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Wise words from the book of everyone – review

It was my niece’s birthday last week.  And while I’d managed to get her a nice present that my sister had suggested, I wanted to get a little something more to make it all a bit special.  Then the lovely people at the book of everyone came along with a wonderful suggestion.

They asked if I would like to review one of their brand new books, the book of wise words.

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I popped over to their website to have a look, then very quickly told them that I would absolutely love to review one for them.  Having already reviewed a book of everyone for them I knew the quality would be fab.  And after checking out what this new book was all about I knew it would make the perfect present for my niece.

The book is aimed at children aged 8-12, although you can adapt it to make it suitable for any age really.

It’s a fun, brightly coloured book that you fill with quotes, sayings and wise words of advice that you want to pass on to the child you’re making it for.

Like all the books from the book of everyone, this one is really nice and simple to create.

To get started you just put in who the book is for and who it’s from.

Then you simply go through all the pages that are automatically generated and edit them as much or as little as you like.

One thing I love is that you have 2 main options with this book.

On every page you can choose between 2 quotes that are pre-written for you, or you can write your own.

So if you’re in a hurry you can just quickly scroll through and chose the text that you like the best each time.

Or you can make the book truly personal and write your own quotes and bits of advice each time.

Although you might actually choose secret option number 3, which is what I did. This is where you take the mix and match approach, using the pre-written text on some pages and writing your own advice on other pages.

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Once you’re happy with all the pages then you simple complete your order and wait for it to be printed.

What’s great actually is the amount of communication there is from the company. You get an email to confirm that your order has been placed, and another one to let you know when it’s been reviewed and is being printed.  So you’re not left in the dark until it turns up at your house one day; you’re kept informed about the book’s progress along the way.

When the book arrived in the post I obviously had to check it out before handing it over to my niece!

I was really pleasantly surprised to see it came already wrapped, in brightly coloured paper that I think any young person would like.

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It’s little touches like that which make the book of everyone stand out to me.

I also love that tucked inside the book are a few stickers with quotes and sayings printed on them.

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I chose to create a paperback version of my book of wise words and I’m really pleased with it.  It feels lovely to hold and to look through; it really is lovely quality.  If you want to though, you can get a hardback version, or even just a digital version if the child you’re buying for prefers reading things online!

I was so pleased with how my book of wise words came out, and really do hope that it’s something that my niece will keep coming back to.  Now, I’m not claiming to be particularly wisdomous, but I would like to think that I’ve chosen some quotes and messages in this book that might help Amélie in some way as she gets older.  Even if they just make her smile or pick her up a bit on a bad day.

That feels like a pretty special present to be able to give to her.

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You can create a book of wise words of your own on the book of everyone website.

And whilst you’re there you can check out the other books they have on offer, like the original book of everyone and their special Christmas edition book of everyone.

 

I was given credit to buy a book of wise words, but all words and opinions are my own.

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Phoenixfix 3 car seat review

A few months ago we noticed that Nerys’ car seat was looking, how do I put this, a little tired.  We had used it for a long time with Rhys before he moved up to the next size and so, while it was still safe, it was just really past its best.

So we started looking around for a new seat for Nerys.  And we were thrilled when Kiddy UK asked us if we wanted to test out their new Phoenixfix 3 group 1 car seat.

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The phoenixfix 3 is a group 1 car seat, which means it’s suitable for children who weigh between 9 and 19 kilos.  Or who are aged from about 9 months to 4 years.  This was perfect for us because Nerys is 2, but is quite big for her age.  So it was good to know that we still had a good few kilos to go before she was too big for the seat!  I’m not sure she’ll still be in it when she’s 4 though, I think she’ll have outgrown it by then.

There are quite a few colours to chose from with the Phoenixfix 3.  And after a fair bit of deliberation we decided on the shanghai seat, which is a gorgeous bright pink.  We weren’t sure to start with about going with a colour that was potentially too girly, but we’re really happy with the shanghai.  It’s pink, but it’s also bright and vibrant, and the grey and black does tone it down a little bit.

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The main thing that won me over with the Phoenixfix 3 is how safe it is.

