We’re in the Top 50 UK Pregnancy and Baby Blogs by Tots100

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Yay! What an honour!

Only just discovered this and I’m so pleased to get a mention! I join an illustrious list of fellow bloggers who have little precious people under 12 months of age. There are some major superstars on this list that I read regularly, and some new ones to follow, so I’m really chuffed.

Click on the link below to discover some other mums and dads who are apt to be every bit as shell-shocked by their new arrival as me…

Tots100 UK parent blogs

Sucking Noses…?

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This parenting lark gets more interesting by the day.

With Dexter going further downhill overnight I decided to smuggle him into my own doctor’s appointment and get her to look him over. I love my doctor to bits but she wasn’t that impressed to have a snotty baby thrust in her arms when she’d been expecting a routine appointment with me.

As is so often the way with my son – he started smiling, coo’ing and grinning with the doctor. All morning he’d been pale, distressed and burning up, yet within seconds of meeting someone new, he’s on top form again. The laboured breathing was still evident, and the phlegmy cough, but Dexter cheered up immediately and all the tears in the waiting room were forgotten. Once again, I’m left looking guilty of the biggest overreaction since Helen Flannagan clapped eyes on the hamster wheel in the jungle.

She listened to his back and his chest and confirmed that Dexter was full of cold. One ear was waxy and inflamed but no major cause for concern. As is so often the way with GP’s – we were told to “keep an eye on him”, “keep his temperature down” and “come back in a few days if Dexter’s symptoms persisted” – I don’t know why I thought the advice would be any different. Cold, coughs and aches & pains are rites of passage and discovering snot so perilously close to your little one’s mouth is just one of the many horrific things you encounter as a parent.

Since I’ve literally pulled muscles sprinting to wipe his nose, I decided to try a snot-sucker. This is the name Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews has lovingly bestowed on her nasal aspirator. This joyful little contraption means I will be literally sucking the snot from Dexter nose like crazed mad woman. One end is placed under Dexter’s nostril, the other will be in my mouth… the act of my sucking will draw out the snot into a ‘sealed chamber’ ready for disposal. At least it better work like that! If it doesn’t, I’m very likely to be sick all over the two of us.

Clever marketing pics make this almost look normal - I looked nowhere near as glamourous!

Clever marketing pics make this almost look normal – I looked nowhere near as glamorous!

POST NOSE-SUCKING SUMMARY

Needless to say my son was seriously not impressed. The screaming was pretty much instantaneous and Craig literally had to grip his arms and hold him still. Pretty quickly we realised we didn’t have to heart to put him through it and gave him a cuddle instead.

We’re clearly yet to master the skills of sucking noses, but we will do. If Cheryl can do it, I can! It’s that or leave him a dribbling snot-filled mess. Daddy’s turn tonight – woo hoo!

A poorly Dexter – Advice for dealing with colds anyone?

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So my poorly boy has his first ever cold. Craig woke me up at 3am last night as he’d awoke to find Dexter making funny noises. He’d been in to see Dexter and discovered him struggling to breathe as his nose was so blocked. We gave him a big cuddle and some sinus drops and all went back to sleep. Unfortunately Dexter woke up crying at 4am and we had to pop him in bed with us to settle him back down.

Today has been one big struggle. Dexter’s nose is streaming and I’ve been hovering over him all morning with a muslin trying to catch it all. He’s not old enough to blow his nose yet and he’s reluctant to let me wipe as he has to hold his breath when I cover his airways. He’s been understandably tearful and nothing I do seems to make it better. He’s also been clutching at his ear a fair bit and Craig and I both noticed it seemed red and hot the day before – that’s probably an earache then on top of the cold.

We’ve tried to control his temperature with Calpol, and give him plenty of fluids, but it’s so tough watching him suffer. I know it’s the first of many and there’s no point rushing to the GP, but it’s a bit of a guessing game knowing what to do when they’re so young and can’t tell you what’s getting to them. He’s usually so cheerful and happy – but now his crying is just incessant and I’m getting worried. He won’t let me put him down either which has made for an interesting morning of housework.

Anyone got any tips for dealing with minor colds and coughs? I’m worried that he won’t know to breathe through his mouth if it worsens.

Cousin Sky’s Birthday!

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We had lots of fun at Cousin Sky’s 5th birthday party on Saturday. It was a princess and pirate theme but unfortunately Mummy and Daddy forgot and you went as… well Dexter.

There was a big hall with a disco and all your family were there. The DJ doubled up as an entertainer, puppet master and magician…

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Cousin Lenny seemed to really enjoy the magic tricks! The funniest thing by far though was watching the older kids start their heckling careers – “I know how you do that one”, “Are you really a magician or do you just lie?” – I was in fits taking the photographs.

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We even had a guest appearance from Philip Schofield! Okay, okay – it’s only Grandad but they do look like each other!

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You tried cucumber for the first time! You had a tiny chew and we were still fishing out little chunks of it an hour later. I’m not sure you were that impressed…

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Bella is really growing now and you both had lots of cuddles from all the family. You’ve both got teeth now – Bella has one, and you have two!

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You stayed awake for the whole party with minimal tears despite your teething. You had a few dances with mummy and were brilliantly behaved.

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Unfortunately it was all too much fun for some of us and Bella crashed on her Daddy before the day was through… awww!

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Not so much a baby anymore…

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We took some random shots of Dexter yesterday. Flicking through them it struck me just how much older he looks!

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His hair is really growing now and getting a little darker. We always had visions of growing his hair and letting it become a shaggy mess. I love seeing little boys with mops of hair – it’s definitely one of those 80’s trends that’s making a comeback (think E.T and Kramer vs Kramer). I also think it’s really ‘age appropriate’ – little boys shouldn’t worry about their hair, they should be out having fun. Craig and I are really keen that Dexter doesn’t grow up before his time and I suppose the mop look kind of went hand in hand with this.

