Handy Helpers Car Magnet: Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

All toddlers like to be independent. They like to be able to do anything you can do all by themselves. Dorothy is no different. She loves to do everything on her own and woe betide anyone who offers up their help!

It doesn't change when leave the house either. She wants to be able to walk out to the car unaided, but the only problem is I can't trust her!

A few months ago, I was taking my niece to school. As I was locking my front door, Dorothy let go of my hand and ran down the driveway and into the road. Luckily, there were no cars and she wasn't hurt. If I wasn't panicky and paranoid before, I certainly am now!

Salvation came in the form of the Handy Helpers car magnet. It was created by Sarah who is a mum of 2 and like me, was a bit paranoid about her son's safety when getting into the car after her daughter was born.

The Handy Helpers car magnet allows children to become independent but also safe around cars. The bright colours and friendly face captures children's attention and encourages them not to wander around the car.

The idea is that the child can hold their hand, or "high five" as Dorothy said, so that they can stand still and safe whilst you can unlock the car, put down the shopping bags or get a younger one into the car first.

We've been trialling the Handy Helpers car magnet for the past three weeks and we love it. It truly is a brilliant thing. It might sound like I'm going over the top, but I'm not!

Before the Handy Helpers car magnet, I was carrying a very angry girl backwards and forwards, whilst carrying bags and struggling to find my car keys. These past three weeks have been so much nicer. Dorothy is able to high five her Handy and I'm finally beginning to trust her enough not to keep hold of her.

We've been to the supermarket, the park and many other little errands and she's only run off once. That however was her brother's fault. He has been my photographer for the past three weeks (just in case) and he walked away to get, in his words, "a long range shot" of me unlocking the door. Dorothy saw him walk away and wanted to join him! It was in the car park at our local park and we were the only ones there, so she was safe :)

I love that it is portable. Handy lives near the door ready to go out and then rides in the glove box on journeys. It doesn't have to be used just for the car. I have heard of one mum using it as a timeout by putting it on the fridge!

I cannot recommend this highly enough. It has made going out so much smoother and calmer, for both Dorothy and myself. It also seems to have trained her. Now, Dorothy puts her hand on the front door ready to go in the house!

To find out more, the Handy Helpers car magnet can be found on the Toddler Tools website and also on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sarah at ToddlerTools  has very kindly got 2 of the Handy Helpers car magnets to give away. All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: 1 x Blue Handy Helpers car magnet,1 x Pink Handy Helpers car magnet.
The closing date is 25th March 2017. 
Winners will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.

We were given a Handy Helpers car magnet in return for our honest opinion.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Being a #freefrom Parent: #2 Sam

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

As you know, Mikey has multiple food allergies and I write quite a bit about how we cope and deal with them as a free from family.

I thought that it would be great to share other parents' stories of their children and what it is like Being a #freefrom Parent.

Today, Sam shares her story......

We have been here before; with our eldest son. However, this time it is slightly different...
Our eldest son was milk intolerant (not lactose intolerant as that’s different), and cutting out milk from his diet solved his symptoms. Little K on the other hand has been milk free since a baby but he still had more symptoms that just didn't seem to improve. 

Where it all started

When little K was about a week old, he had been showing the same signs as Big K. So we took him straight to the doctors and he was prescribed gaviscon and nutramigen (we didn't give the doctors a chance to say no.)
We continued with this until he was 5 months old. Even though his symptoms improved his skin would still flare up. At 5 months we also started to wean him onto solids (we did baby led) Second time around weaning was easy as we knew most items that have milk in them. 
Fast forward to 18 months and I finally decided something had to be done because his skin was not improving. I had started to notice that his skin would flare up when holding bread or pasta, so I did a 2 weeks test of no gluten or milk. Within this 2 weeks his skin improved, sleep improved and he seemed a lot happier in himself. After 2 weeks we put him back onto gluten and all symptoms came back :-( 

