Tag: Toddlers

Potty Training Baby Annabell

We bought Violet a Baby Annabell doll for her Birthday in January and she absolutely loves her. I think she’s still a bit young for the whole ‘Mam’s & Dad’s’ imaginative role play yet, but she loves to take care of her dolly.

After the first few days of playing with Baby Annabell, Violet started asking for accessories for her. Mama, where’s her dress? Where’s her hair band? Where’s her potty? So I was over the moon when I was asked if I’d like to try out and review some of the brand new accessory range for Baby Annabell.

I chose the potty training set as I thought this would be the best option for Violet; and I was right!

The RRP of the set is £12.99 (doll sold separately) and it comes with a cute little pink potty and some other ‘pretendy’ accessories including powder bottle, wipes and nappies.

As soon as it was opened, Violet undressed baby Annabell with some urgency shouting “Don’t wee in your knickers Annabell!”. She then plonked her on the potty and told her to get to it! I showed Violet that Baby Annabell will wee if you press the button (heart) on her tummy and sure enough the water she had just taken from her bottle came trickling out into the potty!

Violet absolutely loves playing with this and it makes a great addition to the Annabell collection we will no doubt be collecting over the years to come. I love how much she’s now starting to use her imagination whilst playing on her own- I’m not so sure she’ll have this much interest in potty training once her brother starts later in the year though!

Does your little one have a favourite dolly?

Mother Hermit xx


‘We were sent the Baby Annabell Potty Training Set in exchange for this review. All photo’s, views and opinions are that of my own’


Starting Nursery at 1 Year Old

So Daddy has started a new job (yay!) but unfortunately this new job means he can no longer work from home on Friday’s, the weekday I work an afternoon shift. This means that we’ve had to think about putting both kids into nursery for a full day on a Friday. No big deal, right? That’s what I thought…

I always said I wouldn’t put my kids into nursery under two years old, and I didn’t with my daughter, she started this time last year after just turning two. However, I started working part time in September last year and now I don’t really like the thought of not working, even though it is only 16 hours per week, it gives me an ‘escape’ and more importantly, some pocket money! This means that our son, who turned one in February, will have to attend nursery with his big sister so I can continue to work.


Billy has always showed an interest in the nursery setting every time we drop off or collect Violet so I hadn’t been all that worried about him starting. We had his first half hour visit yesterday where I got to stay with him and talk to the staff whilst he had a little explore. He was a bit cautious at first, clinging onto me and checking I was still there before he moved or touched anything but by the time the visit was nearly over, he had come out of his shell a bit more. This made me feel a bit better about the whole thing and I was quite looking forward to visit number two!

Visit number two today meant that I had to drop him off and leave him for an hour. So off we headed this afternoon, backpack nearly the size of him and the biggest smile on his face walking with his sister. This smile lasted around five minutes sadly as when we got there he was ushered into the baby room and he quickly realised that Mammy was leaving without him and the screaming began. We literally live across the road from the nursery so Violet and I headed home for a peaceful lunch and quick tidy up; well as much as I could manage in that hour. As the time passed the more nervous I became, constantly checking my phone to check the time and for missed calls from the nursery. This then turned into comfort eating as my anxiety started playing hell with me. This is a normal feeling for any parent right?!

An hour later we headed back to the nursery only to be greeted by a staff member who immediately explained that he had cried for the FULL hour and they couldn’t settle him at all!! I felt awful! She suggested that another hour stay be booked in this week to see if he will come around a bit better tomorrow. But now I’m panicking that he might not settle into nursery at all and I’ll have to quit my job and be a SAHM again- the horror! I love it really but I’m quite enjoying having this pocket money which is currently putting me through my driving lessons!

By the time he came out of the room he was beetroot red, sweating, slavering, he looked bloody terrible! He did have his 12 month Imm’s yesterday though so I’m kind of hoping it could have been something to do with the after effects of those (4 horrible, horrible jabs!) and not just that he was utterly pissed off that his Mam had left him in a strange place with unfamiliar women and twisty babies!

