Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know I have been rather quiet on here lately. It’s not that I have run out of ideas for blog posts, on the contrary in fact – my head is buzzing with new concepts, but I deliberately took some time away from this blog to figure out which direction I wanted this space to take.

You might have noticed that I have changed my social media handles to my name and away from “Cosmochicklitan”. I didn’t hate my original blog name, but I feel I had outgrown it somehow. I don’t think I have ever explained the meaning behind Cosmochicklitan – but here it is. When I first started this blog several years ago, I wanted to create a space to share my love for books. My preferred genre at the time was all things romantic fiction/chick-lit. I was toying with several ideas and when I could not make up my mind, I said to my husband that I wanted a name that sounded cosmopolitan and somehow incorporated the books I loved. So he just said why not combine these two and call the blog Cosmochicklitan – simple as that!

Over the years, however, my taste in books has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good love story, but through book blogging, I have also discovered so many other genres that I really enjoy. Lately, for example, I have been reading a few fantastic and nail-biting thrillers.

During the past year or so, I have also blogged about other topics such as our family adventures and have written a few general lifestyle and parenting posts which I have hugely enjoyed. Going forward, I definitely want to keep a healthy medium between book posts and family lifestyle posts and I feel that the blog name and social media handles had to change in line with this. I am so much happier with the new name!!

Right, on to the Sunshine Blogger Award Questions. I have been nominated by Tom from Diary of the Dad, to take part in said meme. The idea behind the Sunshine Blogger Award is to answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you and then to come up with 11 new questions to ask 11 other bloggers. So, here we go:

What’s the best bit of parenting advice you’ve ever been given?

To not compare your children’s skills with others! Everyone grows and develops at their own speed. Who cares if your child stayed in nappies longer than other children? Take away the pressure and enjoy the time with your little ones!

Is there a story behind your blog’s name?

I am simply using my name now as my blog domain and my social media channels, but I have explained the story behind my old blog name above :-).

What’s the most embarrassing thing your kids have said or done in public?

Erm, quite a few things actually, but the one that springs to mind was a trip to a supermarket a few years ago. The male cashier was, should we say, a metrosexual looking type. My daughter turned around and said quite loudly: “Mummy, this is not a very pretty woman!”. She earned a few stifled laughs from the people queuing behind us and I don’t think I ever put (or rather threw) my shopping into the trolley that quickly.

Do your family and friends know that you’re a blogger?

All of my family knows, but to be honest, not all of my friends do. My very close ones, yes, but certainly not all of the newer ones. If it comes up in conversations, I don’t hide the fact that I am writing a blog, but I am usually not the one to mention it first

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done while sleep deprived?

I’ve been sleep deprived for the last 6 years. None of my children are great sleepers and I haven’t slept through a full night since my oldest was born. Luckily, she sleeps through the night now (however, she has only started to do so since she has been going to school), but it’s my youngest one who now keeps us awake. I think my body is so used to not getting a full night’s sleep that I can cope pretty well with little sleep.

How much has your blog changed since your first post?

It has certainly changed directions a bit. When I hit publish on that very first post more than 5 years ago, I would have never thought this space would ever be anything other than a place I’d record and share my book reviews. I’ve learned so much through blogging and it has definitely broadened my horizon.

Do you have a hidden talent?

If being able to recite every single Peppa Pig episode counts, then yes. Otherwise, no :-).

Where do you see your blog in five years’ time?

Hopefully still going strong. I’ve only just rediscovered my love for blogging and definitely plan on dedicating more time to this little space.

What was your dream job as a kid?

I always wanted to become a doctor, until I did some work experience in a busy doctor’s surgery specialising in internal medicine – definitely not for me!

Where and when do you write your posts?

I write all my posts either when my youngest takes a nap after lunchtime or in the evening when both of our children are in bed. Although I have a small office space, I usually prefer writing blog posts on the sofa.

Which largely trivial things in life really annoy you?

Bad manners! A simple “please” and “thank you” go a long way!

Thanks for all these questions, Tom! Some were definitely easier to answer than others :-).

Here are my nominations: Laura, Shaz, Katy, Uli, Natalie, Simona, Kate and anyone else who would like to play along.