I hadn’t seen a seat like it before.  All the group 1 seats I’d seen in the past were fitted with a standard 5-way harness to secure the child.  The Phoenixfix 3 on the other hand has the Kiddy impact shield.  So you sit your child in the seat, then place the impact shield in front of them and slide it towards their torso, so the shield’s arms fit underneath the seat’s armrests.  Then you secure the seat by feeding the car’s seatbelt through the guides on the impact shield, before fastening the seatbelt.

The impact shield has been designed so that, if the car is in a front-end collision, the child’s upper body will curl over the shield.  What this means is that the loads on the child’s cervical spine are significantly reduced compared to 5 point harness systems.

And on a far more superficial note, the impact shield gives Nerys a nice little surface in front of her.  Perfect for playing with her toys on, and for covering in crumbs from her snacks!

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When the seat first arrived we were both a little concerned that it would be too small for Nerys.  She is so big for her age, it just didn’t look like she would be comfortable in it.  But as soon as we fitted it in the car and sat her in it we realised we were completely wrong.

The seat is absolutely big enough for her.  And she seems really comfy in it.

We recently drove from Swansea to Leamington Spa, which takes around 3 hours each way.  And Nerys was really happy in her seat the whole time.  She fell asleep both ways and looked really comfortable snoozing away.

Along with the design of the seat, the fabric that Kiddy have used really helps with the comfort factor.  They’ve used a breathable 3D mesh fabric, which helps to keep the child nice and cool.  This is really great for Nerys because she does tend to run a bit hot, especially when she sleeps.

And a plus for parents, the seat covers can be removed and washed at 30 degrees too.
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The Phoenixfix 3 is fitted with the Kiddy K-fix+ system, which you can use to secure the seat if your car has the isofix mounting system.  This system is really great, as the K-fix+ connectors are now longer, which makes them really easy to fit the seat and make a rigid connection to the car.  They also move sideways if the car is in a side-on collision, pushing the child away from the impact.

If your car doesn’t have isofix, then the k-fix connectors can be easily retracted so you can fit the seat with just the car’s seat belt.

We’ve been in the unexpected position of being able to test out both methods of fitting the seat.  When we first got it we had a car with isofix.  So we used the Kiddy K-fix+ connectors and were really impressed with how easy they made fitting the seat.  It did feel really nice and secure when it was fitted that way too.

Then at the start of the summer our car was hit and written off.  And our new car doesn’t have isofix.  So for the past few months we’ve been using it by simply securing it with the seatbelt each time.  And I’ve been really pleased with how steady and secure it still seems to be when fitted this way.

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We’ve been using the Phoenixfix 3 for several months now, and couldn’t be happier with it.

It’s lovely and comfortable for Nerys on longer car journeys.  And it’s also great for nipping out on the school run every day.  It did take a few days to get the hang of fastening the seatbelt with the impact shield, but now I’m used to it I find it really quick and easy to do.

So if you’re looking for a new seat for your little one, the Phoenixfix 3 is definitely worth checking out.

It’s a lovely looking seat, very user-friendly and extremely safe.  I’ll be really quite sad when Nerys gets too big for it!

 

You can find out more about the Phoenixfix 3 on the Kiddy UK website.

Disclosure – I was sent the Phonixfix 3 for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

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S+ sleep tracker from ResMed – review

I’ve always been really fascinated by sleep.  And have often wondered how well I’m actually sleeping.

I know that I’m not getting the best sleep of my life at the moment, because I have children who often still wake in the night, and early in the morning.

But I’ve been really interested to know if the sleep I am getting is actually quality sleep or not.

So I jumped at the chance to review a brilliant sleep tracker recently.

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The S+ by ResMed tracks your sleep at night to help you in several ways.

