Friday 30 October 2015

Funky Kid Friday

Happy Friday everyone! It's Friday so it's Funky Kid! Thank you Hannah for hosting last week :-)

Just a reminder of our guidelines:

- Link up your kids fashion post/s below
- Comment on the hosts and at least one other post
- Display our badge (see sidebar)
- Tag us on Twitter - I'm @medicatedfollow and Hannah is @mamamakedopush.  We will retweet your posts.  Don't forget to use the tags #funkykidfriday and #FKF as well!
- The linky opens on Fridays and is live until the following Monday.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week - it was nice to see so many of you!  I would like to give a shout out to Jack's Paper Moon and Noah's wonderful knitwear! What a hat!

This week, I am writing about (shhhhhh) Festive Fashion!!

Now it's over to you!  Please link up below and spread the word!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Funky Kid Friday - Festive Fashion for 2015

Is it too early to be thinking about Christmassy clothing?  Well, as November is just hours away, I think not! After all, if you don't get planning and buying now, it'll be too late!

Last December I ran a kids fashion tag on Instagram, #12DaysChristmasKids.  I gave 12 prompts and asked people if they would like to join in and tag their photos.  Quite a few people did and it was a lovely display of festive fashions.  Great fun.  At the moment, I'm not sure if I'll be doing the same this year but one thing is for sure, I'll be digging out all our Christmas clothing.

Christmas or festive clothing is a tricky one.  After all, if something has Father Christmas printed on it, it's only going to be worn a few times a year.  Add in the fact that children grow quite quickly when they are young, well, you have to think carefully about cost.  I tend to buy Christmas/Halloween/themed clothing larger than the boys need so they can wear it for two or three years in a row.. And of course, anything Ethan wears I hold on to for Felix to wear later on.  So at least most things get a good few wears.  I also look out for bargains online and in charity shops.

My top places for festive clothing are:

1) Smafolk & DUNS (available at Funky Little People and others) -  Smafolk and DUNS relese a new range of Christmas clothing every year.  Their clothes last really well, wash well, are soft and look wonderful.  Ethan has a top from them which he has now been wearing for 3 Christmasses.  It still looks fab.

DUNS Christmas at Funky Little People

2) Supermarkets - Each year I pick up a few little bargains.  Festive socks, slogan tees.  If you are looking to boost your child's Christmas wardrobe for a small price, places like Asda and Tesco are great for this.  Sizes tend to be more snug so I often size up.

3) Charity shops - Obviously Christmas clothing doesn't get much wear and charity shops often end up with a heap of it which is in great condition.  Come the end of November they start getting it out.   Great for Santa suits and fancy dress items.

4) Independents - If you are looking for something a bit special and want to support smaller business, independent is the way to go.  Etsy and Instagram are awash with cool small brands showing off their Christmas '15 wares.  My faves this year come from Fred & Noah.   They are seriously storming it with their Christmas collection.  An amazing geo print Father Christmas, reindeer and good old candy stripes.  Love it!

Fred and Noah Christmas Collection 2015

Fred and Noah Christmas Collection 2015
Have you ever bought any Christmassy clothing for your children?  If so, do you go all out or is it just for Christmas day itself? Don't forget to link up your kids fashion posts today (see top post).

Tuesday 27 October 2015

How to get your child to sleep..

.... beats me!!

Sorry folks.  Were you hoping for an answer?  If you were, don't worry, we're in the same boat.  If you happen to know the answer, share it, please!!

Felix is now 2 years and 5 months old.  In all that time he has "slept through" a mere handful of times.  Never have we reached a stage where he has slept well consistently.  The best we have ever had is a couple of nights together where he might have slept from 8pm-6am.  That would be an amazing night.  Most nights are more like this:

6pm - TV off (if it was on) or a relaxing/calming program.
6:30pm - Bath time
7pm - Stories & milk in bed
7:20pm - Lights off

So far, so good, right?  This is where the "fun" begins.  Some nights he might fall happily asleep by himself. Sometimes with his milk, sometimes just tucked up and left to his own devices.  But he is just as likely to kick up a fuss.  We tuck him in, give him a kiss, leave the room and then it starts:

"Mummy, I want you to cuggle me!"

