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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How to deal with blocked baby noses: Stérimar Baby nasal spray review

Leon's been on and off with blocked noses since October and although he's not a very snotty boy, there's a lot of gunk up those narines.

Happily, he's getting better at letting us blow his nose (and looking at it) or happily sniffing into an entire packet of tissues -one by one (with minimal output) and likes me applying eucalyptic Vics vaporub at night time. I confess I enjoy picking out really big dried bogeys from his nose and love his reaction when I show him the result- but man, I need to get with it and sort out his blocked nose once and for all! Cue, Stérimar!

A mild, natural seawater nasal spray used to unblock baby's snotty noses and strengthen its defences, Stérimar Baby has been a saviour. Suitable from birth, you hold baby on your lap with their head at an angle and spray the sea water into each nostril. There'll be a bit of water/snot coming trickling out afterwards so do keep a tissue to hand!

And well, I wish it were as easy as that. There's a "special shaped pump to be used from any angle especially useful for when baby is squirming"- I literally have to wrestle Leon down and find the right moment to squirt some into his nostrils. But hey, it works rather well and is worth the armlock. There is a marked improvement in the moistening of the mucus meaning it slides out of the nostril, easier to wipe away.

I even use it myself sometimes- is that gross?? It's safe for pregnant women and is allergy approved and with the dry weather and heating etc I've been getting a dry, sometimes bleeding nose and this definitely helps!

Dr. Catherine Hood, a physician with Stérimar also suggests placing a bowl of water by the radiator in baby's room to humidify their, thus easing congestion. Much cheaper than a humidifier and it really works. We've had the heating on in the evenings for a few hours recently and it gets very dry- and the water level is remarkably reduced the next morning. Leon is not coughing anymore at night and is a lot less snotty.

Another recommendation is using a bulb syringe to suck out the mucus once it's more runny. Leon liked this less than the spray but I felt very triumphant when seeing what I was pulling out.

Stérimar Baby is available at most pharmacies across the UK RRP £4.07. We tried the spray for 0-3 year olds but check out their entire range here.

I was sent the nasal spray and cute pull-along dolphin toy for this review

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mexico lindo

There's something quite therapeutic about 10 days in the sun when back home it's cold and grey. No shit Sherlock. But trips to my half-homeland Mexico, always instill a happiness in me as I feel closer to the culture that I've never lived in for more than weeks at a time. One day I'd love to live there, but for now I shall relish in the gifts it offers all my senses.

Contrary to our previous trip, 3 years ago where not-yet-hubby and I travelled a month in central Mexico on the cheap- we recently spent 5 days in heavenly 32C Acapulco (I hardly moved from the hotel but hubby got to venture out) and then back to Mexico City to see my family and then some friends for a wedding. It was amazing and a much needed break for us both: definitely for my man who got to spend quality time with us, and marginally more time for me as I had some help with Leon!

There are plenty of flying with a toddler tips out there - but when almost 7 months pregnant it's an extra issue. I had Leon's invaluable tiny back-pack filled with goodies like raisins, cars, dinosaurs, colouring books, crayons, flash cards, books, a clementine and a little pot of plasticine. He enjoyed unzipping the bag himself and taking out what he wanted but he slept a lot of the flight. We hardly used the iPad as envisioned.

However, a 10 hour flight with toddler + 7 month pregnant mummy = husband kicked off his seat by toddler and sleeps on floor

Discovering the kids play zone at hotel is a farce and you need to supervise kids = never seeing the adult only area with white canopy beds, tranquility and an infinity pool... Shame.

Make sure someone happily takes tot down water slide "Again!" and "Again!"

Ignorance is bliss - dont question the police with massive guns stationed outside your hotel. Believe it's protection and don't look at them in the eye.

Don't read the news before going to Mexico. The mall in front of our hotel had headless corpses strung up with "Do not enter or the same will happen to you" marked above it only weeks before we arrived. Pray for the end of narco war through legalisation or better governing.

Jardines de la Casa Azul
Frida and Diego's Dia del Muertos Shrine

The different languages, people and experiences will improve language skills: Leon loved seeing the "turtles" and cookatoos, toucans, parrots he understood were "birds" and you could see he was excited at all the new sights. He adapted really well to this amazing culture and loved the food and attention.

Coyoacan Market
Coyoacan market

Carne asada con arroz

A long-haul flight with a Tequila hangover is not advisable (not me of course!) No image recommended
He digged the travelator

If you're planning on going to Mexico- I recommend visiting the following: amazing lakes- Las Lagunas de MonteBello, explore the Mayan ruins admist the monkeys in the Palenque jungle, swim the pacific in front of rustic beach cabins on the wonderfully simple, hippyish Zipolite (expect naked people), discover the indigenous villages near San Cristobal de las Casas, swim with pelicans in the fishing town of Zihuatenejo, eat crickets and see amazing folkoric dances in Oaxaca. Do take the time to visit Morelia and Puebla, not far from Mexico DF that has a lot going on in itself, and of course shopping in any of the markets. We're saving the Yucatan peninsula for another time and I'd love to visit Guadalajara one day too.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Language update 22 months and TELLY

Despite my debuts of One Parent, One Language I've been dipping in and out the other two languages and Leon's getting the hang of speaking- all be it in a medley of tongues...