It got me thinking that it could possibly be his age? Maybe I’m doing this at the wrong time for him? When babies are younger they don’t realise as much what’s happening around them and when they’re a bit older they think it’s fun as they get constant play with other kids. But at Billy’s age it’s like he just knows that he’s being left and I’m hurting his feelings; proper Mammy guilt going on here, can you tell?!

Please tell me this gets easier?? How old was your little one when they started nursery? How long did it take them to settle?

Mother Hermit xx

Mr Tumble Has Come To Play!

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, most recently in my Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party post, both of my kids absolutely love Something Special and Mr Tumble. I think most kids do- he’s clearly a very likeable character and I have to admit, sometimes I even find myself having a chuckle at him! So when I  was asked if I’d like some new Mr Tumble toys to try out from Golden Bear toys, I couldn’t really say no, knowing how much everyone loves him.



I’ve never come across any Mr Tumble toys before so didn’t really know what to expect. We received a Fun Sounds Musical Car and Felt Set. Both of these are aimed at children 3+. That means nothing to my two as they’ll have a go at playing with them regardless- I think that probably goes for any child too. The musical car was a huge hit as it makes many different noises, sings the Something Special theme tune and each character features with different phrases. There’s also a Mr Tumble figurine and he fits into the car. Violet loves this one but it’s definitely more of a hit with Billy, who even at only 9 months, is becoming a huge fan of cars, especially those that make a ‘broom, broom’ noise like this one does! It even has a flashing nose on the front which he finds fascinating! It also comes with four makaton word cards which slot into the back of the vehicle. He plays with this one everyday and it’s usually the first toy he crawls to.

MrTumble7Violet’s favourite is the Felt Set. When this arrived she spent the full afternoon playing with it. It comes with Mr Tumble and other characters from Something Special and absolutely loads, over 60, different pieces so you can dress them up in numerous different outfits and give them different accessories. I remember having a felt set like this when I was little but she wasn’t up for letting me play so I just got to watch. Can’t complain about that though as there truly is something magical about watching your child use their imagination like this! It’s provided hours and hours of fun for Violet. She’s constantly playing with it and creating different scenarios- when it’s time for bed, she’ll put Mr Tumbles jarmies on for him, when the sun is shining, he needs his sunglasses on!


There are lots of toys to choose from in the new Something Special Mr Tumble range from Golden Bear Toys and you can find out all about them here.

Do your little ones like Mr Tumble?

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent both of these toys in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

