Things to help parents/Carers with blood tests for babies and toddlers.

Things to help parents/Carers with blood tests for babies and toddlers.

First of all I’m sorry you and your little one is having to go through this and I hope everything comes back okay. I’m giving some tips to help parents survive as we’ve had many including one yesterday. This is what helps me.

Try to book blood appointments at an okay time. Not a nap time or lunch time. I’ve had several appointments where Elijahs gone to hve bloods and cranky already as tired or hungry. These things do not help matters and can make things a struggle after too. If you can’t choose after a meal time take snacks for immediately after.

Bring bubbles or a favourite toy. Something to distract them from what’s happening. It’s horrid when they watch the blood being taken and as they get older and understand more it’s even worse. They want you to help and you can’t.

Sit in a chair with them. At the hospital we go to we sit In a chair and I cuddle him holding one arm to make sure he doesn’t grab and move about.

Keep talking to them. Distract them with things in room and tell them it’s ok and acknowledge the situation so your child understands it will soon be done.

Praise good behaviour and make a big deal about how well they are doing or did. they need to feel they’ve been brave even when they’re scared.

Explain what is happening too so they understand you are not hurting him and that it’s okay to be scared but it’s important.

Don’t wear anything that you care about getting blood on, sometimes accident happen and I’m lucky it hasn’t ruined either of our clothes but try to avoid the favourite tops and jeans. (If you get any blood on anything a bit of elbow grease or Milton for whites should take care of this). Bring spare clothes for babies and toddlers just in time.

Reward they experience if you want to. I always feel terrible I’ve put him through it so I say we’re going to go get a treat when we are finish and he gets excited. It’s normally a new toy or maybe a treat of a biscuit at the Costa at the hospital but I like to show he’s done a good job and I’m proud of him. When I give him a reward I explain why and tell him how proud I am too.

Stay calm. You’re child’s going to cry because they will feel pain. We’ve had blood tests since Elijah was a hour old and they never get any easier but just remember the blood tests are needed and for the best of their health. It’s over quite quickly and then you can go back to cuddles.

Any other questions please do ask!

Joining the library.

Joining the library.

Growing up I loved trips to the library to get a new book and was always so eager to go. I remember running with my books into the door and how much I loved scanning and stamping them in and out. It wasn’t just about getting a new book but also being able to go somewhere and see what I wanted. Since being a adult I don’t think I’ve gone to the library since I was around 13 years ago which is now almost 12 years ago. Scary!

One thing I’ve always enjoyed is reading and it gives me joy knowing I’ve been passing that onto Elijah. Elijah loves reading and we have 100s (not a exaggeration his books shelf is full to the brim and he has a book box full that’s overflowing and around 45 books on a shelf). I’ve come to think it’s wasteful to have so many books and we should start donating some we don’t read and going to the library instead. Obviously if he really likes a book I’ll probably still buy it but I’m trying not to be so wasteful:

We signed Elijah up and he absolutely loved it. He ran over grabbing all the books he could read and played in the kids section. He did colouring and played with the toys. We choose some books and I got them out and we brought them home. Did you know you can get up to 20 books at one time for three weeks? That’s a lot of books and a lot of time. It’s also completely free and better for the environment. What a great way to have a trip out the house and also learn while we do it! Visiting the library also keeps them too and it’s such a great part of the community, they also do classes and activities regularly for all the family.

Things I do to calm myself down.

Things I do to calm myself down.

We’ve all been stressed, depressed, anxious and worked up at some stage in our life and we will be again. Instead of dwelling in your emotions you need to try to separate yourself from these emotions with some self help tools and objects even if it feels impossible. Sometimes just looking out the window and watching how the rain falls can make us feel better just for that second.


I’m not saying colouring in is going to cure your depression because it most definitely hasn’t cured mine but distraction can help even for a little bit. So what do I do to distract myself so I can relax just a tad?