Back to the Doctors

Off to the doctors we went and asked to be referred. Luckily as I had pictures and details of what had been done (the 2 week test) the doctor referred us without question for once. 
His referral appointment was at the start of January. The doctor asked various questions and we answered them all and also shown him pictures and mentioned about the 2 week test we had done previously. The doctor was pretty convinced I was indeed correct. The doctor had advised us that he thought it was a gluten allergy because of how Little K's skin reacts so quickly. 
However, having since done some research there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a gluten allergy! There is only gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy (and of course coeliac). I think we will have to wait until his skin prick test and ask for more information regarding exactly what he has. 
He advised us to keep Little K off gluten and milk until 2 weeks before his skin prick test (this is the end of March). 

The challenges

Being gluten and milk free is a lot more challenging, and we have been caught out a few times. If he was just gluten free then it would make things a bit simpler. Hopefully we can start the milk ladder if his skin prick test reveals he is no longer milk intolerant. It's a daily lesson and we learn new things every day. 

Our biggest tips

You know your child. If you think something is wrong the push for answers. Keep a diary with food, symptoms etc. Remember not all symptoms can happen straight away (Big K's symptoms appeared 24-48 hours after he had eaten something, while Little K gets symptoms within an hour)
Always have your own snacks with you. We even take meals with us sometimes if we don't think where we are going will be suitable. 

If going on a family holiday, then write down a sentence explaining the situation in the local language or get an allergy translation card. Even such what milk, gluten are if you are off shopping so you can check ingredients. It all helps! 

Sam is a mum of two and writes a family, travel and outdoor blog called Travelling with Our Kids and can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

If you would like to share your story on Being a #freefrom Parent, please get in touch!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Choosing options in Y8

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Last night we attended the first of many presentations for the options choices for GCSE. I can't believe that Mikey is already old enough to be deciding the next step of his future!

Mikey is lucky enough to already know which options he wants to do and his teachers and we agree, but it got me thinking about the ones who don't, so here is a little guide that may help.

Talk to teachers

Don't be afraid to talk to teachers and ask any questions you may have, no matter how small or how many times. They know your child and want them to do as well as you do.

Consider grades

Look at the grades of your child. Grades aren't the be all and end all, but they are good indicator of what subjects your child is good at.

What do they enjoy?

What subject does your child enjoy doing? This along with their grades could be a great way of deciding some of their options. The next 3 years are important and there's nothing worse than your child being in a lesson that makes them miserable.

What are their strengths?

Where does your child's strengths lie? Are they good at drawing or music, or are they better at writing and organisation? This is a good way to help you lean towards one option and, like Mikey, your child could be picking a subject that they never thought about before.

What do they want to be/do?

Some children know what they want to do or be when they're older, which is also great when it comes to their option choices.

These are only a few ideas that might help. Like we did and have coming up, you will probably receive lots of information and have Parents Evenings and presentations that will all help you to aid your child in making the right choices for them :)

Toddlebike2: A must for little ones!

Monday, 6 February 2017

We love to go out as a family for walks in our local park. Mikey usually takes his scooter while Dorothy is either chasing behind or being made to hold our hand, much to her annoyance!

All that's changed though, thanks to the Toddlebike2. The Toddlebike2, created by Jo Hockley, is a unique Pre-Balance bike suitable for toddlers as soon as they can walk confidently, usually from around 18 months old, but can be used up until 36 months old. Perfect for filling the gap between being too young for scooters and pedal bikes, but too old for ride on toys.

From the moment I opened the box, Dorothy was excited. She was riding up and down the living room within minutes!

Over the past three weeks, Dorothy has put the Toddlebike2 through vigorous testing! It's been on a trip to see Nana and Grandad, we've taken it for a ride to the park in all sorts of weather and much more, including having a sleepover in Dorothy's bedroom! (It even had to have a pillow!)

I love how lightweight the Toddlebike2 is. It weighs only 0.8kg! I remember vividly being hit in the leg when carrying Mikey's heavy scooter when he was younger, but carrying the Toddlebike2 was a dream!