The 10 Negatives of a Toilet “Trained” Toddler

The ultimate joy you feel when potty trained becomes toilet trained. It’s great isn’t it? The utter pride you feel boasting to everyone when it’s complete? Well I now know that those comments of “Oh that’s brilliant, makes life much easier for you now!”, are quite frankly, utter crap! Those people are clearly secretly thinking “Oh good luck with that love, you’ll be wishing she was back in nappies in no time”, followed by an evil chuckle.
Here are 10 of the negatives I’ve experienced so far…
1. Wanting to use the toilet CONSTANTLY.
Seriously. Once they’ve gotten used to using the toilet they will want to use it all of the time, regardless of whether they actually need it or not. This will drive you insane, especially in the beginning when you have to accompany them to the bathroom every. Single. Time! Having to wait for them to finish, even though you know their either not going to do anything or force out the smallest wee possible. Great.
2. Fear of toilets in unfamiliar places.
I experienced this one massively at the beginning. My daughter would refuse to even walk through the door of any public toilet- can’t blame her for that, let’s hope she’s still that picky when she’s older. But when you’re out for the day visiting a farm and she attempts to go the whole day without visiting the toilet, you just know that it’s going to end up with an accident in the sand pit. In my experience anyway! Remember spare clothes EVERYTIME you leave the house with said toddler.
3. Experimenting with toilet paper.
At first this was of no interest to my daughter, she was happy to let me wipe her when she’d finished, but once she started taking herself to the toilet on her own her curiosity took over. You will most probably walk in one day to find your bathroom looking like it’s been hit by a blizzard or in my case a bathtub full off unrolled toilet paper. Breathe.
4. Blocking the toilet (and sink!).
Ah yes, now those not so bad Christmas-like decorations have turned into full on- let’s just put this all down the toilet and see what happens. If you’re lucky like me it’ll be a full roll after a poop. Lucky me indeed. Buy marigolds.
5. Not reaching the toilet in time.
Clothing changes galore on this one. Luckily we haven’t experienced this one too much, probably because of point 1, but the times this has happened tends to be when she’s busy playing and just ‘forgets’. Or challenges herself to see how long she can last without going. Watch out for the ‘need a wee-wee’ dance.
6. Refusing to pull their pants up after using the toilet.
This one is still driving me insane. It’s rather embarrassing when you have company and your toddler returns downstairs with her pants around her ankles, hopping about like a crazed bunny rabbit. Honestly just pull them up!! I have no advice on this one- this is STILL happening, although not as often. The toddler that is- not me.
7. Not wiping their bottom.
Okay so you’ll have probably guessed from point 3 and 4 that I’m not overly keen on leaving the toilet roll within reach of my daughter, so I just leave a few squares by the side for her. Does she use them to wipe? Yeah right. Again it’s a case of hopping down the stairs shouting “Mama come wipe my bum!”. Eurgh. Just what I want whilst enjoying my already cold cuppa.
8. Deciding they need the toilet at the most inconvenient times.
This happens to me ALL of the time. Guaranteed we’ll walk into soft play and she’ll need the toilet. Always when I’m on my own with both kids. Anywhere, anytime, it’s going to happen. Perfect when you answer the phone to someone you don’t really want to speak to though… “oh I’ll have to go and take the little one to the toilet”. Comes in handy sometimes.
9. Curiosity of what else can fit down the toilet.
Ah yes, it’s not just toilet roll. Anything they can find, and reach, will be shoved down the toilet. Think about that the next time you’re about to brush your teeth…
10. Using needing the toilet as an excuse not to go to bed.
As if getting the kids into bed on a night time wasn’t hard enough they now have a genuine excuse to delay the process and you can bet your life they’ll use it! As tempting as it is to ignore their pleas, just let them go or you probably find yourself changing soaked bedsheets at 2am.

So there you have it, if you’ve yet to reach the toilet training stage, all I can say is GOOD LUCK!

Mother Hermit xx

This post first appeared on The Huffington Post UK here.

The 2-Year-Old Sleep Regression

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m one of those annoying mother’s who’s always boasted about how well my kids sleep. How they sleep all night through, until 8am, taking naps everyday etc. etc. That is until recently…

The 2-year-old sleep regression- it’s not really a thing right? Well to me it’s never been something I was worried about because my daughter has always been an amazing sleeper. I really do mean sleeping through from a few weeks old, from 8pm until 8am as well as taking 2-3 hour naps per day- only rarely having bad nights when she was unwell or struggling with teething. But now? Well now I know exactly how annoying I must have sounded to other parents! Those evil dagger looks were well deserved fellow parentals!

So my darling toddler (born January 2014) decided that around four months ago she was going to give up her daily naps. No heads up from her, she just stopped and refused to sleep during the day at all. My reaction? Gahhhhhh, noooooooo! Those two hours on an afternoon were my time to get some chores done, prep the dinner and occasionally write, although since having our baby boy in February it was pretty much guaranteed he would wake up for a feed and those two hours of attention as soon as his sister went down.

With the naps stopped completely it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start the bedtime routine earlier because some nights she wasn’t going to bed until 8.30/9pm. She took to it pretty well and the new routine was in full force; Bath at 6pm, in bed and story at 7pm and she’d be asleep within minutes. However- you knew that was coming right?!- after a couple of days, maybe a week, she started waking at 2.30am EVERY night. Guaranteed at 2.30am she would be up and we would hear the pitter patter of her feet running across her floor and after a few attempts she figured out how to open the baby gate on her bedroom door. The first few nights she would make a bit of a fuss, ask for some milk, make any excuse to get you out of bed and refuse to go back to sleep for a few hours, often waking her baby brother in the process. She just wouldn’t go back to sleep until she literally passed out with exhaustion and would still be up again around 6am in a bad mood and you just knew that the day was going to be filled with hellish toddler tantrums.