  • It helps you create the right environment for a good night’s sleep.  The tracker measures the light levels and temperature in  your room and lets you know if either of these should be adjusted for optimum sleep conditions.
  • It relaxes you.  You can use the soothing sounds option on the S+ app to listen to relaxing sounds that sync up with your breathing to help you fall asleep.
  • It clears you mind.  There’s a memo recorder built in to the app so you can record a voice message or type a quick text memo to yourself with the things you need to get done the next day.  So they’re out of your head, allowing you to relax more and get to sleep.
  • It wakes you gently.  The S+ has a ‘smart alarm’ option to wake you up in a window of light sleep, which makes you feel much more refreshed than waking up from deep sleep or rem sleep.
  • It helps you understand your sleep.  This is a big one for me.  The feedback from the tracker lets you really understand how well you are (or aren’t) sleeping.  Then it offers you advice to help improve things.

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The S+ is the world’s first non-contact sleep tracker, and that’s one of the things I love about it.

With other trackers you have to wear something, or have something in the bed with you, to get accurate results.

The S+ though, sits nicely on your bedside table and tracks your sleep from there.

In the box you get the S+ device (the pod), the frame that holds the pod in the best position (it needs to be at a certain level above your mattress), a power supply unit and a usb power cable.

It’s really easy to set up the S+.  You just need to download the S+ app to your phone, then plug the device in and sync it up to your phone.  What’s great is that the power supply unit that’s provided has 2 usb sockets on it, so as long as you have the right cable, you can charge your phone and the S+ at the same time with it.  This is quite important as you do need to keep your phone charged through the night to keep it synced up with the pod.

Every night before you go to sleep you enter a few bits of information about your day into the app.  Things like how much exercise you’ve done, if you’ve drunk any alcohol and how much caffeine you’ve consumed.

Then you can choose to clear your mind, set a smart alarm and/or listen to the soothing sounds to help you drift off to sleep.

While you’re sleeping the S+ monitors your breathing (by tracking how your chest rises and falls) and your overall movements to record how long you were in each stage of sleep, and how much you were disturbed in the night.

Then in the morning, after you stop recording, it feeds the information back to you.

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Most days I’ve been getting at least two bits of feedback about my sleep the previous night.

I’ve been finding this feedback really interesting.  I know that on the day I got the feedback above I woke up still feeling quite tired.  So it was fascinating to be told that I didn’t get that much deep sleep the night before.

One slight issue I have is that, obviously, the S+ doesn’t take into account the fact that I have children.  So it offers advice like that above, to try and help me get more deep sleep.  When I think the issue is most likely that I’m not going into a real deep sleep because I’m half listening out for my children all night.  This is an area I really want to look into more, but I do think it must be a big factor.

On the plus side though, the app does let you feedback to the feedback!

So I can let it know that the advice to get some more exercise isn’t that relevant to me, and then it will start to provide other bits of advice for me that might be more relevant and helpful.

As well as the daily feedback, the S+ app also creates a chart each day to breakdown how you slept the night before.  And this is all kept in a ‘history’ tab so you can look back through all the previous nights and see if there’s a pattern to your sleep.

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This feature in particular is really useful, because you can start to pick out patterns in your sleep.

That combined with the helpful suggestions from the app can really help you to work out what action you can take to improve your sleep.

You might find, for example, that your sleep is being disturbed every night when your partner comes to bed.  It might be that they make a lot of noise, or that they turn a light on as they get ready for bed.  Both of these things can interfere with your sleep.  And when you know that’s a factor, then you can have a chat with them and ask them to keep it down, or keep it dark!

I’ve been finding the S+ really helpful in helping me understand my sleep patterns, and to work out why I so often wake up not feeling particularly well rested.

It seems that, for me, it’s a combination of not getting enough deep sleep and often being woken up from REM sleep (thanks kids!).  So, knowing that, I can start to take action to improve things.  Like setting a smart alarm to wake me gently from light sleep, a little before the children generally start shouting.

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My overall feelings about the S+ sleep tracker are really positive.

I think it looks really nice, and feels good quality too.  I like that you can take the pod out of the frame if you want to take it with you when you’re away from home.  But I like the way the pod in its frame looks sitting on my bedside table!

It’s really easy to set up, with clear instructions to follow.  And it’s quite a nice bedtime routine now to answer the questions about my day, clear any thoughts from my head with the memo recorder, and set the smart alarm for the next day.

If you have trouble sleeping, or find that you don’t really feel rested in the mornings then I would definitely recommend the S+ to help you track your sleep and work out what your big problems are.

