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Review: Vital Baby Weaning Set and KidiSipper Tubby

Vital Baby

Toby has only recently started weaning and we’re always keen to try anything that might make life easier. He already has four different sippy cups as I keep buying new ones in the hope he’ll work out how to use them! We were recently given the chance to try out a weaning set and sippy cup from family-run business Vital Baby. Vital Baby sell a whole host of baby feeding products along with various other things such as bath toys, teethers and skincare products.

The Details

The Vital Baby Weaning Set is a shaped bowl with a lip to make it easy to hold. It also has a lid with built in spoon storage and the spoon to go with it. The Weaning Set retails at £3.99 and is available in pink, blue or orange. We were also sent the KidiSipper Tubby to try out. This is a non-spill sippy cup with a soft, flexible spout. It also has a removable cover to keep the spout clean.The KidiSipper Tubby retails at £3.49 and comes in blue, orange or purple. Vital Baby products can be purchased direct from the company and are also stocked at Boots, John Lewis, Mothercare, Toys R Us, Ocado, Mamas & Papas and Amazon.

Weaning Set in use

The Pros 

  • The Weaning Set is a really useful product, whether for use at home or out and about. As Toby doesn’t stay up with us for dinner I usually save a bit for him to have for his lunch the next day. This lidded bowl has been great for keeping things fresh in the fridge.
  • The spoon that comes with the Weaning Set is a perfect size for Toby, either for me to feed him or if he is (attempting) to feed himself. It has a soft tip which I really like – Toby has a tendency to dive at the spoon if I’m holding it and with this one I don’t need to worry about hurting him with it.
  • We haven’t actually taken the Weaning Set out anywhere yet but when we do I’m sure having the built-in spoon cover will be really handy both to keep the spoon clean before and to keep the dirty spoon away from anything else afterwards.
  • I have used the Weaning Set in the microwave and dishwasher without any problems.
  • The KidiSipper Tubby is a good size for Toby at 7 months. He seems to find it easier to hold the handles than on some of the other sippy cups we have.
  • I like the soft spout of the KidiSipper – again Toby likes to take a dive at his cup to get it in his mouth so I don’t need to worry about him hurting himself. This is very similar to the Nuby sippy cup we already have.
  • The non-spill valve works well – even after being thrown on the floor we didn’t have any leaks. Although the valve is non-spill there doesn’t seem to be too much effort required to get the water out. Toby is managing to get plenty – in fact the only spills we’ve had are when he decides to fill his mouth with water and then just dribble it down his chin rather than swallow it!
  • The lid on the KidiSipper is interchangeable with most of the other cups and bottles in the Vital Baby range which is a good feature.
  • We haven’t used the top for the cup while at home but again, this will be a useful feature when we take it out with us.

KidiSipper Tubby

The Cons

  • There are honestly no downsides to these products that I can come up with!

The Verdict

I really like both products that we tried from Vital Baby, and looking on their website there are plenty of other products that I would like to try. Some of the other cups and bottles look great for when Toby is a bit older and I also think the Unbelievabowl looks fantastic. I’ve tried to give Toby the bowl to feed himself occasionally but he just wants to throw it on the floor so one that suctions on to the highchair would be ideal! All the Vital Baby products are very reasonably priced too – I would be happy to recommend them to anyone looking for baby or toddler feeding products.

**Disclaimer: I was sent the Vital Baby Weaning Set and KidiSipper Tubby  in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Back to work

Keeping in Touch days

Did you know that if you are on maternity leave you may be able work up to ten Keeping In Touch (or KIT) days, which you should be paid for, without it affecting your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)? These days are optional and must be agreed in advance with your employer. I am fortunate that the council I work for allows KIT days and pays a full day’s salary for each day worked. As a teacher it is important that I keep up to date with what is happening in my profession, and this is even more important this year as new qualifications are introduced into Scottish secondary schools.

I worked one KIT day in November on an in service day. I got to attend some meetings with other languages teachers which was really useful. When I was planning my next KIT days I was keen to have a day in school actually teaching so I arranged to go in on a day when one of the other languages teachers was going to be out of school so I could cover her classes. As it happened this was the day before another in service day so I agreed I would work that day too.

