Live Video Stream NOW!!

Last week I published a post, to say that my husband is taking part in a 24hr live gaming challenge, raising money for Macmillan.  He’s now a little over 8 hours in to the session, and is still streaming LIVE!!

You can view his live stream HERE.  You do not need to register to watch, but you will need to register / log in to chat!

He’s been broadcasting from midnight, and will continue live streaming until midnight tonight…

The Just Giving page for donations is HERE.  Please consider making a donation to this great charity.  Even if you can only give a pound / dollar – it all goes a long way.

Thank you.

My Summer Bucket List

As summer is right around the corner, I thought it was about time that I made a list of things I would like to do before it’s over.

As my eldest, Gning, is now in full-time school, my summer falls in line with his.  He breaks up for the summer holidays on 21 July, and he goes back on 4 September.

That gives me a little over 6 whole weeks to try to mark everything off on my bucket list…  I have the final week of the holidays off work, so the list I have made below has to either fit around my usual working times, and then take advantage of having the week off to complete the list.

I’m going to revisit this post in September, to see exactly what I managed to accomplish, and what is still outstanding.  I think this could be a rather interesting experiment!  So, without further ado, here is my Summer Bucket List of 30 things to complete within my son’s 6 weeks holidays.

  1. Have a bonfire
  2. Attend an outdoor concert
  3. Watch the waves
  4. Lie in the grass
  5. Go to a funfair / amusement park
  6. Have an ice cream at the beach
  7. Have a picnic
  8. Make a summer soundtrack
  9. Have a water balloon / water pistol fight
  10. Have a BBQ
  11. Go camping
  12. Take more pictures
  13. Finish a book
  14. Make homemade salsa
  15. Play frisbee
  16. Visit a water park
  17. Visit a heritage garden
  18. Go on a day trip
  19. Make ice pops
  20. Wear flowers in my hair for a day
  21. Feed the ducks
  22. Walk up a hill with the boys
  23. Buy a helium balloon, tie a message to it, and let it go
  24. Swim outdoors! (Bear in mind that I live in the north west of England…)
  25. Draw on the driveway with chalks
  26. Finger paint a summer picture
  27. Have fish & chips at the beach
  28. Visit a park we’ve never been to before
  29. Watch a family film together – snacks incl. popcorn essential
  30. Spend more time with the boys!

24 hour gaming session

So my darling hubby has decided to take one of his passions to the extreme, and in doing so, he’s helping a fantastic charity.

Macmillan know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything. So they’re there to support you and help you take back some control in your life. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, they’re there.

No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, Macmillan are there. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life, and feel more like yourself again.

My hubby has decided to take part in a 24 hour online gaming marathon, and will be “live streaming” the session via the xbox one app, “Beam”.  The session will start at midnight on 2nd going in to the 3rd of June, and will end at 23:59 on 3rd June.

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Snipped taken from the donation page – Just Giving

So this is a post asking for donations.  Not for me – not for my hubby – but straight to this wonderful charity, so they can continue with their excellent work.

Even if you can only donate a pound, as the saying goes – “every penny helps”.

Please click here to make a donation.

Thank you.

What’s the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?

 

My baby loves to head bang…

So, Donut is going through a bit of a phase at the moment, where whenever he doesn’t get his own way, he gets on to all fours, and *slams* his head in to the floor.  Let me explain a little more…

Donut is 21 and a half months old.  He’ll be 2 in June.

His speech is only just starting to come in, and although we can understand a few of the words, he’s still doing a lot of baby babble.  He’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what he wants or needs yet, and although we do get our “guesses” right most of the time, the other times, he gets wound up.

In order for us to give you a bit of a breakdown as to what usually goes on, allow me to give you a few examples:

  1. He asks for a sweet, biscuit or chocolate (he can say sweetie, biccie and choccy), but it’s dinner time, and he needs to eat that first.  We say “no – you need to have your dinner first…”  Donut then gets on to his hands and knees, and headbutts the floor.  Sometimes just the once, sometimes up to 4 or 5 times.
  2. He’s in his (wooden) highchair, having a bit of time out / relaxing a little after dinner, and we give him a book / toy.  He either throws the toy, or starts ripping the book.  After we’ve told him several times not to do it, he starts “reverse” headbutting the backrest of the highchair.
  3. We’re in the car, and he drops a toy on the floor.  We’re unable to turn around to pick it up for him, so he starts screaming (oh, it sounds like he’s screaming murder!!), and then rocking – almost violently, backwards and forwards in his car seat, banging his head all over the place!

Welcome to a day in the life of Donut…

Let’s be honest, as a parent, you don’t want your little one injured.  It upsets you (as well as them) when they get hurt, and it makes you feel absolutely awful – and sometimes completely helpless, when they start hurting themselves deliberately!

Donut has been doing this headbanging thing for about 3 or 4 months now, and last night I’d had enough.  He was very nicely sitting on my knee, eating a sweetie (Parma Violet), and he asked for another – “more”.  I said he can have another one, as soon as he has finished the one that he has in his mouth.  He started getting frustrated, and lashed out at me.  He screamed, and punched me.  I said, “I’m not having that – that was naughty.  Get off my knee.”  I gently pushed him off my knee, and the next thing you know, he’s on all fours, and “BANG”.  He’s headbutted the floor.  He was then the proud owner of a massive red mark across his forehead.

