Saturday, 3 October 2015

Look in my letterbox #7

Look in my letterbox is a weekly linky running on Saturdays. It's to showcase everything you've received through the letterbox that week. This could be  competition wins, freebies, review products or even a rant about the bills all posts are welcome as long as the item was received that week:
  • Linky runs Saturday to the following Friday
  • Link 1 post showcasing either a haul or a singular item you've received through the letterbox this week
  • Mention me on twitter @mummysmonkey #LIML for a retweet
  • I visit all my linkers and promote during the week, it would be lovely if you could visit your fellow linkers
  • Spread the word!
I'm really pleased to be guest hosting again this week. Thanks to everybody who linked up last week and hope to see you again today. Alice Megan will be back next week and we'll be back to normal over on her blog.

I'm sorry I'm so late this week. I've been waiting in for the postman who didn't arrive until well after one. He did bring a letter for Monkey though so she was all smiles.

Most of the post this week has been birthday cards for me. I'm so lucky to have such lovely friends. These didn't all arrive in the post but here's a small selection of the cards I received - they wouldn't all fit on the fireplace.

My Finnish penpal is an extremely talented crafter (check out her blog here!) and she made me this beautiful bookmark as a gift. She also sent me a lovely notebook all packaged up with rare Finnish stamps to help with various charity appeals. 

Stationary has been a bit of a theme this week. People obviously know I'm obsessed! I received a paperchase gift card (already spent!) and this colourful paper from another penpal.

As well as lots of lovely birthday post I've had confirmation of next years voucher order from Park Hampers. This year is the first year I've done it but it was so easy so I'm starting early for next year. I've also had penpal lettters from Leeds, Dublin, the Czech Republic and USA.

What have you had this week?

Blogtober day 3 - Everyday Essentials

For some people an everyday essential might be their morning coffee. Or that foundation they simply can't leave the house without. For us it's something slightly different.

If you've read this blog before you will know that Monkey has allergies. She's allergic to dairy, soya, egg, wheat, apples and pears. Everyday essentials aren't just something that makes our day a bit happier. They really are essential to keep Monkey safe and well.

Our day usually starts with this.

Neocate Spoon. It's a specialist prescription food that means despite her limited diet Monkey is getting all the calories, vitamins and minerals that she needs. It's horrible stuff, reminds me of wallpaper paste. It's a powder that you mix with water to make a sticky flavourless goo. You can mix it with other foods to give it more of a flavour but for some strange reason Monkey likes it just the way it is and polishes the lot off for breakfast - along with a banana and cereal or porridge.

Monkey has been having Neocate Spoon since she was 4 months old and it's definitely made a difference. She's always struggled with her weight gain and is still tiny now but is back on the chart and following the 2nd centile quite happily.

Another essential for us is the medicine bag. It comes everywhere with us. Thankfully we've not had to use it very often but it has everything we need to help Monkey if she has a reaction. There's paracetamol for tummy pains and mild reactions. We've also got piriton and inhalers for more serious reactions. She's quite good with medicine but hates having her inhaler. At the moment we don't have epipens although they haven't been ruled out. She is too small to have one at the moment so if piriton doesn't work straight away we have to ring 999.

Oilatum isn't used everyday but it us an essential. Monkey's eczema can flare up as part of a reaction or sometimes just for no clear reason. So far we've been lucky that Oilatum has helped as I wouldn't want to use a stronger, steroid based cream on her face.

Our final essential is a smile. And Monkey is full of them!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Blogtober day 2 - My favourite quotes

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite quote is, I always give them the same answer. This!

I remember watching it and not having a clue what he was going on about. It didn't matter though. It was Eric and it sounded great!

There have been all kinds of theories since about what he actually meant. I still haven't got a clue though. And while I still love it and it will always make me smile I thought I'd think more about quotes for this post.

I decided I wanted to find quotes about how I feel about being Monkey's mummy and share a few of my favourites. And here they are...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Happy Blogtober!

So today is the 1st of October, a very special day! Not only is it the anniversary of my birth (I hope you're all celebrating!) but it's also the first day of Blogtober - a month long blogging event.

I've signed up to Blogtober because I love this little blog but I know I don't post as often as I should. The idea is that I will post every day in October using the daily prompts.

Today's prompt asks me to tell you 5 things about me, so here goes!

1. Being a mummy terrifies me.
It's the best thing I've ever done and I love it but being a mum is scary! All of a sudden it's not just me I have to worry about. I'm responsible for this gorgeous tiny person. I have to keep her safe and help her grow into the best person she can be. She's still at that age where she thinks mummy can make everything better. I don't ever want to let her down.