But don't be put off by the weight. It is very sturdy, even under Dorothy's testing! 

Dorothy loves her new bike and is so pleased that she can finally keep up with her brother on his scooter, rather than being made to hold our hands.  

We love the Toddlebike2. It's definitely something that will be used for a very long time to come. It's also something that I can see myself buying as a gift for my nieces!  

The Toddlebike2 is available to buy from their website for only £23.95.
They can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook.

We were given a Toddlebike2 in return for our honest opinion. All opinions are our own.  

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Mr Lee's Noodles: A Yummy Review

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Anyone who knows me knows that I love junk food. I try to be healthy, but I do love a quick and easy snack and usually pick one that's bad for me.

One of my favourites was noodles and I used to love both the pot and super variety! All that changed when I became gluten free and I thought that I would have to go without them. That was true until I found Mr Lee's Noodles.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have been trying out the different varieties of the family. Mr Lee's Noodles come in six different flavours; Hong Kong Street Beef, Penang Chicken Curry Laksa, Tai Chi Chicken, Shaolin Monk Vegetables, Dragon Fire Mushroom and Warrior Fighting Shrimp, as well as different degrees of heat, ranging from mild to hot.

Unlike other instant noodles, Mr Lee's Noodles are healthy!

But what I really liked was the surprise I got when I opened the pots. I was expecting a cloud of flavoured powder, but that wasn't the case. Instead, I found this:

There was proper food inside!

As they are Coeliac UK certified gluten free, I was so pleased I could tuck into these yummy pots!
My favourite has to be Hong Kong Street Beef. Not only did it have a little bit of a kick and taste amazing, but it was also very colourful!


Mikey didn't like the noodles he tried, but he was happy to see that they were allergen free amd safe for him and he said that he might try them again in the future.

Now when Dorothy tried them I wasn't sure what her reaction would be. I've never seen anyone examine their food as much as Dorothy. Not even Mikey does!
After complaining of 'dirty bits' (that shows how often I hide her vegetables), she wolfed down her Shaolin Monk Vegetables and even asked for some more!

Dorothy got a bit annoyed at me taking photos of her! 

Mark liked the Warrior Fighting Shrimp, although I wasn't sure to begin with. That's no reflection on the noodles though. I'd neglected to tell him that it was one of the hottest pots, so it took him a little while to be able to talk again!!

I will definitely be getting some more Mr Lee's Noodles in the future, although I'll be telling Mark about the heat before hand. If I remember!

You can find out more about Mr Lee's Noodles on their website, https://www.mrleesnoodles.com . They can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook.

We were given a selection of Mr Lee's Noodles in return for our honest opinion. All opinions are our own. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

5 Things that make me smile

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Last year I started writing about the things that made me smile and I wanted to keep doing it this year, so here is the first for 2017:

1. Writing our Family Fun List

You may have read my post about our writing a family fun list for 2017. We decided to make a list of everything that we wanted to do as a family this year. It was really good fun coming up with some new activities and I'm really forward to making some great memories :)

2. Family Walks

We love going for walks and blowing the cobwebs away. Over the past fortnight, we've been on some great walks through the local woods. I got some lovely photos of both the kids together, which is unusual as they don't sit still for long, especially if a camera is out!

A photo posted by Laura (@dotmakes4) on

3. Dorothy Playing Football

Mark, his brother and his friend run football coaching sessions on a Saturday morning. Now Dorothy is 2, she has joined and is on her fourth week. She loves all sport, (which Mark is happy about) so it's brilliant to see her having so much fun. Now we just have to get to stand still long enough to listen to the coaches!

4. Mikey's Medicalert Bracelet

As you know, Mikey has multiple food allergies. He's very good at monitors them, but obviously we are wary as he's becoming much more independent. Last week though, we bought Mikey a little gift. He is now a proud owner of a Medicalert bracelet! He's always had little sports style bands, but this is the first grown up style one. He loves it and was so excited to show it off at school!

