The Spoonie Mummy Reviews – Clever Tykes Books

Good morning and happy end of the week!  Today I want to share some great new books we were kindly sent by Clever Tykes.

The Clever Tykes Books series contains four books – Walk It Willow, Code It Cody,  Change It Cho and Write It Ryan.

The books have been designed to encourage positive behavioural changes.  They help inspire positivity, innovation, independence, resilience and resourcefulness and are aimed at children aged 6 to 9.  

“Did you know that only 25% of our professional success is determined by our IQ?  The majority is determined by our positivity, social support and being able to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat” (Clever Tykes Website)

What Did We Think?

The books are really well made and the illustrations are fab.  Both of my boys (aged 7 and 10) were able to read them themselves but also enjoyed it when I read them as their bedtime story.  We split the book over two nights, it would have probably been better over three or four nights but they were desperate to know what happened so we kept reading for longer than usual!

We read three of the books and enjoyed every one.  My personal favourite was the one about healthy eating (I am a bit of a stickler for it) but the boys picked Code It Cody as theirs.  They both love computers and Leo has recently started learning about coding.  I loved the fact that Clever Tykes use characters from the diverse world we live in – Cody has a hearing aid.  Living with a disabled mum, the boys never see this as a big deal but for some children who haven’t come across disability, this will be a great introduction to it.

I think these books have given the boys a real boost with their confidence.  Riley doesn’t struggle as much but Leo can become quite easily defeated by things and tends to give up when challenged.  The way the characters in the books tackle the problems they face is fantastic and helps children to understand they can find different ways of doing things and to keep trying.  

I do cross stitch and Leo asked recently if I could teach him.  It was lovely sat sewing together and just chatting as we did so, but he became frustrated when the pattern he was doing didn’t come out right.  He handed over his sewing stuff and got up to leave the room and I thought he was giving up.  Then he told me he was just going to the toilet and when he got back he was going to just attempt his own pattern to practice instead of following one from the book.  I was really proud of him!

Both boys were full of their own ideas when reading the books too – giving me things that they thought they could do, ideas on computer games they would like to invent and Riley enjoyed telling me about his current topic at school which was healthy eating when we read Change It Cho.

These books will make a great addition to any child’s bookshelf, and would be an ideal Christmas gift.  The stories are well written and engaging for kids and the message behind them is a really good one – and different from so mnay others out there.  I would highly recommend for all children in the 6-9 age group and so would the boys!

The books are available to buy from the Clever Tykes websiteYou are also able to purchase colouring and activity packs to go alongside each book which is a great idea to keep the lesson going, as well as certificates for when your child has completed them.  Teachers are also able to purchase teacher guides for use in the classroom.  In the back of each book there is an email address to which children can email the characters in the book to tell them what they thought of the story which is a really nice touch!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Please let me know if you decide to purchase these and what you think of them, it would be good to hear of other children enjoining and benefiting from them.

I received these books from Clever Tykes as a gift.  All opinions in this review are my own

Autumn Activities For Kids

Thought I was all clever and organised getting this scheduled didn’t I?  Not realising that I would wake up poorly after a lay and realise it had already been sent out to my email subscribers unfinished!  Urgh!  Life with chronic illness is unpredictable to say the least!

Today I wanted to share some of our favourite Autumn activities with you.  Not being able to get out and about as much can be really difficult.  Children have so much energy they still need to use up, but the weather, particularly here in the UK, can be unpredictable to say the least.

Autumn Walk

This is definitely one of our favourite things to do in the Autumn and the kids love being able to get outside.  It really is one of the most beautiful seasons isn’t it?

We were lucky enough to be sent this amazing Nature Exploring Kit from the lovely people at Anthisan.  They had seen that we like to get out and about, especially with the dogs and after both Ste and Leo getting wasps stings within a week of one another this was a perfect collaboration for us!


They have been running a fun campaign celebrating the great outdoors and encouraging people to enjoy insects in the outside world and not be fearful of them.  Although Leo was a little cautious after his sting, the boys really enjoyed getting out and about looking for bugs.  I don ‘t know about where you live but we saw LOADS of ladybirds here, they seem to be everywhere at the moment!