Their studies found that 80% of people who initially had a low sleep score of about 30-40 saw an improvement in their sleep quality, and quantity, in just a week.

Often we just need some information to go on, to make changes to our routines and our environment, to help improve our sleep.

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If only it could train my children not to wake me in the middle of the night, or too early in the morning!

It’s not designed to teach children to sleep better though I’m afraid.  But what it does do for parents is help you maximise the sleep that you do get, so you can feel as rested as possible.

 

You can find out all the details of the S+, or just go straight ahead and buy one, on their website – splus.resmed.com

I was sent the S+ sleep tracker for the purposes of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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A little bit of silver and gold

I’m in my mid-thirties now, and starting to notice the changes in my skin that come with getting older.

So I’ve been thinking more about the products I use, and have started looking at the various lotions and potions out there for different skin types.  Trying to find the right product for me.

I was really intrigued when I was sent an email about 2 new products from noble naturals.  L’or des pharaons and nano silver.

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L’Or des pharoans is an anti-aging face and body mist.  It’s a mix of purified water and ‘monatomic, diatomic and nanoclusters’ of gold, platinum and zinc.  Now, that sounds a bit like jargon to me!  But basically it’s purified water and gold, platinum and zinc particles of a particular size that allows them to be easily absorbed by the skin.

The mist doesn’t contain any allergens or chemicals, and it claims to fight visible signs of aging at a cellular level. As well as rejuvenating your skin.

I’ve not been using it for long enough to notice a difference yet, but can say that it does feel nice on my skin and my moisturiser does seem to sink in nicely after using it.  Time will tell if the gold of the pharaohs will keep me looking youthful!

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The other product I’ve been trying out is the nano silver spray.

This is more of a multi-purpose, first aid box type of spray rather than a beauty one.  And it really interested me.

I’ve seen silver pop up in the past in things like plasters, as it’s reported to help with healing.  And that’s the thinking behind the nano silver spray.

The spray is made up of tiny silver particles that are dissolved in pure water.  You spray it directly onto cuts and sores and it then helps with healing.  It’s also meant to reduce the risk of infection, and scarring.

I’ve used it a couple of times on little cuts and have been really impressed with how well it’s helped them to heal.

I’ll be keeping this little bottle on hand for the next time one of the children falls down and scrams their knee.  They don’t really like creams being put on their cuts so a spray like this might be the answer.

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You can find out more information on these products from the health factory.

I was sent these products to review, but all words and opinions are my own.

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Boohoo children’s clothing review

I don’t tend to go into town and browse in the shops these days.  What I do instead, is sit at home, with a  cup of coffee and browse online.  And one website I love to browse for clothes is boohoo.com.

So I was really happy to find out that they’ve started doing clothes for children too.

The clothes are for children aged 4-12, so there’s nothing suitable for Nerys quite yet, but I had a lot of fun looking through all the options for Rhys.

And with the weather suddenly turning more wintry I was really pleased to fine a lovely warm coat for him.

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The coat is really warm without being too bulky.  And the colour is just lovely, a bit different from what he’s had in the past.

He’s worn it pretty much every day since it arrived and he loves it.

We bought age 5-6 and it fits him perfectly.  Rhys is quite slight though, so if I had a bigger child I might be tempted to get the next size up.

We all really love the coat though, and think he did a great job modelling it for us on a recent trip to the beach!

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I was also really pleased to see that the coat is machine washable.  One of the reasons I wanted to get him a second coat for winter is that he often comes home from school covered in mud.  So it’s important for me to be able to quickly pop a coat in the wash, while he wears the other one for a day or two!

I had wanted to get some trousers for Rhys too, but found there wasn’t much choice in that category.  I’m sure more items will be added as the kids section grows, but for now we ended up choosing a couple of t shirts to add to our order instead.

The first one I chose was this grey t shirt with a spooky/cute bat on it.  I liked the fact that he could wear it for halloween but it wasn’t too halloween-y.  So he can get a fair bit more wear out of it.

I ordered age 5-6 again and thought when it first arrived that it might be a little small.  But luckily as Rhys is pretty slim it fits him just right.

