Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Friday, 22 June 2018

What do you do when your toddler doesn't eat fruit...

This post was written in collaboration with BEAR

Before I had Sophie, when I thought about the type of parent I’d be, there were many things I said I’d never do when it came to food and snacking:

I’d never feed my child snacks to keep them busy going around the supermarket, all food would be eaten at the table and all snacks would be healthy and nutritional.

But boy oh boy, most of those ‘rules’ were thrown about the window very early on!

When Sophie hit 18 months she decided that she’d no longer eat fresh fruit, which, to my despair, she kept up for nearly a year and a half!  This made choosing healthy snacking choices even harder for my fussy eater. Sophie loved dried fruit and fruit puree which I incorporated into her diet, along with ‘toddler snacks’ One of Sophie’s favourite of these are BEAR Yoyos, but I was always a little wary about how much sugar they contained, and how healthy they really were.

During half term, on a rainy Tuesday, Sophie and I were invited to London with a group of other mums to the 'BEAR Kitchen’ to learn what goes into their Yoyos and have a go at making them for ourselves.

Being a biology teacher, I was really interested in all the science behind the nutritional information.  I had thought that fruit puree would be ‘better’ for Sophie than dried fruits in my bid to get some fruit into her diet. However, this isn’t actually the case as in the production process of purees, the cellular structure of the fruit  starts to break down and much of the fibre is lost, and the vitamin and mineral content is reduced (due to the pasteurization in the manufacturing process). However, with BEAR products, the fruit is gently mashed rather than liquidized so they retain a higher level of fibre and as they are baked at very low temperatures this helps to maintain a higher vitamin and mineral content.

I was also surprised that the ingredients for the BEAR YoYos are only fruit and veg. We made ours using 5 strawberries, 2 apples and a pear, removing only the core and pips of the latter two fruits. That’s all. So BEAR Yoyos actually count as one of your five a day and contain the same amount of natural fruit sugar as a small apples - no added sugar. This made me feel so much better - during Sophies’ fruit refusal she was actually getting the goodness from other sources and she loves BEAR products that they count as a ‘treat’ too. 


Thankfully Sophie is eating fresh fruit again, which I owe to my ever patient mum. As she started nursery school at Easter and she had to bring fruit for her break time snack - what was I going to say to her teachers?! So a few months before, we started operation fruit-eating in ernest. We started off giving her the tiniest pieces of pear with a chocolate reward for eating them (needs must). Since then we’ve gone larger with portion sizes and she now eats pretty much all fruits, not necessarily without complaint, but we'll get there. So Sophie started nursery school confidently taking in her pear (albeit chopped up with all the skin taken off!) but we’ve progressed and now she will take a banana - much less morning prep needed!

I do tend to keep a pack of BEAR Yoyos in my handbag when we are out and about, as a bribe, distraction, tummy filler or to make up part of Sophie's packed lunch. As they are so convenient; I know that she loves them (so do I, if I’m allowed to share…) they take a bit of time to eat, so aren’t inhaled and more instantly demanded and when it comes to the summer, they aren’t going to go off in the heat. Perfect.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Sophie's 3rd Birthday Party

How quickly the years seem to steam by. Three years seem to have gone by like a flash,but at the sam time I struggle to remember what life was pre-Sophie now.

On Sunday we had a little party for little dot turning three after having quiet family cerebrations on her actual birthday last Friday.

Its been a full on few weeks, moving out of our home and staying with my lovely parents, the builders starting (and all sorts of associated admin!) and Sophie starting school, so we opted for a relaxed garden party to celebrate Sophie’s birthday, which is actually what we did for her first and second birthday too!

This year Sophie was REALLY excited about her birthday and we wanted to make a fuss over her after all the change that she’s gone through recently. She really wanted to wear a party dress and have a cake and balloons. Totally understandable expectations!

Angel and Rocket have the most gorgeous swishable girls dresses and I picked the Beatrice Peplum Waist Dress for Sophie. She loved it and every day pre-party asked whether it was her party day and if she could wear it yet.

As for the cake, my amazing sister (who has three kiddies, is a high flying solicitor in the city and runs marathons - told you she was impressive!) offered to make it. Which arrived still warm from the oven and oozing home made jam. Heaven! To make it look the part I added a personalised cake topper from Other Letters and candle from Talking Tables.

Bless little Sophie didn’t want to blow out her candles, asking me to do it for her, but she seemed to manage to eat her piece of cake without any help from mummy!