2. I was 'that' person.
Every allergy mum has come across one - the person who doesn't believe in allergies. I'm ashamed to admit this was me before Monkey was poorly. Seeing your baby girl looking like this soon changes your mind though.
Now I believe in allergies. We're dealing with them every day. And as much as 'that' person annoys me, it's mainly down to a lack of awareness which is why next month we'll be taking part in Moovember (cow's milk protein allergy awareness month). Look out for more on this.

3. Monkey's my fave but I love giraffes.
I am slightly obsessed with giraffes and I'm passing this obsession on to Monkey. She has lots of toy giraffes and giraffe based books. A VTech Baby Toot-Toot Animals - Giraffe was the latest addition to our collection and of course our favourite book is Giraffes Can't Dance.

4. I am the girliest tomboy I know.
I love my football. And football should be watched properly. Stood up, on the terraces, singing and shouting loudly. I do all that but I like to do it with pretty nails. And dressed in pink :-)

5. I have a habit of starting challenges I don't finish.
I'm determined to see this one through though. If you notice a day in October that I've not blogged please feel free to give me a nudge!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

What a difference a year makes

This time last year was probably my lowest point as a mummy. I'd spent most of the afternoon in A&E with Monkey after her arms and legs had swollen up and she'd got very wheezy.

A&E sent us down to the children's observation and assessment unit who decided to admit her. It was about this time when we went onto the ward. Monkey was in a lot of pain and crying lots. We were quickly moved to a private room so we didn't disturb all the other children.

All day as we were moved from one department to another I'd kept it together. But when we finally got Monkey to sleep and my husband and mum left the hospital, I cried. There had been something going on with Monkey from the day she was born and the last month had been horrendous. We'd been sent to the hospital loads of times but this was our first overnight stay. She looked so tiny and helpless in that hospital cot. And I didn't feel like there was anything I could do to help her.

Fast forward a year and I'm feeling so much more positive. We ended up in hospital for five nights and although it was horrible it did mean we finally got Monkey's allergies confirmed and came under the care of a consultant and dietitian.

Monkey is doing great now. She's still small but she is back on the chart and following her line. She's happy and smiley and into everything. She loves her food which can be tricky as she still doesn't understand that some foods make her poorly.

We still don't really know what will happen with Monkey's allergies. There are no plans to reintroduce any of the main allergens until January at the very earliest. There is talk of more tests as she gets older but in the meantime we are just enjoying life. I still worry and there are still days where it's all a bit overwhelming but on the whole as long as we avoid certain foods everything is fine. Just look at the difference a year makes!


Look in My Letterbox #6

Look in my letterbox is a weekly linky running on Saturdays. It's to showcase everything you've received through the letterbox that week. This could be  competition wins, freebies, review products or even a rant about the bills all posts are welcome as long as the item was received that week:
  • Linky runs Saturday to the following Friday
  • Link 1 post showcasing either a haul or a singular item you've received through the letterbox this week
  • Mention me on twitter @mummysmonkey #LIML for a retweet
  • I visit all my linkers and promote during the week, it would be lovely if you could visit your fellow linkers
  • Spread the word!
I'm very excited to be guest hosting Look in my letterbox this week while the lovely Alice Megan has a well deserved break. Anybody who reads my blog regularly will know that me and Monkey love our post and that this is one of my favourite link ups.

Monkey has been sad this week as she's had no post at all. She's expecting a couple of things next week though and maybe some penpal letters too.

It's been a quiet week for me as well. I've had three penpal letters, two from Scotland and one from Blackpool. I've also had my final statement from my Christmas hamper savings which has got me very giddy. I've done some Christmas shopping already but as soon as my vouchers arrive it's time for the serious shopping to start!

The most exciting post this week has been the first few birthday cards starting to arrive. It's not my birthday until Thursday but I have organised friends!

What's dropped through your letterbox this week? Link up and tell us!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Elmer at baby book club

We've had another lovely afternoon at baby book club. Today we read Elmer. I'm goibg to be completely honest and say I chose this book based purely on the fact that I'd seen an activity I wanted to do.

Elmer is one of those books that I thought I knew. After all, it's been around for ages and everybody recognises that cute little patchwork elephant. But when it came to planning book club I realised I didn't have the book and I didn't really know the story.

I wasn't going to let that stop me though. Off to Amazon I went and grabbed myself a copy of the book. And what a lovely book it was!

