Arthur's Favourite Nuby Teething Toys

"Your baby won't start teething until he gets his first tooth around 9 months" said my GP at Arthur's first check-up...what a load of poop that was! Luckily, I'd already done my own research and read that babies start teething at various different ages - some before they're even 4 months old! Arthur actually started teething at around 5 months old and ended up getting his first fourth teeth (bottom and top incisors) through between then and 7 months.

There are various different types of pain relief out there for teething babies, from medicine like Calpol to an assortment of teething gels but to be honest, it's teething toys like the ones shown above that seem to provide the most comfort for Arthur. I noticed that when his top incisors were coming through he was particularly 'bitey' (even during feeds....owch!) so I was glad to be able to give him these to chew on, in addition to giving him a dose of Calpol, when I thought he needed a little extra pain relief.

Arthur's favourite teether is the Bugaloop Teething toy from Nuby, which he received for Christmas from my friend Kerry, along with the Chewbies Teether from the same brand. I love the attractive, colourful design of the Bugaloop Teether (£3.99) and Arthur seems to really enjoy giving the different surfaces a good old chew. The Bugaloop teether is particularly effective for back tooth teething, so I'm sure it'll continue to come in use over the months, as he begins to get more teeth through.

The Chewbies Teether (£2.49) looks a little like a dummy and is therefore easy for babies to hold and effective for use as a soother. Arthur was a little unsure of this one to start with, as I chose not to give him a dummy but more recently I've seen him take an interest in it. What I like about the Chewbies teether is that it has ridges and bristles, which help to keep his teeth and gums clean, whilst also massaging them to provide additional comfort.

Our latest purchase is the IcyBite Keys from Nuby (£3.99), which Arthur has taken a real liking too! These have multiple teething surfaces, designed to provide comfort for different parts of the mouth and also contain PureICE teething gel, which stays cooler than the other water-filled teethers you can buy. They're easy for babies to hold and Arthur loves taking them out and about in his pushchair. All three Nuby teethers are suitable for use from 3 months old.

We've had a great experience with Nuby as a brand. It's one I trust, would buy from again and would definitely recommend to new mums for their teething babies. The teether designs are fun, colourful and interesting for babies; they fulfil their purpose of providing relief and what's more, they don't cost a fortune! If you haven't already, go check out the Nuby website. I'm sure you'll be impressed with their fantastic range - I certainly was!


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Making a Baby Scrapbook

Time goes faster and faster as you get older but I swear when you have a baby it doubles in speed. In a couple of weeks Arthur will be 9 months old and I still can't quite get my head around it! Enjoy every moment is the piece of advice I was given when I became a mummy and yes, it's a cliche but something that's so important because time really does go by in the blink of an eye. I guess if I was to give another piece of advice to a new mummy it would be to document as much as you can. I've always loved looking back at old photo albums from my childhood and wanted to make sure Arthur had plenty look back on too.

In addition to creating photo albums, memory boxes and Letters To My Baby, I've started a baby scrapbook for Arthur's first year. Each double page has it's own theme, such as 'My Baby Shower,' 'The Day You Were Born,' 'Your First Christmas' and I've filled them with pictures, words and little keepsakes that we'll be able to look back on together, in years to come. So far I've taken most of the scrapbook pictures on my Instax Mini 8 Camera. I love the retro-style 'polaroid' effect of these photographs and they're the perfect size for sticking in my Paperchase Scrapbook.

As well as creating pages for special times, I've also designed a few around Arthur's age and milestones. These pages feature pictures that show how Arthur has changed and grown over the months, as well as little snippets of information, like his weight, what he likes doing, the nicknames I've been calling him and what he's been getting up to. I know there are some great scrapbooks out there like Project Life but I wanted my baby scrapbook to be a little less formal and a little more and 'me!' I also think some of the scrapbooking kits out there are very expensive. I much prefer being able to buy little bits and bobs here and there without spending a small fortune.