A photo posted by Laura (@dotmakes4) on

5. Crochet

This year, I'm attempting crochet! Years ago, my Mum bought me a kit, but I could never get the hang of it. As I'm left handed, I thought it'd be great to take up again. I'm taking it slowly and the results are not pretty, but I'm hoping by the end of the year I'll have mastered at least a square!

What things have made you smile this week?

FuelBaby Bottle: Making things a little easier!

Friday, 20 January 2017

As a busy mum of two, I love anything that can make things a bit easier!

At home there is always a lot of things you need for little dots, but going out is just as hectic. I remember everything that I had to fill the changing bag with if we were going out; bottles, milk powder dispenser and sometimes even a bottle warmer. It was like having Mary Poppins' bag. I don't know how I managed to fit it all in with the nappies, cloths, wipes and more!

FuelBaby have a new bottle that incorporates both a bottle and a milk dispenser that helps save time and provides children with fresh, ready-to-drink formula when they need it. 

The FuelBaby bottle is BPA free, leak-proof and also has an anti-colic air system. It is also dishwasher and microwave safe, which is an added bonus!

You don't need to worry about the powder not dissolving either, as the lid of the powder dispenser compartment acts as an agitator and dissolves any lumps.


Although Dorothy is now too old for a bottle, this would have been an amazing addition to our daily lives! It is definitely something that I would recommend to parents and would buy as a gift too!

The FuelBaby bottle is available to preorder from their website www.fuelbabybottle.com , and they can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can also win one courtesy of the lovely people at FuelBaby! All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below :)

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition Terms and Conditions can be found here

This is a sponsored post, but as always, all views are my own :) 

Dot Makes 4: 2 Years Old and a Giveaway!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Next month, Dot Makes 4 will turn two years old. I can't believe that's it's been that long already!

Like a toddler, we've had to have a few timeouts, but at the end of the day, you realise that it's all worth it! I love blogging and have learnt so much about it and myself in these past two years.

I decided that as it's a birthday, I should cebelerate by holding a giveaway. You could win an Usborne Farmyard Tales Stories Box Set :)

I've loved Usborne books ever since Mikey was little and Farmyard Tales are perfect stories to introduce little one to reading. Plus, you can hunt for the little yellow duck!

All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Two winners will be selected after the competition closes.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition terms and conditions can be found here

Being a #freefrom Parent: #1 Katy

Monday, 9 January 2017

As you know, Mikey has multiple food allergies and I write quite a bit about how we cope and deal with them as a free from family.

I thought that it would be great to share other parents' stories of their children and what it is like Being a #freefrom Parent.

Today, Katy shares her story......

My daughter Daisy is 10 months old now and has been diagnosed with CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) for 8 months already. In this time we have learned a lot about how to feed and nourish a baby with CMPA, also, we have learned a lot about how the NHS work when it comes to children with allergies. Today I want to talk to you about how we managed to get our daughter diagnosed with CMPA.

When Daisy was 11 days old, on the 1st of April, she projectile vomited for the first time. I was covered, as was she. She laid there, shaking in shock from the sheer force and speed of the vomiting. At the time I joked with my husband about how she was 11 days old and already playing pranks on us for April Fools Day. I was sure that she had vomited an unusual amount for such a small baby but my midwife was happy that she was still gaining weight and doing well so I didn’t worry at the time. 

Over the next 2-3 weeks Daisy began to projectile vomit regularly. First it started at night. I would place her in her cot and in the following few minutes she would proceed to vomit with such force that my tiny baby (born at 5lb 13oz) would cover the walls, the floor, herself, her cot and sometimes even our double bed too! We attended the doctors several times and we were prescribed infant gaviscon, which made no difference at all. 