Me going into work for two days meant that the hubby had to take two days off work to look after Toby. My mum has offered to come up and stay and look after Toby but I was a bit worried that she had never looked after him on her own before. Having had two kids of her own I’m sure she is perfectly capable but the trouble with living 250 miles away is that Toby has only actually met his grandparents five or six times, and although he’s always seemed perfectly happy with my mum I’m not sure how he would be on his own with her all day without me or his dad around. The other worry I have is that my mum has a bit of a bad back. Most of the time it’s fine but it’s one of those bad backs that can just ‘go’. Toby isn’t a tiny baby any more and I worry that if my mum had to pick him up all day and her back went she’d be stuck, unable to get him off the floor or out of his cot. So anyway, the hubby booked his two days off work and I got ready to go back to the chalkface.

I don’t know if it makes me a terrible mother but I was actually looking forward to a couple of baby-free days! I would be teaching some of the same kids I had last year and I was keen to make sure I hadn’t forgotten what I was doing. And do you know what, it was as if I’d never been away! I even remembered all the kids’ names. I really enjoyed teaching again and I was glad the kids listened to me and didn’t give me too much bother.

The hubby, on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. My two days at work just happened to coincide with Toby’s first two teeth cutting through, both at the same time, leading to a very grumpy and upset baby. He was ill when I went into school in November too. Maybe he just knows that I’m not going to be there so makes life hard for his dad!

I’ve not planned my next KIT day yet. I don’t think I’ll be doing all ten – although I’d like to, it means the hubby using up a lot of his annual leave just to stay at home looking after Toby. I’d rather he saved them so we can have time together as a whole family. Although I enjoyed my days back at school I’m not sure I’m going to like it quite as much when I have to go back to work full time in August. Leaving Toby with his dad for a couple of days is a very different prospect to leaving him at nursery five days a week. But for now I’m going to make the most of my odd days back at work and remember what it is like to be me and not just Toby’s mum.

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Review: Sugar and Crumbs

I love to bake, although I don’t do it that often otherwise me and the hubby would just spend all our time eating cake! I always used to stick to a few favourites but since I started going to my local baking club I like to try out new recipes. And with a meeting of baking club coming up I was on the look out for something new to bake. So when I saw a tweet from Sugar and Crumbs looking for people to try out their new flavours of icing sugar I jumped at the chance!

Sugar and Crumbs

The Details

Sugar and Crumbs is a UK company selling flavoured icing sugar and cocoa powder. I had never heard of flavoured icing sugar before I heard of Sugar and Crumbs so I was eager to give it a go. There are 22 different flavours of icing sugar – everything from strawberry milkshake to chilli lime! I was sent two new flavours, coffee and salted caramel, to try along with some black cherry icing sugar. Sugar and Crumbs also sell five different flavoured cocoa powders too and I was sent the chocolate cherry flavour. I haven’t had chance to try the cherry flavours yet to I will write another post about those when I have given them a go. In addition to the icing sugars and cocoa powders, Sugar and Crumbs also sell a range of coloured sugar paste and cake decorations.

So what did I make?

Coffee sponge

First of all I made a coffee sponge with coffee flavour buttercream. I was going into work for two days last week so I thought I would take in a cake for my hard-working colleagues. I used a very simple method to make the sponge – just weigh two eggs and then use the same weight of butter, castor sugar and self-raising flour. To add a coffee flavour I mixed two tablespoons of instant coffee with the same amount of boiling water, allowed it to cool then added it to the cake batter after it was all mixed. For the buttercream I used 125g butter with the 125g sample pack of coffee icing sugar I was sent and 125g of plain icing sugar. I added a little milk to get the right consistency and I also added a little dribble of coffee left from the cake, more to give the buttercream a bit of a coffee colour than for flavour.

Salted Caramel

The second cake I made was the one for baking club. This was a Devil’s Food Cake with Salted Caramel flavour buttercream. The recipe for the cake came from the first Great British Bake Off cookery book. It is basically a very chocolatey cake which also has soured cream added. It was a much more complicated recipe than I would usually use but I was pleased with how it came out. And luckily, Toby was happy to sit and play in his highchair and eat some lunch while I made a mess in the kitchen! The cake is baked as two cakes then each is sliced in half to make four layers. In between each layer there is a chocolate ganache made with melted chocolate and more soured cream. The recipe in the book also has this ganache on top the cake too but I decided to use the salted caramel buttercream instead. For this cake I used 100g butter with the 125g of salted caramel icing sugar, 75g of plain icing sugar and a little bit of milk.