Of course, a scrapbook wouldn't be a scrapbook without cute stickers and washi tape, so I couldn't resist ordering a selection from Paperchase. I love the colourful animal stickers and the seashells, along with the anchor print washi tape are perfect for my seaside themed 'Your First Holiday' page.

I've still got plenty of pages left in my baby scrapbook and can't wait to add to it over the next few months. I think I'll probably start a fresh one when Arthur turns 1. It'd be nice to do one for each year of his childhood if I could keep it up. It's certainly something I really enjoy doing when Arthur's gone to bed - it really helps me to wind down. I already love looking back at the earlier pages and seeing just how much has happened over these last few months. What a wonderful few months it's been!

Are you into scrapbooking?
I'd love to hear your recommendations on places to buy stickers, tape and other scrapbooking bits!

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LOVING: Sewkuddly Leggings

Well aren't these the best leggings you've ever seen?! As soon as I saw them, I HAD to buy them for Arthur and he looks absolutely adorable in them. They're from Sewkuddly, a UK company specialising in handmade children's clothing. All of their prints are really unique and eye catching - very different from the 'typical' baby clothing you find in high street stores. The quality is exceptional, the material is baby soft and I've found the sizing to be perfect. Arthur's wearing 9-12 months, which is the size he's wearing in clothing bought from all other stores too.

They're extremely well priced (especially for handmade clothing) at £14.00 (price slightly varies according to size) and can be purchased from either the Sewkuddly website or their Etsy store. They also make various other clothing items including dresses, rompers, dribble bibs, headbands and t-shirts all in their quirky prints. Sizing ranges from newborn to six years.

Seeing as I love the Sewkuddly Origami Birdie Leggings so much, I'm definitely going to treat Arthur to some other bits. I think the Perfect Panda Leggings and Mint Candy Skulls dribble bib are next on my list - ah it's just so hard to choose!

I don't know about you but for me, there's just something about handmade clothing that makes it extra special. I like knowing that I'm supporting a smaller business, a creative and her family too! And when the prints are as cute as this...well who could resist a few more purchases?!


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Bath Time Routine + Mini Reviews

As a newborn, Arthur hated bath time. He'd cry and yell until you washed his hair...that he weirdly enjoyed! But over the months his love for bath time has grown and grown, even more so now he has this rather awesome yellow duck bath to splash around in. C'mon, if there was anything that was gonna make you love having a bath, it'd be a big yellow duck bath! Now if only they made an adult size one...

The Munchkin Yellow Duck Bath was purchased from Amazon and is designed for babies age 6-24 months. I bought it as I thought Arthur would enjoy being able to sit up and splash around safely. It's inflatable, so you need a little lung power to blow it up and it comes with one of those White Hot Safety Discs so you can make sure the water isn't too hot. I tend to just dip my elbow in to check the water temperature before putting Arthur in though.

What I love about this bath is that it's travel-friendly. I took it with us on our Northumberland holiday to use in the bath in our cottage but it would be particularly useful if the place you were staying only had a shower, as you could fill it up with a little water and pop it on the bathroom floor if you needed to.

It's one of my best baby buys so far and though it's unlikely to last him until he's two (as suggested), for £9.95 I'd happily just get a few month's use out of it!

Before I start washing Arthur, I give him time to have a little splash about and play with his toys. I spotted these cute Bath Buddies at the till at Dunelm Mill and had to throw them in the basket! They were super cheap at £2.99 but you get 10 little characters and they're lovely and colourful. Arthur loves squeezing the water out of them and I make them do all sorts of little dances for him, whilst singing songs from The Little Mermaid in my best singing you do.

Once Arthur's had a few minutes play, I use a soft flannel to wash him. Anyone else feel like a super hero when they manage to wash their baby's neck? Trust me, it's a challenge! I use various different natural, kind-to-the-skin products in his bath, including Little Bunnies and Earth Friendly Baby but at the moment we're using the Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash (£7.99). It smells absolutely divine and leaves both his hair and body lovely and clean. I love that it is made from natural, plant-based ingredients and doesn't contain any nasties. Burt's Bees is also a cruelty-free brand, so I'm more than happy to spend money on their products!