I read. Reading is really great for your mental health. It’s somewhat changed my life, when I’m stressed I’ll start a new book and read till I feel a bit better. My imagination is put elsewhere and I don’t sit there over thinking as I am distracted. I find the kindle a brilliant tool for this as you can buy a book immediately and read it so you don’t have to choose a book you have and you don’t have to wait you can just do it now!


I use my fidget cube. It has different textures and things to do like a switch, buttons and dials. I play with it in my pocket when I’m out and feeling particularly anxious or if I’m watching tv on the sofa and feeling I can’t calm down. The switch on it has really helped my ocd I don’t flip the house switches as much just the one on my cube.


I journal. I have several self help books which involve me talking about my day, what went wrong and can go better. It enables positive thoughts and makes me think. I find the smallest things to be proud of myself for or went right today and try to be “mindful”.


I colour. Colouring is very therapeutic and occupying the mind is too. I’m not talking colouring a basic baby colouring book dog but intricate designs that take time. I have several and my favourite two are my cath kidston colouring book and my swear word one which I do when I’m feeling angry about something. Yes it’s crude but instead of swearing I colour it in and Elijah can’t read yet so I see no issue.

I look back at photos. I look at photos of happier times and remind myself life can be good and I will smile again.


I burn candles. I burn candles and use in sense/essential oils to relax myself. The smells and soft flows can relax me and not feel so over stimulated by everything going on around me.


I watch a film or series. I distract myself watching something new or old and try to commit all my focus into this. It doesn’t always work but sometimes if I don’t feel up for much this little activity is enough to keep me calm.


I practice self care. I’ll have a nice candle lit bubble bath or hot shower. I’ll use my best products, exfoliate and then I’ll moisturise so I’m slippery enough to belong in the ocean. I’ll wear fresh pjs and change the bedding. I’ll spend time doing my hair and if I’m going out I’ll do my make up.


I’ll do housework. Although I mostly hate housework when I’m feeling particularly over whelmed I reach for a cloth and clean. Having everything clean and tidy makes me feel good so I’ll get to scrubbing the house to take out my emotions. I’ve been known to have a cry washing up at times and feel miles better after.


I cook and bake. I love making yummy treats so when I can I like to bake or cook something new which gives me a bit of a boost when it tastes somewhat decent.


I go for a walk. I take myself or my son with me if nobody’s home to watch him and walk through nature. I take in the worlds beautiful views and smell the natural air and it almost always makes me feel more open minded and clear. It helps me make decisions in stressful situations and I work our anger I have built up sometimes.


I buy stuff. I indulge in buying a new ornament or new top or toy for my kid. I love buying new bits and a treat always makes me feel better.
I go out and see friends or family. Something about being around others at times just makes you feel okay again.


I have a hot drink. Warning myself up makes me feel warm and cuddly and it can help me relax into myself and let my walls down.

I sit in the dark and relax. I try to rationalise my thoughts and relax into myself . No stimuli works for me.

I turn my phone off and avoid the news. I avoid negativity, and there’s plenty of that at our finger tips I can feel so much better when I don’t use my personal social media or read news articles on politics or horrible disasters that have happened.


I go out for the day. Staying in can make you feel lonely and horrid so going out for a adventure can make you feel so much better.


I listen to music. Either loud when I’m angry or relaxing music when I’m sad to listen to the music and calm myself down.


I use White noise. It not only helps me sleep I also use it to make myself feel safe when I’m over stimulated or out and nervous about something like an appointment. I also like to watch the rain and they’d why I like thunderstorm sounds the most.


I talk to someone. When I feel particularly bad I speak to someone about it and I feel a load is taken of my chest and sometimes we need help.

it’s all about finding things you like to do that occupy your mind. For example my husband likes playing video games or editing photos he’s taken. He’ll sit there for hours but he always feels better afterwards. Sometimes things get hard and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to be selfish and do things for you and that’s okay too. Just remember that you matter too and you can get through this. Distraction is a short term fix and if your are suffering talk to someone or your gp. As always my inbox is always open.

Do we want another pet?

Sometimes the idea of another pet really tempts me. After all we now own our own house and require no permission to get any sort of animal we’d like now. But do we want a pet now?

