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  • InBella, Brand Collaborations

    Preparing Your Child For School

    It feels like only last week Bella was preparing to start school, and I can’t believe that she is now coming to the end of her first year. This time last year we were starting to thing of ways we could help her with the transition. The school sent out some really helpful leaflets of things we could do to encourage independence. Of course we all want our children to be well-rounded human beings and the school systems plays such a huge part in this. But there are also many things that are the parent’s responsibility to teach them too.

    Bella is one of the older children in her year and after three years at a very good Nursery, I felt like she was more than ready to start school. But there were quite a few things on the leaflet we received that I hadn’t even considered. Things like buying zip up dresses rather than button down to make it easier for her when getting changed for PE. And that she would need to be able to use the toilet independently and to carry her plate or tray at lunchtime! Other bigger things I felt were important were things like…

    Health Consciousness
    This is something I am super passionate about. Teaching my children the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle. We started doing this from a very young age. When Bella was a baby we used to go for plenty of walks together with her either in the buggy or I’d wear her in a baby carrier. We also did baby swimming lessons. And then at 18 months Bella started Ballet lessons which she still does now and we have recently started horse riding together too. We also got a dog at the beginning of the year which has really helped to encourage us all to get outside walking more!

    As well as being active I really want my children to have a good relationship with food by teaching them the importance of a balanced diet. We don’t deny the children treats as I personally don’t think that’s the best way to go about it. By telling I child they cannot have something, it makes them want it even more. Instead we try to eat healthily most of the time so that they can enjoy the odd treats. We cook most of our meals from scratch using plenty of lean meat and fresh vegetables to ensure the children get all the vitamins they need. The fruit bowl is always well stocked too for snacks.

    Time Management
    My sister bought Bella a watch for Christmas and this has been great for teaching her to tell the time. Its been really helpful for gently teaching her about time management. For example in the mornings she knows that we all need to be up, dressed and downstairs by 8am for breakfast and out the door by 8.45am. Then in the evenings she knows what time she goes to bed so this helps give her an idea of how much time she has to play or read before it’s time for lights off. Schools obviously operate on a timetable so just by making Bella aware of these things at home, it will hopefully help her understand how her school day works. Time management is one of those skills that benefit us for life after all! As she gets older she’ll be set homework with deadlines so hopefully this will help her to manage her time with that too. I suppose that time management is one of those things that is a very subtle blend of pressure and rewards.

    And, of course, there are so many other skills needed, like money management, decision-making skills, and even the importance of saying “no” to someone. Something that I have re iterated to Bella many times. Just because she is in full-time education now, I can’t just rely on the school and her teachers to provide all the information for her to live a well-balanced life. It’s just as much up to us as parents too!

    I hope these tips have been helpful, is there anything you would add?

    *Collaborative Post but all opinions are of course my own*

  • InBella, Hugo

    Gift Ideas For Hugo’s Second Birthday

    Hugo’s second birthday is fast approaching so I have started to think about what gifts we might get him. I always found it so easy buying for Bella but I really struggle with ideas for Hugo. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a boy or if it’s just a second child thing. His favourite things to play with at home at the moment are the play kitchen, shopping basket, babies and cars. He loves the playmobil at his childminders too! The garden slide that Bella got for her third birthday is a big hit with him too. He is also Peppa Pig obsessed but I try to avoid too many character things as children change their mind so frequently!

    So I have been scouring online and have come up with a handful of bits that I think he would love. I’ve tried to keep everything fairly unisex too so these ideas should suit everyone.

    Bella has a scooter similar to this and Hugo is obsessed with it. This lovely yellow one also comes with a folding seat which I think will be so handy for his age. This will be Hugo’s main present along with a helmet too!

    I love personalised gifts and there is almost always something personalised on my own birthday list. I think this breakfast set would make a lovely birthday gift for Hugo! The Gift Co had loads of fab ideas for both children and adults.