Anthisan can be used on insect bites, stings and also on nettle rash so is brilliant, especially for nature lovers and dog walkers like us!  It can be used on adults, the elderly and children over the age of two.

Find out more about Anthisan on their website including where to buy/buy online options
Nature Explorer Set available in Marks & Spencers

Leaf kicking and collecting, photographing, conker and acorn collecting are some of the other activities we love to do in the Autumn.  Autumn treasure hunts are also great fun and kids love them, especially if you tell them they can have a treat if they can spot everything on their list!


After a walk why not turn the leaves you have collected into an amazing piece of artwork?  You could use them to collage with, do leaf rubbings of and lots more.  Pinterest is great for inspiration and you can follow me over there by clicking here.

We also had a fun afternoon painting some rocks that we had collected.  Spray them with yacht varnish to seal (you can buy this for £1 in Poundland and similar stores) and hide them while out and about for others to find.  I am a member of the Derbyshire Rocks Facebook group and there are ones for all different regions on there!

I recently did a Halloween craft post – 10 Halloween Paper Plate Craft Activities For Kids

Puddle Jump

Sometimes (especially in England) it just does not stop raining so just embrace it!  Get your coat and wellies on and go for a walk, letting your kids jump and splash to their hearts content!

Home, clothes in the washing machine, hot shower/bath and a hot chocolate for after!

Burning energy – Play Centres and Trampoline Parks

Yes I know, I know!  I hate them too BUT in the winter they can be a godsend.  When you have spent a couple of days stuck inside because of the weather and everyone is getting cabin fever these places can be brilliant.  And the joy of your kids being that little bit older means you can go sip on a nice cuppa while they play!  If you have younger ones, yeah you might be OK skipping the gym that day!


We all love going to the cinema.  The last film we went to see with the boys was Smallfoot and we all loved it!  We can’t wait for The Crimes of Grindelwald (huge HP fans in our house) and also The Nutcracker film.  Think we will also go and see The Grinch in December – Riley is a massive Dr Seuss fan!

Board and Card Games / Jigsaws

We all love a board game and have got quite a few!  Firm favourites include Frustration (we have the Minion version), Game Of Life, any Top Trumps (Leo got a footballer version and Riley a Horrible Histories version for their birthdays) and Uno.

I am a bit rubbish at jigsaws but the boys are great and we do enjoy a challenge.  Our current one that we are doing is a 1500 piece London one.

We also have a JigRoll which means the jigsaw does not have to be left out on the side, they can be rolled up and put away and then taken out again when we want to carry on!

Toasting Marshmallows.

Marshmallows – tasty treat, great for ostomates for thickening their output and even better when toasted.  We love sitting by the fire outside, chatting, snuggling and enjoying a sweet treat.


Leo especially loves helping out in the kitchen – whether its helping with breakfast or the Sunday Roast or conjuring up something sweet for us to enjoy.  Again, Pinterest is great for ideas and to make it even simpler you can get the box kits from the supermarket (usually around £2 or £3) in loads of different varieties.

I hope you have enjoyed reading through my ideas and they have inspired you a bit!  Let me know in the comments what your favourite things to do in Autumn are!


Test For Tommy

Happy hump day everyone.  I recently responded to a Twitter shout out looking for help promoting a new charity campaign.  As a mum myself I couldn’t say no.  The difference this very simple test can make is huge.  The fact it is so simple makes you wonder why it isn’t already included in the mandatory newborn checks, but that is what Tiny Tickers hopes to change.  Please read on to find out more


Test for Tommy – every newborn baby deserves the test that could help save their life.

Imagine if you were about to have a baby. Now imagine you’d heard that there was a test that could be carried out on all newborn babies – a quick, easy and painless test that could help detect potentially life-threatening heart disease. You’d want your baby to have that test, wouldn’t you?

Tiny Tickers, the baby heart charity, thinks so too and that’s why they have created their latest campaign, Test for Tommy. The campaign is named in memory of baby Tommy, who died from undiagnosed heart defect at eleven days old. And by ‘test’, they are referring to pulse oximetry testing.