The Pros 

  • The flavoured icing sugars were very easy to use. Just like using plain icing sugar in fact!
  • Both the coffee and salted caramel flavours were nice and strong. This means you can mix part flavoured icing sugar with part plain to get the flavour you need. This also reduces the cost as the flavoured icing sugar is more expensive than plain.
  • Everyone who tried my cakes really liked the flavoured buttercream, especially the salted caramel flavour (which someone commented tasted a bit like Butterscotch Angel Delight!)
  • Some of the flavours available are really unusual (Banana Split, Galia Melon, Pear Drops and Peach Melba to name a few) – I’m not sure how you would easily add these flavours to icing yourself so being able to buy them ready made is great!
  • The products are well packaged in easy open, resealable packets.

The Cons

  • I would say the only real downside to the Sugar and Crumbs products is the price. The icing sugar is £4.99 for 500g, compared to £1 for the same amount of plain icing sugar.
  • I would perhaps like the icing sugar to be coloured to reflect the flavour. When I made the coffee buttercream I ended up adding a little bit of coffee just to get the coffee colour – but then this rather defeated the purpose of the flavour already being in the icing sugar!

The Verdict

Due to the price of Sugar and Crumbs icing sugar I probably wouldn’t use it for my everyday baking. Also, I probably wouldn’t buy any of the flavours which are fairly easy to create yourself using plain icing sugar (for example; lemon drizzle, coffee or vanilla). However, for a special bake I would be very tempted by some of the more unusual flavours on offer especially as the cost can be lessened by using a mix of flavoured and plain icing sugars.

**Disclaimer: I was sent samples of flavoured icing sugar and cocoa powder from Sugar and Crumbs in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Toby swims again! (An update)

Hurray

You may have read my post a couple of weeks ago about how Toby has been crying at every swimming lesson since Christmas. There were a few things that might have been causing the problem and I got lots of advice from all you lovely readers.

Well, I have good news to report! Last week we couldn’t go to our normal swimming lesson because I was going to work, so instead we went on our own to a different leisure centre where they have a warm water pool. We also went in the middle of the day as I had a feeling getting up early and missing his nap was also upsetting Toby. It was a success! We did everything that we normally do in a lesson, including submersions, and Toby didn’t cry once. I wasn’t sure whether we would actually be able to swap our lesson to this other pool but our lovely Turtle Tots instructor sorted it out for us. The new lesson is at 11 am, rather than 9:30 am so it also means that, although it is still during nap time, Toby can either get a bit more sleep in the morning and a nap in the car on the way there, or if he is up early there is time to go back to bed for a quick nap before we go.

We went to the new lesson yesterday and it was great. Toby still wasn’t smiling and laughing but he wasn’t crying either which was a massive improvement. I’m sure as he gets used to it, and realises swimming doesn’t mean being cold anymore, that he will start enjoying himself soon enough.

And swapping swimming lessons has also had a useful side effect – we were going to move to the next Baby Sensory class (for 7-13 month old babies) which was at 10:30 am and so again I was worried that this would be a problem as it is during Toby’s usual nap time. The only other suitable class was at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, which we couldn’t do as we had swimming in the morning and it would have been too much in one day. But now with swimming on a Monday we can go to Baby Sensory on a Wednesday and fingers crossed that will mean smiles all round!

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Review: Freeva cloth nappy

Freeva nappy

As you’ll know if you’ve read this blog before, we love our cloth nappies in the Toby Goes Bananas house so when new cloth nappy company Freeva gave us the opportunity to review one of their nappies we jumped at the chance.

The Details

Freeva cloth nappy

Freeva nappies are ‘one size fits most’ and come in a variety of plain colours and funky prints. We chose the Jungle Animals print for our review. The nappies have three rows of poppers on the front to adjust the rise of the nappy, and have hook and loop (velcro to you and me!) fastenings at the waist. They are pocket nappies, meaning they have a removable insert which fits in a pocket between the waterproof outer layer and the suede cloth inner layer of the nappy. All Freeva nappies come with one microfibre insert included. If you need more absorbency from your nappy then extra inserts are available to buy from Freeva, either in microfibre, a microfibre and bamboo comination, or just bamboo. The nappies retail at £10.95. Freeva also sell a selection of accessories such as nappy buckets and wetbags.

