Pudding’s Gift Guide 2016: Willow The Pillow

Let us introduce to you the amazingly cute and super snuggly Willow The Pillow. This sweet idea is more than just a play thing. As the Willow The Pillow website explains: ‘Deep relaxation boosts our concentration, decision making and creativity. It also promotes greater health and happiness. Sleep allows the brain to clear away the waste products that can contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s, while processing and making sense of the data we absorb during the day.’ See I told you Willow was more than just cute and cuddly!

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I had originally thought that Willow would be perfect for Pudding, who is some what reluctant to snooze on occasions. However, Pie took a real shine to Willow and he has been curling up with him on these cold evening after school. Willow has now made his way into Pie’s bed! Such a simple idea but so great for providing comfort and hopefully an afternoon snooze to your little one. I love the fact that you can take Willow in the car and to friends houses, meaning there is always a sleepy hug at hand.

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Willow is an organic cotton pillow case that fits most standard sized pillows or you can have a toddler sized one! Designed with two sleeping eyes and super soft he is perfect for a hug. I have to say that all of us have enjoyed a little cuddle with Willow when we are feeling a bit sleepy in the evenings. Even Mr Pud has been a fan…. Keeping that pesky sausage dog of of Willows face has also been a challenge.

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We think Willow would make a great stocking filler. He is certainly going to feature in my post Christmas dinner snooze. You can order Willow here. If you want to check out Willow’s Facebook page with all his current adventures you can find that here.

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DISCLAIMER: We received Willow the Pillow free of charge in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

How Come I Feel Guilty That My Kids Sleep?!

Everywhere I look, whether its emblazoned on t-shirts or bemoaned on Twitter there are Mum’s making statements about how little their kids sleep. Every time I see one I just shrink into the corner! Even the BBC has jumped in now – talking about the pros and cons of sleep training. Some experts are quoting that it is usual for kids to be up during the night right round until they are two. I honestly can’t imagine that happening in my house.

Both of my kids have slept through the night since they were 12 weeks old. My son in fact started sleeping through when he was 8 weeks (I used to wake both of them at 11pm for a dream feed before there is outcry about malnourishment!) By sleeping through the night I mean they sleep from around 6.45pm through to 7.30am. Every. Night. We go through the same routine every night. Tea, play, bath, milk, story, bed. Without fail, we religiously stick to it.

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There is never any complaint from our eldest – never the request for one more story, another drink, another wee; nothing. He climbs into his bed, his head hits the pillow and that  is the end of it. By 6.30pm Pudding is begging for her bed – she downs that milk, dons her sleeping bag and I lay her in her cot with her comforter. She is asleep within 5 minutes. Heaven forbid you should wake either of them before 7am. Very rarely do I reach the bottom of the stairs and either of them is still awake.

So are we evil parents? Have I trained them like Pavlov’s dog to sleep? I am starting to wonder. It certainly wasn’t a conscious thing. I always believed that kids need structure and routine. I never used sleep training methods, I don’t have any strong feelings either way about cry it out or people who keep their kids in bed with them until they are 8. Each to their own in my opinion.

For us the structure worked and I guess we have a certain confidence in our own parenting. I don’t charge up the stairs to every squeak I hear, I don’t rush in to soothe every slight moan in the night. Equally I know the difference between a partially awake self soothing moan and a cry that needs my attention. Watch and wait is the motto in our house. If either of the children wake in the night, I wait just a couple of minutes. Do they need me? Or will my presence prevent them from going back to sleep? Is that a cry of frustration because their sleep cycle has ended or have they had a bad dream and need a quick cuddle.

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The other thing I hear from other parents so frequently is that their child gets up at 5am, every day. This totally baffles me. How can this be good for anyone? Children need sleep to grow, adults need sleep to function. On very rare occasions, one of the kids may wake before 7am. If they are unable to self soothe in a couple of minutes then I will go in and put them back to bed. Never in a million years would I take them out of their room and downstairs to play. Why would I reinforce behaviour that I don’t want?

We do appear to be in the minority. But I honestly can’t begin to imagine how other parents cope. My kids are on the go from the moment their eyes open and by 7pm they are not the only ones in need of a rest! I also feel that it is so important for parents to get some ‘together’ time. Even if that is just curled up on the sofa with the latest box set and a large glass of red!

