains an organic compound called 1,2 octanediol which disrupts the life cycle of head lice preventing their spread.  It is easy to apply and dries naturally leaving the hair looking healthy and conditioned.  

Christine Brown, school nurse consultant and head lice specialist, said: “Head lice infestations can be hugely frustrating for parents and children alike. An effective preventative solution that offers greater control and reassurance is not only a real breakthrough, but could drastically reduce the number of infections which currently affect as many as 1 in 5 school children. The spray is also kind to children’s hair and should be used as part of the regular cleaning regime, much the same as cleaning teeth or using a shampoo.”

Anyone can get head lice, although they are most common amongst children aged 4 to 11 due to their greater levels of close physical contact with friends.  The best known symptom of head lice is itching, which can lead to a loss of concentration and sleep. Not treating head lice can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence, and a general feeling of being unwell.

Priced from £4.29 for 120ml, Hedrin Protect & Go is available from Boots, pharmacies and leading retailers nationwide.  It is skin friendly and contains no known asthma triggers.

Answers from Christine Brown, ex school nurse and advisor to the Medical Entomology Centre

1) What ARE head lice? “Head lice are small wingless insects that live on the scalp, feeding from the blood. Baby lice are extremely small but mature within 10 days and only after that are they able to reproduce, with numbers growing more slowly than most people think. Females lay several viable eggs a day and adult lice can live for as long as a month.”

2) How do they spread? “Lice are spread only by head-to-head contact, so sleepovers, after school activities, playing with friends and visiting family are the most common places for children to pick them up and pass them on.”

3) How do you know if you've got them (as the child and as the parent looking)?  “Although the best known symptom is the itching, although only about 30% are aware of it – the only true way of knowing is by regular checks with a head lice detection comb. Head lice can be uncomfortable, can prevent sleep and concentration, and can cause bullying. It’s best for parents to check for head lice using a comb made for the purpose – ideally white, so that lice can be easily seen and with teeth no more than 0.3mm apart. Research has shown that detection combing is nearly four times more effective than visual inspection for finding live lice. Lice are around 2-4mm long but immature lice are even smaller, living close to the scalp. Nits are dead or empty shells, which can be removed by hand or by combing.”

4) Why are kids more prone? And girls? “Children are more prone as they are in close contact with each other. Children aged 4 to 11 are most at risk but no one is immune. Girls and women do tend to be more prone as girls tend to play more closely together and women are the carers of the family. But there are certainly plenty of boys and men with lice.”

5) Any preventative measures? eg things to avoid, products to use “ Avoiding will not stop you from catching head lice! Hedrin have just launched a clinically proven head lice protection spray called Protect & Go. It’s a mango and orange scented conditioning spray which should be used at least twice a week. It protects children from the parasites by breaking the life cycle and killing lice before an infestation can be established. The spray is also kind to children’s hair and should be used as part of the regular cleaning regime, much the same as cleaning teeth or using shampoo.”

6) If you've got them, what should you do? “If you find live lice, firstly, don’t worry. Head lice are a normal part of life and there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Research suggests lice have become resistant to pesticide treatments, so pick a non pesticide treatment which will work by smothering the lice and either stripping them of their waxy coating, causing them to dehydrate or blocking the openings to their air tubes, disrupting their ability to manage water. These physical modes of action mean there is theoretically no chance for the head lice to build up a resistance. Try a treatment containing dimeticone or octanediol, which are used in Hedrin’s treatment products. If you’re unsure about treatment options, speak to your pharmacist.”

7) Are treatments still as noxious and overpowering as I remember them as a kid, or are there gentler versions now? “No – the new insecticides treatments are odourless, non stinging, easy to use and kind to skin and hair.”

8) What's the key ingredient that kills them and is there a natural alternative? “With non pesticide treatments, the key ingredients in use are dimeticone, octanediol and isopropyl myristate. There is limited evidence to show that natural remedies, such as tea tree oil, mayonnaise etc are effective in eradicating head lice.”

9) Does the whole family need to be treated? “Only if you find live lice on other members of the family, never treat ‘just in case’.”

10) What would happen if you left nits untreated? “Nits are the hatched or dead eggs. They remain on the hair as long as the hair is on the head and having them on your hair will make no difference to the hair or to you. However, leaving head lice untreated thus leading to a long term untreated infection has similar symptoms to low-grade flu and can make a child irritable and can result in a secondary bacterial infection.”