I ignore him for a bit.  After a while I pop in.  Tell him he doesn't need me to stay, he's safe and sound.  I leave the room.  He's quiet for a bit.  Then it's:

"I want some water! Where's my water?"

I know he's more than likely after attention.  I don't go straight in.  Sometimes he'll go quiet.  If he's rampining up, I'll pop my head round the door and remind him where his water is.

All goes quiet for a while.  It might stay quiet for 10 minutes or so.  Then there will be a wail of:

"I want to do a weeeeee on the pottttttyyyyyyy!"

Felix is more than capable of taking his night nappy and clothes off and doing a wee on the potty but I also know that he is then likely to attempt to empty the potty down the loo.  That's a mess I could do without, especially on new carpets.  So, yet again, I'll find myself in his room.

Once the wee has been dealt with I'll tuck him in again.  This time I'll make sure my voice is very firm, tell him he HAS to stay in bed.  He needs to sleep.  We all need to sleep.  It's night time.  Everyone is sleeping (ha!) and Mummy & Daddy are extra happy when he stays in bed and sleeps.  Usually this works and he goes off to sleep.

It's now about 8:30pm and Pete and I still won't have eaten.  We usually manage to eat around 8:45-9pm.  It has been as late as 10:30pm before.

Once we've eaten, we are, of course, worn out.  I rarely have the impetus to work on the blog at this stage (that's why you see so little from me!).  As we moved house recently, we spend these precious moments trying to put pictures up or choosing our potential bathroom suite!  Sometimes I do risk staying up late to work on blog work or magazine work.  Or even doing things in the house.  You can guarantee that the night I stay up until 1am Felix will wake at 2am.

Nights with Felix are varied.  At the moment he mostly wakes at 4am.  He'll want milk.  We've tried cutting milk out during the night before.  After 5 weeks of screaming every night we gave up.  If he has milk at the moment he'll likely want a wee shortly after.  This has been our issue most recently.  Because he's been potty trained during the day for a few months now he's very aware of when he needs to wee and understandably doesn't want to "wet" himself.  His nappy is just for when he's asleep.  He's no where near the stage of having that taken away because it's always soaking in the morning.   In fact, we often have to do a nappy change and potty visit during the nap.  Often, if he's woken at around 4am it can be very hard work to get him back to sleep.  Sometimes he just doesn't..  So our days often start very early.

I've heard just about all the advice out there.  I KNOW that if he had less milk he'd likely wee less at night and possibly sleep better.  It can be very hard to get him to fall asleep without milk at times though.  Milk is a source of comfort for him.  He's not attached to any of his toys.  He has never taken a dummy.  It's his milk bottle or having Mummy/Daddy near by.  That's it.  We know all about having a concrete predictable regular bedtime routine- we have one! Always have.  It's hard dealing with this kind of behavior if you are conically sleep deprived.  We are often so grumpy and fed up.  Both Pete and I have felt very low at times due to the lack of sleep/disturbed nights.  We have both said that the joy in life has gone.  What is there to look forward to?  We have no energy to do anything?!

Every now and then Felix will throw us a life line.  The odd sleep through.  Like last night.  Just when we were teetering on the edge he slept from 7:30pm-6:30pm.  Bloody amazing.   I feel on top of the world today.  Well.. Not quite that good.  I'm still missing a good few years worth of sleep, but I feel a darn sight better.  We all do.  Felix's mood is better when he's slept well.  He's a nicer child to be with and we are nicer parents.

Why can't he just do it more often?  Life would be SO much better!