The Pros 

  • I prefer velcro fastenings on a cloth nappy as they make it much easier to get a good fit. Toby is very long and skinny so getting a good fit with some cloth nappies is tricky but the Freeva was a got fit, even after a few hours of wriggling!
  • It’s good to see the Freeva nappy has laundry tabs to fold the velcro back onto while they are in the wash so they don’t all get stuck together.
  • I like the selection of prints and colours available (which we all know is one of the main reasons for using cloth nappies!)
  • The nappy arrived with information about how to use and look after the nappy (including advice on pre-washing before use). All this information, along with other cloth nappy advice is also available on the Freeva website.
  • I was impressed with the performance of the nappy. On the first use it lasted three hours with just the one insert before it started to leak slightly around the legs. On the second use I used the microfibre insert along with a bamboo booster and the nappy lasted almost five hours! (I wouldn’t normally leave a nappy that long during the day without changing it anyway, but I just wanted to see how long it would last!)
  • The microfibre inner and pocket outer washed well and are very quick to dry. I usually dry my nappies in the airing cupboard in winter and both parts were dry in a few hours.

The Cons

  • The nappy only comes with one microfibre insert included. In my experience this might be OK for a younger baby but older babies might need more boosting so you will have to purchase extra inserts if you don’t already have them.
  • The microfibre insert is a bit bulky, especially on a smaller baby. There are other fabrics which could give the same absorbency but with less bulk.

The Verdict

Freeva cloth nappy

The Freeva nappy we tried performed very well. With its adjustable rise and velcro at the waist it really should fit most babies. Freeva nappies are also at the more affordable end of the cloth nappy scale. Whether you are new to cloth nappies or a seasoned user and you are after a pocket nappy I would recommend Freeva nappies as a great addition to your collection.

Freeva have kindly offered all my readers a discount code to use on their website. Simply enter TOBYGOESBANANAS at the checkout for 5% off. And even better, you can use this code as many times as you like!

**Disclaimer: I was sent the cloth nappy in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

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11

Living Arrows 7/52

We’re already up to week seven in the I Heart Snapping Living Arrows project. I’m really behind in visiting other blogs and commenting but I promise to try and get back on top of it this week. I really do like to see everyone else’s photos.

Lots of people comment about Toby’s spiky hair so I thought I’d use this photo which really shows it off! I promise I don’t do anything to it – it just goes like that, as you can see as it’s only spiky on the top and one side.

Living Arrows 7_52

living arrows

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Spreading the blog love

If you are a regular reader of any parenting blogs then you may have noticed that a nominations for a little thing called the MAD Blog Awards have opened this week. These are awards to recognise the best Mum and Dad (hence MAD) bloggers each year. You can nominate a Blog of the Year and then there are lots of other more specific categories such as Best Blog Writer, Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog, Most Entertaining Blog, and plenty of others. Basically, if you have a favourite blog then you will probably be able to find a category that it fits into.

Anyway, I thought now would be a good time to spread the blog love and share a few of my favourites with you.

Redhead Babyled – I’ve mentioned Donna’s blog in a few posts previously. It’s a great mix of interesting posts about her life with her two children, money saving tips, recipes, reviews and lots more. I also love that there is always something new to read on Redhead Babyled.

Mummy Daddy Me – I link with Katie’s blog for The Ordinary Moments every week, but I also love reading her other posts about life with her two girls. Katie’s posts are always really well written, and feature some brilliant photography too!

Life with Munchers – This blog has a mixture of parenting and lifestyle posts. If you are after some home/ DIY help or inspiration then this blog is always worth a look. There are also some great blog design and organisation freebies available to download.

dear beautiful – I just love the look of Lucy’s blog. And it has amazing photography!

mumturnedmom – I like to read Sara’s updates about life as a Scottish expat in the USA so I can live my dreams vicariously through her!

hurrah for gin – Katie’s blog about life with her two boys is a perfect mix of posts that make me laugh out loud to those that are more personal and poignant.

Just a Normal Mummy – Unfailingly funny. (Caution: contains swearing!)

I’m sure there are more that I have forgotten and I may well come back and update this list later. But for now it’ll have to do. If you have any recommendations for blogs I really should be reading then please do leave me a comment.

And before I go…. If you do find yourself on the MADs nomination page and are looking for someone to nominate (particularly in the Best New Blog or Best Baby Blog categories) then I would really appreciate if you considered nominating me and Toby. And if you do, then thank you so much!

MAD Blog Awards

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