  1. Which advice would you give your younger self?
  2. What were your reasons behind starting a blog?
  3. What has been your blogging highlight so far?
  4. Which book are you currently reading?
  5. Who are your favourite bloggers/vloggers?
  6. Which location has been your favourite holiday destination?
  7. What’s your favourite time of the year?
  8. What would be your ideal working environment?
  9. What’s your favourite social media channel?
  10. Do you have any bad habits?
  11. Do you still keep in contact with your friends from school?

 

I am so sorry for the lack of activity on my blog recently. To be fair, I don’t really know what happened. I have so many ideas for new blog posts, but have somehow not been able to put them into action. Whenever I started to write a blog post, I came as far as a few sentences and then deleted everything again. Somehow my heart just wasn’t in it. I have just dropped our oldest girl at school (where did the 6 weeks school holidays go???) and whilst our little one is having a nap, I thought I’ll try again.

August has been such a wonderful month for us. I absolutely loved the school holidays. Having both girls home with me was amazing (yes, I did have a little tear in my eye, dropping Morgan off at school this morning).

Meeting my new nephew

We spent the first two weeks of August in Germany (my parents and my sister live over there). Spending time with my family was fantastic and Morgan very much improved her German (I should really raise her bilingual, but I really struggle with this – I am planning a blog post on this in the near future). We explored quite a bit whilst we were over there and had brilliant days out, but the highlight was definitely the birth of my first nephew. Our timing couldn’t have been any better as he was born just a few days after we arrived in Germany which meant, we had plenty of time for those lovely newborn cuddles. Isabelle is only 8 months old, but already I had forgotten how small and fragile newborns really are.

Splashing in the tub

Another August highlight was (and still is) bath time. We started bathing our girls together a few weeks ago, but only during the last few days Isabelle discovered that she is able to splash about and get her sister and herself completely wet. The squeals and delights that are coming out of our two are so heart-warming and make me look with absolute admiration and pride.

Baby wearing

I used to do quite a bit of baby wearing when Morgan was little, but this time around I didn’t really get into it. We used a Baby Bjorn with our oldest daughter and I tried the exact same with our baby girl too. But somehow it didn’t feel right. I was always uncomfortable and too hot and Isabelle didn’t seem to be too keen either. And then, I discovered a wrap. I can honestly say that the wrap changed my whole approach to baby wearing. I LOVE it! And most importantly, our baby girl does to. After a bit of practise, it is super easy to tie the wrap. My back no longer aches and having my baby girl so close to me is such a lovely feeling. I don’t get all hot and sweaty either as the wrap has such a lightweight texture. The other day, we went to Sissinghurst Castle (a gorgeous National Trust property). We only found out when we arrived there, that prams were not allowed in the garden. Luckily I had my trusted wrap with me :-). The one I am using is from Fornessi and I can honestly highly recommend this product (this post is in no way sponsored by Fornessi – we bought the wrap ourselves, but I wanted to give them a little shout-out on here as I am so very happy with this purchase).

So this is basically it, our August highlights. What have you been up to during the school holidays?

*Cough*, *Splutter*, *Sneeze* – yes, cold and flu season is in full swing. Don’t you just hate it when your child is poorly and you feel completely helpless? I always wish it was me instead of them. Our oldest one has been sniffing on and off for the last few weeks. No surprise really as there are so many colds making their rounds in school. We always try and distract her as much as possible when she is poorly. Here are a few things we normally do:

As a special treat, we let her sleep in our bed during the night. We find that being able to cuddle up to us, is definitely helping in making her feel better. I also love the fact that by her being close to us, I can keep an eye on her through the night (especially as she fevers quite quickly and quite high).

We let her choose the foods she’d like to eat for dinner. Yes, we do usually end up eating rather unhealthy choices and might eat pizza three times in a row, but I am certainly not complaining :-).

Or there is always the option of cuddling up on the sofa watching a film. Whatever we do, I make sure she gets plenty of attention and cuddles.

Vicks consumer reserarch showed that over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better. This was followed by medicine, which 40% of parents rely on and more than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC. According to Family Psychologist Corinne Sweet “one of the most powerful antidotes to sickness developing further, is parental care and concern.” 

We are huge fans of Vicks products. We are always well stocked up on Vicks VapoRub. This already goes back to my childhood. I still so vividly remember my mum going to her medicine cabinet to get a tub of Vicks VapoRub to relieve my cold symptoms such as congestion, sore throats and coughs. Just typing this, I can smell its distinctive scent. I loved it then and still do now. 