Thankfully, we have a Witch Hazel stick, that we bought from a pharmacy.  It’s great for kids, because it means that we don’t have to try to hold a piece of kitchen roll, soaked with the usual liquid Witch Hazel, over the “bump”.  We got that on him straight away, and this morning, there’s no mark at all.

So, I did what every mum does, just before they get to the wits end of getting medical advice for their kids, and I took to social media.  I made a post on Mummy Social, asking for advice, and primarily, to see if anyone else has had the same problems.

I received several replies, and I am pleased to say that I am not alone.  A lot of the comments were from mummies who have similarly aged children, who are either going through, or have been through a “head banging” stage.  One of the mummies there gave a link to a page on the Baby Centre website, simply entitled, “Head banging (12 to 24 mo.)“.  Here’s what I’ve found on that website:

Why does my toddler purposely bang his head?

Head banging is surprisingly common. Up to 20 percent of babies and toddlers bang their head on purpose, although boys are three times more likely to do it than girls. Head banging often starts in the second half of the first year and peaks between 18 and 24 months of age. Your child’s head banging habit may last for several months, or even years, though most children outgrow it by age 3.

Possible reasons your toddler may bang his head:

  • Self-comfort. As strange as it may sound, most toddlers who indulge in this behaviour do it to relax. They bang their head rhythmically as they’re falling asleep, when they wake up in the middle of the night, or even while they’re sleeping. Some rock on all fours as well. Developmental experts believe that the rhythmic motion, like rocking in a chair, may help your toddler soothe himself.
  • Pain relief. Your toddler may also bang his head if he’s in pain — from teething or an ear infection, for example. Head banging seems to help kids feel better, perhaps by distracting them from the discomfort in their mouth or ear.  This is rather convenient, considering Donut was diagnosed with an ear infection just a couple of weeks ago, but his head banging started a couple of months ago…
  • Frustration. If your toddler bangs his head during temper tantrums, he’s probably trying to vent some strong emotions. He hasn’t yet learned to express his feelings adequately through words, so he’s using physical actions. And again, he may be comforting himself during this very stressful event.  This is my initial thought for why Donut bangs his head.
  • A need for attention. Ongoing head banging may also be a way for your toddler to get attention. Understandably, you may tend to become solicitous when you see your child doing something that appears self-destructive. And since he likes it when you fuss over his behaviour, he may continue the head banging in order to get the attention he wants.
  • A developmental problem. Head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders — but in most of these cases, it’s just one of many behavioural red flags. Rarely does head banging alone signal a serious problem.

What can I do about it?

Give your toddler your attention — but not when he’s banging.  
Make sure your child gets plenty of positive attention from you when he’s not banging his head. If he still bangs his head to get your attention, though, try not to make a big deal about it, or you may reinforce the behaviour. Even if you can’t completely disregard the behaviour, don’t scold or punish him for it. He’s too young to understand the situation, and your disapproval may only make matters worse.  Easier said than done, if you ask me.

Protect your child from injury.  
Check all the screws and bolts on your toddler’s crib once a month or more to make sure the rocking isn’t loosening anything. You can also put rubber casters on the crib legs and hang a soft fabric or quilt between the crib and the wall to reduce noise and to minimise wear and tear on the walls and floor.

Don’t put pillows or blankets in his crib to soften his surroundings, because these are a suffocation hazard. If you want to use bumpers on your toddler’s crib to soften his blows, make sure that they’re thin, firm (not puffy), and securely tied to the crib railings, so your toddler can’t get his head between the bumper and the railing.  This isn’t appropriate to us, as Donut has been in his own (toddler) bed for almost 10 months…

Try not to worry.
Your toddler may get a bruise or two, but don’t worry — head banging is usually a “self-regulating” behaviour. This means your child is unlikely to hit his head hard enough to seriously injure himself. He knows his threshold for pain and will pull back on the throttle a bit if the banging hurts.  Again, easier said than done.  

Help foster your child’s love of rhythm in other ways.
Your child clearly likes a good steady beat, so help him find other outlets for his love of rhythm. Experts often recommend dancing, marching, and drumming or clapping to music together. You might also try putting a metronome in your child’s room to give him the comfort of a steady rhythm. Make sure he gets lots of physical exercise during the day, too, to help him burn off some of the nervous energy that may feed his head banging.  We’ve noticed that if we put some loud music on, Donut tends to stop what he is doing, and dances to it instead…

Start a soothing bedtime routine.
If your child is banging his head as a way of “coming down” from his busy day, try setting up a relaxing routine. A warm bath, a calm rock on your lap, and a quiet story or song may help. You may want to spend a few minutes before bed rubbing his back or stroking his forehead. Soft music in his bedroom can be soothing, too.