It was at 5-6 weeks old that Daisy began to projectile vomit after every single bottle. She started to lose weight and one evening she vomited three feeds in a row. I rang the NHS 111 service to be told that a Doctor would call back. When they did they advised me that it ‘was not possible for a baby to have been crying for 5 solid hours at such a young age’. I was being dismissed. Just like that. Daisy managed to keep a few ounces down and then she slept. At 5am the vomiting began again. Projectile vomiting as before. I rang the NHS 111 service again and this time I was asked more in-depth questions by the Doctor who rang. He advised me to attend A&E with Daisy as she had a sunken fontanelle and was at risk of becoming dangerously ill.

We attended A&E at 7am and by 8am Daisy was admitted to the children’s A&E. She had severe dehydration. Through the course of the day she had her urine tested, and a blood test carried out. We then spoke with a consultant and it was determined that Daisy was suffering from CMPA. We were advised to switch from breastfeeding straight to prescription formula, as Daisy was already in a bad way, so we did so. 

For a few weeks the formula we was prescribed, Nutramigen, was working perfectly for Daisy. The vomiting stopped, her weight gain increased, and we were thrilled. Then Daisy started to get the classic symptoms of reflux/CMPA once again. She was constantly ‘full of cold’. She seemed to be sneezing, coughing and wheezing all the time. Then the vomiting started once again. We rang the consultant that we had been referred to and he advised that Nutramigen still has some of the cows milk protein, just more broken down, as it is cheaper than the formula without the protein and a lot of babies can tolerate it. So the cycle began again. Daisy was switched to a more expensive milk, Neocate, and we had to ride it out for several weeks while her symptoms subsided. This time Daisy was also prescribed Omeprazole, to help with the symptoms of GORD. 

Finally we had a prescription formula that worked! Daisy is now 10 months old, she weighs 21lb and is doing fantastic. She no longer has all of the cold like symptoms of CMPA and as long as she isn’t accidentally given anything containing dairy she is rarely sick. Daisy has gone from being underneath the centiles to the 75th centile and has stayed there for several months now. 

For us we have found that persistence is key when it comes to getting a diagnosis. Particularly if you are a first time parent. It is not unusual for parents to worry, sometimes unnecessarily, about their children. This means that naturally Doctors are cautious about just making diagnosis that may lead to long term medication or expense for the NHS. We had to visit our Doctor several times, and persist with ringing the Consultant too later down the line. Daisy was given an ultrasound, to rule out pyloric stenosis, and finally then we were able to get her GORD officially diagnosed.

If you are a parent who is worried that their child may have CMPA then I would advise that you persevere. It can be frustrating when you are initially just given a prescription for Gaviscon, however, try this first. It may be what helps your little one as all babies are different. Not all babies with vomiting and CMPA like symptoms actually have CMPA. Some are suffering only from reflux, which in itself can be pretty hard to cope with! Remember that you are the parent and you know what is right for your own child. If your child is unwell and you are worried then persist with visiting your GP. I know I’d much rather be labelled as a worrier or a hypochondriac than have my child suffering. 

Katy is a mother to one daughter, Daisy and wife to Thomas. She is a full-time blogger who specialises in making money online from home. Katy's website is full of ways that you can make and save money both online and offline. 

You can also find recipes that are suitable for weaning a CMPA baby. To find out more, head to Katy's website http://katykicker.com She can also be found on Twitter , Instagram and Facebook

If you would like to take part in the new Being a #freefrom Parent, please get in touch!

Our Family Fun List 2017

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Last year we sat down together and wrote a small list of what things we wanted to do as a family throughout the year. We managed to get most of it completed, so we thought it'd be a great idea to write a new one for 2017!

After deciding on a name for the list, (sidenote: Mark actually spent time trying to come up with a name for the list!) we got down to writing things down.

So here is our list so far:

Exploring the UK 

For Christmas a couple of years ago, we bought Mikey a UK Scratch map. Every so often we like to try and scratch some more off, so our plan is to get quite a bit uncovered this year!

