Archive for June, 2010

Notes from Motherhood:Mum of Four For A Year!

Some of you may have seen my mini bio on the Notes from Motherhood page of this blog and will know that I have 3 kids aged five, three and a half and two. What I didn’t mention is that for the last year I’ve also been ‘host mum’ to Tuuli, a teenage girl from Finland.

Today has been full of mixed emotions for me, because I had to take Tuuli to the airport, wave goodbye and watch her go back  to her ‘real’ family. And, rather than feel sad, I wanted to write this post and share my experience of being a ‘host mum’ this year.

We live in Brighton, where every year the population swells with summer exchange students, and we have friends who regularly turn their spare rooms into full board accomodation for teenagers from all over the world. Last summer we decided to try it out as it seemed like a great way for me to contribute to the household without the expense of childcare. We had two lovely girls from Finland with us for three weeks and everything went so well that we agreed to think about taking on a long term student.

It was not a snap decision as there are many considerations to be made, but we decided to give it a go and were very lucky as Tuuli turned out to be wonderful, and a perfect fit for our family.

The information here is purely based on my own personal experience of hosting a 17 year old Finninsh student on a High School Exchange Programme for 10 months. If you are thinking about becoming a host family then I recommend you do some research before you make up your mind.

How do you find a student?

I used the internet and reccommendations from friends to find reputable language schools and I made enquires with a few of them. Most asked me to fill out an application questionnaire and a representative from the school made a home visit.

What kind of person do you want?

Think about your own family circumstances and decide who you will feel most comfortable with. We chose a teenage girl as we felt this would fit in best with our young family

Long term-v-short term

Although short term students are less demanding of your time due to their busy schedules, we felt it would be too unsettling for our kids to have to adjust to a new person every month. Having Tuuli as a surrogate big sister for the year has a very positive effect on our kids, been great company for me and, as the homemaker,I have found the monthly contributions from the language school a much needed boost to my housekeeping budget.

Preparations

We provided a comfy room equipped with a single bed, easy chair, plenty of wardrobe space (she’s a girl!), a table and chair for school work. We also gave her a radio and cd player, lamp and hairdryer. We did not give her a tv because we have no reception in that room but we also thought that coming into the family room to watch tv would help her to integrate.

Settling in

We gave Tuuli lots of support from the offset as she had so many new challenges to face: leaving family and friends behind, having language difficulties, being in unfamiliar surroudings, experiencing a different culture and living in a house full of strangers. I was so delighted when Tuuli told me that right from the start she felt safe and secure within our home and it gave her the courage to go to school everyday.

Family life

We treated Tuuli as a member of our family and tried to include her in our everyday life: mealtimes, shopping trips, outings etc.

Privacy

I made it clear to the kids that Tuuli’s room was her own territory and no one was to enter it without her permission, I also gave her the resposibility of keeping her room clean and this helped to provide her with a private space within the house. We were lucky that Tuuli was also respectful of our privacy and we never had any misunderstandings.

Teenage angst

I’ve had no real experience of being around teenagers since becoming an adult so I was curious to find out what it would be like, especially since we will have 3 of our own here in about 10 years time! However, my husband is a secondary school teacher and I have confidence in his experience. Peace, stability and the safety of our kids were our priorities, and although we didn’t expect any trouble (drinking, staying out late, causing a rumpus etc) but our feeling was that we would invoke a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy if necessary. It wasn’t! Having Tuuli in the house proved to be lots of fun, really helpful and a lovely insight into future parenting skills. Most importantly, I discovered that a 17 year old , although very independent and mature, still needs love, support and guidance like any child does.

Negatives

Even if your student is a delight to live with, it can sometimes be a bit of a strain having another person in your home for extended periods. If you really need a lot of personal space then you may find taking short term students the easier option.

Personal Opinion

Well worth doing! It was a great experience, we made a friend for life and it’s the perfect solution for stay at home mums.

I’d like to say thank you to Tuuli for being a perfect host student and for becoming our lovely teenage daughter for a year. We’re going to miss you xx

New Product Highlight:The BornFree BPA-Free Silicone Teether

When babies start to cut their first teeth it can tough. BornFree has produced a silicone teether designed by a Pediatric Dentist for babies of 4 months and older, the Teething Ring stimulates and soothes baby’s gums and allows for easier teeth eruption.

The BornFree Silicone Teether is made from medical grade silicone and is 100% free of Bisphenol-A, Phthalates and PVC. . The Teether can be stored in the refrigerator and features a built-in cavity for anesthetic paste, an easy-grip handle and 5 different textures to enhance tactile sensation. Available in Blue and Pink.

You can buy the Teether from our online shop http://babybornfree.co.uk

BPA in the Media Again!

As staunch supporters of the anti-BPA campaign we were very pleased to see coverage in the British media last Friday of a new report linking BPA to breast cancer.

The Daily Mail and the BBC both featured articles about Professor Anna Soto, an expert in cancer development ar the University of Ulster, who has recently carried out research on BPA .

She is warning that BPA can trigger toxins which lead to cancer after discovering that foetal and neonatal exposure to the chemical increases the likelihood of development of malignant tumours later in life.

Professor Soto said:

I would call for a banning of the use of BPA giving the growing evidence and increasing concerns that research has shown.

The foetal and neonatal life are crucial for a child’s development and parents should consider the advantage of using BPA-free products.

