The One With the Flash Cards

I bought some alphabet flash cards to teach my son words. The first two weeks went great. Every time I showed him a card and called out the word he would dutifully repeat it after me despite the cards having some questionable words for an 18 month old like elephant and xylophone, he still did a good job of sounding these words. He even started to recognise two of the pictures (apple and bee) and would call them without prompting. After each word, I would give him some praise by saying good boy.

Free alphabet flash cards

alphabet flash cards

Unfortunately, things have started to go downhill. Now when I show him a card instead of repeating the word after me. He goes straight to praising himself by saying good boy. No matter which card I show him, the only thing he says is good boy. Now, I am not sure if he thinks all the cards are good boys or he seriously thinks he is doing a good job by not pronouncing the words or he has a massive ego and thinks he is the goodest boy ever (excuse my english – if Beyoncé can create a new word so can I) or is just trying to cut the chase by saying good boy and getting it over with. Whichever it is I am not sure what to do at this point.

He still goes round the house shouting bee bee so at least he remembers some of the words and when he uses the flash cards on my phone he pronounces the words accordingly. Good boy? Yes/No the verdict is still out at this point.

PS: you can print free flash cards here 

Keeping Busy

I am one for buying stuff purely for the aesthetics. Of late I have been getting really bored of my house. A slow downwards spiral. I desperately want to move so while I search for a place. I keep looking at stuff that would make my house more interesting. Something to make me less likely to jump on the first house I see like a girl who hasn’t been asked on a date in years. I am trying to fall in love with the house again, so when I see things like this

Big Decs Rooster Egg Holder, Bronze

Big Decs Rooster Egg Holder

I convince myself that this is what my kitchen needs to turn me into the ultimate culinary chef. Never mind that they hold just eggs. Which the supermarket carton does really well as that is its sole purpose in life or that if my son accidentally gets hold of this “bang goes the theory” as all the eggs dance on the floor. The heart wants what the heart wants. Besides it’s in the sale. Half prices is surely better than full price.

Another dilemma that is totally driving me nuts (1st world problems hey) is my unending stash of spices. Unending I say because I totally forget that I have them. As Michael McIntyre says in his joke “paprika – I have never been out“. I have all my spices stashed in a tin and I totally forget its there and keep replenishing the stock – hence the unending supply. I desperately need on of these kitchen rack stands to sort my life out. Preferably this spice rack

John Lewis 16 Jar Spice Rack

shame its fathers day soon and not mothers day. I can totally think of a gift for myself. 🙂

Accidental Review – Sainsbury’s Basic Nappies

sainsburys basic nappies

Sainsbury’s basic nappies

This product accidentally came into my life one Saturday when we ran out of nappies. I had ordered a carton of our favourite brand Pampers (after Huggies stopped trading in the UK) and was due to pick it up from the store on Sunday. However by Saturday we had run out of nappies at home. I need a few nappies to tide us over till Sunday so we popped in to Sainsbury’s to buy some emergency supplies. LO was sleeping in the car so I instructed hubby to buy something cheap. I was really horrified when he came back with sainsbury’s basic nappies. I expected him to go cheap but not that cheap, more like Sainsbury’s little ones cheap.

For the first time in my life I have to say that I am happy that DH is cheap :-). The nappies are £1.41 for a pack of 20 (£0.07 per nappy, same pack of Pampers retails at £0.32 per nappy) a really good bargain. They are not that great for night-time wear as the padded bit in my opinion should be wider. So in the night I still use Pampers baby dry. I was scared that LO might break out in a rash (don’t ask me why), however 3 weeks on no sign of any rash. I am now on the hunt for a cheaper night alternative. Any suggestions?

Why I Still Shop Cheap

Ethical Tshirt

image@weheartit

In the wake of the April 24th Bangladesh factory collapse, I have read so many articles questioning the morals of people who still shop cheap. I have to admit I do shop cheap, especially when it comes to children’s clothes and here is why.