After a few more days she appeared to be getting better at sleeping longer but became very sneaky- our very own night ninja! She would wake up around 4am (I didn’t realise this for the first few nights) and sneak out of her bedroom, head downstairs for her tablet or a toy, bring it back upstairs and lie on the end of our bed. She wouldn’t wake us and would happily lie there but we’d wake up at 6am and she’d be sat glued to Netflix looking like a teenager who’d pulled an all-nighter! That phase didn’t last long as we started hiding her tablet on a night time when we headed to bed but that still didn’t stop her waking up.

She continued with the 4am wake ups but every morning we could hear her putting herself on the toilet then grab a book and just chill in our bed. Super proud of her using the toilet by herself as it’s not something she’d even attempted to do during the day! However, coming into our bed at that time in the morning, reading a story to me to wake me up, prodding me to get up and get her some milk, anything she could possibly think of as an excuse to wake us up really, just didn’t help the sleep matters at all and we’d all be in a bad mood the next day due to the lack of sleep. Apart from baby boy that is, he’s in his own room in his cot, although his sister would sometimes wake him by sitting on the floor in his room and reading a story to him!

This all lasted for around four months- guaranteed to happen every single night with no explanation and no reason whatsoever for her waking. Once she was awake that was it. I’m pleased to say that this appears to have now come to an end altogether and she’s still going to sleep between 7-7.30pm and sleeping through once again until around 6.30/7am. She’ll be coming up 3 in January and it appears she’s now beginning to realise how amazing sleep is! If she’s tired she’ll let you know and will have a quiet hour rather than throwing a storm of a tantrum. Fingers crossed she’ll stick to this!

So yeah, the 2-year-old sleep regression really does exist, and it’s total hell.

Good luck fellow parentals!

Mother Hermit xx

This post was first featured on MeetOtherMums.com

Laughing and Learning with LeapFrog

I love a good toy- (even the noisy ones!) and was recently asked if I would like to try out some new LeapFrog ones with the kids. Now with Billy being only 7 months, we hadn’t really thought about buying him any toys just yet as I remember going slightly overboard when Violet was that age and can still picture the confused look on her little face as if to say “What on earth am I supposed to do with these woman?!” I really went THAT overboard and was clearly buying the wrong ones for her because Billy hasn’t stopped playing with this one toy since the day it arrived!


Scout’s Count & Colours Band

This is the one I was sent for Billy. How cute is the little dog Scout?! It’s aimed at ages 6-24 months and the curriculum taught from the toy is counting, as you can see by the numbers on each instrument. Obviously Billy is a little bit young to be learning to count yet but I love that he will grow up playing with this toy, not even realising that he’ll be learning and most likely counting to 5 in no time!

“Rock out with piano-pup Scout, and get jamming on skills like cause and effect, counting, colours and more.”

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As soon as Billy saw the toy he grabbed for it, obviously those bright colours were all too tempting for him. As soon as I switched it on and the music began to play that was it, he was hooked. He couldn’t sit up on his own quite steady enough then so liked to have it on his lap in the bouncy chair and constantly played with all of the buttons to try to figure out what to do to make the music start again- don’t worry though as theirs a button to turn the volume down! You can also choose between three different modes, music, colours or numbers. On the music one you can press the different instruments to find out what they are and what they sound like as well as playing along to different tunes. On the colour mode it tells you the colour of each instrument depending on the one you press and on the number mode it tells you which number is written on the top of each instrument depending on which one you press. I think this is fantastic as the toy will last years and will help Billy to learn his colours and numbers whilst he is playing. We’ve had this for around 4 weeks now and it’s the first toy he grabs, especially as he’s now sitting up on his own. Violet enjoys sitting playing with it too when Billy’s not looking!

Melody The Musical Turtle

Melody the Musical Turtle™

This is the one we were sent for Violet. It’s aimed at ages 2-5 years and again the curriculum taught from the toy is counting. It’s also a fantastic one to help your little one learn the colours.

“Race the music to find numbers and colours, repeat patterns and create turtle-rific tunes in 10 snappy, light-up activities.”