11) Is it true they prefer clean hair? “Having head lice has nothing to do with personal hygiene. Head lice can live on all types of hair and no preference exists between clean or dirty hair!”

12) Does the 'nit nurse' still exist in schools? “No! Employing a nit nurse is not an effective method of controlling head lice. To adhere to best practice, each of the 5.5 million primary school children in the UK would need to be checked by the nit nurse once every week! So the likelihood of each child receiving a thorough check is minimal at best. Even if the nit nurse checked and found lice it would still be up to the parents to choose and use a treatment. Parents need to feel empowered to check for head lice regularly and feel confident about using an appropriate treatment when an infestation is found. The website has some great advice for parents on managing and treating head lice.”

Hedrin Protect & Go have kindly given us some of their product to giveaway to 3 lucky winners. If you'd like to win, read the terms & conditions below, then enter using Gleam.

Open to UK residents
Closes 23:59 21/09/2015
Winners have 7 days to claim their prize (send over name, address, e-mail address & phone number) or a new winner will be chosen

Wednesday 19 August 2015

RANT: Children's Clothing Sexism (YB)

Having two sons, I hope I'm not the only parent who has noticed sexism with children's clothing ranges in shops?

My eldest is 12 and he picks his own clothes nowadays, but he has commented on it too. I had the problem when he was little and now with little man who is 1.

No matter what shop you go in, there are always stacks and stacks of girls clothing and yet very limited amounts of boys clothing.

Now, I realise that girls have skirts, dresses, trousers & shorts and that boys only have trousers & shorts, but that's no excuse.

The lack of imagination in terms of variation, styles, colours etc. is absolutely unbelievable. Not just with the trousers & shorts, but with the t-shirts & shirts too.

It makes me so frustrated that there is such an amazing range for girls, yet barely anything for boys. Boys exist too! Boys want nice clothes and variety too!

Most shops even have a larger selection of girls nightwear than boys! Why can't there be an equal amount of both boys AND girls clothing?!

Sunday 19 July 2015

FAMILY: Marley's 1st Birthday (YB)

Well, I cannot believe it, but a whole year as passed since our little surprise baby was born!

9th July saw Marley's 1st birthday. I was awake at 4am and saying to Paul (hubby) that this time last year, we both had no idea I was pregnant, yet around 35 minutes later at that time last year, I was giving birth!

Obviously, by now, we are long adjust to having our little man around - he's such a personality now. Me, Paul & David all agree that now we can't even remember what it was like before Marley. We love our little family of four.

Let's take a little trip down memory lane... I'd like to share some photo's with you all of Marley's first 11 months before I share some birthday photo's with you...

Here he is meeting is big brother for the first time on the day he was born 09/07/2014

Already looking cheeky at just 1 month old

Already full of smiles at 2 months old
3 months old - a little devil in the making on his 1st Halloween
Full of personality at 4 months old
This cheeky little elf's 1st Christmas at 5 months old

1st driving lesson at 6 months :P
1st family holiday at 7 months
Looking all grown up eating finger foods out & about at 8 months
Little smarty pants gets the hang of putting balls in and taking them out at just 9 months
There's not stopping him at 10 months

Enjoying summer at 11 months

Quite an eventful 11 months leading up to his first birthday. He's doing exceptionally well. He was so strong, even as a newborn - wanting to lift that little head and he could as well, his neck muscles were so strong. He was smiling from 2 months old. Wanting to sit up at 3 months old (but needing lots of support). By 6 months old, he was sitting mostly unsupported. And his personality was really beginning to show already. Such a cheeky little devil. At 9 months, he was sitting up, beginning to crawl, cut his first 2 teeth at once (bottom front), playing hide & seek, able to put balls into his toy and take them out again. Really doing exceptionally well.

