Cow's Milk Desensitisation

Friday, 15 September 2017

 So this morning I woke up and realised that I haven't blogged for over two weeks, which is really unlike me! The past few weeks have flown by so fast, so I thought I'd let you know the most important thing that has happened to us lately.

Hospital Appointment

As you are all aware, Mikey is severely allergic to eggs and nuts as well as having an allergy to milk. As he has multiple allergies, it restricts him and his diet much more than if he had just one allergy.

However, all that MIGHT change in the near future. We recently met with Mikey's allergy specialist who told us that Mikey would be a perfect candidate for oral tolerance induction for cow's milk protein, which is amazing and we still can't believe it!

Since he was about five or six, Mikey has been eating cooked milk in his diet. It began with a crumb of cake, which was then increased slowly over the coming weeks, months and years later, he can easily tolerate a few malted milk biscuits. He tells us and his friends that he's allowed biscuits every day as they're his medicine!

Like the cooked milk, desensitisation is something we were allowed to go away and discuss, but as he is much older, Mikey was allowed the final decision. We were told that there isn't a requirement for him to do it, but when we were discussing it in the car and at home, although it's a scary process, he realised that it would be a great opportunity for him.

As a parent, the whole process is both daunting and mind blowing. My little boy who has been avoiding cow's milk for over 12 years could soon be drinking it!

We know that it will be a long process. It'll start with a very diluted amount of skimmed milk, which Mikey will only have a drop of to begin with. This will also be done in hospital just in case. After that, it'll be done at home, where we'll increase the drop amount slowly, day by day.

Although the programme in theory should take three months, we were told that no-one manages that straight away. Patients usually have to take a couple of steps back and then carry on. None of this bothers us or Mikey though. Even if it takes him a year to finish, it'll definitely be worth it!

By even attempting this, I know that Mikey has matured so much. Years ago, he used to back into the corner whenever any new food was offered, even when it was safe. Now, he can sit and discuss the options given to him. I'm so proud!

We're not sure when the desensitisation programme will begin as we're waiting for an appointment letter, but Mikey is hoping it is soon!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


Write Size: Helping Kids to Write Right- Plus a Giveaway!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Most children love writing- I know mine do! Even Dot loves to join in and do her 'homework' when Mikey sits down to do his! The problem is though is that they have to use big pencils, unless you 'borrow' some when you play crazy golf!

I was amazed when I heard that there was a company out there who were making pencils that were the perfect size for little ones!

Introducing, Write Size! Write Size specialise in making pencils that are the right size for little hands, giving them better control and balance for writing.

As they say on their website, "Would you give a 5 year old a full sized guitar to play with, an adult sized ball to learn the skills of football with or size 10 shoes to learn to walk with? Using this logic, why do we give children adult pencils to learn to write with?

That is very hard to argue with, so we decided to put all of the different sizes of pencil to the test to really see if they helped the children with their writing!

Age 2-6 pencils

Dorothy tried out the smallest size pencils in her Write Size Workbook. Dorothy normally tries to write with my pens so it was interesting to see her with something more her size!

Although only 2, I could tell the difference in her writing immediately. She held the pencil better and could draw and write much easier than she had in the past. It was a definite thumbs up for these pencils!

Age 6-10 pencils

For the pack of age 6-10 pencils, my niece Maisie was the tester. Maisie has been a keen writer and reader since starting school last year and is almost always writing something. She was the perfect candidate!

In her own words, Maisie gave me her verdict, " It's not heavy and makes my writing seem pretty. It's easy to write with too".

She also wrote her review...Another thumbs up for Age 6-10 pencils!

Age 10+ pencils

I have to say that I was skeptical about the Age 10+ pencils. I didn't think that tweens and teens pencils would be that far off from adult pencils or make that much of a difference to writing. Mikey put them to the test.

Although a bit chunkier than the pencils he's used to, even at 13 years old, Mikey found that the Write Size pencils really helped with his writing. He said that it was easier to grip than a regular pencil and didn't break, which his school ones normally do!

So there we have it, a clean sweep! I am so glad that I found Write Size pencils as they really can change the way that children write for the better. There's also a added plus, as each pack is very affordable at only £3.99 for a pack of 5 pencils :)

You can find out more about Write Size on their website. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.


But wait, there's more! The lovely people at Write Size are giving you the chance to win a Writing System 1, which is made up of a pack of 2-6 years writing pencils, plus an Alphabet & Handwriting Practice Book 1.