The fact that my kids sleep is both a blessing and a curse. I know that this post will be met with a bombardment of unpleasant comments – probably along the lines of ‘well good for you love, why don’t you jeff off.’ But I am hoping that the hiding out there behind the wall of tired Mum’s is another bunch of Mum’s. Who believe like me that kids not only can sleep through the night, but that a good bedtime routine works and that the whole house benefits from a great nights sleep. (Alternatively I await the mob….)

 

 

Parenting: The Bad & The Downright Disgusting

So you knew parenting would have good and bad bits right? But I bet you didn’t realise that it would at times just be downright grim! Of course you have seen the cutesy milestone cards ‘babies first smile’, ‘babies first wave’ ahhhhh. I expect someone brought those for your baby shower. Lovely little present for a Mum to be who is so full of hope and glowing with happiness. If you are a bit more cynical (like me) you may have seen the ‘alternative’ milestone cards; ‘first time baby wee’d in your face’ , ‘exploded nappy, shit to the armpits’ – yep they are pretty funny. In fact they almost make you take those rose-tinted glasses off.

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Oh ho ho ho I can hear you saying. Surely this post has been done to death? Everyone knows parenting is a hard and often thankless task… Yep it is, no news there. Not exactly an epiphany moment! Well this is the bad and the downright disgusting from a mother of two and a nurse to over 2000 babies. You ain’t seen nothing yet my friends…

The Bad;

  • Early mornings – I hate getting out of bed. I never have been a morning person. Children do NOT facilitate lie ins. Whether they are 3 days, 3 months, 3 years or 13 years. These pumped up duracell bunnies are up and at’em every morning. Unlike adults they don’t start the day gently with a coffee and a piece of toast. No No its light sabers at dawn…
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  • The noise – kids scream and they whine, babies cry and when they aren’t doing either of those they are still very LOUD! They talk loud, they sing loud and they play loud. They have a collection of noisy, irritating toys which play the same tinny melody over and over. Saying that silence is suspicious, very suspicious…
  • Twenty questions – yep so kids ask questions to learn. Unfortunately they will ask the same question 15 times in 10 minutes. Even if you answer it every single time, and explain your answer, they will continue to ask. Over and over and OVER like a monkey with a miniature cymbal. Until you are literally smoking from the ears. When they will turn round very innocently and say ‘you have said that Mummy’… Pass the GIN now!
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  • Food critics – have you ever spent hours cooking a meal to have it met with total disapproval? It is utterly soul-destroying. All those parenting books and magazines showing little darlings chomping happily. They lie. Most kids know if a vegetable has been secreted into a meal. They take one look at your culinary masterpiece, declare its disgusting without tasting it and fling it (or themselves) on the floor.
  • Refusing to sleep – argh this is the most frustrating thing. You know they are tired, be at the baby or the preschooler. Everyone will feel much better if they just have a little snooze. Will they sleep? Will they hell! You have rocked and shushed, made 2 drinks, tucked them in 10 times. But they are screaming, like a banshee. Repeat the above steps 5 times. Eventually they give in, you flick the kettle on for a quick brew. Before the damn thing has boiled they are awake again. Fully recharged, FML.
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The Downright Disgusting

  • Potty Poos – hooray you think we are in the potty training phase. No more disgusting nappies to deal with. My friend you are celebrating too soon. Because the one thing worse than a shitty nappy is having to scoop king kongs first dump of the day out of a potty. Shit is sticky, really sticky. It doesn’t just slide out and into the loo. It smears its way up the side, gets caught on the top and sits there like some hideous cake decoration. You can try to do the potty-skank to shake that bad boy off. But at the end of the day you know you are getting some loo roll and peeling it off. Usually with an accompanying wretching noise
  • Bogies, snot, dribble and slime – So your cute little baby has turned into a slightly sticky toddler. Usually excreting some kind of mucus out of one oraifice or another. Yummy. Worse still they insist on wiping this on you, on the sofa, the dog, the wall the floor and even the loo seat. Everytime you sit down there is a sticky wet patch to contend with. You look at the TV and the little darling has made a picture in the corner out of boogers. Whilst you try not to gag cleaning that delight up they are standing next to you raking those bogies out and eating them…
  • Germ Factories – all kids should come with a haz-mat label attached. They are literally crawling with bugs. Most don’t even seem to affect them for more than a day. But you catch little Timmy’s cold and you feel like you may have some kind of haemorrhagic fever. They also bring home some real delights like hand, foot and mouth. A virulent little bugger that has the whole family breaking out into tiny itchy blisters, a pox on all our houses. As for the infamous D & V well once your 2-year-old has come into the lounge said ‘Mummy’ and then promptly performed some kind of exorcist ritual over the washing airer you will know where I am coming from.
  • Eating – eurgh kids are such antisocial eaters. Worse than that chap in the pub who sprays crisps at you every time he says hello. Right off the bat they are grim. From newborn reflux all over your shoulder to weaning smoosh up the walls. Everything is half eaten. You put you hand down the side of the couch to find the remote to be greeted by a 4 day old half eaten banana covered in raisins. They eat with their mouth open, spray food out of their mouth and spit things they don’t like into your waiting hand.
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  • The licking phase – if you haven’t had this one yet you are in for a treat. Kids lick. Your arm, your face, the dog and these are the acceptablish things. It is not however; acceptable for them to lick shop windows, dried ketchup bottles at the cafe, the wheel of the car of the handle of the escalator (shudder). Besides being generally gross it is also exceptionally embarrassing to have to tell your child to stop licking things, you get some very odd looks…