My friend sent me a link a Woman's Hour radio show from the other week that featured sleep tips from Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, the author of the now famous book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep.  Well, it just so happens I bought that book back in August.  The first night I read it to Felix I was skeptical.  Would it work?  Well, do you know what?  It did.  That first night.  But it has never EVER worked again.  Bugger.

How does the book work?  It uses NLP (neural linguistic programming).  The types or words, the way they are put together and the tone of voice you use.  It does work.  It's a little like hypnotism.  It has been successful for a lot of people.  The technique is sound.  I have found that if I talk to Felix using this type of language/tone then it really helps him relax and "come down" from a real tantrum.  I don't think it was a waste of money, my purchase of this book.  I just don't think it's a magical answer for us.

I know I'm not the only one with a bad sleeper.  Do your little ones sleep well?  Have you any tips?  Something I may not have tried?  Despite sleeping well last night I'm too experienced in "Felix" to think it'll happen again soon!  Perhaps I should start a sleep deprived support group.  Except I haven't the energy...

Friday 23 October 2015

Slowly Slowly Skated the Sloth - Born Free & Me

A few months ago I discovered the gorgeous Born Free & Me on Instagram.  Quite how Jules (who runs the business) does everything she does, I don't know.  Not only does she have a baby, run Born Free & Me, she's a Doctor too!!! I hardly manage to blog and all I do is look after the boys,  For shame!

Born Free & Me are a UK based kids clothing company.  At present a small number of products are stocked (leggings, headbands and bibs) in two prints.  I think this is a great idea though.  It keeps things simple which I imagine is a must for Jules with a baby and another job.  The other thing is that the two designs (skateboarding sloth and flamingos) were designed for Born Free & Me.  So, these prints are unique and you can only buy them from BF&M.  On top of that, they are just gorgeous.  Hand drawn and then printed in the UK.  Wonderful.
Born Free and Me Skating Sloth Leggings
A while ago I bought Felix some Skating Sloth leggings.  I knew they'd become firm favourites with him because he's obsessed with Slowly Slowly said the Sloth.  I was right, he calls them his "Slowly Slowly Sloth legs".  He always pulls them out of his draws if he sees them!

As he's worn them a lot I can tell you that they wash really well.  The material is lovely and soft.  The design is well printed, it's not wearing off in any places.  For £14.99 I think they are a bargain.  You are supporting a small WAHM business in the UK and getting something really different.

Born Free and Me Skating Sloth Leggings

We hope that Felix grows out of these leggings SLOWLY SLOWLY ;-D

Linking up with my gorgeous co-host for Funky Kid Friday today.  Come and join in! Our rules are simple:

- Link up your kids fashion post with the host
- Comment on the hosts and at least one other post
- Display our badge (see sidebar)
- Tag us on Twitter - I'm @medicatedfollow and Hannah is @makedoandpush.  We will retweet your posts.  Don't forget to use the tags #funkykidfriday and #FKF as well!
- The linky opens on Fridays and is live until the following Monday.

Friday 16 October 2015

AW15 at Bowties and Candyfloss

Earlier this year my boys were chosen to be brand reps for new UK Mama-made kids clothing brand Bowties & Candyfloss.  I discovered Bows & Candy when the creator, Alex (good name :-D) was just starting out.  I loved her designs and felt she wasn't getting anywhere near enough exposure.   In fact, I messaged her begging her to stock larger sizes (she was only doing baby sizes at that stage) so I could get my boys in her clothes and show them off.  Thankfully she obliged with some special custom orders and then for her SS15 collection was able to increase the sizes available.

When Alex ran a brand rep search on Instagram I made sure I entered the boys and we were thrilled to be picked.  We have been brand reps for quite a few brands now, some larger, some smaller, but I would say this is one that I am very proud of.  I have really loved being part of the extended family of a brand as it grows.  It gives me so much pleasure to help showcase the wonderful work these smaller WAHM brands are doing.  I love that my boys have clothes that are a bit more unique than your average.