For your chance to win enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: Writing System 1, provided by Write Size.
The closing date is 30th September 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.

Disclaimer: We were given Write Size pencils and a workbook in return for our honest opinions. As always, all opinions are our own.

The Pramshed

Ticket To Ride- First Journey: All aboard!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

As you may know, I am part of the new Board Game Bloggers Club. I love a good board game (I may have mentioned that a few times!), so was very excited to see what would arrive this month.

When we opened the box, we found Ticket To Ride: First Journey. We were intrigued! We'd never heard of it, but it looked really good!

We weren't disappointed! The concept of Ticket To Ride: First Journey is that players take it in turns to travel across a beautiful map of Europe while collecting train cards, claiming routes on the map and trying connect the cities shown on their tickets

 Ticket To Ride: First Journey is designed for children 6 and over, although 4 and 5 year olds could easily play with some supervision. We did try with Dot, as she's usually really good with taking turns and playing games, but when she realised she couldn't build a long continuous train, she left us to it!

You would think that Dot leaving would stop us, but no! Mikey and I played game after game! It's so addictive! You only have 20 trains to play with, so you have to use them wisely!

The winner is the first person to complete six tickets or has the most tickets completed when a player puts their last train down and they are rewarded with a Golden Ticket!

We really had a great time playing this game. Although it says that it's aged six and over, I can definitely see myself (aged a little over 6!) playing this with the family a lot. I was also pleased to see that they do a whole range of these games, so I might be creating a Ticket To Ride collection!

As a mum, I love that there is also an educational element to the game, but not once was that noticed by the kids! On a side note, I also really like that they added a few extra trains in case some get lost. I thought this was a really nice touch :)

*Side effect warning* After playing, you may find yourself singing, "Ticket to Ride", by The Beatles. It's not a bad side effect to have!

Ticket To Ride: First Journey is available from Amazon for £25.99 and is suitable for up to 4 players.

Disclaimer: I was sent Ticket To Ride: First Journey in return for my honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.

The Snake Who Baked A Cake: Review

Monday, 21 August 2017

As you know, we love books in our house! We have bookshelves filled with them in almost every room of the house. Even the attic is full of boxes of books that I one day wish I could put in my very own library! (Think Beauty and the Beast!)

So when I was asked to review The Snake Who Baked A Cake by S.Afrough and S.Hough, we couldn't wait to read it!

The Snake Who Baked A Cake  is a lovely story about a snake called Jake, created by two sisters.

After becoming an auntie and mother respectively for the first time, sisters Sara and Simin quickly came to love story time and the joy of creating new worlds, and adventures, which would spark the imaginations of the children in their family. Wishing to share their stories with other young readers, and their families, they decided to put pen to paper beginning with their favourite character of Jake, a Californian red-sided garter snake, and his surprising ability to cook scrumptious cakes.

It's such a lovely little story and both Dot and I loved how it flowed and rhymed. It really has made Dot want to join in baking and cooking and help me in the kitchen instead of just bringing her the food when it's ready!

The Snake Who Baked A Cake by S. Afrough and S. Hough & illustrated by S. Goodway is available to purchase for RRP £5.99 paperback and RRP £2.99 ebook from online retailers and all good bookstores.

Happy Reading :)

Disclaimer: We were given a copy of The Snake Who Baked A Cake in return for our honest review. As always, all opinions are our own.

The Importance of Baking Together as a Family: The Snake Who Baked A Cake

You may have seen our review of The Snake Who Baked A Cake. It's a lovely story about a snake called Jake, written by sisters Sara and Simin. Although to a child it is a normal story, it highlights how baking can be a great activity to do together.

While growing up, Sara and Simin's mother was avid baker and a wonderful cook. It was important for her to be able to make and create recipes that her family loved.

When deciding on an adventure for Jake to embark upon, the sisters wanted it have an element of everyday life that was interactive and encouraged sharing. Baking does all three.

Baking is one of the first activities that parents, grandparents or carers can do with children to create a bond. The experience is interactive, messy and fun for all! It can be both collective and independent, giving children a sense of independence when carrying out certain tasks on their own yet having the company and guidance of an adult.

Baking builds discipline and responsibility. Children learn to follow a sequence of instructions to ensure the success of whatever their baking. Starting off with washing their hands and taking out the necessary equipment and ingredients and finally finishing off with the tidying and cleaning up.