I loved the theme in Elmer that it was ok to be different and that you shouldn't have to change in order to be accepted. It was great that they could get this message across in a way that was fun for children and didn't come across as too preachy.

As always after reading the story together, we got messy together at book club. We had two activities today. The first was to make our very own patchwork elephants using cut down milk bottles and tissue paper. I was quite impressed with my example one but soon discovered it was much more difficult with Monkey helping. She seemed to enjoy taking the paper squares off much more than putting them on. We got there in the end though.

The next activity was to help all the grey elephants get ready for Elmer's Day by decorating them with bright colours. We decided that just as Elmer rolled in elephant coloured berries to disguise themselves, the grey elephants should roll in brightly coloured berries. The babies loved squashing all the berries with their toy elephants and of course they ate lots too. And made a total mess!

The next book club is a book that's a favourite of Little Hercules - 
The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm. We've never read it before so we're looking forward to that. What have you been reading this week?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Look in my letterbox #5

Well, with one thing and another I haven't managed to blog for a while. I even missed last week's Look in my letterbox which I'm annoyed at myself for.

I'm back to normal this week though so here is what's arrived at the Monkey House this week. As always I'm linking up with the lovely Alice Megan.

It's been a very quiet week here. Just two letters for me, and none for Monkey. My letters both came from pals in England who share my love of cute writing sets. I love seeing such bright and colourful envelopes come through my letterbox. So much nicer than boring old bills!

The only other thing that's arrived is an envelope full of envelopes! It sounds strange but it's a way of raising funds for our Baby Book Club. We're registered with a website who buy used stamps from fundraisers. It's ideal for somebody like me who gets a lot of post but it's something that all of the members can get involved in. They sent me pre-paid envelopes to give out at our next book club on Monday. I'm hoping it will be successful. It's really important to me to keep book club free but it's grown faster than expected and we don't get any funding. If you have any used stamps, I'll gladly take them off your hands!

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

When I was a little girl The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr was one of my favourite books. I'm not quite sure why I loved it so much. It's quite a simple story but it's always made me smile.

When Monkey was born I knew I wanted to do lots of reading with her. The Tiger Who Came to Tea was one of the first books I bought her. We've read it loads and it's become a firm favourite with her just as it was with me.

So I suppose it was only a matter of time until we read it at baby book club. And today was the day.

It was a busy book club today. We've been at the children's centre a while now but this was the first one that had been properly advertised and open to everyone. We had five babies who were joining us for the first time which was great to see. It's amazing how quickly it's grown from just a few friends in my front room.

As always we started by reading the story out loud. We then had a pretend tea party. The children played with tea sets and ate biscuits. We've found some Monkey safe biscuits lately so she was very pleased with that activity.

The craft activity this week was a tiger collage. We had a black sugar paper tiger and an assortment of orange things to make the stripes. We had patterned paper, lentils, foam, netting, tissue paper and ribbon. The lentils ended up everywhere but some did make it onto the tigers.

I've got very happy memories of this book and I hope that after this afternoon the baby book club members will have too.


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Look in my letterbox #4

It's been a busy week for my letterbox this week. Here's my weekly round up, linking up with Alice Megan as usual.

Monday was a Bank Holiday so no post here. It did give me a chance to catch up with some of my replies though.

I got my favourite piece of post on Tuesday. Last week I wrote about a christmas card for Regina. Regina is a little girl who lives in Uganda. I sponsor her through the charity World Vision and they sent me an update of their work in her community. It's always amazing to see what a difference a small amount can make. What I really liked about this update though was that I got an up to date photo of Regina.

There was no post at the Monkey House on Wednesday but then on Thursday there were four penpal letters for me and one for Monkey.

A bumper parcel arrived on Friday jam-packed with charity goodies. There were also penpal letters in there for both me and Monkey. Monkey's was written in this beautiful hand made card. These tiny penpals are certainly talented!

There were no penpal letters this morning but there was still post. We got the latest newsletter from Allergy UK. They've really helped me and Monkey (I blogged about it here) so we like to keep updated and support them with fundraising when we can.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Adventures with Alice

When on holiday in Llandudno last week I noticed lots of references to a book I loved as a child - Alice in Wonderland. I wasn't aware of any link between the two but a quick google told me that Llandudno is the home of Alice in Wonderland.

Alice Liddell was the real life Alice in Wonderland. She spent her holidays in Llandudno with her family and her adventures there are believed to be the inspiration for the book.