I saw an article on the guardian “Top 10 ethical places to shop for children’s clothes”. A visit to one of the shop uncovers one baby bodysuit for £10 (you can get a set of 5 for £3 in most of the cheap shops). My son usually needs two sets of clothes everyday. One to wear to  his minders place and another in his bag just in case he needs a change. Bibs on one of the ethical sites is going for £7.99 while a simple T-shirt is sold for a whopping £21. To cloth my son for a day from one of these shop would cost me a whopping £144 (bodysuit, socks, t-shirt, trouser, bib and spare clothes in bag). His weekly attire would cost £432; minus shoes. According to a UK survey, on average, babies wear an item just 12 times. Baby clothes are also designed to be worn over a three months span hence the size labelling 3-6 months, 6-9 months etc.  In this current economic climate to ask a parent to spend £432 on clothes every 3 months is not practical.

I totally agree that we need to hold the CEO’s of these companies accountable. Many of the directors of these companies know that there is a lot of corruption in developing countries. Sometimes brought on by poverty and most times by greed. They need to ensure that when dealing with contractors and such they don’t just accept a piece of paper. Go with your own engineers. Make sure that you care about your foreign workers in the same manner you would care about the workers in your country. Stop looking only at the bottom line.

Some of the comments on these articles are that – we should stop buying clothes that are manufactured in these developing countries. For one thing, the price/label of a piece of clothing is not at all indicative of the working conditions of its manufacturer. In Prato, Italy, Chinese immigrants were found to be working in garment factories for as little as €2 an hour. Also, killing the manufacturing trade in developing countries is not going to help. These workers need the money to survive. Most developing countries do not have a benefit or government aid system. If they don’t work they don’t eat simple. Taking people on an ethical guilt trip doesn’t help. We would all love to by that ethical t-shirt for £21 but sadly not everyone can. My desire to spend my money wisely is definitely not the problem. Greed is.

Summer Worries – Hot Pants or Wedding

Summer worries@shelovestorant

When planning my summer holiday, I thought my greatest worry would be which hot pants to wear or which sandals would be stable enough to push a buggy in. I didn’t anticipate that my great summer worry would be if I was married or not.

Yep I can see you doing the maths, She blogged about being married – I thought she was married. Well so did I. And here comes the long story. I got married in a church back home. Bach home churches can apply for a license to conduct marriages and issue a certificate in the way the Church of England would do. After the ceremony you are issued two certificates. One for you and the second to submit at your local government registry for their own record. Which we did and have pictures of swearing the oath at the registry.

In other to plan this summer holiday we need to get a visa and the embassy in questions requires our marriage certificate to be authenticated by the our High Commission. Turns out the High Commission have a policy not to authenticate certificates from churches as there is literally a church on every street in Africa. I do sympathize with them, however it is the same government that is giving these churches authority to conduct ceremonies and issuing them personalised marriage certificates and to make matters worse the local registry can’t find their record. Yep they still haven’t heard of computers every thing is written down somewhere in a great book (which we filled out and signed 3 years ago) which they are still trying to locate.

So we are battling a classic third world problem – government departments with several conflicting policy, missing records and no one that can be held to account except the invisible “oga at the top”. Everyone keeps saying blame the system,  it is the system,  as if the system isn’t being run by someone  – it’s an invisible hand of power wielding it out on us all.

I am now left wondering am I married or not. Funny enough my marriage certificate is recognised by the UK government. I have been trying to get this sorted for over two weeks and It’s just so annoying.

Anyway as the saying goes “every disappointment is a blessing” at least now I am single in some countries, I can upgrade on the husband front 🙂.  I can plan another wedding.  This would probably be the wedding of my dreams since the first one was almost totally out of my control. #SummerWedding who is in?

Image credit for the amazing J’Aton Coutu dress

Help! My Son is Afraid of Leaves

LO@shelovestorant

LO@shelovestorant

I am having a case of working mum guilt – I don’t do enough outdoor activities with my son. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my son is afraid of leaves. How did this happen? How many trips to the park have we missed ?

Last week I took my son to the urgent care centre because he had been vomiting (another one of those trips where they do absolutely nothing and ask you what you think is wrong ). We had a two and half hour wait before we would be seen so I decided to wait in the park beside the clinic as it was a sunny day.

