More books!

My last post was about the first four fabulous books that Libby and I received from Campbell Books to review. The other books that we received were the brilliant buggy books and, Libby’s favourite, the Noisy Jungle. 

I’m really pleased to be in a position to review some buggy books because I actually have quite strong views on them. Libby adores these London based books about a London Bus and a London Taxi. She has always loved looking at buses and cars and has recently learnt all her colours, so looking at the pictures gives her the opportunity to comment on both the pictures and the colours. Fascinating, as you can tell: 

Personally, I think buggy books are great, what I dislike about them is the name – I don’t really think they do themselves justice. We don’t use a buggy, we did buy one when Libby was tiny but soon realised that it wasn’t doing her any good. I feel it’s much better for babies to be carried in an ergo carrier or wrap, they are closer to you, hear what you’re saying, see what you see and are generally more involved. However, buggy books have many more uses than just being used in buggies. Libby loves the fact that they are small enough for her to carry around with her, robust enough to play with on her own and colourful enough to keep her attention. 

She also absolutely adores this Noisy Jungle book: 

The pictures are lovely and big and colourful, it has a nice story and, best of all, there are some noisy buttons to press down the right hand side of the book. All the animals make their own noises, except for the monkey of course, who plays the jungle beat! So Libby has learnt some new animals, new noises, and as an added bonus, she gets to dance while she’s reading! 


Busy books!

This week, Libby has been lucky enough to be sent some absolutely gorgeous books to review by Campbell Books. We’ve had a chat about it, and we’ve decided to review them in two separate posts because there are quite a few and we love them all! This first review is about the four “busy” books; Busy Garage; Busy Park; Busy Farm and Busy Train. 

Libby is growing up and changing every day, her speech is really coming along, as is her ability to amuse herself. Because I work full time, I can’t do things around the house when Libby is asleep. This means that I have to get things done while she is awake. She usually helps me out around the house, she’s great at putting washing in the machine and passing me things when I’m cooking or we’re doing other things around the house. Sometimes though, I need a few minutes to do something without her such as having a shower. It’s times like these that books really get put to the test. 

Libby is more than happy to amuse herself for 10 minutes in her cot, as long as she has a book to read. The problem is, most books aren’t quite robust enough for an unsupervised 19 month old. Paper books don’t fare very well at all so card books like the “busy” books are ideal for her. I was a little bit concerned because these books have lovely interactive tabs on them and I wasn’t sure whether they’d stand up to the Libby test. I’m pleased to report though that they have passed with flying colours. 

The isn’t a real storyline in these books, but every page has something interactive. There are questions that are ideal for Libby’s age group, such as “can you point to the mouse?” or “how many tyres do we have?” Libby is getting really into these, she has recently learnt to count to three so counting questions are perfect. I can honestly say, she adores all of these books. As you can imagine though, she does have a favourite. Anybody who knows Libby will be able to guess which one it is… 

Here are Libby and Monkey enjoying their favourite book… the train one of course! 

The unexpected perils of guest blogging

As you are probably aware, much of my work involves promoting our website and making people aware of it. As part of this, I’ve been answering queries for people writing articles and submitting guest articles to websites. This is to assist with both general awareness and Search Engine Optimisation. Whilst I’ve done a little bit of this before, it has become more of a focus for me because I’ve got a bit of time to work on promoting the site while we wait for our web designer to get it ready. 

Because I’m promoting a business, it’s a lot of work to get people to accept my guest posts. Many people resent businesses trying to promote themselves through hard work rather than paying for advertising. For us though, we’re a small, new business, still trying to decide whether it is a viable idea that people will use. The hard work that I put in to both finding people willing to accept a guest post and writing the posts themselves is much more cost effective than paying someone to stick an advert somewhere. 

I’ve had a lot of setbacks but a few weeks ago, a lovely lady included one of my quotes in her article and linked it to our website. As you can imagine, I was over the moon. Unfortunately, when I saw the article, she had used a photo of me that she’d got from LinkedIn. This is entirely my fault, I hadn’t realised how truly awful the LinkedIn photo was. It’s tiny on the website, I had no idea just how incredibly fat I would look when it was full size. Before you ask, no, I won’t be providing a link to the article. The only person I’ve shown it to is my boss and she nearly fell off her chair laughing. I haven’t shown my husband and I have no intention of doing so. 

As you can imagine, as soon as I saw this article, everything had to stop then and there while I changed my LinkedIn photo to something less hideous. So when I got an email asking me to provide a guest article for a lovely blog last week, I was prepared. I was asked if I could provide a photo and I was happy to do so. I sent through one of me, and one of Libby and Soxa because it was a family article so I thought they might want to use both. My guest post was published a few days ago and I was really quite pleased with it. The only thing was, it didn’t do my ego much good – they left off the photo of me and just used the one of Libby and Soxa. 

So, not that I’m bitter, but this is my revenge. It’s not just me that doesn’t always look my best in photos… here is one of Libby taken this morning. 

If you would like me to write a guest post on your blog, please do get in touch. My main subject areas are travel, holidays, law and business but I’m certainly willing to give anything a go, I’d just ask for a single link back to our website. This would be written either as a relevant link in the article or as a link in a short author-bio. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to humour me by including a photo! 

Running in pregnancy

When I was carrying Libby, I managed to keep up with exercise all the way through my pregnancy. I stopped running at around 7 months but continued to swim, walk and play racquet sports. This time around I’ve been a bit lazy. I ran until I was about 6 weeks pregnant, which was when I took part in my last race – a fantastic 10k at night in the Forest of Dean. This was the first night run I’ve ever done and it definitely won’t be the last. 

After that, morning sickness hit me really badly. I had to take tablets prescribed by the doctor to control it and allow me to continue working and looking after Libby. As well as the sickness putting me off running, the tablets had sedative side effects so I was constantly tired. I managed to carry on playing water polo until I was 4 months and I was running and swimming infrequently. After this, water polo had to stop (I couldn’t get into my polo costume!) so I was generally either running or swimming around once a week. 

Now, I’m 5 and a half months pregnant and I’m managing to get out around twice a week to either run or swim. I’m also still walking the dogs, sometimes carrying Libby on my back. I really should be exercising more than this, I know it’s good to keep going during pregnancy. Unfortunately I’ve succumbed to the usual Christmas laziness and over-eating, resulting in a serious lack of motivation. 

Whilst I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, I really am going to make a bit more effort to be active over the next few weeks before I get too big. The benefits of exercise in pregnancy are immeasurable. They include: 

  • Easier to cope both physically and psychologically with the weight you are gaining
  • Labour should be easier if your muscles have remained toned during pregnancy
  • You will regain your figure much more easily after giving birth
  • Recent research indicates that if the mother exercises for at least 20 minutes three times a week during pregnancy, this will enhance the newborn’s brain development
So whilst pregnancy isn’t a great time to take up a new exercise regime, if you are already quite active, it’s a great idea to keep it up. So, after giving myself a written kick up the backside, it’s time to dust off my trainers!