    Toddler vans are just super cute and I think they’ll be great shoes for the summer as they’ll go with both leggings and shorts.

    As Hugo’s a summer baby it’s nice to be able to buy him garden toys for his birthday. I think he would love this little lawn mower!

    This water table would be great for both the children to play with together during the warmer weather! I’m a big fan of little tikes toys, they’re always so well made.

    It’s a bit of a tradition in our house that we always buy the children a top and/or some pjs with their age on! This 2 stripy tee is ADORABLE.

    Hugo has just got over his fear of the bath so I thought a new bath toy featuring his favourite little pig would be a hit!

    And last but not least is this diggers magnet book! Hugo has a Peppa one of these already and loves it. He’ll sit for ages playing with it so I think he’ll enjoy this one too.

    *This is a Sponsored Post but all opinions and words are of course my own*

  • InBella, Family

    Dear Bella, Last Week You Started School!

    Dear Bella,

    Last week was a big one for us all because you my darling girl, started primary school. We’ve had the 4th of September marked in the diary for months now. And it was the day you had been excitedly counting down to and the one I had been secretly dreading for so long.

    It’s not because I wanted to hold you back or even that I wanted to keep you all to myself. It was mainly because I knew just how much I would miss you. And I think there was and still is a part of me that’s so scared that I will lose a part of you now. Five days a week is a lot of time to be away from one another. And I know I’m going to miss out on so much. I can only hope that you’ll be happy to fill me in at the end of your school day. Because i’ll be waiting in the playground Bella boo, ready to hear all about it.

    We are now a whole week in and I already know that there really was no need to worry. You walked into school on that very first day (and every day since!) with such confidence. And seeing you so happy and excited meant that I even managed to hold back the tears. Because I knew in that moment, that you were going to be just fine. I no longer felt sad. Instead I was just excited for you and this new adventure that lies ahead.

    You are so eager to learn and I’m confident you are going to do amazingly at school little one. You come running towards me at pick up time with your arms open wide, bursting with excitement to tell me all about your day. I know it has only been a week, but you already LOVE everything about school. You even asked if you could go at weekends on our walk home this afternoon! You’re soaking it all in like a little sponge and you come home each day filled with new information that you just can’t wait to share. On Friday you were even given ‘star of the week’ and seeing you clutching that certificate with the widest smile on your face, made me so incredibly proud.

    There have been numerous times since you came along and made me a Mama, that I have wondered if I’m actually cut out for motherhood. I have often doubted my abilities as a parent. And I’ve cried so many tears (usually after a particularly difficult day). I have picked myself apart on all the things I felt I should have done better. But I have finally realised, that I think we’ve done just fine. You are healthy, you are happy and my goodness you are so loved Isabella. You’re such a special little girl and I really am very grateful that I get to be your Mama. Even on those difficult days.

    Thank you for making this transition into school SO easy my darling girl. You are going to go on to do such wonderful things, I just know it. And I’ll be there with you, every step of the way.

    All my love, always.


  • InBella, Hugo

    Hugo At One

    I had every intention of writing a monthly update on Hugo right up until he turned one. I managed six months and then we bought a house. And as I’m sure you already know, blogging took a backseat while we got stuck into renovating our new home. So today I’m sharing a little update on Hugo now he’s a year old. I will no doubt share updates on him now and again in the future, when I feel like I want to remember the stage we’re at, just like I do for Bella too.

    Hugo has changed so much over the last few months and after looking back at the first couple of updates I shared, I can’t believe just how much babies change in that first year of their life. I feel like the baby days are almost over already and Hugo seems more and more like a toddler every day now!

    Weight – Hugo’s weight gain slowed down A LOT once he hit six months. He was last weighed at his one year check up and was 21.9 lbs.

    Size –  Currently he wears mostly 12-18/1-1.5 in clothes but is still fitting into some 9-12m bits too. He wears size 4+ nappies and his shoes are also a size 4!