Llandudno is proud of it's connection to Alice in Wonderland. There is an Alice trail you can do. It's only £2.99 and can be a nice walk but be warned it's not buggy friendly! After walking round the Orme and managing to get the buggy down some steps we were faced with a gate we couldn't get through. Luckily Daddy Monkey was there to lift the pram over.

If you ignore the pram disasters, we enjoyed the trail. It was a nice walk in the sunshine, we found new places to explore and Monkey seemed to like the statues.

Once we were back there was really only one bedtime story we could have. Monkey is still too young for the original book but in a strange coincidence we had borrowed the Ladybird First Favourite Tales version from the library before we went.

This is a great version of the story to read with young children. There is lots of rhyme and the main parts of the story are told simply and clearly. It's a very colourful book with lots of bright pictures which Monkey enjoyed.

We'll be looking out for more in the series!


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Allergy friendly ice cream

We had a little holiday with Monkey last week which is why the blog was quiet. We went to Llandudno and had a fab time. That's a whole other blog post though. For now I just want to talk about the highlight of the holiday for me....


It's just one of those things you do at the seaside isn't it? Or at least it is for most people. When you're dealing with multiple allergies it's not quite that simple.

There are certain foods it really upsets me that Monkey can't have. Ice-cream is one of them. Yes, I know it's hardly a staple and she doesn't actually need it but it's always been my number one comfort food and what kid doesn't love ice-cream?

So it was a lovely surprise when we stumbled across The Looking Glass, a gorgeous ice-cream parlour. They do home made ice cream in lots of lovely flavours. We were gazing longingly through the window thinking we might nip back when Monkey was asleep when I saw a sign saying they had dairy free, vegan and gluten free options.

I went in for a chat thinking surely it was too good to be true. It was bound to contain soya and once again I'd have a disappointed little girl. But nope - not only did they have something Monkey could eat but she actually had a choice! All the sorbets were suitable and there was a choice of about five.

I've bought sorbet from supermarkets in the past but it's never felt like ice-cream. The texture is all wrong. The Looking Glass' sorbets weren't like that at all though, they looked and tasted just like ice cream. Monkey has started to notice when we give her something different but she really felt like she was having the same as us.

It's hard sometimes as an allergy mum having to say no especially while Monkey is still too young to understand why. It's even harder whilst on holiday. I want her to be able to have treats but I'm less likely to take risks. At home we have a GP, health visitor, consultant and dietitian supporting us, away from home we're on our own. I felt confident at The Looking Glass though and seeing Monkey eat her first ever 'ice-cream' really was the highlight of my holiday.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Look in my letterbox #3

It's Saturday again and that means it's time to link up with Alice Megan for Look in my letterbox

It's been a very quiet mail week at the Monkey House with only two penpal letters for me and one for Monkey. Hers did come all the way from Dubai though and was written in a very cute home made card. I really love these tiny penpals. I hope it's something Monkey will continue as she gets older.

Monkey was very excited by another piece of post I received. She seems to have inherited my love of christmas. I've started my shopping already but I know a lot of people don't like thinking about it this early. I'm mentioning it for a good reason though because today we received our christmas card from World Vision.

It wasn't a card for us. It was a card for Regina, the little girl we sponsor through them. It might seem early but it's got a long journey to get to her village in Uganda so we need to get it on it's way. We enjoy writing to Regina and don't want to miss this chance to wish her Ssekukulu Ennugi & Omwaka Omugya ogwe'ssanyu (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year in Luganda).

What's been through your letterbox this week?

Monday, 24 August 2015

Stories, fruit and paint!

It's Monday and we're all messy. It can only mean one thing - baby book club!

We had our big scary meeting at the children's centre last week. It wasn't actually that scary! The manager was lovely and we're now all official. We've got the room and we're open to everyone.

Today we read one of my favourites from when I was younger - The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

As always we started by reading the story with the babies in a circle. We had lots of toy caterpillars out for them to play with as they were listening.

All the food in the story made us hungry so we had a tasting session. Apples for Monday, pears for Tuesday, plums for Wednesday, strawberries for Thursday and oranges for Friday. Monkey can't have apples and pears although we are working on reintroducing them so I had to distract her with banana. She enjoyed the rest of the fruit though and oranges seemed to be her favourite.

We didn't eat the weekend meals as they were so huge. I think Monkey was a bit disappointed as she does love her food.

The craft activity today was very messy but lots of fun. We used hand printing to make a caterpillar picture and made butterflies using footprints. There was paint everywhere! The babies were covered and I ended up wearing a lot of it too. We did manage to get some on the paper though and Monkey made this lovely picture.