We’ve had two pets together since living together and although we’ve loved both of them we had to give one away. Milo our African Pygmy hedgehog was rehomed to a new home after being so hard to look after with a newborn. Check out my previous post on my hedgehog for more info why. So with that being said we aren’t really looking for something that doesn’t give us love and affection and is hard work. We had a Chinese dwarf hamster named pebbles optimus prime Hazelwood and he survived 4 long years! Pebbles was such a loving little guy and we didn’t mind cleaning him out as he would sit on us as we cleaned him out and loved being held and wasn’t really hard work to look after. One day I may get Elijah a hamster if he decides that’s what he wants.

I used to have a dog and my family all have dogs and I miss having something to cuddle with on the sofa. There’s nothing like the companionship of a dog. Going for walks with Elijah and the dog would be lovely and Elijah having a little friend to get into trouble with is just lovely. I loved being a child growing up with dogs and chasing them around and looking after them too. James has never had a dog but absolutely adores dogs.

I think when Elijah is in school we will get a dog. Because dogs take a lot of work and I don’t want Elijah climbing all over them upsetting them at such a young age and would like to be able to train it and have the time. I want Elijah to understand animals and how to respect them. I want to have a pet when we’re ready and not make the decision on a whim. When we’re ready we’ll do it but for now our family of three is complete.

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Following a lovely day pumpkin picking we where ten minutes away from a garden centre (poplar nurseries) we love visiting as it has a miniature railway! We decided to go grab some lunch and browse the shops in the garden centre.

We went for lunch where we shared a pasta, chips and garlic bread. Elijah wanted a scone so a scone and some of our dinner he had! I had the most beautiful hot chocolate. As always it was really tasty and filled us right up! The railways station is just outside and is very cute they have steam trains too! They’re perfect size for children and under 4s travel free. The adults and older children are a pound a go or ten pounds for a pass of ten which we brought last time and still have turns! They have statues and flowers to look out for as you go around which Elijah loved!

Afterwards we stopped in the Christmas sections and looked at the lights and ornaments and it was so beautiful it made me feel warm inside! We found a door sign and bauble with Elijahs name on the first thing I have found with his name on in a shop ever! So we of course had to buy it. They have lovely food, cakes, chocolates, toys and home bits and we always buy something nice whenever we go.

We always live going to this little garden centre as it’s a day out when you get food. The foods always super delicious and out the door busy but if you reserve a table you’ll get a very nice meal! The train conductors are fun and lovely to everyone and they try their best to make it more exciting for the children! They play their whistles and shout all aboard and make the kids wave as they go! The outfits and the decoration of the area is lovely too very old fashioned and cute. You don’t have to pay entry either only for things you buy and each turn on the train so a good day out overall and it’s so big you can be there for hours.

Learning resources for toddlers.

Learning resources for toddlers.

Trying to expand your toddlers mind and teach them skills at the same time can be difficult, but there are resources out there you can use to help. Here are a few items i have used and found effective in teaching my son that might help other parents and toddlers stuck in a rut. If anyone else has anything they can recommend do please get in touch with a comment or check out my instagram @lifewiththehazelwoods and send me a dm there.

First up flash cards. I cannot rate flashcards enough because they are such a brilliant tool for learning. Remember revising for tests and you made flash cards? Well they work the same for toddlers. They’re brightly coloured and have pictures. They have the word under so you can teach your toddler the word for the photo which eventually they will learn with daily practice. Everyday we’ve used these since a little before his first birthday. Hes learnt a lot of animal names, foods, objects,weather and more. He can now basically say a whole pack of words now which makes us insanely proud. We have several packs which i have brought which Elijah loves doing you can get themed or basic first words, we have some ones that show counting objects for when hes older as well.

Puzzles are great too. We have quite a few types. We have some which are wooden boards where you take the shapes away and put them back in which are quite easy to do but teaches shape sorting. We also have vehicle, animal and letter ones to teach him words too. We have words to words to object animals. We have wooden puzzles also where we match the body parts. Puzzles are so good for making your child learn more, gain more skills and also strengthens their muscles using their motor skills. It also helps their memory including muscle memory.