Baking also has educational elements to it. Literary skills are used on each occasion during baking. When deciding upon a recipe, the adult reads out the ingredients and relays the information back to the children, allowing them to learn and expand their vocabulary. They may also count items, weigh out ingredients and time their bake, all of which helps to develop early maths skills.

Baking also allows for all five senses to be stimulated:

Touch- handling ingredients reinforces their learning and understanding of different food textures and viscosities.

Sight- Visual changes in colour of the bake or when decorating.

Hearing- Hearing sounds from the cracking of eggs to the noisy mixer.

Smell- Children can smell the lovely aroma of the freshly baked cake.

Taste- Finally, they can eat their creation!
All of this enables a solid base for learning as they are having a rounded experience while baking, but also in understanding and associating the task with all five senses. This will help them in their speech and being able to express themselves in different ways, contributing to their emotional development.
The end result is an occasion that brings everyone together by indulging in the bake, further empowering the children with a sense of joy, achievement and pride, which boosts their confidence.

There is so much more to baking a cake or cooking together. Knowing this, it makes it all that little bit more special and important :)

Kaya Jewellery: Necklaces for mum and a Giveaway!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

I love jewellery (who doesn't?!), but I only love wearing it if it means something or is sentimental in some way. I only wear my engagement ring, wedding ring and a ring that was given to me last Christmas that is engraved with a special phrase.

So when KAYA jewellery asked me to review a piece from their collection of Mother necklaces, I was intrigued!

Every bracelet, necklace or pendant is created with love and hand-engraved in London to celebrate the special bond between mother and child, friends, BFF's or family.

There's something a little bit different about this jewellery store though. Owner of KAYA Jewellery, Tanja also supports children who are not as privileged as ours, so she gives part of her profit to charity through the Eduki Foundation in the Netherlands. Last year, they donated over £5000 to pay for the education of 16 children in Gambia, which is amazing!

The website is so easy to navigate, which was great as there were so many different types of Mum necklaces to choose from! I like the classic, simpler types of necklaces and fell in love with "The Circle of Life".

I always wanted a necklace or something that I could wear that had the names of the children on, so I loved that I had that chance! It's not easy to find anything with their names on, especially Dorothy's, so I was over the moon that I could have my necklace personalised.

I could also choose the type and length of the chain, which I thought was a really nice touch :)

My necklace arrived sooner than I expected. It only took a few days from ordering! It was really well packaged and arrived in a gorgeous little box.

I absolutely love my new necklace and haven't taken it off since it arrived, apart from at bed time! I love that I can carry a little piece of Mikey and Dot with me wherever I go :)

You can find this necklace and many more on KAYA Jewellery's website. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!


Now I am running a giveaway where one lucky person will win £40 to spend at KAYA Jewellery! You can enter via the Rafflecopter below!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: £40 voucher, provided by KAYA Jewellery UK.
The closing date is 16th September 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.

Disclaimer: I was given Circle of Life necklace in return for my honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.

Searching for the Red Squirrel on the Isle of Wight

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Isle of Wight is one of the very few places in the UK that you can spot a red squirrel. This is due to the fact that the grey squirrels were never introduced there and so the red squirrels could thrive.

While on the Isle of Wight, we wanted to see if we can spot one and in fact, we spotted a few, but it takes a lot of patience and quiet, both of which Dot struggled with!

We tried a few different places on the Isle. Here are our favourite places that you can try and find the elusive red squirrels:

Fort Victoria Country Park

Fort Victoria Country Park is located on the north shore of the island near Freshwater. Behind the
Fort, is a woodland walk that takes you through some beautiful scenery. There are a few benches and
even a clearing where you might spot a red squirrel or two. Although we could hear them, we didn't see any. We did have a very enjoyable walk along the trail though :)

Parkhurst Forest 

Parkhurst Forest can be found near Newport. It has some lovely walks as well as a squirrel hide that is easy to get to, so it is a perfect place to spot a red squirrel.


Borthwood Copse

Located near Winford, this looks like a small place, but after a quick walk, it opens on to a lovely clearing that has quite a lot of paths shooting off it. We were very lucky to be able to see some red squirrels jumping from branch to branch, but they were too fast for my camera!

Shanklin Chine

Located in the heart of Shanklin, Shanlkin Chine is a stunning gorge lined with ferns and trees and has been over 10,000 years in the making! At the bottom of the gorge, near the tea room, there is a little path that leads you up to a squirrel hide.

Rylstone Gardens

Above Shanklin Chine and near the top of the coastal path to the sea, is a small park and a really lovely family-run tea garden. Although it's the summer, it wasn't overly busy when we visited and we happened to see two different squirrels! One of which just appeared on the grass right next us as we arrived in the gardens!