Now I’m thinking that long hair won’t suit him. He has these adorable big ears which give him heaps of personality. He looks like a cheeky monkey and his ears add to this perfectly. His hair is also very thick at the back – and isn’t as soft as that on the top of his head. We’ll have to see when he’s a little older but I have a funny feeling that he’ll be sporting a mullet if we grow it out.

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His cheeks have also filled out as a result of his teething. This is giving his little face more definition and structure. His cheekbones and round face come from me, his chin and ears are most definitely his daddy’s. I love the fact there are bits of both of us in there. It’s almost as though someone cherry-picked our best features and planted them on Dexter.

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But my all time favourite thing is Dexter’s sparkly big blue eyes which are very similar to mine. When he smiles, it travels straight to his eyes and his whole face lights up.

He’s so very handsome – we’re definitely the luckiest parents alive. I just can’t wait to see what the next few months / years bring!

Review: Snapfish – How about a photo book for Christmas?

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Craig and I have been talking about photo books for a while now. We’ve got plans to create a book every Christmas so Dexter has a number of volumes by the time he leaves home. As an amateur photographer, this house is full of prints of Dexter and we’re running out of room to house canvasses. I’ve actually used a number of different photo printing services over the last few months – Canvas prices can be really expensive so we’ve traditionally shopped around.

When we were contacted about trialling Snapfish. It seemed the best opportunity to use a more reputable company for our photo book. I’ve had some shocking service from other print providers (late delivery, poor quality, terrible editing suites) – as we knew Snapfish was a HP company, we had really high expectations. As we wanted our photo book project to be our main gift to Dexter, we needed it to be perfect.

Needless to say, we are overjoyed with the result. In truth, every single stage of the process was easy.

SOFTWARE

Uploading our images was simple. We’d already selected our images prior to uploading. As these are scattered in multiple file locations on the laptop, we selected each image individually and they were uploaded in seconds. I also did a quick test to see if the uploader would handle multiple file selection (e.g. Ctrl, Alt multiple images and upload in one click) – and the uploader tool handled this with ease. There was even a click and drag option which is fabulous if your photos are scattered in multiple locations (like ours).

PROJECT CREATION

There were a number of photo book options to choose from starting from just £5.99. We selected the most expensive as we wanted a big hardback book – this was £42.99.

The project creation tool was surprisingly straightforward. You select a background theme, then drag and drop your photos into your project. There is an autofill option if you aren’t technically minded too. It’s then down to you to customise your project by resizing your pictures, cropping them, rotating them, and adding text (you don’t have to do this and can simply delete the text box).

The process took us around an hour as we had some 50 photos and decided to edit each of them. There was also a tip section if you wanted to explore all the possibilities available for your project.

COMMUNICATION AND DELIVERY

Excellent. I had an email to confirm my order, another to tell me it was ready for delivery and to confirm my dispatch address. The book was with me in 3 days and perfectly packaged.

VALUE FOR MONEY

These projects are never cheap; they’re an investment if anything. It’s definitely worth selecting a company like Snapfish as the quality is amazing and the end result is a priceless collection of photographs to flick through for years to come. It’s well worth creating an account and waiting for the latest deals to be emailed to you – there’s always great 3 for 2 offers and seasonal deals.

I’ve tried to show the quality of the sheen on the pages – it’s beautiful

OTHER PRINT SERVICES

As you’d expect Snapfish offer an array of different services including mugs, calendars, acrylic blocks and canvasses, aswell as a number of festive products such as tree ornaments and jigsaw puzzles. There’s some fantastic ideas for Christmas presents for all the family so well worth having a nosy at their website.

You can like Snapfish UK on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to get inspiration for your own project and stay informed about the latest offers and deals.

Disclaimer: I was provided with £35 worth of vouchers and free p&p for my order, for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are my own.

Worst Customer Service Ever?

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Whilst ringing around to gather some quotes for getting our chimney swept:

(Phone rings)

Anon: Yep

Craig: Um… This is XXXX? You sweep chimneys?

Anon: Yeah

Craig: Excellent. I’m calling to get a quote for having our chimney swept…

Anon: (laughter) … You must be hard up then mate

Craig: Excuse me?

Anon: Money must be tight!

Craig: No. We’ve never had a chimney swept before so I’m just calling around to find out how much it will be. It’s an open fire…

Anon: Best keep calling around then mate (hangs up)

I’m absolutely shocked! I figure he must have had a shocking day. Perhaps his pet died, he walked in on his wife in bed with the Gas Man, or maybe his numbers came up in the lottery and he forgot to buy the ticket… must have been pretty awful to think that this conversation was acceptable.

Craig actually made this call at work and was laughing about it by the time he returned home. I guess my other half knows me pretty well as he refused to tell me the company name. I’d definitely be on that phone now giving this idiot a piece of advice or two.

I appreciate we’re in a recession and local businesses are feeling the strain. It must be a competitive industry and frustrating to be constantly priced out of the market by bigger competitors – but this is essentially a service industry. This guy probably relies on repeat business from homeowners – and this is probably his busiest time! He needs new clients right now to keep the money coming in to keep him afloat during the slow summer months. What a ridiculous way to speak to people!

Turns out we were pretty naive as it’s only costing us £50; so a pretty minor sum. But we weren’t to know how inexpensive it was when we made that enquiry. He could have quoted us £70 and we’d have gone ahead and booked. A prize idiot it would seem.

Have you had got any incredulous customer service stories? Would you ever name and shame?