Going to Wistow Maze

You may have seen my post on Wistow Maze. It is a maize maze that changes every year. It has different questions dotted throughout, which is just as much fun for the adults. We have now made it an annual trip :)

Climbing at Altar Rock

In Derby, there is a place called Altar Rock, which is a rundown church that has been converted into a climbing facility. For Mikey's birthday, my Aunt kindly bought him some climbing sessions with
his dad. They had a ball, although my husband got stuck in the cave section, much to our amusement!!

  • Walking more
  • Spend time together
  • Plant some flowers (and keep them alive!)
  • Have a trip to the seaside
  • Go swimming
  • Read more (this one is mine!)
  • Have a family movie night

Have more occasions where the extended family can get together

When we have a family get together, there is usually upwards of 20 people. I love it! At Christmas, I held a Christmas party which began with quiet conversations and eating a few nibbles but ended in a hilarious pub quiz and a very funny Christmas parcel game. Never have I seen a pair of dice thrown with such determination!

It was a fantastic day and I hope to do both the party and more things with us all together again this year :)

This is all we have so far, but we intend to add lots more too it! 

Do you have a family fun list for the year? Do you have any suggestions for the list? 

New Year: A Different Type of Resolution

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

As the new year has been approaching, like many of you, I've been contemplating resolutions. 

 I wanted to choose a resolution that I would actually stick to. That meant no more promising to lose weight, to reach January 2nd and find myself working my way through a box of Christmas chocolate that was hiding in the back of the kitchen cupboard!

I don't smoke and I don't really drink either, so it was hard to find something that would be something I could stick to and that was meaningful.

That was until Christmas Day when I unwrapped two presents. I loved all my presents and was extremely lucky, but these two in particular stood out. 

Firstly, my husband, (with a nudge in the right direction from my Sister-in-law ), bought me a ring that says "to thine own self be true". I love Shakespeare and Hamlet is one of my all time favourites.


Then a dear friend gave me a snowflake pin badge with a message that read:

Both of these are amazing presents, but it got me thinking. Time and time again I find myself a bit envious of others, sometimes for their body shape, their confidence or something else. 

For example, I always wanted to have curly, dark hair like my sister as my hair is dead straight. However my hair naturally has so many different colours in it, people pay a fortune for hair just like mine and then they straighten it. I get it all for free!

I've decided that this new year my resolution will be a simple one, to be myself.  It doesn't matter if I'm not as confident as others or if I'm not a size 10. I'm a bit overweight and self confident, but I'm also funny, both ha ha and weird (just ask my family!), I'm clever, kind, loyal and above all, I'm me! 

I will endeavour to make 2017 the year that I will be true to myself and as the snowflake reminds me,I am as unique as a snowflake and should celebrate it!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The Magic Chair: Search for Santa

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

It may only be November, but some of us, me included, have been thinking about Christmas for a while! 

When choosing presents for people, I like to really make an effort, and can spend ages hunting down the right thing and make it personal to them.  For example, it usually means something childish and Toy Story related for my 27 year old little brother!!

Now we really love books in our house, so to combine something personal with a book is brilliant.

The Magic Chair has a new personalised book called The Magic Chair: Search for Santa, which we were asked to review.

From the start, I was really impressed. The website is really easy to navigate and allows you to not only personalise the name of the main character (not Santa!), but also the features. 

The book arrived in less than a week and was beautifully wrapped...

... and looked even better than it did on the website! 

As soon as it arrived, Dot and I snuggled down and read it through, three times! She loved pointing out "Dorothy" on every page as well as trying to find Santa. 

Both the illustrations and rhyming story are truly lovely. The Magic Chair: Search for Santat is my new favourite Christmas book and it is definitely something that we will read not only on the run up to Christmas, but also every year. I've already promised to read it to Dot again tomorrow!

The Magic Chair: Search for Santa is a really lovely book and is a perfect gift and keepsake for any little one :)

The Magic Chair can be found at www.magicchair.co.uk, on Facebook  and Twitter 

We were given a free copy of The Magic Chair: Search for Santa in return for our honest opinion. All opinions, as always, are our own.