Still using english for objects: Ball, book, bag, door, juice, tea, shoooes, teeth

And actions: down, uppa

French words for foodie words:
Pain, lait

And politesse: "Merci Mummy!" that he says a lot once I've handed him something. I've managed to get "peeease" out of him a few times though ;)

Transport is british: Car, bus, bi (bike)
Still using phonetic: "Choo choo" and "nyaow" for train and aeroplane

Animal noises are usually phonetic too: miaow, panting for dog (though he's calling the shop downstairs' dog her real name Poppy), baa, mooo, mmm followed by enthusiastic arm swinging for elephant and lots more if he sees them in books actually. It's exciting to see his progress and that he's repeating words when prompted.

He picked up "Dame!" (give me) very well from his abuela, and was also using it for 'here you go' but now he's saying "Toma!" Which is also the Spanish way.

He also loves singing Bob the Builder and often asks to watch Fireman Sam by shouting "Saaaam!" and sings along- or tries and manages a 'doooor' at the end. He also asks for Chuggington or Thomas the tank Engine by demanding "Choo Choo!" and loves "Papa Pat and miaow" (Postman Pat) and "Baa" (Timmy Time) as much as I do.

I've smartened up by recording several programme from each series to always have some on hand as we're often not around for scheduled times and that way I can skip the masses of ads! It also gives me more control. I prefer that he watches the old school stop-motion type programmes instead of the more computerised versions.

He often stops watching once the intro music has ended making it almost safe to switch off but then I get "Noooo!! Telly!! Saaaaaam/Choochoo/Paaat" Ayayay... I admit to letting him watch a bit more than I'd like but it's not for more than an hour in total and sometimes not at all. He enjoys
It and I do think he's learned a lot more from watching it: giving animals and machines personalities, and learning about emergency services and the building trade in detail!

How much telly does your tot watch?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Polarn O. Pyret for peanuts

We love Polarn O. Pyret and everyone comments on Leon's cute sheep print top that has lasted him ages. Fabulous quality and the clothes are really made to last.

Which is why their Hand It Down campaign to raise money for Children in Need is so fabulous!

We came across it today while out shopping and I popped in to ogle at some new stock that I probably can't afford- but hey! I spied a "Hand it down" rail with beautiful pre-worn clothes for sale again at a snippet of the original price.

Two fab tops for £4 yes mate.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Halloween! y Dia de Los Muertos

Yes, Halloween was a while ago now but I'm finding it tough to keep up with posting!

For me, Halloween has always been fun and about dressing up and visiting neighbours, rather than the 'begging' aspect that a lot of people get annoyed with. I find it sad that there are fewer and fewer homes opening their pathways to trick or treaters. Living in a commercial road with no front door of my own, we couldn't join in and prepare a basket of goodies for the local ghouls. So I took Leon to my childhood home and paraded along the street, happily crossing other little monsters.

My little pumpkin enjoyed visitng the first few homes and proudly announced his presence with a loud but cute "RAAAARR!!" (they should make some effort to scare!) and delighted in seeing all the other young children in their getup. Of course, he demanded I open his sweets straight away, but I helped him understand that you need to wait until the end. I relented after the 2nd house and let him munch on a Milky Way.

Scary Pumpkins go RAAAARR!

By the fifth house; he'd become wary and didn't want to make his way up a very well decorated, spooky entrance with spiderwebs and candlesticks - but I sort of forced him... he glared questioningly at the lady and didn't like a grown-up opening the door... After that, he was reluctant to visit more houses, especially the one with a hand peeping through the door... so we called it a night. Content with the booty, we had a hot chocolate and went home.

The upside of taking a toddler trick or treating? I got to eat all his sweets ;)

Leon was lucky to have the opportunity to dress up twice! Once for his morning Halloween party then trick or treating in the evening, but we were also invited to Mindshape's launch of Casper's Scare School: Costume Closet, a new iPad and iPhone app (£1.99) mixing and matching different dress up outfits with the aim of increasing object recognition and memory recognition. He certainly picked up the craze of mixing up outfits with his pirate/copper costume!

Mixed Up Dressing Up

Fun times aside, I also celebrated the Mexican Day of the Dead. A time for remembering your loved ones who've died. In Mexico, people make shrines with offerings of their dead's favourite dish, or may cook their favourite meal in their honour with an empty seat for them at the table.

While we didn't do this as well as we should have, I visited a beautiful communal shrine at Hackney City Farm (better outlined here) where my sister and I could write a note to our dad and enjoy the beauty of the candles bouncing off the colourful decorations of mexican papel picado, autumnal harvest, flowers, personal photos, messages and offerings.

Dia de Los Muertos shrine at Hackney City Farm

I'm hoping to see more Day of the Dead exhibitions and shrines when we're in Mexico next week! It's so vivid and crazy I love it. Death is celebrated so differently there.