Bowties & Candyfloss launch their AW15 collection on the 23rd of October - not long!  The collection is titled Oh so monochrome! so you know it's going to be great and bang on trend (as they say!).  We received some items for the boys last week and they rocked them all weekend long so I thought I'd share some photos today.  You can get a good idea of what's on offer if you check out Bows & Candy on Instagram.

bowsandcandy Bowties & Candyfloss Oh so monochrome

bowsandcandy Bowties & Candyfloss Oh so monochrome

bowsandcandy Bowties & Candyfloss Oh so monochrome

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the official launch!  Well done on a fantastic collection Alex! X

Funky Kid Friday

Happy Friday everyone! It's time for a bit of kids fashion. Thank you Hannah for hosting last week :-)

Just a reminder of our guidelines:

- Link up your kids fashion post/s below
- Comment on the hosts and at least one other post
- Display our badge (see sidebar)
- Tag us on Twitter - I'm @medicatedfollow and Hannah is @makedoandpush.  We will retweet your posts.  Don't forget to use the tags #funkykidfriday and #FKF as well!
- The linky opens on Fridays and is live until the following Monday.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week - it was nice to see so many of you!  I would like to give a shout out to Loved By Mummy for the most stunning monochrome selection of goodies- loved it!

Now it's over to you!  Please link up below.  This week I'm sharing a post about the new monochrome AW15 collection from Bowties & Candyfloss.  Check it out!

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller

I first discovered Swedish children's design company Elodie Details when Ethan was a tiny baby.  Their products caught my eye.  I love the variety of items they sell.  When I first found them they stocked hats, gloves, stroller accessories, bottles, cups, dummies.  I have watched them grow over the last six years and I feel they have gone from strength to strength.  Today they have realised their dream to stock strollers of their own designing, a bedding range and beautiful homewears.

My relationship with Elodie Details is longstanding.  Not only have I bought many items from them over the years, they actually have the honor of providing my first "official" item for review!  Years back I reviewed one of their stroller bags.  The quality was stunning.

When ED brought out their range of Stockholm Strollers a couple of years ago, I was very excited.  I'm a real sucker for beautiful buggies, prams and strollers.  The Stockholm Stroller doesn't disappoint.  From a design perspective it is a delight.  It looks beautiful.  What I am very happy about as a parent is that not only is it beautiful, it is very much functional.

We were sent a Stockholm Stroller in Graphic Grace.  It will come as no surprise to most of you that I had fallen for this stroller.  I adore monochrome at the moment so I had been lusting after this stroller for a long time.

This is no basic stroller.  The features include:

- Extra large wheels (easier to push over uneven surfaces)
- Fully adjustable back rest (great for naps)
- Fully extendable "paparazzi" canopy/sunshade
- One handed back rest adjustment
- Folds up small & comes with a carry case (great for travel)
- Five point harness with shoulder pads
- Large easily accessible shopping basket
- Suitable from 6 months - 3 years (max weight 15kg)
- Lightweight

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller Graphic Grace

We have been testing this stroller out for just over a month now.  I like to use items like this for quite a while before writing a review.  I like to test them out in a variety of situations.  

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller Graphic Grace

We have taken it shopping, taken it on country walks, taken it on the school run, used it in sunshine, used it in the rain, used it for naps.

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller Graphic Grace

I can say that after using it I find that:

- It is indeed lightweight.  It's easy to fold and lift.  Getting it in and out of our car boot is no issue.
- The backrest is very very easy to adjust.  I have experience of other strollers which were either very stiff when it came to backrest adjustment or were impossible to do with one hand (like OBABY).
- The big wheels provide a very smooth ride.
- The large canopy has become an essential for me.  I wouldn't buy a stroller that didn't have an extendable canopy.  Not only is it fantastic for keeping sun out of eyes, it's great in a surprise rain shower and fantastic for napping children.
- The zipped parent pocket on the back is very handy.  Great for mobiles, keys, snacks etc,
- The shopping bag is the most generous one I've seen in this type of stroller,  
- The stroller is easy to push.  The handle height is good.