Consult a doctor if your child’s behaviour becomes worrisome.
If your child bangs his head a lot during the day or continues to bang his head even though he’s hurting himself, you may have cause for concern. Though it’s uncommon, head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders, which sometimes become apparent during the toddler and preschool years.

Autistic children generally don’t relate well to people. They often aren’t interested in physical contact with their parents and seem to look through people rather than at them. If you notice that your child is losing physical abilities, language, or other skills he’s acquired; if he’s becoming increasingly withdrawn; or if he’s consistently delayed in achieving common developmental milestones, that is the time to seek medical advise.


So, I think all in all, this is a common phase that Donut is going through, so it’s just a matter of riding it out.

Conditioner before shampoo?

I think one of my next posts is going to be about my hair.

I know what you’re thinking…  Why your hair?

Well, my hair is long.  I’m not talking down to my knees long, but it reaches my waist.  It’s not only the length of my hair, though, it’s also the condition of it.  Granted, at this very moment, I do need a trim, as I am starting to struggle with stray-aways, but generally speaking, it’s long and healthy.  Above all, I love my hair!

Portrait of Beautiful Woman with smooth gloss long hair. High quality image.

Definitely not me, but you get the point… 

So the title of this post really says it all.

I condition my hair once every two weeks only, and it’s the way that I do it that’s somewhat different.

I’m going to be honest – I absolutely love my shampoo…  It’s Garnier Ultimate Blends – Mythic Olive; and the smell…  Mmmmm…  There’s only one problem.  The price.

Garnier-Ultra-Blends-Mythic-Olive-Deep-Nourishing-Shampoo-Review

Look out for this in the shops, and grab it when it’s on offer!

It’s currently £6.00 for a 400ml bottle of shampoo, and the same for the conditioner.  I only buy it when it’s on special offer (I’ve managed to get it for as cheap as £2 once…).  My conditioner, however, although it smells delightful, is not as “satisfying” as my shampoo.

Let’s get down to the main reason of this post.

Have you ever used conditioner before you shampoo?  I do, and it really works.

Here’s what I do:

  • As soon as I am in the shower, I wet my hair, and apply a decent amount of conditioner.  Always start off with the ends, and then work upwards.  Avoid the roots completely – for now.
  • Continue your shower normally, leaving the conditioner on for as long as you need.
  • Pull some excess conditioner out of the lengths of your hair, and gently massage your scalp with it for a couple of seconds.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Now it’s time for you to shampoo your hair!  Do as you normally do – lather it up as much as you can, and rinse thoroughly, until the water runs clear (i.e. no bubbles).
Shampoo_Body

Lather up that shampoo!!

  • Towel dry your hair, and try to allow it to dry naturally – or for as long as possible if you are going to blow dry it.

The above method leaves my hair clean, shiny and strong…  And is obviously helping with the growth too!

Coconut Oil Bath Melts

What a simple, yet luxurious creation to make – either for yourself, or to beautifully wrap up for a homemade gift.

This recipe is not really a frugal one, as coconut oil can be rather expensive – depending on where you buy it from, however, if you are able to get the oil inexpensively, then this would be a perfect frugal gift.

What you need:

Glass bowl

Pan

Water

Silicon moulds (alternatively, use cupcake cases in a cupcake tray)

Fridge

Ingredients:

340g / 12oz coconut oil

15 drops essential oils (lavender is comforting, but you can use your favourite)

Optional:  Dried flowers (try to match the flower to the essential oil – i.e. lavender buds)

Method:

  1. Fill the pan up with water, and place your glass bowl over the top.  Ensure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water in the pan.  Bring the water to the boil.
  2. Put your coconut oil in the glass bowl, and allow to gently melt – this should only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Optional:  While the coconut oil is melting, add a sprinkle of dried flowers to the bottom of your moulds.
  4. When the coconut oil has melted, turn off the heat, place the glass bowl on a heatproof surface, and stir in the essential oil.
  5. Mix well, and pour in to your moulds (or in to the cupcake cakes).
  6. Let the coconut oil cool.  If you have a warm house, this can take several hours.  I prefer to allow them to cool for approximately an hour, then transfer the moulds in to my fridge.
  7. Once fully cooled, and set, you can remove the melts from the moulds, and place in a container – be sure to store in a cool place.  Again, you may have to store these in the fridge / freezer if your house is generally warm.
  8. If you are giving these as a gift, place them in a clean, plastic tub with lid, and wrap / decorate.  Store them in your fridge / freezer until you are ready to gift to the recipient.

To use:

Simply run your bath, and drop one of your melts in!

Coconut oil is great for your skin.  It leaves your skin smoother than a baby’s bum, and also has some amazing natural healing properties.  If you are using lavender essential oils in your melts, you will also feel the benefit for easing headaches / migraines, and it helps you sleep!

Enjoy 🙂

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I forgot to take a picture of my melts, so this is one I found on Google…  I promise they will come out just as wonderful as the picture – if you follow the steps correctly 🙂

Edit:  These melts are suitable to use in your child’s / baby’s bath too – especially if they suffer from dry skin.  However, if your child is under 6 months old, please consult with your health worker before using any form of homemade creations in the bath.