    Feeding – We officially stopped breastfeeding at 11 months. Which is the same time I stopped with Bella too. It wasn’t the easiest transition this time around, but I know the time was right for us both. I will probably share a separate post all about our breastfeeding journey shortly. Hugo now drinks full fat cows milk and he has one bottle before his afternoon nap and one before bed.

    Food wise, he’s still not the best eater but is MUCH better thankfully. He usually has cheerios for breakfast followed by some fruit or a yoghurt. Lunch is always the meal I find the hardest, as Hugo isn’t a big fan of bread products. Sometimes he’ll have a snacky plate with things like crackers, cheese and fruit. Or if we have had something like rice or pasta the night before, then I’ll save some back and give him that for lunch. For dinner he usually eats the same as everyone else but he definitely has his favourites. He loves anything with pasta but especially bolognese or mac n cheese. He also really enjoys sausages and rice based dishes. His favourite snacks are raisins or cheddars. He’s not too keen on his veggies at the moment, he especially dislikes broccoli it would seem. But he’ll happily eat fruit, blueberries are LIFE.

    Routine – We seem to have fallen into a pretty good routine which seems to work really well for everyone. Hugo wakes up anytime between 7-8.30am. We’ll change his nappy and get him dressed before we head downstairs. He goes straight into his highchair for breakfast and he’ll also have a beaker of water. After this we either go straight out for the nursery run or he’ll play for a bit in the lounge on the days Bella is home with us. Lunchtime is about 12.30/1pm and then he goes down for his nap with a bottle after lunch. Once he wakes, he’s raring to go for playtime again. We tend to eat dinner about 5.30-6pm. Then it’s bathtime and in bed for 7ish.

    Sleeping – Hugo turned one and suddenly realised that sleep is a wonderful thing! He doesn’t usually have a morning nap, but will occasionally fall asleep in the car. His main nap is after lunch and he will usually sleep for 2-2.5 hours. I try to avoid letting him nap past 3.30pm as I know it will throw off bedtime. His usual bedtime is around 7pm and most of the time he will then sleep right through until anytime between 7-8.30am. It’s AMAZING compared to his big sister!

    Development – Since Hugo’s last update at 6 months, he has changed a LOT. He mastered crawling on the day he turned 7 months. And then took his first steps around the time he turned 11 months! I really wasn’t expecting him to walk before his first birthday but he surprised us all and now he doesn’t stop. He climbs everything, runs at the speed of light and just generally does not sit still. EVER. He says a few words now. Mainly ‘Mama’, ‘Dada’ and Hiyaaaa’. But his favourite way of communicating is by yelling. I have honestly never met such a loud baby. He shrieks like a banshee and gets so frustrated when you don’t do what he wants.

    He waves, points, blows kisses, nods, dances, shakes his head and claps. Hugo now has 12 teeth!! It would seem he pops them through, usually two at a time, with no issues at all. He is a total champ when it comes to teeth and never makes any fuss. Hugo is generally a fairly happy and easy child. Although he is definitely my wild one. He has no fear and loves nothing more than causing mayhem.

    In September Hugo will be starting nursery two days a week which I think he will really enjoy. I’m going to miss him so much but I’m confident he will thrive there and love every second.

    Likes & Dislikes – Hugo likes climbing, sleeping, dancing, swings, swimming, slides, being in the back carrier with Daddy, emptying cupboards, musical instruments, raisins, his sister and kicking a ball around. He dislikes bath time, being told ‘no’, vegetables, being restrained in his buggy and having his nappy changed.

    What we’ve been up to – It’s been such a busy few months. Our big home renovations are mainly finished now thankfully. We’ve also been to Center Parcs again which we all really enjoyed. We celebrated Hugo’s birthday, welcomed a new baby into the family and have just been enjoying this beautifully hot British summer we are currently having. I’m looking forward to the Autumn and getting into the swing of our new routine. And then before we know it, Christmas will be upon us. Life as a four is good right now and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Of course I had to end this post with a little look back at Hugo’s first year in photos. And yes, I definitely did shed a tear or two while choosing these photos!