Book club is fast becoming one of our favourite activities. We can't wait for the next one.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Look in my letterbox #2

Welcome to week two of nosying through the letterbox of the Monkey House. We're linking up with Alice Megan again for Look in My Letterbox.

It was a quiet mail week for me again this week. I started the week with a parcel of biscuit wrappers all the way from Dubai. It sounds a strange thing to receive I know but I save them to raise money for charity so I was really grateful for this donation.

I've had three penpal letters this week, all from UK pals. I really need to start working my way through my replies if I want to get any more.

Monkey had a bumper post day on Tuesday. Look at all this!

She had letters from three of her little penpals. One penpal had remembered how much we love giraffes and sent her this teddy. She also received this season's membership for the world's greatest football club - FC United of Manchester!

Have you had anything interesting in the post this week?

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Keeping Monkey going

I always find breakfast difficult. I love my food but it's hard to be creative so early in a morning and I find I tend to eat the same kinds of thing each day. When you throw in allergies to dairy, soya, egg, wheat, apples and pears breakfast gets even more difficult. Poor Monkey has had the same breakfast every day since we started to wean her - Neocate spoon (prescription food to help with her weight), porridge fingers made with oat milk and if she's feeling really hungry (she usually is!) a banana.

So we were delighted to discover Keep Me Going, a brand new cereal which is free from all Monkey's allergens and also free from all the rubbish that is often found in kids cereals. We were even more delighted when they sent us a box to try!

Keep Me Going is the first in a new range of cereals developed by a dad who was worried about the salt and sugar content in many of the breakfast cereals available. It contains less sugar, less salt, is low in fat, high in fibre and has a low GI. All that and safe for Monkey to eat. The main ingredients are oats and barley with nothing nasty added.

I wasn't sure how Monkey would do with cereal. We did baby led weaning with her and she refuses to be spoon fed. Her own spoon control is still not great though so this had the potential to be a messy breakfast. I decided to serve it up with just a small amount of oat milk. She managed to eat the lot though with none going overboard. Surely an empty bowl from a happy smiley 13 month old says more about the product than I could ever do with my ramblings. She seemed to love it.

I don't usually eat cereal as I don't like milk. No allergies with me, just fussiness so the alternative milks are no good either. I've taken to grabbing a handful of this stuff and eating it dry as a snack though. It's really quite tasty!

Keep me Going is designed to appeal to all the family. It's not specifically marketed at kids so no cutesie characters on the box or anything like that. They have included three trading cards with each pack though. They're a Top Trumps style game based on countries of the world. You can print out a world mad for the trading cards at

At the moment Keep me going is only available from Ocado. It's £2.65 for a 375g box which I don't think is a bad price. It's certainly cheaper than most of the Free From ranges. Ocado isn't somewhere I usually shop but there are discounts available for your first order with them. The company are in talks with other supermarkets but they want to see how they perform at Ocado first. I'm really hoping they'll do well and I'll be able to buy it in Tesco for my Monkey very soon.

Family Fever

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Look in my letterbox #1

We're a bit obsessed with post in the Monkey House.

As a kid I loved Postman Pat and one of my favourite toys was my post office. I used to play with it for hours and wanted to work in a real one when I grew up. I still do! The only problem is I want to run one of those little country post offices that they're shutting down everywhere.

By the age of seven I'd found the perfect hobby to go with my obsession - penpalling! And nearly 30 years later (how did that happen?) I still love it. I have loads of penpals from all over the world.

Monkey has started to share my hobby and has five penpals of her own. Some are the children of my penpals, others we know through my facebook baby group. Obviously at 13 months old Monkey isn't writing a letter but she draws pictures and loves it when I read her letters to her. I'm hoping it's something she'll carry on with as she gets older.

Towards the end of last week I discovered a wonderful linky called Look in my letterbox and I knew I had to join in. Typically that means that this week has been a slow post week but here's what arrived this week.

Monday and Friday were rubbish days with no post. They're very rare at the Monkey House.

On Tuesday two boxes of cereal arrived for Monkey.

This is a brand new cereal that is completely safe for Monkey to eat. We've been sent a few boxes to try and will be reviewing it here very soon.

I also received a letter from my penpal Elaine on this very cute Guess how much I love you paper.

Wednesday and Thursday was the battle if the loyalty cards as I got vouchers from Tesco clubcard and Sainsburys Nectar card. A letter from the Czech Republic also arrived on Thursday.

This morning I had letters from pals in Glasgow and Slovakia. I love seeing all the stamps from different countries. They're so much prettier than ours.

I wonder what the postman will bring next week.