After his bath, I wrap him up in a towel and we have a go at cleaning his teeth. Arthur's fascinated by his toothbrush and enjoys the whole experience so much that he doesn't like having to put the toothbrush back! I started the whole teeth cleaning process as soon as his first tooth appeared, as I wanted him to get used to it as part of his daily routine.

Once his teeth are clean and he's nice and dry, I usually use some form of moisturising product on his skin. At the moment I'm loving the Little Bunnies Organic Baby Balm. It's easy to massage into the skin and leaves it feeling super soft, just as baby skin should be! I've reviewed the entire Little Bunnies baby skincare range, if you fancy learning more about it. Again, it's a cruelty-free baby brand, which is really important to me.

After he's bathed, moisturised and in his pyjamas, we tend to cuddle up together, whilst I read a bed time story. Arthur loves the glittery pictures in the BusyBugz books and I also love the stories from the Snuggle Up, Little One collection. Story time is followed by a breastfeed and then I put him down to sleep in his nursery. This is a fairly new routine for us, as I was reluctant to part with him at night time but so far, so good! I'll keep you posted.

What are your favourite baby bath time products?

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AmaWrap Re-Visited: A Mama Holiday Must-have!

Back in March I first tried my hand at babywearing and shared a rave review of a sling I'd been using, called the AmaWrap*. Initially I had only been using it around the house, however last week we travelled to Northumberland for our family holiday and I decided to give it a go on the beach!

The first day I attempted to take my Silver Cross Surf 2 Pushchair on the beach and whilst it was fairly easy to push once I got onto the wet sand (providing you didn't stop and sink), dragging it across dry sand was quite the challenge. The next day we had to walk down quite a steep hill to get to the beach, so the baby sling was my only option. I'm so glad I tried it outside though because honestly, it made the whole beach walk so much more enjoyable for both me and Arthur.

Initially I thought that I might find it quite difficult now Arthur's eight months old and quite a big baby but the AmaWrap provided plenty of support and distributed his weight evenly, making him much easier to carry. I think Arthur enjoyed being kept close in the AmaWrap and it allowed him to take-in and enjoy his new surroundings; feeling safe, warm and content. His smiles and happy noises were all the proof I needed!

For me, tying the AmaWrap and popping Arthur in was just as quick as getting the pushchair out of the boot and strapping him in that. It also saved time, as unlike the pushchair, it didn't need the sand brushing off it afterwards. I can tie the AmaWrap myself from memory but if you get stuck, there's an excellent step-by-step video tutorial you can watch for guidance.

If you're going on a beach holiday with your baby or even going on a walk where there might be some tricky parts for your pushchair, I highly recommend trying the AmaWrap or another baby carrier of your choice. Practice babywearing around the house to build your confidence with it and you'll soon see the benefits for yourself and your baby. The AmaWrap was a holiday essential for me and I'll definitely use it for other trips out with Arthur in the future.

*PR item

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Our Week in Northumberland

I'm back from a lovely week away with my family in Northumberland. The weather was a little on the windy and wet side at times but we made the most of the sunshine when it appeared and enjoyed plenty of walks along the beautiful, rugged beaches. It was my first holiday in Northumberland and I can see why my mum and dad fell in love with it when they first visited a few years ago. The scenery is simply stunning and though busy at times, the beaches were no where near as packed as those I've visited in other holiday hotspots like Devon. At one point we had an entire stretch of beach to walk along all by ourselves. It was blissful!

We stayed in a former farm cottage called Letterbox Cottage, West Burton, which really was a home-away-from-home for us. It was cosy, had a spacious walled garden for Jazz and Oby (our German Shepherd Collie Crosses) and boasted amazing views of Bamburg Castle. I know it sounds daft but it also had a fantastic high chair and travel cot for Arthur to use, which made all the difference to my stay. You know you're a mama when you're excited to see a good quality high chair at your holiday cottage haha!