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller Graphic Grace

If I were to change anything, well, there wouldn't be much.  Being really picky I suppose it might be nice if the parent pocket were a touch bigger.  And maybe if the handles were adjustable.  The stroller doesn't come with a rain-cover as standard - Elodie Details also sell their own rain-covers which you can buy separately.  These rain-covers are something beautiful in their own right.  Perhaps it would be nice to provide a basic clear rain-cover with the strollers.  But it isn't essential.

Elodie Details Stockholm Stroller Graphic Grace

This is a high-end stroller.  It's not cheap and it isn't basic.  You do get what you pay for with these things I find.  What I love about this stroller is that whilst you get everything you could want from it, you also get to look like the coolest parent-kid combo in town.  I love when I can provide something my child loves and is functional but without compromising on my style.  After all, I'm the one who has to push this around!  I adore the fact you can buy heaps of matching accessories.

I think you'd be hard pushed to find a cooler stroller!  You can purchase from Elodie Details direct or from a few other retailers such as Amazon.  They retail around £200.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Zazzle - THE place for printed tees & vests!

Have you heard of Zazzle?  I have to be honest and say that until I was contacted by them I hadn't.  At least, I don't believe I had, I may well have stumbled across them without really realising!  Zazzle are an online retailer that allow you to upload your own images or use ones they have already (designed by lots of different artists and designers) and have them printed on to all sorts of objects from mugs to bags and even clothing.

I was offered the chance to choose some items of clothing from them, in particular from their range of tops and vests.  I must admit that the choice was so wide that it took me a long time to choose the "perfect" designs for the whole family.  There were just so many cool images to choose from.  There is literally something for everybody out there.  You can even upload your own images.  The possibilities are endless!  The choice of clothing you can have images printed on is also vast.  There are several styles of t shirts, long and short sleeved.  A new ladies vest collection (all styles, racer back, skinny straps, thick straps, exercise wear). Hooded tops.  Heavy weighted tees, light weight.  All sorts of colours.  There are several different brands of clothing used for printing including American Apparel so you know that quality will be good.

In the end I plumped for a raglan style tee with different prints for myself and the boys.  I also chose a strapy vest top.  For Pete I ordered something a little geeky in a heavy weight tee (he likes to wear tees all year round but appreciates a warmer one in Autumn/Winter).

Zazzle printed tshirts vests raglan

Ethan was ecstatic when he saw what I'd ordered for him.  He loves animals, in particular dogs, so I chose a dog design.  One a little different - a dog painting spots on himself!  I've found it hard to get this top off Ethan since it arrived.  He adores it.

Zazzle printed tshirts vests raglan

For Felix I chose a train design because he loves all forms of transport.  He enjoys wearing this top.  What I like about it is that it's something he likes but it's still cool and not tacky.  I'm not a fan of overly branded clothing or stuff that's too garish.  I like that he can have something he likes but I like too!

For myself, I chose a narhwal design on my raglan (love narhwals!) and a geometric diamond on my vest.  I'm all about geometric just now!

I chose something a little geeky for Pete.  He's a programmer.  I wanted something that was a bit geeky but not overly so.  Something he could wear to work to make his colleagues chuckle but that wouldn't get him stared at (everyone understands the term "programming" not everyone would understand a tee with a lode of C# on it).  I went for a green tee.  He's very fond of green, we all are.  Green suits him.

All of the tops are fantastic quality.  They have all washed very well.  The boys in particular.  They've been washed the most.  There's are American Apparel.  They are lightweight.  They've stayed soft, not shrunk and haven't bobbled.

My raglan and vest are made from slightly thicker material.  They've washed well.  The vest has come up ever so slightly smaller on me than I'd like ideally but that's a case of getting used to sizing.  It's quite a short style.  With vests I usually prefer longer length.  That's just personal preference though.  It just means that if I were to order that style again I'd size up.  The vests are sold in S,M,L,XL.  I am an 8/10 on top usually but I do have quite big boobs.  I chose S but perhaps M would have been better.