We were very lucky that we saw a couple of squirrels on our search, although they were too elusive for our camera! We also had some very lovely walks and made some great memories!
Hopefully, if you visit these places you too may spot a red squirrel or two :)

Brook and Compton Bays: Beaches You Must Visit!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

When on holiday, we like to visit the well known attractions, but we also like to walk off the beaten track and do as the locals do.

While in the Isle of Wight, we've visited a few attractions and beaches and loved them all, but we stumbled across a couple of beaches that aren't really visited by tourists.

Brook Bay is located in the South West of the Isle, between Brook and Freshwater Bay. We were actually driving towards Freshwater Bay when we saw the gorgeous scenery and spotted a small car park near a coastal path. Being the curious type, we decided to get out and explore.

I'm so glad we did! We took the short path down to the beach and took in the sights before heading back to walk along the coastal path on the cliffs.

At the end of the coastal path, we arrived at Compton Bay and found the steps down to the beach. The beach is so lovely. Although the car park was half full, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves.

It was different to a lot of the beaches I've seen before. Although it was sandy, it was much darker than normal. I read that, with a lot of patience (which Dot does not have!) you could find fossils on the beach and at low tide, you can also see fossilised remains of a forest, so we're definitely going back to have a look!

We paid £3 for parking as it was a National Trust car park, but that was the only cost and for that, we've seen some beautiful views and made some amazing memories!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The Downside of Eating Out Gluten Free

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Over the past year or so, I have found that a lot of people think that being gluten free is a fad. That by choosing to cut out gluten from my diet, that I am following the latest craze.

I have explained time after time to these people (I hasten to add, these people are not friends or family!) that having coeliac disease means that I have to cut out gluten from my diet or I will be extremely ill. No, I won't go into anaphylactic shock, but it doesn't detract from the seriousness of the disease.

It does make me cross, but is par for the course in day to day life, but recently, I was very shocked when I ate out a restaurant with friends.

The other week I went out a few friends for a meal. I was looking forward to it because I never really eat out as I'm aware that some restaurants offer salad as a gluten free option. Now I don't opt for salad at home, so I'm not going to when I go out!

Both my friend and I checked separately to see if it was safe to eat there. We were told that they have such a wide range of gluten free options, that it would be easier to tell us what wasn't gluten free.  With an answer like that, I couldn't wait to try it out.

I was however, pretty disappointed. This started almost immediately. The atmosphere was lovely, the music really good (who doesn't love a bit of '80s?) but after we had ordered our drinks, I was told that they don't have a gluten free menu 'per se', but they could accommodate my 'special dietary requirement'.

As you can imagine, I was a bit apprehensive, but the waiter came back and confirmed that the chef was very happy with making my order gluten free, so I stayed put.

The fact that the waiter had to return twice after ordering to tell me that meal choices were not safe should've also tipped me off, but sadly not.

Now, you may be wondering why I didn't complain or leave. A big part of the reason I stayed was that we were celebrating a friend's birthday and I didn't want to make a fuss as the rest of the group were having a really good time. I just decided to resign myself to eating a bland meal.

I had decided to treat myself to some ice cream to make up for the rest of the evening and had spied an ice cream sundae. The description read, "layers of ice cream and sauce, topped with cream". Doubling checking for gluten, I was reassured that it was gluten free. That was it, so I chose a caramel sundae and was pretty excited when it arrived. It was enormous!

I couldn't believe it when I got half way through it. The sundae had layers of cake :( All evening, the waiter kept coming to the table to change my order and when it was relevant, nothing was said.

I know I am partially at fault in this story. I kept ordering food and I should've asked about the ingredients etc., but I can't help but feel wronged.

After the meal, for the following two days, I was extremely ill and suffered badly. I am unsure how much gluten food I ate both due to both the sundae and maybe through cross contamination. I was told later that my fries were cooked in the same oil as the breaded starters.

I definitely feel like the chef and to an extent, even the waiter should know what is in their food. I had given them prior notice of my dietary requirements when we booked the meal and again at every stage of the meal.

This experience has really made me question not just this restaurant, but the food industry as a whole. I know that allergies and other dietary requirements can be tricky to manage in restaurants, but are they taking it seriously enough?

I have to say, eating out has again become something I will be avoiding for a while, until I can find a place that will take coeliac disease as seriously as I do.

Okay, rant over!