We visited various beautiful beaches along the Northumberland Coast and I enjoyed walks along the sands with Arthur snuggled in my AmaWrap. Although I did use the pushchair on two occasions, it was much more practical and enjoyable to carry Arthur close to me in my sling. I could tell how much he loved it from the big smiles on his face and the chirpy little noises he made. I think he really enjoyed watching our dogs race down the beach and splash in the sea. I can't wait to take him for his first little paddle when he's a bit older.

Good food is always a holiday essential and one of our favourite places to visit was the Saltwater Cafe in Beadnell. They had a great lunchtime menu (the Wedges and Dips were my favourite) and the homemade cakes also went down a treat. Oh and the lattes and loose leaf tea were some of the best I've ever had. Definitely the place to go if you happen to be visiting or staying in Beadnell! We chose to spend our evenings snuggled up in front of the fire, back at the cottage and enjoyed a couple of takeouts from Élan, an Italian restaurant in nearby Seahouses. The four cheese pizza was particularly yummy!
It was lovely to get away for the week with my family and take Arthur on a beach for the first time! The Northumberland Coast is every bit as beautiful as the places I've travelled to down South so if you fancy a holiday in the North, it's well-worth a visit. I hope we'll holiday there again soon.


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The Best Kind of Pair

This was not what I planned for me, for you,
I would be married, settled, one half of a two
But when those two lines appeared, I fell in love 
Nothing else would ever come above
For you deserve the world and that’s what I shall give
You changed my life, reminded me how to live
You’ve shown me my value, taught me I deserve more
It’s amazing the power you hold, though you are so small.

I may often be tired, sometimes in pain
But I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all again
For you my darling are the light of my life
I can be a strong mother, without being a wife. 

My sweet little boy, you’ve opened my eyes
You’ve made me braver, more selfless and I guess somewhat wise
Thank you for choosing me as your mama bear
We make a great team, a duo; the best kind of pair.

Being a single mama wasn’t my plan
But you have shown me that I can;
Give you everything you need, I’ll always try
And I’ll love you fiercely until the day I die.

Happy 8 months Arthur!
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Beautiful Lullabies to Help Your Baby Sleep

Not so long ago I made the mistake of trying to look for nursery rhymes and lullabies to play to Arthur on YouTube. Why was it a mistake you ask? Well, do a quick search and you'll find the majority of nursery rhymes videos on YouTube are quite possibly some of the most annoying you've ever watched. On second thoughts, don't put yourself through it - just take my word for it! And when it comes to lullabies, unless you're happy to listen to Twinkle Twinkle or Brahms Lullaby on repeat for hours on end, the choice is pretty limited.

Now, you're probably thinking, Megan stop being an old grouch but it seems I'm not the only one to think that YouTube is seriously lacking in the baby music department. It was actually the thing that inspired Father-of-Two, Dan Smith (who also happens to be a BAFTA award winning director) and UK singer-songwriter Martha Bean to collaborate under the name 'Nursery Rhymes 123' and create the Lullaby Baby* album.

Lullaby Baby is the follow-up album to their popular 11 Nursery Rhymes and Songs album and features beautiful interpretations of traditional nursery rhymes and lullabies; perfect for creating a calm environment and soothing babies to sleep. There are twenty songs in total, with two original songs by Martha, who has such a gentle and peaceful voice that I have to stop myself slipping into a deep slumber right alongside Arthur! Some of my favourite songs include Beautiful Dreamer, You are my Sunshine and Lavenders Blue - a song that was featured in the newest Disney Cinderella filmI've found the album is perfect for playing at bed time but we also enjoy listening to it during feeds, as that's another time where we want to be relaxed and able to fully enjoy the closeness it brings.

Alongside the release of Lullaby Baby, Nursery Rhymes 123 have also uploaded a new video to their YouTube channel, featuring the song You Are My Sunshine. The animations, created by the talented Anne Wilkins, are beautifully unique and mirror the gorgeous album cover artwork you can see in the pictures above. They're nothing like the overly-bright, brash and annoying animations I've endured on other YouTube nursery rhyme videos - phew!