This one is absolutely perfect for Violet. She may only be two but she already knows her numbers and colours and can often get a bit bored of the usual games played to help her remember these. Melody however is totally different; again there are 3 different settings to choose from and the first is music. You can choose how many players are taking part and then you have to follow the colours by pressing each one which lights up as quickly as possible to find out the song behind the pattern. It will then play the song and finish by your little one having to press all of the lit up buttons as quickly as possible to switch them all off. The next one is a challenge setting in which you again select the number of players and then play a memory game by following the pattern of lights and remembering which number was lit up. This one’s a bit tricky for Violet just yet but this means the toy will last her a long time! The last setting is numbers. Again you choose the number of players and then find the number or colour Melody tells you to find and press it as quickly as possible. It’s very exciting for a toddler!

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I really do think that both of these toys from LeapFrog are fantastic and perfect for my two. I love that they will grow with these toys are learn more and more from them as they get older. Now I need to have a look at the rest of the range for Christmas!! 🙂

Have you tried any LeapFrog products for your children before? What do you think of them?

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent these two toys for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Bibetta Lunch Bag- A Review

We love to take our own snacks for the kids when we go out and about and are always looking for alternatives to our usual tupperware in a carrier bag so when I was asked to review the Bibetta Lunch Bags I couldn’t refuse.

The lunch bags are made from neoprene which ensures that the contents stay at the right temperature and they’re also stretchy so you can fit allsorts in. They come in four different colours and patterns, Turquoise Birds, Pink Butterflies, Green Owls and Blue Fish. I chose the pink one for Violet- she loves testing out products for me! The bag is much bigger than I was expecting and Violet has been testing it to the max by filling it with every toy she can find- it passed! The colour is beautiful, bright and bold and the butterfly pattern is really cute. There’s also a little butterfly name tag attached which makes it perfect if you’re going to take it anywhere it might get lost or mixed up with other bags. They can even be put in the washing machine which is an absolute bonus-well for me it is, Violet loves to be messy!

These lunch bags are usually £9.99 each however they are currently on sale for £4.99 which is a bargain. You can purchase them from the Bibetta website here and you can also like them on Facebook.

Mother Hermit xx

I was sent this lunch bag in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Mother and Daughter Date

Since my son was born in February this year I’ve always had a slight guilty feeling for my daughter. Even though she’s only two and doesn’t really understand the ways of the world, it must be so hard for her having had my undivided attention 24/7 for two years and then all of a sudden one day find that she has to share me. That was a big reason for me putting her into nursery for two mornings per week, so she then had those few hours to be able to play with other children and not have to watch me with her baby brother all of the time. So yesterday, as G had decided to work from home, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take my little Violet on a date just me and her.

Having checked the weather forecast and found that it was going to rain most of the day I had a look at our local cinema to see what was on. Our local cinema is a Cineworld which have ‘Movies for Juniors’ showings early in the morning, especially for kids at discount prices. They were showing Zootropolis and it cost just £3.60 to book up for both of us- I was pretty over the moon with that plus I’d been looking forward to seeing the film for ages! I was a bit worried about how Violet would sit and whether she would watch the film because the last time we took her to the cinema she had just turned two and was still in nappies so we didn’t have to worry about the numerous toilet breaks. As usual I didn’t have much to worry about though.

We headed straight for the snacks after collecting our tickets and I was really impressed to find that a Kids Snack Box containing popcorn, a Capri Sun and some Milkyway Magic Stars was only £2.50. By the time we walked into the screen the lights had gone down and the trailers had started- cue the startled scream from the shocked toddler pleading to go home. My poor girl got such a fright as one of the trailers burst onto the screen as we were making our way to our seats so I spent the rest of the trailers cuddling her in on my knee. Once the film had started and I explained the first few characters and that there was nothing to be afraid of she perked up no bother and laughed at the film the rest of the way through whilst scoffing her snacks. Massive sigh of relief from me because I really didn’t want to have to ring G to come straight back to get us! And I wanted to see the film- obviously. It was brilliant. Such a good story line which had us laughing all of the way through, I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