  • InBella, Brand Collaborations

    Whisbear – The Humming Bear Review

    When Bella was a baby one of the only things that ever soothed her was white noise. I remember googling ‘my baby wont sleep’ at 3am one night as a sleep deprived first time Mama when she just would not settle. After I trawled numerous forums online and it seemed that quite a few people seemed to swear by white noise. We thought it was worth a shot so downloaded a white noise app on my phone and sure enough within minutes, she was fast asleep. And then it suddenly clocked that she had always fallen asleep whenever I blow-dried my hair or did the hoovering. From that day we used white noise daily to help Bella to sleep soundly. But it always meant leaving either our phones or the iPad wherever she was sleeping. I lost count of the amount of times I’d get a message or my phone would ring and it would wake her up!

    I always knew we’d probably end up using white noise again with our next baby. There seemed to be a few different bears popping up on the market that played different variations of white noise. So when I found out I was expecting again I put ‘white noise bear’ at the top of my baby wishlist. I researched them all in a bit more detail and the general consensus was that they were good but most of them went off after twenty minutes or so and you had to manually turn it back on should your baby stir.

    Then I was introduced to Whisbear – The Humming Bear which looked and sounded perfect. It plays a calming white noise which is designed to remind babies of the sounds they heard whilst in the womb. Once turned on by squeezing the bears head, the Whisbear will initially switch on the shushing sound for forty minutes before gradually fading away and turning onto standby mode. But the Whisbear is different, as it also features a CRYsensor that detects when your baby cries and automatically re activates the calming white noise sound for a further twenty minutes to help resettle baby. Which is literally genius!


    ‘Multi-award winning Whisbear® The Humming Bear is an innovative sleep aid created by two Mothers. Based on their own experience, they have designed a product aimed to help newborns with a smooth transition from a prenatal to postnatal life by recreating soothing sounds of the womb. Whisbear® is the first sleep aid  featuring the CRYsensor, an intelligent device that automatically activates calming white noise when your baby starts crying. But Whisbear® is so much more than just a sleep product. It is also a sensory toy, a unique playtime companion that promotes both – fine motor and sensory development skills.’

    We used Whisbear from day one with Hugo. As soon as we returned home from the hospital and put him down in his moses basket at just a few hours old, I turned the Whisbear on and it sent him straight to sleep. For the first probably four months of Hugo’s life, we used his Whisbear every single day. The bear has super handy magnetic feet which meant that it was really easy for it to go everywhere with him. We clipped it onto the car seat to help soothe him in the car, tucked it into the pushchair to send him off to sleep when we were out and on popped it on the side of his moses basket or crib for every nap and every nights sleep at home too.

    The CRYsensor is absolutely amazing and it really does work. There were so many times that the Whisbear would kick in and send Hugo back off to sleep before I had even had chance to get to him. Whenever I was busy and Hugo cried, Bella would run and find the Whisbear and take it to him as even she knew how much he loved it.

    Now Hugo is a bit older, I don’t tend to take it out with us anymore but it still has pride of place on the side of his cot and we still switch it on every night when we put him to bed. It’s been one of my absolute favourite baby products this time around and I can’t sing it’s praises enough.

    The Whisbear retails at £49.99 and is available to buy in three different colourways here.






    Harriet XO

    *We were very kindly sent our Whisbear in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are of course my own*


  • InBella, Hugo

    Hugo At Six Months

    Half a year already?! I feel like he is changing so much now, I can’t keep up! I’m really glad that I have been writing these monthly updates though, so I can look back at them in the future. And no doubt sob that I miss my teeny baby. Hugo’s sixth month was a busy one with his first holiday and we moved house! I’m super late sharing this but I did start writing it just after he turned six months in December.