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The second t shirt I chose was this baseball style one.  I love this style of top, and think it looks really cute on Rhys.

The material isn’t quite standard t shirt material though, so I’m waiting to see how well it washes.  For now though, I’m really happy with it.  Although, like the other items we bought it is a little on the small side, which works for us but might not be great for bigger children.

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All in all, I’m really pleased with my experience with boohoo’s children’s range.  I would love to see more items available, but the clothes they do have are reasonably priced and we’re very happy with the quality and design of the bits we chose.

I also found that the items were delivered quickly, and were packaged up well so they arrived in perfect condition.  Also, boohoo often seem to have offers on delivery so it’s worth keeping an eye out for that!

 

I was given credit to spend at boohoo.com, but all words and opinions are my own.

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The book of everyone – review

It’s the age old question isn’t it.  What do you get for the person who has everything?!

We all have at least one person on our ‘list of people to buy things for’ who doesn’t actually want/need anything for Christmas.

So, what on earth do you get for them?

I’ve always ended up going down the gift card route.  But now I’ve found another option.

The book of everyone!

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If you’ve never heard of them before, these books are just fab.  And so easy (and fun) to create.

You just go to the website, enter a few details about the person you’re making the book for and then it creates a preview for you.

Then you have the really fun part of going through and customising it.

We decided to make a ‘book of mum’ recently for my mother-in-law’s birthday, so went for a lovely pink cover and set the title of the book to ‘the book of mum’.

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We then had a lot of fun going through and finding all the different pages that we could personalise, to make it extra special for her.

It’s really easy to click through the book preview and edit the bits you want to change.  There are pages where you can write in quotes or sayings that are personal to the person the book is for.  You can also change the images used, the colours and the wording on some pages.

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The books are really lovely and colourful and all the different illustrations really make it stand out and grab your attention.

And there is a great mixture of random facts, fun pictures and lovely quotes throughout the book.

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When the book arrived I had a little nose at it to see what it was like before giving it to my mother-in-law, and I was so impressed with it.

We chose the paperback option, but it still felt lovely and sturdy; really great quality.

I love how you can have a quick flick through the book and pick out some fab little facts about the person it was made for.

But you can also sit down and take your time to properly read through it and really appreciate how personal it is.

I can see this being the kind of present that gets looked at again and again over the years.

And I love how you can make something so lovely and personal in a really short amount of time.  It’s perfect for busy parents who are trying to get a present sorted with children hanging off them and shouting for snacks!

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You can buy the book of everyone as a paperback for just £19.50 (delivery is included in that price), or you can make it extra special and get a hardback copy.  Or if you’re buying for someone who spends all their time online you can even just buy a digital copy.

There are also a few variations on the book of everyone available.  So if, for example, you want to celebrate a milestone birthday then you can chose the book of everyone’s milestones edition.  There’s even a brilliant Christmas edition, just perfect for this time of year!

So there you have it, the perfect, fun, personalised present for that person on your list that you just don’t know what to buy for.  You’re welcome!

 

I was given a book of everyone to review for this post, but all words and opinions are my own.

Let them eat dirt and why keeping things clean might not be best for our children

Let them eat dirt

Lots of people, when they become parents, become obssessed with keeping everything clean.  They worry constantly about dirt and germs.

They do whatever they can to clean and sanitize and sterilise everything in their baby’s world.

But is this really the best thing to do?

I’ve always felt that a little bit of dirt is good for children.  That they need to be exposed to germs and bacteria to be able to build an effective immune system.

Let them eat dirt

 

To my mind, it’s like peanuts.

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this!

When I was pregnant with Rhys, the general advice was still to avoid eating peanuts and peanut products.  It was thought that this would help prevent peanut allergies in the baby.

But, I wasn’t convinced that this was right.

My gut feeling on it was that, surely, it’s better to expose the baby to small amounts of things like peanuts.  To me it made more sense that a child would be more likely to react to something that they’d never been exposed to at all.

So I did some research and it turned out that, at the time, the UK was pretty much the only place in the world to advise women to avoid peanuts during pregnancy and yet we had one of the highest rates of peanut allergies.