When the film had finished it was lunch time and even though Violet had scoffed her way through her snack box she was asking for some dinner. It was absolutely chucking it down so we literally ran over the road to the cover of Frankie & Benny’s where I literally had no idea what to expect as I haven’t been since I was a teenager! I was totally impressed with our whole visit. It was quite quiet and we were seated and brought drinks really quickly. Violet went for her usual cheeseburger and chips and I opted for a pizza wrapped hotdog and fries off the lunch menu. Whilst we were waiting for these to arrive we spent some time taking silly selfies, dancing to the music, giggling like mad and colouring in the children’s activity book we had been given.
The food was amazing. I’ve never seen Violet eat so much of a kids meal and this was definitely one of the biggest portion sizes she’d had. My pizza-hotdog didn’t look like much when it arrived but the hotdog inside was huge, was packed with flavour and it really was incredible. I was absolutely stuffed once we’d finished but thought as it was our treat day we totally had to have a dessert so I ordered Violet a kids ‘Ice Cream Candy Shop’ and Brownies and Ice Cream for me 🙂 Mine was gorgeous but Violet’s was totally unreal! Two scoops of ice cream in a bowl, a pot of marshmallows, a mini jug of chocolate sauce, three bottles of different sweets, a pack of popping candy and a little paper bag to put the extra sweets in to take home- I kind of wish I’d got one for myself! The whole meal, our two mains, two desserts and three soft drinks came to £18- yet again I was really impressed with this.

Once we’d finished our lunch we were both full and Violet was shattered so I asked G to come and collect us and we headed home. Our date in total cost just under £25 which I was really happy with considering what we had for our money. It really was perfect being able to spend that few hours quality time with my daughter and I think she loved it too, she’s been my little shadow and best friend every second since and I’m usually the naughty Mammy (I never know why…) so I think I earned some serious brownie points! Our date totally made me realise how important it is to make sure I take time out to have quality time alone with each of my children. Whilst they get on so well and have an incredible bond already I really do think it’s important for them to have a few hours of my undivided attention every couple of weeks and I’m already thinking of ideas for our next date 🙂

Mother Hermit xx



Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

All aboard the Potty Train!

April2016 622Potty training. Whenever anyone mentioned this to me in the past I always shrugged it off with ‘Ah she’s so advanced at everything else I’m sure she’ll pick it up really quickly’. Well she may be advanced, but this potty training malarkey is an absolute nightmare!

My daughter started showing interest in a potty when she was around 18 months old- we thought we were clever by hiding it among her many toys allover the living room- and pretty soon she asked to use it. We had a successful wee on the potty around her second attempt and I thought that was the beginning! Cue the proud parent going slightly crazy annoying anyone and everyone who would listen that my daughter was the cleverest girl ever! After that successful wee we even had a few requests to use the toilet but nothing ever happened there, she seemed to think it was some kind of monster and was absolutely terrified by the sound of the flush! We continued to push the potty but we failed miserably because we tried to force it too much- epic fail!

Since then it’s been a bit of an on again off again relationship with both the toilet and the potty. As she’s got older she’s shown more interest in trying it, especially when she’s seen her little friends at playgroup using the toilet and we’ve been through many phases of going a full day having all of her wee’s on one or the other but then the next day she doesn’t want to go near either. I’ve spent many a day and night stressing about it and googling to find anything to help! To be honest I haven’t really found anything online which has proved all that helpful- I guess it’s just another one of those ‘every child is different’ parenting directions. Basically wing it.

So she’s now 2 (26months to be precise) and we’re having another go! With the little madam starting nursery next week I’m trying my best to work with her. It’s difficult, especially since we now have a six week old boy, it’s not as easy to run back and forth to the toilet with her ten million times per day! I’ve gone with the leave the nappy off and completely naked below the waist approach to start off with and it’s proving a total success so far. I’ve even managed to quickly throw her on the toilet for a poo a couple of times when I’ve caught her slipping off to her usual pooping hiding spot. Alright so I didn’t actually throw her on it, I’m stressed but not that much! 😂

It’s a frustrating journey, one in which I’m absolutely determined to see through to the end result of having to change only one child’s nappies and not both! I have a feeling I may be leaning on my good friend Echo Falls for support during this ‘difficult’ time! Wish me luck! (With the potty training, not the wine drinking- I’m good at that!)


Mother Hermit xx