I really wanted to share this with other mamas, as it's such is a lovely album and the ideal soundtrack for your baby's bedtime routine. I've found it really helps to soothe Arthur to sleep and makes me feel at peace with the world too (always a good thing!) If you want to hear the songs for yourself, you can purchase the album on iTunes for £7.99 or listen to it on Spotify (the ads in between aren't nearly as relaxing so I'd go ahead and download it!) Lullaby Baby is also available to stream on Amazon, Google Play and Apple Music.

*PR Item
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What's on my reading list

It's been a while since I shared a 'what's on my reading list' type post and that's down to the fact that in the last year or so, I've hardly read anything. Shocking, I know but sometimes it feels like there are a million other things I need to do more urgently, especially now I'm a mama. Having said this, I really miss reading, so I've decided to make a conscious effort to read a little each night, even if it's only a few pages before I fall asleep. At the moment I'm reading both Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and Girl On The Train, so I thought I'd share a little bit about what made me pick them, along with a couple of other books on my reading list.

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson
My mum's really into her books (she even runs her own book blog) and as soon as she finished Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, she said 'MEGAN YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!' And I'm so glad I have started reading it because it's actually hilarious. I remember hearing my mum laughing out loud at some of it and I've found myself doing the same. It follows the story of widow, Laura, who has decided to uproot her family from Manchester and move to Dorset to take on a summer job at the Comfort Food Cafe. It's there she meets numerous wonderfully weird characters, who I can't wait to meet myself when I get further into the book! Mum's said it's a romantic story but has also described it as one of 'healing, family and being brave enough to dip your toe back into the pond again, after life's unpredictable knocks' in her review. I feel like it's the perfect story for me to read at this time in my life and I can't wait to see how the story unfolds. It's definitely going to be my holiday read!

"The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu. For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad. Her new job at the cafe, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well. For her, the Comfort Food Cafe doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…"

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I've also started reading The Girl on the Train as it's been described as 'the new Gone Girl' and has been made into a film, which is coming out this year. Initially I hated Gone Girl but once I got to the bit where there's that big-old-twist, I loved every word from then on. So, I thought, hey why not give The Girl on the Train a go! It's by a different author but you can definitely see similarities in their writing styles. It has a really creepy feel to it and is full of suspense. I'm only part way through it and I'm eager to see what's going to happen next. I've got a feeling it's one that'll keep you guessing.

'Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…'

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Again, another recommendation from my mama! Flawed is next on my reading list and since I've loved every one of Cecelia Ahern's books I've read so far, I'm almost sure I'm going to like this one too!

'Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED. In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.'

The Microbiome Effect* by Toni Haman & Alex Wakeford
This book is completely different from the others on my reading list as it's non-fiction but as a mama, who is still fascinated by all things birth and baby related, I think it'll be an interesting read. As far as I understand, it's all about how the way in which a baby is born affects their future health. I think it's going to be quite 'sciencey' though, so hopefully I'll get it!

'At least two amazing events happen during childbirth. There's the obvious main event, which is the emergence of a new human into the world. But then there's the non-human event that is taking place simultaneously, a crucial event that is not visible to the naked eye, an event that could determine the lifelong health of the baby. This is the seeding of the baby's microbiome, the community of ‘good’ bacteria that we carry with us throughout our lives. The seeding of the microbiome, along with other processes including breastfeeding, kickstarts the baby's immune system and helps to protect the infant from disease for its entire lifetime. However, with interventions like use of synthetic oxytocin, antibiotics, C-section and formula feeding, this could be interfering with, or bypassing completely, the microbial transfer from the mother to baby. Emerging research shows that bacteria are absolutely vital for human health, and science has linked an imbalance in the human microbiome with multiple chronic non-transmissible diseases. 

Drawing on the extensive research they carried out for their documentary film Microbirth, authors Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford reveal a fascinating new view of birth, and how microscopic happenings can have lifelong consequences, both for ourselves, our children – and our species as a whole.'

Are any of these books on your reading list too?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on them if you've read them but shhh - no spoilers!
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