Women in other countries were happily enjoying their peanut butter on toast every morning and, if anything, doing so seemed to reduce the chance of their baby having a nut allergy.

So I made a choice to keep eating my peanut butter too.  And not long after that the advice here changed to say that it was ok to do so.

Because exposing babies to allergens early on makes it more likely they’ll build up a tolerance to it, which makes it less likely they’ll develop an allergy to it.

And I think of dirt and germs in a similar way.

If we expose our babies to these things, then they’ll build up a tolerance to it.  Their immune systems will develop to be stronger and more resistant to bugs.

And a new book has been released that supports my beliefs.

Let them eat dirt‘ is a really fascinating book on the benefits of exposing our children to dirt and microbes.

let-them-eat-dirt-book

It was written by B. Brett Finlay, PHD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PHD and is all about this idea that our current obsession with keeping things clean and sterile is potentially harmful to our children.

Which makes me feel better about the absolutely non-sterile state of my home!

I remember when Rhys was a baby, and I was still worrying about sterilising his bottles, and his dummy.  My husband made the excellent point that he was crawling round on his hands and knees all day, and then putting his fingers in his mouth.  And his toys were often on the floor, and then in his mouth.

And he seemed to be doing fine!

So I relaxed a bit after that point.

And kept in mind that any germs and bacteria he did pick up would most likely be doing good things to build up his immune system.

This whole idea of sterilising bottles is actually addressed in the book:

“The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends sterilizing bottles used for babies of any age.  If the water at home is safe enough to drink, it is also safe enough to use to clean bottle and nipples”

They also mention an interesting study that was conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.  The study found that children raised in homes that washed dishes by hand (rather than in a dishwasher) were less likely to develop ezcema by the time they reached school age.  Which suggests that “a less-efficient dishwashing method promotes more exposure to microbes early in life, which has been shown to protect children from allergies and asthma”.

And as for toys, the book’s authors suggest that they only need to be cleaned when they’re visibly dirty, or if they’ve been played with by a child that’s poorly.  And plain old soap and water will do too, no need to break out the dettol!

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So, if that’s the case with toys, which are more often than not left lying around on the floor, then is it ok to pick a dummy up off the floor and give it back to your baby?

You might judge me for this, but my response to a dropped dummy was always to just quickly pop it in my mouth to ‘clean’ it before giving it back.

But you often see parents grabbing a pack of wipes out of the changing bag to clean a dropped dummy.  Well, you can even buy little containers that keep them sterilised on the go!

According to ‘let them eat dirt’ though, my more relaxed approach might be for the best.

“A study by the Swedish research group suggests that the best way to clean a pacifier that has been dropped is to put it in your own mouth first.  They found that the sixty-five babies raised by parents that cleaned their pacifiers by mouth had a significantly lower risk of developing allergies at 18 and 36 months of age”

I honestly find this whole area of research fascinating.

A lot of the studies need to be replicated on a larger scale, but the findings definitely point towards it being a good thing for our babies and children to be exposed to microbes and bacteria.

So maybe we all need to relax a little bit.

Obviously we need to use some common sense and do what we can to stop diseases from spreading, and to be wary of germs from food that’s past its best.  And the authors aren’t saying we should actually be encouraging our children to eat dirt.

But maybe we need to cut down on the constant disinfecting and sterilising.  

I’m not saying we should live in a complete mess.  I think we all feel better when our homes are clean and tidy.  But, lets not get carried away!  Our homes don’t need to be sterile.  We don’t need to get rid of every last germ and microbe.

What we need to do is let our children be children.

Let them go out and play in the mud.

Let them explore the world around them.

Let them come home covered in dirt and grass stains, with grubby faces and mud under their fingernails.

I’ll leave you with a great final quote from the book:

 “Let your kid be a kid and interact with their world, and develop as kids have for the past million years.  Let them eat dirt!”

 

You can get a copy of ‘let them eat dirt’ via Amazon, just click on the image below:

I was given a copy of ‘let them eat dirt’ to review, but all words and opinions are my own apart from those indicated by quote marks.

This post has been linked up with KCACOLS.