Pete's tee is nice and thick.  It looks fantastic after several washes.  The fit is great. He has worn it several times which is a good sign!

Overall, I am very impressed!  Prices are good, especially for something which is going to look quite individual.  It's around £12+ for a kids tee and £19+ for adult sizes.  I love the fact you can upload your own images.  For special events that could be great!  I've just been back on their site just now and noticed a load of Halloween designs so I'm tempted to order a few for the boys! Maybe myself too.  I'm a fan of wearing things that are slightly different to the standard so really this is a perfect site for me.  I've got it bookmarked now!

Friday 2 October 2015

Funky Kid Friday - Slugs & Snails Tights

Hello all.  I'm sorry for the radio silence.  We moved house last week so both in the run up to that and the aftermath, it's been rather chaotic.  We are starting to get back to some semblance of reality but there is a great deal to do in our new house.  We are all tired out!! Getting the laptop out and blogging isn't my highest priority just now but I don't want to leave it too long.  So, Funky Kid Friday is here today.  Just don't expect to see quite so many posts at the moment!

A few weeks ago we received some exciting news.  The boys and I had been picked as UK brand representatives for the amazing unisex tights/clothing company, Slugs & Snails.  I have been a fan of S&S really ever since they first began, as Kat (the creator) will testify.  I reviewed a pair on the blog years ago and my boys have had Slugs & Snails tights in their draws at all times.  Even now, aged 6, Ethan will happily wear tights.  He either wears them as an extra layer of warmth in winter or under shorts or dungarees in colder months.  He loves S&S in particular because they are bright and fun.

Kat created S&S because she felt there was a gap in the market for tights that were unisex.  It was something that I had spotted as well which is why I ended up finding her tights.  Like Kat, when Ethan was born I wanted to help keep him warm.  The solution is tights or leg warmers but it was quite tricky to find tights that weren't overtly "girly" (gah, detest that word) or frilly.  Now, I will push the boundaries when it comes to what I put my boys in and I was happy enough to buy "girls" tights for Ethan.  He had purple spotty ones.  Pink ones.  It wasn't an issue for me.  But it did create some stares.  As he got older, the issue continued.  Whilst I didn't mind putting him in "girls" tights, I'm not much of a pink fan.  It'd be the same regardless of the sex of my child.  I just don't like a lot of pink!  And so, discovering S&S was a great joy to me.  To be able to buy tights in a good array of colours with some fantastic child and adult pleasing prints on was wonderful.

I still continue to get some looks and raised eyebrows when people realise my boys are wearing tights.  I remember giving some of Felix's old pairs to a friend's wife for their baby daughter.  She had a very funny look on her face and she said "Where did you get the tights from?" I told her that they were Felix's, that he used to wear them.  She looked incredulous! However, we also get a great deal of compliments!

Just look at the wonderful bounty we received from S&S this week!!

Slugs and Snails unisex tights and clothing

I was bowled over.   Felix will be able to wear different tights every day of the week! Perfect timing for winter too.  Even more wonderfully, Kat branched out into clothing and Mama sized tights last year so the boys were sent some beautiful dungarees and elf hooded tops.  And a pair of tights for me so we can all match!  You all know how I love to twin.  I wonder if we could wear our Duns radishes and our S&S tights at the same time.......

Boys in tights?  What do you think?  Practical or weird?

Now it's over to you guys.  Got any kids fashion posts?  Please link them up below!  I would like to say a BIG thank you to my new co-host, Hannah of Make, Do and Push for hosting two weeks in a row - thanks gorgeous!  I don't know how she manages so well with a toddler and non sleeping baby.  Puts me to shame.   I would also like to wish her a happy first wedding anniversary :-)

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Thanks guys and Happy Friday! X