The chemical has been banned or its use limited in Canada, France and Denmark and many US states. We are hoping that the UK government will sit up and take notice of the experts and take similar action against the use of BPA.

You can read the BBC article here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/10346961.stm

You can read the Daily Mail article here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1287470/Call-ban-breast-cancer-chemical-babies-bottles.html#comments

Ron Vigdor Interviewed by Lil Sugar

BornFree President Ron Vigor and BornFree are currently being featured on Lil Sugar, the popular US parenting website. In the article The Dad Behind the Bottle: Ron Vigdor of BornFree Interview Ron does an amazing job of explaining why he was motivated to start the company and what is in store for the future as BornFree becomes a lifestyle brand.

 

You can read the article here: 

http://www.lilsugar.com/BornFree-BPA-Free-Bottles-8819814

BornFree Competition Winners Announced!

Congratulations to our recent competition winners!

Susie Brown won a Mum’s Time Out at London’s So SPA ,where she will be a guest of BornFree at our second Celebrity Baby Shower.

Our three Brag About Dad winners are Elizabeth Burton, Beverly Bailey and Nicola Jenkins who will each receive £100 in BornFree products.

Well done to our winners and many thanks to every one else who took the time to share their stories and enter the competitions.

Attention Mums! We’re giving you a time-out!

Dear BornFree Mum. You deserve a Time-Out and BornFree wants to give it to you!

One Mum is going to win an invitation to the Second BornFree Celebrity Baby Shower held at So SPA in St. James, London on July 6th 2010.

This is your chance to mingle with celebrities, take your pick of goodies from a selection of fun and exclusive baby and children’s brands and, most importantly, indulge yourself with treatments offered by So SPA

To enter simply leave a comment below this post telling me why you need a BornFree Time Out!

To increase your chances of winning you can also choose to do one or all of the following, remember- the more ways you choose, the higher your chances of winning!

  1. Become a Fan of BornFree on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/pages/BabyBornFree-UK/150115364070 and leave a comment here telling us you’re a fan.
  2. Follow @BabyBornFreeUK on Twitter and leave a comment here with your Twitter name telling us you’re following
  3. Post this message on Twitter and leave a comment here with a link to your tweet:

“Mums! Win an indulgent day at So SPA as a guest at @BabyBornFreeUK ‘s Second Celebrity Baby Shower”

Terms and Conditions

Contest ends 18/06/10, winner announced 19/06/10. BornFree will organise transportation to and from the event. No purchase necessary to enter. The odds of winning a Giveaway depend on the number of entries.  Winners will be selected randomly by BornFree using http://random.org as a selection tool. All decisions of BornFree are final.  Employees of BornFree are not eligible to participate. All entries received after the Giveaway closing date and time will not be considered. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. Winners will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the e-mail. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Open to participants in the United Kingdom who are 18 years and older. Void where prohibited. Taxes on Giveaways are solely the responsibility of the winner.  Winner agrees to permit BornFree to use her or his name, voice, photo, or likeness for reasonable promotional and marketing purposes for up to 90 days after the end of the Giveaway.  BornFree is not liable for late or misdirected entries, entry errors, or transmission problems. BornFree reserves the right to terminate the Giveaway in the event of technical problems, or to correct typographical or technical errors, or to amend these rules.  All participants should review the BornFree disclosure and privacy policies.  By entering, participants agree to release and hold harmless BornFree, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability or any injuries, loss, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with a Giveaway.  BornFree will provide the name of the winner for any Giveaway, upon request, for 90 days after that Giveaway’s entry period ends.  Unless otherwise provided by the BornFree, no substitution, transfer, or assignment of prizes is permitted.  Non-winning entries from one Giveaway are not carried forward to future Giveaways.

Mummy Bloggers love BornFree!

We love receiving feedback about our products and just recently there have been some fantastic reviews written by mummy bloggers which I’d like to share with you all.

In the Dulwich & South London Netmums Blog there is a post called Things we are loving this week! And guess what’s being loved? It’s the new  BornFree BPA-Free Twist N’Pop Straw Cup !  The post links to a review article about every mum’s search for the perfect toddler cup and our Twist N’Pop comes out on top! Here’s a great quote:

totally leakproof, looks really funky and has a brilliant pop-up straw for slurping on the go

 

We’ve also had a lovely review from Green Families UK, a website dedicated to encouraging familes to be green and healthy. The review includes a giveaway of our new Twist N’Pop so be quick as the offer ends Weds 16 June.

We’ve always been great fans of BornFree’s products from their bottles with the innovative air vent that really helps to eliminate colic symptoms to their trainer cups and drinking cups – all 100% free from BPA, Phthalates and PVC

 

Next up it’s our BPA-Free Trainer Cups featured by Mummy McCann on her review site The things a parent likes… 

We love the following quotes:

these cups proved a vital part in moving her from breast to bottle

and

She particularly likes her vibrant yellow bottle and at the moment when she’s not drinking she can also chew the soft spout to ease her teething discomfort.

We’re delighted with Mummy McCann’s findings as this is just what we were aiming for when we developed the bottles. Hooray!

You can read the full reviews here

http://dulwichmums.blogspot.com/2010/06/in-search-of-perfect-toddler-drinking.html

and here

http://greenfamiliesuk.blogspot.com/2010/06/win-bornfree-twist-npop-straw-cup.html

and here

http://wereviewbabystuff.blogspot.com/2010/06/baby-born-free-winning-team.html


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