Posted in Children, medical, parenting

Sanity Savers.

After over ten years of parenting (I just had to double check that those figures added up) I have amassed a collection of tricks of the trade. Little things that help life continue smoothly.

Sanity savers if you will.

These are in no particular order; they vary from the weird to the wonderfulish, and none of them come with a money back guarantee (somewhat like the Monkeys really!)

Calpol Syringes {other brands of infant medication are available}. These little hollow tubes may seem basic and suitable for only one purpose. They are anything but:

  • You can use them to insert lemon juice into a freshly baked lemon drizzle cake without damaging the surface.
  • You can use them to transfer unsolidified jelly mix from mixing receptacle to miniature jelly moulds.
  • You can use them to apply drops of olive/coconut oil into ears to aid earache.
  • They are great for filling with watered down poster paint to do splatter painting.
  • You can use them to suck air out of freezer bags to save space in the freezer (more room for you lemon drizzle cake and jelly gummy bears)
  • And if you’ve got any left over after that you can use them to administer medicine.

Baby Vests have envelope necks for a reason. The reason being that they allow the vest to be pulled down the body and off the legs following a poonami rather than upwards and over the head which inevitably precedes the infamous Google Search: how to remove poo from baby’s eyebrows.

Weighted baby toys. Babies always manage to accumulate a plethora of soft toys and cuddly accoutrements. You will send most of you time moving them from place to another, especially now that SIDS guidelines recommend that nothing is placed in the cot with the baby. But. They do have an important use:

  1. Firstly weigh your dominant hand on the bathroom scales applying a small amount of pressure (bear with me).
  2. Source a selection of toys.
  3. Weigh aforementioned toys until you discover one with the same weight as your hand.
  4. This will now play the part of ‘spare hand’. It’s role will become abundantly clear when you’ve been crouched on the floor with your hand on baby’s back for eleventy-two hours and you really need to scratch your nose/have a wee/headbutt the wall/whisper voodoo curses into peacefully sleeping husband’s ear. The stealth switcheroo of hand to perfectly weighted toy should buy you at least a few precious seconds.

Paper cupcake cases. Yes they’re great for baking cakes in but they also have a entire plethora of sideline jobs.

They are brilliant for keeping bugs and other hitchhikers out of drinks.


Obviously I would strongly suggest using eco friendly straws rather than plastic but unfortunately this was all I could currently find. This is also handy for parties as themed cupcake cases placed over plain paper cups works out much cheaper than themes cups!

Sick of lolly drips all over tshirts?


Poke the lolly stick through the case and voila a ready made drip catcher. (Yes I then had to eat the lolly, I hope you all appreciate the sacrifice that was involved).

They are the perfect size for taking on picnics; I use them for ketchup, hummus, grated cheese………the list is endless and it means there’s less heavy tubs to cart around in the picnic bag.

Medical Stuff. Children fall down. A lot. It’s like evolutionary skills don’t kick in until at least 14. This means that you need an entire pharmacy of products ready and waiting (readers of our facebook page will remember the fun that was ‘plastergate’.) So here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up that may just make the healing process a little easier.

  • Conventional ice packs can be way too cold, way to big and way too inflexible to hold on a squirmy child. If you fill a strong freezer bag (I like the industrial strength ones from Ikea) with giant marshmallows and pop them in the freezer, it becomes a soft, moldable, child-friendly icepack.
  • Similarly I also use the tube yoghurts, we don’t have them in The Circus as actual yoghurts very often as they’re ridiculously high in sugar BUT I do like to have some in the freezer. Those little tubes are an absolute brainwave. If you pack them in between your wrapped sandwiches they slowly defrost while keeping the sandwiches cool. If a child is suffering with a sore throat and doesn’t want to eat, then these frozen beauties will soothe a throat and also provide more sustenance than a typical ice lolly. And along the same lines, one held behind the ear will provide relief from earache.
  • Plasters are an absolute necessity. Even if there’s no blood sometimes just covering up the ‘wound’ can stop it hurting. They are also useful for splinters. I don’t know about other children but The Monkeys seem to sense when I’m approaching with tweezers and adopt either of the fight or flight options. However, if you add a tiny drop of water to some baking soda to make a paste and apply it to the splinter then cover with a plaster, it will draw the splinter out by itself. Plus, if you keep some under the buggy/in the car/in your school run bag then when you get to the school gate, and realise a child is adorned in ‘temporary’ tattoos you can cover them up with plasters and introduce a storyline about bugbites/cat scratches/acupuncture scars.
  • Hayfever is a massive issue in The Circus; especially with myself, Froo and Wombat all being asthmatic. We have tried and tested so many remedies I’m surprised there’s any histamine left anywhere. But the single best tip I was given is Vaseline, if you apply it round the nostrils and along the eye bone (carefully!!) it helps prevent the pollen entering the body in the first place and of course it’s non medicated which was a big relief for me.
  • Chicken Pox is one of the major childhood illnesses and it can be a testing time for all involved. Some children wander merrily through life as normal all be it with a few spots while other are really very poorly. The most important thing to remember is that you must never ever give Ibuprofen during chicken pox as it can cause serious skin infections. Calpol can be given for a temperature and calamine lotion has always been the go to, although personally I found the calamine lotion was difficult to apply and crusted over the spots making the hot and uncomfortable.


The best thing I discovered was oat baths and now whenever someone says their child is suffering with the dreaded pox this is what I recommend.

Take a muslin cloth (or the leg of a pair of tight works too) and fill it with a mixture of porridge oats and bicarbonate of soda. Tie at the top like a parcel and hang over the bath taps while you run the bath so the water runs through it. It provides a cloudy but very soothing bath to aid irritation and itching, you can then use the muslin package as a bath sponge. This worked so well when Froo and Noodle had pox (exactly 14 days apart and Noddle was only 16 weeks old) that we spent a lot of time hanging out in the bathroom. I have no idea what I’ll do when Pickle and Wombat get it as we no longer have the luxury of a bathtub!


  • Now The Big One: cheaper generic medication is (90% of them time) exactly the same as the brand name products.

£5 big name hayfever tablets have the same active ingredient (either Loratodine or    Cetrizine) as the 89p version from supermarkets. If you compare the boxes, they quite often have exactly the same manufacturing code. The same goes for medicine; Calpol and ‘infant paracetamol suspension’ are one and the same, except with one you are not paying for a pretty box and a wall known name.

Welcome to my world




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