We started weaning him at 4 months as he seemed more than ready for food, and he took to it so naturally, started feeding from a spoon right away and doing really well. However, at about 7 months, he started to show signs of teething, always chewing down on stuff (even though his teeth did not appear until he was 9 months) and he gradually started to go off his milk. Refusing it more and more which was problematic, but we had to start giving it to him with baby porridge etc. to get him to have it. Once his teeth began to cut, he decisively did want want milk full stop, so we always had to try and give him his daily milk requirement in the form of baby porridge or similar. I made him rice pudding a lot which helped too. He still hates milk now, he has normal cows milk now, but he still won't just drink some. So he has it on his weetabix, eats plenty of yoghurt and cheese to get his calcium. When he stopped wanting his milk, we felt quite distraught, not knowing how to get him to have what he needed, but we just had to look at other ways of getting him to have some. I'm not sure we always managed to get him as much as he needed in a day, but all we could do was try. It helped once he could have yoghurts and cheese aplenty. He loves cheese triangles and cheese spread on bread. And loves fromage frais which is quite fortunate. Plus, rather bizarrely, he doesn't mind drinking milk leftover from his cereal, just not on its own from a cup!

He has quite the personality now. He's so cute. He's always dancing, loves his music. He loves playing hide & seek. And joining in the actions with nursery rhymes. He loves tickles. Laughs his little head off! He's also a bit of a monster too, he loves you to say ouch and achieves this by pulling or biting your nose, pulling your hair or pinching your skin. We're really trying to discourage the biting and pinching in particular! I don't want him to think it's OK to do and it bloody well hurts a lot! He's also a typical boy, often enjoying wobbling Mummy's boobies like they are jellies! Hmmmm :/

He's also a bit like the incredible hulk... He is so unbelievably strong for toddler and has been for quite some time. When he's angry, he is more than capable of knocking something from your hand in protest, no matter how tight a grip you have on it. He also throws balls and other toys (even less light ones) at least half way across the living room (and we have quite a big living room)! He also pulls off his dummy holders - he has two different types - one with a plastic round clip on bit which he pulls off (without opening) and the other with a very strong metal clasp which he also pulls off! Sometimes I expect him to turn green and burst out of his clothes!!

Now, onto his first birthday - 1 year old already! I'm pretty sure he had no idea what was going on, but didn't mind being lavished with attention from everyone and getting lots of presents. You'll never guess what the best bit was though... The wrapping paper! He was more interested in playing with that than the contents! Here are some birthday present photo's...

Push and go car from big brother David (as well as a singing nursery rhyme book and some weebles)

Some clothes from Auntie Latisha

Some clothes from Auntie Yasmin

Clothes from Carol (my Mum's best friend)

Walker & clothes from Grandma (my Mum)

Ball pit from Mummy & Daddy (as well as baby swimming pool, books and a rocking horse)

LFC kit from Granny & Grandad (Paul's Parents - as well as a toddler slide)

As you can see, he was lavished with gifts. And he loved every minute of it. He loves Baby TV on Sky and his favourite programme is Charlie & The Numbers, so I made him a birthday cake of the Number 1 and a little Charlie. Strawberry sponge cake, filled with fresh cream and fresh strawberry slices. I'm no cake artist, but I'm impressed with my effort (bare in mind, it's only the 4th time I've ever made an elaborate, designed cake):

Marley likes cake, he really likes cake! He seemed to enjoy trifle too! And cheesy sandwich bites went down a treat too. I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of him digging into his cake!! I did, however, take one of him with his cake (he didn't get the hang of blowing out the candle, so big brother gave him some help):

Marley enjoyed his 1st Birthday and his Charlie & The Numbers cake!

He enjoyed it, but I think he was a little overwhelmed as well. And totally knackered, he didn't have a nap all day (as everything was just far too interesting) and was so worked up by the end of the day as he was so worn out. Now we have more milestones to look forward too. He's just cut one of his top front teeth and the one next to it looks like it's about to as well, I feel so sorry for him, he seems to get teeth through in twos - twice the pain at once :( Also, he's getting good with his balance on his feet, so I shouldn't think it'll be too long before he's walking around (and falling on his bum a lot!). He also has the most amazing co-ordination - one of his little birthday ballons, David throws it to him and 9/10 times, he actually catches it!! He also manages to grab at (and hold on to) moving targets!! When you hold his hands and walk around with him, he finds anything he can to kick and he does that really well too - something tells me we have a mini footballer in the making!

Anyway, I hope you've all enjoyed reading about my little man and his first year of learning and adventure! I'll try and post a little more frequently if I can find the time ;)