On the way to the park LO let out a freakish scream when we passed by the hedges. When we got to the park he refused walk on the grass and would only walk on paved ground. Now even when we drive by trees with leaves, he starts to scream. I feel so guilty about this. I grew up on a farm I ran among cattle (so to speak), harvested corn, played with rabbits and chased wild rats. You would often find me at the top of a tree. I once fell down from a mango tree when a lizard crawled over my hand. I was stung by a bee on the way down (Had a concussion for two days though aliens where coming to kill my mum). I still have a phobia for lizards till this day. Such was the drama of my growing up years. For my son to now be afraid of leaves is an absolute disgrace :(.

I hereby make a pledge to LO – Dear LO I promise to take you to the park every weekend except when I have to cook or get the groceries or I am too tired after a long week at work or it’s too cold or……… Sod it your dad would take you. Just Kidding would take you my baby together we would fight this fear.

Review – E45 Body Lotion

e45 Nourish and RestoreI was sent a box of 2 full size E45 lotions and some samples by BzzAgent UK. I was very sceptical about trying it because I have extremely dry skin.

I never knew I had dry skin until I moved to the UK. I tried every over the counter dry skin cream and lotion including E45 to no avail. I had to go to my GP to get a specialist cream and that’s what I have been using ever since. I have never considered using anything else.

I didn’t particularly like the thickness of the cream I was using (although it was working it took a lot of rubbing to get it into the skin) so I tried the lotion. However, when I used the lotion it didn’t work as well as the cream and I started to itch. So when I was selected to try E45 Nourish and Restore. I was very sceptical. DH who also has dry skin refused to try it. He also banned me from trying it on LO who has dry skin and is presently using Oilatum junior and aqueous cream as a soap substitute.

I started the course on the 8th of April and to my surprise it really worked despite it being a lotion. I have been expecting the itch to return but nope –  no itch. It really comes in handy on those mornings when I can’t make it to the bathroom and I have to do a “rub and shine” 😉 in other to be at work on time. It feels so light and is absorbed into the skin so quickly. It doesn’t feel sticky even when I don’t have a bath. When DH saw that it was working for me he decided to try it. He was also surprised that it worked. He has now taken the two bottles I was sent and declared ownership.

You don’t have to take my word for it you can order a free sample here and give it a try. I would also love to hear from anyone who has tried this in the past and it didn’t work only to try it now and have a change of heart.

PS – Having a bath is highly recommended *winks*

Baby Summer WishList

Baby Summer Wish List

As the sun shines brighter and my holiday draws closer.  I have been scouting my usually hunts for summer clothes for LO.  This season pale pastel colours are all the range.  I also have a thing for stripes. So here my faves for now.

Twin pack strip shirts £5 at Mataland. I am quite happy to buy really cheap clothes for summer because the season is so short and by next summer LO would definitely have outgrown them.

Stone Jean Shorts also from Mataland. What is summer without legs.

Clogs for playing in the rain, £3 at Mataland.

Footbed Sandals £6 also from Mataland (Just received their catalogue in the post)

Geek T-Shirt – Mataland £3 they also have the Nerd one. You know how I love to matchy matchy. I have a similar Geek Tee so this is a must have for LO.

Now for my more vain finds

Found those lovely blue loafers at Zara. Cant find them in stock anymore :-(.

Blue drawstring jeans also from Zara

Denim shorts with suspenders Zara £14.99. I can picture LO in this with a straw hat or papa’s cap and a classic white linen shirt.

Pink strip and Blue check shirts Both £10.99 at Zara.

Casual leather basket ball boots £17.99 at Zara

And Finally Check shirts from Next £9.00

Sunglasses For Spring & Summer

designer sunglasses trends

designer sunglasses@shelovestorant

We’ve officially entered the spring and summer season, and that means that, as usual, we are about to be inundated with fashion advice from all corners. Catalogues, fashion blogs, billboards, television ads, shop windows, and even our friends *winks* will all be displaying the latest warm weather styles, and we’ll all be tempted to do a bit of a wardrobe update. But really, the clothes usually take care of themselves. It’s the accessories that can get tricky. My hubby recently travelled back home where it so warm and sunny, so I have been browsing sunglasses.