    Weight – I had Hugo weighed last week and at six and a half months he weighed 19lbs 6oz! Which is more than his big sister at a year! He is on the 75th centile for weight.

    Size – Officially in size 4 nappies now and 6-9 months clothes. Although he is already fitting into some 9-12 month clothes already too!

    Feeding – Still breastfeeding. Which is becoming pretty difficult sometimes. Hugo’s going through a phase of pinching and scratching whilst he’s feeding and its so painful!! I’m hoping it passes soon. The Minbie bottle I mentioned in my last post was a total fail. I tried multiple times with not much joy. Don’t get me wrong I love breastfeeding but I am getting pretty desperate for him to take a bottle. I did get him to take a couple of bottles of expressed milk last weekend which was in MAM bottles. I have tried a few times since and sometimes he will drink, other times he won’t. It’s all very much on his terms.

    I waited until just before Hugo turned six months to start weaning him. And we’re a few weeks in now and sadly it just isn’t going very well. I started off by offering him fingers foods, just like I did with Bella. However he was extremely ‘gaggy’ to the point he just threw up every single time he put food into his mouth. I had a little google and it seemed that the general consensus was to try purees instead. So that’s what I did but I found he still gagged and threw up just as much with purees. Being spoon fed also made him extremely distressed and upset.

    Over Christmas I stopped all together for a couple of weeks as Hugo was full of cold and throwing up a lot of mucus anyway so I didn’t want to distress him further. We started again in the new year and I have spoken to a health visitor since too. She advised to just keep offering him a mixture of purees and finger food daily and see how he goes. So this is where we are currently at. Hugo seems to prefer the baby led weaning approach, he likes picking food up and is very good at putting to his mouth and sucking it. He is still very ‘gaggy’ but isn’t throwing up as much now thankfully. I think he just has a super sensitive gag reflex!

    Routine – Our routine has been all over the place lately as we went on holiday at the end of November, have moved house and then all the Christmas festivities. So I am still trying to get things back on track.

    Hugo still usually wakes up around 7-7.30am has a feed, nappy change and then I take him down in his pjs for breakfast. After he has eaten (gagged a lot and thrown food to the dog) I then get him dressed for the day before we head out on the nursery run. He still usually sleeps in the car. We’ll either head home or out to see friends / to a baby group etc depending what our plans are. Then ideally he will have lunch, milk and an afternoon nap before picking Bella up at 4.30ish. It’s then back home for a play with big sissy, dinner, bath and in bed by 7-7.30ish.

    Sleeping – Sleep is still rubbish sadly. A couple of weeks ago he was waking pretty much HOURLY. It was way worse than when he was a newborn. Sob. The last few nights have been sliiiiightly better. But hes still waking about three times on average.

    Development – This boy does not stop MOVING. He is rolling, sitting, crawling backwards and just generally shuffling his way around the place. He gets up onto all fours and rocks back and fourth, whilst getting very cross that he can’t master moving forwards yet. I also watched him get himself back up to sitting from laying down a few days back. He is just so active and has definitely hit that ‘into absolutely everything’ stage. He is also really vocal and I love listening to his babble away.

    Oh and finally after all the dribbling he has cut not one but TWO teeth.

    Likes & Dislikes – Hugo loves his jumperoo, sitting up in his highchair, causing havoc rolling about on the floor, swimming, baby groups and pulling his sisters hair. Dislikes weaning, sleep and not being able to properly crawl…

    What we’ve been up to – Since Hugo’s five month update we went on our first little holiday as a four to Center Parcs. We took Hugo swimming for the first time which he really enjoyed. He also celebrated his first Christmas and New Year which was so lovely despite him being full of cold. And last but not least, we also moved house! I was super sad to say goodbye to the house Hugo was born in. But I am looking forward to putting our mark on our new home and making lots of memories here too.