We went for a 3-5pm party time so that we didn’t need to give people a ‘meal’ to reduce stress but went all out on the snacks. Crisps, dips, cheese straws, biscuits, fruit, ice-cream cones, proper party food and a decent bar for the grown ups too. (A party isn’t a party if there isn’t prosecco right?!)

My parents garden has hosted the best parties over my lifetime and it looked so beautiful on Sunday. The weather held and we added balloons and decorations from Other Letters and Talking Tables to make it even more special and a summer wreath on the door from Wharfedale Cottage Crafts.

We put all the garden toys out and my sister who lives round the corner brought some of her kids toys too and the children had the most wonderful afternoon playing with old friends and making new ones too whist the grown ups chatted happily. I love all of these shots of the kiddies and hope there are some that there parents print and frame too.

I wanted to make little party bags for the little guests of honour and I had little Meri Meri Shell bags from Other Letters for the girls and more traditional style bags from Talking Tables for the boys filled with wands, toy snakes, bubble blowers and a piece of cake.

The last two birthdays I’ve run around with my camera trying to capture the day, but this year the lovely Pippa from Philly Photography came along and took all these gorgeous pictures. She sent all the images to us that evening for us to remember the gorgeous day we’d had. Until next year...!


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Our family ski holiday to Serre Chevalier

Time flies. Not that I really mind at the beginning of the year as I am no fan of January, or early Feb for that matter, but I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about our gorgeous family ski holiday that we went on BEFORE Christmas, but in the days, weeks and even months have slipped away. But we had SUCH an amazing time, that I knew that I must share our fabulous week away with you all before its all about looking forward to summer holidays.

This is the third ski holiday we’ve taken Sophie on, we’ve been lucky to go away every year since she arrived. The first year we went to a chalet in Val Thorens and last year to a Mark Warner chalet hotel in Tignes - I've written about both, so have a look at the links if your interested!
We tend to go on Ski holidays with my husbands side of the family and then in the summer go away with mine as my parents don’t ski. I love holidaying as a big group, skiing is the perfect holiday to go on with friends and family as then there is always a range of abilities and someone who wants to miss out the black run and stop for a Cafe au lait!

This year one of my lovely brother-in-laws booked our trip to the slopes for us to stay at Chez Bear in Serre Chevalier. We’ve generally always visited the Three Valleys ski resorts and was a little apprehensive that the skiing wouldn’t be as good or varied. However, we were in for a real treat! Not only were the conditions perfect, there were beautiful tree runs and we pretty much had them all to our selves. 
I feel like I am spilling a big french secret here - no long queues for ski lifts and if you had to share a slope with anyone other than your party, it was unusual. Mind blown. That said, the apres isn’t that of Val Thorens with quiet piste side cafes and restaurants with french-only-speaking staff rather than champagne being sprayed and dancing on tables found at La Folie Douche. Serre Chavalier might have been a bit 'quiet' for us when we were in our twenties... but it was the perfect resort for us, and as a family group of eight, we provided our own entertainment.

The weather was pretty chilly when we were in Serre Chevalier, so we were so grateful to the lovely team at Helly Hansen for kitting us out to keep us super snug and stylish on the slopes! I've linked all our ski wear at the bottom of this post if you are on the hunt for some new ski-wear! This year we also upgraded our goggles to SunGod - which as well as looking great have really easy interchangeable lenses for different light conditions.

After we had our fill of the slopes (normally we are 1st to last lift people - but with no queuing and a few injuries and illness in our arty, we tended to retire around 3pm!) we headed home to our luxury chalet, Chez Bear.

This independent Chalet was the dream. The hosts were so thoughtful, nothing was too much effort and the food was to die for! Chef Josie even made little Sophie a pie with an S on the top for her and every evening asked what she could make for her, as well as being in contact in advance of our stay to prepare for our fussy eater!

We chilled out and played with Sophie in the chalet’s garden, hot tub, games room and gorgeous lounge with an open fire for the remainder of the afternoon and early evening before we put Sophie to bed and then enjoyed the evening five course hospitality. Although I don’ think I ever had room to enjoy the cheese course... maybe this was due to eating too much afternoon tea when we returned to the chalet…!

As Sophie is still too little to ski, she stayed with the Chalet’s Nanny who I had also been in contact with before our stay and she organised loads of fun activities to keep Sophie happily occupied whilst we hit the white stuff.

Mine and Sophie's Girl Gang Jumpers are from Bows and Bowties

Last year I did say I’d rather not go away the week before Christmas, as it does add to the pre-christmas stress having to make sure venting was ready before we went away and I did miss the ‘Christmas Build up’ so NEXT year I really am going to not go that week... but I could totally be tempted with a little trip back to Chez Bear...

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