In particular, trends in spring and summer sunglasses can be a bit difficult to read or pick up on. In fact, not everyone is even able to take advantage of these accessory trends, depending on eyecare needs (I wear prescription lenses). But whether you typically avoid sunglasses altogether, pop in your acuvue contact lenses  so you can free up your eyes for sunglasses, or even opt for prescription sunglass lenses, these trends exist, and sometimes they’re the most enjoyable ones to take advantage of. Along those lines, here are 5 fun and fashionable trends in sunglasses for spring and summer of 2013 (Yep I am in with the fashion blogs :-)).

1. Bold Stripes

One of the most noticeable accessory trends on spring and summer fashion runways was boldly striped frames on sunglasses. High-end designers like D&G displayed just about every combination of colour imaginable in these striped frames, which tend to go on oversized frames with dark lenses.

2. White Frames

For a somewhat retro look this spring and summer, you might be able to have some fun with some all-white sunglasses frames. Typically contrasted with dark lenses, these glasses come in all different shapes and sizes, but absolutely display a bold and confident sense of fashion.

3. Round Glasses

In the past few years, summer sunglasses have trended toward blockier, more angled shapes. This spring and summer, however, you can certainly expect to see some round frames out and about, and this too evokes a sort of vintage, retro feel. Round frames certainly don’t work for everybody, but if you’re looking for a more unique and noticeable option this is a trend to consider.

4. All-Black

Not exactly a surprise, all-black sunglasses are once again making the rounds in spring and summer fashion. Perhaps the most traditional look for a pair of sunglasses, black frames with black lenses will always be stylish. Plus they go with everything.

5. Colourful Lenses

Finally, if you want to have a bit more fun with your spring and summer glasses selection, consider coloured lenses. Whether it’s a fading neutral colour combination, or something a bit brighter such as a pink or blue lens, there are plenty of options out there worth considering. Particularly in a beach environment, these lenses can be very enjoyable in the summer.

Well, I am off to tour the web and find some glasses I can actually afford. Would keep you posted on my spring/summer finds. BrB.

Multitasking Challenge

working mum
As a working mum, my weekends are down to a precision art. With a list of chores that would make any domestic goddess green with envy. I have to multi task to get everything done in time or else I wouldn’t get any rest. Here is a snap shot of my list

Sort out 4 loads of washing (whites, coloured, blacks and wools) the key to this is starting the whites and coloured early so that by the time the wools are washed (they take the longest to dry and we don’t own a drier and we live in a flat so no hanging space) the whites and coloured are dried making way for the wools to dry all weekend.

Organise the meals for the week. I am not really a fan of cooking. I do love food but the process of getting it ready and out there isn’t my favourite chore. Truth be told I prefer cleaning to cooking. My approach to cooking is fast and convenient (cooking things that are easy from scratch). If you know anything about cooking African food, you would know this is almost an impossible mission. Every meal has two have 2 types of meat, vegetables washed and chopped to precision size. Different types of fish – dried, fresh, blended etc. There is also LO’s food and fruit pots to be prepared & labelled for the week. Over the weekend I cook in bulk so I don’t need to prepare anything from scratch during the week as most days I get home by 7.10pm.

– House cleaning. Weekend is the time to give every room a complete wipe down. DH also chips in buy drying the washing, taking out the bins, cleaning the bathroom and generally keeping LO busy while I get on with it.

So when I was sent this multitasking test by open education I was so sure I was the ideal candidate for it . However, my score was below average :-(. I am not sure if it’s because I was playing it during my break at work and I gave it all but 2 minutes (diminished attention span). I would try again during a less stressful period and update the post. Do have a play and let me know how it goes.

I have also included some articles below which show that multi tasking isn’t such a good idea so maybe there is a silver lining behind my low score *winks*

PS. I tried to embed the game on my blog don’t know why it didn’t work. While trying to find out what was wrong I accidentally published the post before it was ready as well. Apologies to everyone who got the unfinished version.