Vicks have created a range of magic trick videos to give parents some ideas of how to entertain their children when they are poorly. I love the sliced banana trick – so far, we have never used magic tricks to get our daughter to laugh when she was ill, but I’ll definitely be trying some of Vicks magic trick suggestions in the future.

How do you make your children feel better when they are ill?

This post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign.

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Truth be told, I have never particularity given too much thought to “green issues”, especially not before we had our daughter. My husband and I lived busy lives (poor excuse, I know) and were generally out and about a lot. Yes, we did our bit by recycling, but that was pretty much it. However, when our daughter was born, I started to consider the future a lot more. All of a sudden there was just not my generation to think about, but also our daughter’s one.

Unilever recently created the #brightFuture initiative which focuses on small changes that can make  big differences and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably. Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including thorough hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene. As part of the initiative, BritMums and Unilever wanted to know what steps parents take to help in creating a #brightFuture for their children. We accepted the challenge. Here are our thoughts on this matter.

  • Recycling: I believe that this is one of the simplest steps to take – our district council offers a brilliant recycling programme and we are provided with all sorts of bins that are emptied regularly – all there is for us to do is separate our rubbish and sort it into these different bins
  • Walking: We are trying to walk wherever possible and try to avoid using the car too much (this is definitely a new development after we had our daughter – a few years ago, I would take the car even for a short, walkable distance), Not only do we see a drop in our petrol costs, but we are getting a lot more fresh air and doing our bit for the environment at the same time. Our daughter just started primary school a few weeks back. We try and walk to and from school frequently and only sometimes resort to taking the car (usually if we are running late or it is absolutely pouring it down with rain).
  • Saving paper: Our daughter loves to draw and is very much into her arts and crafts. From an early age though, we made sure that she knows not to waste paper. We do let her draw as much as she wants to, but she knows to not just draw one line on a piece of paper and then take a new one. I also keep certain scraps of paper such as bits of wrapping paper (that would have normally gone straight into the bin) for her craft box. Quite often, I will also keep hold of junk mail letters. I find that a lot of the time these include an empty page (usually on the back) and make for brilliant paper for a quick drawing.
  • Saving electricity: We try and make sure that all lights are switched off in rooms that we are not using at the time
  • Hybrid car: my husband recently returned to driving to work, so we needed to get another car. He chose a Honda Insight, as it gives excellent fuel economy and low emissions and encourages you to drive in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Support brands that focus on improving environmental issues such as Unilever. Not only do I like using Unilever products as they do a brilliant job (Persil has always been my preferred detergent), but they are constantly coming up with fantastic supporting campaigns  For example: Domestos is committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Persil has backed a global initiative “Learning for Tomorrow” partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the word’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education and Dove has developed The Dove Self-Esteem Project which worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials, making a postive impact on 19 million young lives.

Which steps are you taking to create a #brightFuture for your children?

This post is our entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever.

Although we do not watch an awful lot of TV, all three of us still have our favourite TV programmes. I usually let our little girl watch Cbeebies in the mornings whilst I rush upstairs to get ready for work. Ever since she was little, Bing is one of the programmes she enjoys the most. A few weeks ago she met Bing and Flop at Drusillas Park. She was completely in awe. As soon as we got back home, she found her Bing DVD’s and pretty much watched them back to back.

Bing

I have to admit, that I enjoy Bing too and it is one of the few programmes I will sit down and watch together with her. We compiled a list of reasons why our whole family loves Bing:

  • Bing behaves like a “real child” (let’s omit the fact, that he is a bunny) – yes, he has tantrums – so much closer to reality (unlike Topsy and Tim…)
  • Lovable animated characters (so cute!)
  • Bing books are perfect for bedtime reading and also easy enough for children who just start out learning to read by themselves

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  • Educational storylines (this is such an important factor for me)
  • We love the innocence about this programme
  • About the right length (our little one often gets bored if programmes/films are on too long)
  • Bing has a beautifully engaging website with so many ideas and activities for little Bingsters

Over the years, we have collected quite a few Bing related toys/items. Mind you, this really only is a small choice, there are other ones scattered around the entire house.

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Our little girl especially loves her knitted Flop. A lady my husband works with kindly knitted this for us, using the knitting pattern provided on Bing’s website.

Which TV programmes are your little one’s favourite?

Disclosure: Some the above shown merchandise was kindly sent to us by Team Bing, but we were under no obligation to write this post.