There you have it – my list of The Bad and The Downright Disgusting bits of parenting. Would you agree? Have you got some other gems you would like to share?!

 

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Fade Away Sleep Sounds: Review & Giveaway

We have been big fans of white noise and the benefits it can bring babies ever since Pie was born. When ever he went for a sleep we would pop on a white noise that was based on a train! It was a standard joke when he was a baby. ‘Whats Pie doing? Oh he is riding his train…’ Pudding has had her dream sheep since the day she was born. You could say then that we are connoisseurs of white noise. So when we were approached by Fade Away Sleep Sounds to review their product we said yes!

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Fade Away Sleep Sounds was started by Kevin. Who with two small boys of his own and a daily bedtime struggle, discovered the benefits of white noise:

‘Sure Einstein created the theory of relativity… whatever.  I’ll be impressed when someone shows me a video of him doing a dip, dip, swing, dip of a fuzzy baby wrapped in a perfect swaddle while making the “shushing” sound for precisely eleven seconds.

That’s why I created Fade Away Sleep Sounds™. It’s a collection of some of Mother Natures best sounds along with sounds made from common household appliances that thousands of parents are probably using with their kids right this very second. But the cool thing with Fade Away Sleep Sounds is you don’t have to wear out your hair dryer to get your kids to sleep!

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All the sounds either come from nature or from common household appliances. For me personally I cannot stand the sound of the vacuum. I do however love the sound of a thunderstorm. My plan was to start using white noise when Mr Pud and I are on nights. This is in the vague attempt that the white noise muffles the noise of the kids!

The Fade Away Sleep Sounds website is crisp and clean. Easy to navigate menus make it simple to find the white noise you would like. The noises are split into categories, including baby and nature. Each noise has an option to listen to a demo. I had a little listen to a few noises before selecting the Thunder Storm Sound.

Fade Away Sleep Sounds
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I was impressed by the quality of the sound. Unlike other white noise apps I have tried the sound is continuous, no irritating breaks. The rain does actually sound like rain on the window too. I was eager to try it, but as usual someone else got there first…

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I was only testing the sound out and she was a gonna. Maybe it was just coincidence? But I think it speaks volumes!

I used the sound in the evening. I found it really soothing. Personally I love nothing better than falling asleep to a good thunderstorm. I have to say the Fade Away Sleep sound thunderstorm was very relaxing. I was exceptionally tired but I often have trouble switching off at night. Laying there listening to the rain and the soft rumble of thunder helped me drift off. Luckily I had set the laptop to sleep after 15 minutes, I didn’t hear it switch off!

Fancy Trying Fade Away Sleep Sounds?

We have 5 copies of the most popular Fade Away Sleep Sound – Baby Sound (Fan) to give away! Enter using our Rafflecopter below. We will announce our winners on Twitter in 7 days time!
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*We received no payment for this review. We did receive the white noise free in order to conduct the review. All the opinions contained in this review are our own. The prize fulfilment of the giveaway is the responsibility of Fade Away Sleep Sounds and Petite Pudding is only acting as an intermediary*
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– See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/5-x-fade-away-sleep-sounds-baby-sound-fan-downloads#sthash.zIVn22wQ.dpuf