Lacing beads. This teaches your child about colours and shapes. This also teaches how to thread through beads into the lace and counting as you do it. Teaches hand eye coordination and muscle memory again. This is also one of the things they access where children are too to see how they’re able to use their joints.

Arts and crafts products.Colouring books and crayons, Jumbo and thin crayons can be great for the wrists and finger development. We use it to teach colours and patterns and try to get him to copy us when we do shapes. We love painting and exploring patterns and objects and how we use things to paint. We do themed painting and use objects we find such as toys, objects from the outside or pasta. We love doing stickers which Elijah loves them and sticking them on the paper or on things.

Word books, i cannot stress how important reading is to children. They are sponges from when they are born. We have read to elijah since he was in my tummy and we make a effort to read atleast 4 books a day together. Word books with pictures and words are really good because they teach them the word for things. Elijah was so proud of himself when hes learn all the words in a book and would bring them to show us all day long.

Play dough. Teaching your child textures, making things and just using their hands and objects are a great tool to use. They come with good play sets too so as they get older you can make them explore more play. Like a dentist set, beach set, food making set. Playing together is lovely too.

Bricks, counting and balance all come into this. They have fun building towers and learning balance. You can also use them to count.

Magnetic fish teaches hand eye communication and team work.

Food is probably the best one! Teaching them too cook is such a fun experience and lots of messy play! Put food colouring in cooked spaghetti and let them go wild! Bake cakes and shape cookies! Colour pasta shells and rice for necklaces and arts and crafts activities!

The possibility’s are endless, just enjoy learning and having fun together!

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

Elijah went for a sleepover at his nanny’s yesterday so me and James could go cinemas and destress as we had a very stressful week and needed some time to just breath. It got me thinking that sometimes I miss our old life. When it was us two. I obviously don’t wish away or regret having Elijah but sometimes I ache with a need to just be us sometimes.

Nobody really warns you when you try and get pregnant that you will no longer have time just the two of you anymore. You get told from everyone they’ll be there for childcare but once baby exits your body nobody wants to know. Childcare is a few hours of peace and it’s rare to get anymore than that. I can count on one hand the nights away from Elijah we’ve had. In two years that’s not a lot of time. Although I love our family time and cuddles on the sofa I miss life in the slow lane.

It’s the little things you miss, waking up at the weekend after a lay in. Slowly waking up and scrolling on your phone and chatting till you decide to get up and go have breakfast. Having a a slow breakfast eating whatever you want with no mess to clean up after, hands to wipe or hands grabbing at your food. It’s deciding what you want to do and just going out to do it. No packing a massive bag and cramming with snacks and nappies. No thinking do they have baby changing? Is it kid friendly? How long should I be there before I need to come home and get the kid to nap?

It’s missing out on dates. Where you used to randomly decide at 7 you where going to cinema and just get in the car and go and now it’s can you have the kid in a weeks time for two hours please and we’ll pick and drop you off? It’s going to a restaurant and spending the whole time worrying about other people judging your kid for going on your phone or making a noise or something like that. It’s also cleaning the floor and sides after eating a meal. Something you’d never do just the two of you on a date.

It’s the conversation being calmed down. Not swearing except for when the kids in bed and talking about certain subjects so they don’t learn the words and go round using the c word or something like that. I will say however I find it hilarious when kids swear by accident it brings my soul pure joy!

I miss not relying on anyone to do things just us two now and when we go and do our old hobbies not having to rush them because Elijah grows bored or tired. I miss going to bed when I wanted and not waking up exhausted. Not having to listen to baby alarm in a light sleep and waking at every roll in his bed all night long. I miss when 7 am was early to me on days I wasn’t working.

Overall I love our life now and wouldn’t change it for the world. I love our family and how much better life has got since having Elijah but sometimes, just sometimes I miss when it was us two and we could be just a couple .