Pulse oximetry testing is a non-invasive test that can be performed a few hours after birth and measures a baby’s blood oxygen levels. With a simple probe attached to baby’s head and foot, you get a reading within seconds. Low percentage levels could be a sign of a heart problem, meaning the baby would be sent for further examination. This would then start the chain of events that would hopefully save their life.

At present, pulse oximetry isn’t part of the mandatory NHS newborn checks (NIPE), meaning not every baby leaving hospital has the test. One in 125 babies are born every year with a serious heart condition and, at present, 1000 leave hospital with no-one knowing they have a potentially life-threatening illness. Tiny Tickers wants to change that, by creating a safety net for those 1000 babies. They are doing this by placing pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards across the UK.

Let’s look at two babies, born with the same heart condition and see the difference a pulse oximetry test can make…


When Tommy was born, he displayed all the signs of heart failure that his mum, Natasha, now knows about – his skin was a blue colour, he didn’t want to feed, he was always asleep and cold to touch. Natasha knew something was wrong and voiced her concerns to numerous medical professionals, but it was too late. Tragically, at 11 days old, Tommy passed away. Tommy’s post-mortem showed he had Transposition of the Great Arteries, a heart condition that can be treated with surgery. Natasha is now passionate about ensuring all babies receive a pulse oximetry test because, if Tommy had been tested, he may still be here today.


Tom was also born with Transposition of the Great Arteries. Unlike Tommy, he received a pulse oximetry test after birth. His oxygen saturation levels were dangerously low and his heart condition was diagnosed soon after the test. Tom had open heart surgery at eight days old and is now approaching his third birthday. His mum Nicola, forever grateful for the pulse oximetry test that helped to save his life, says, ‘Without the pulse oximetry test, which is currently not a compulsory part of newborn testing, we would have been sent home. It terrifies me how differently our story may have turned out.’


Sadly, the horror Nicola can only imagine, is a daily reality for Natasha. The stories of two babies with similar names and the same heart condition end so differently because one was offered a pulse oximetry test and the other wasn’t. It’s that simple.

Tiny Tickers has already placed 70 pulse oximetry machines at hospitals throughout the UK and, through the Tommy’s Test campaign, they seek to fund 330 by 2021. But they need our help. With congenital heart disease being one of the biggest killers of infants in the UK, there’s no time to waste.

All babies deserve the best start. Help Tiny Tickers to make sure every baby receives a pulse oximetry test by donating today. For more information, and to donate to the Test for Tommy campaign, visit or text BABY46 £5 to 70070 and help support more tiny hearts.

Natasha says, ‘I can never explain to someone the pain of losing your baby. It’s a pain nobody wants to imagine or ever feel’. Let’s help Tiny Tickers ensure no more babies die from an undiagnosed heart condition. Every newborn deserves the test that could save their life. Thank you.


What is Pulse Oximetry?

Pulse Oximetry testing helps to detect heart defects by measuring oxygen levels (oxygen saturation) in the blood. It uses a light sensor to assess the level of oxygen in the baby’s blood.

This test takes a few minutes at no discomfort to the baby. Not every baby will be born displaying signs and symptoms and with this machine many more life-threatening defects can be detected.


Social Media Links

Twitter: @tinytickers

Insta: @tinytickers

FB: @tinytickers

Tiny Tickers Registered Charity No: 1078114

Thankyou for taking the time to read this post, I really hope this campaign reaches it goals and smashes the 2021 deadline and this all happens much sooner.  I know your donations will be hugely appreciated by the charity and all the parents and children affected by this.

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

FAQ – The Flu Jab

It is that time of year again – people are getting invited to have their yearly flu jab.  But, understandably, many do not take up the offer.  Why not?  Well I have found that much of this is down to miscommunication and information that is not correct being handed out and then shared.


I haven’t actually had mine yet as I just have not had the chance but will be getting it done as soon as possible.  Ste has already has his and tyhe boys will be getting the nasal spray version this month in school.  I thought today I would share some frequently asked questions and try and help answer them so people understand the vaccine and why it is so important, especially when you are chronically ill or in opne of the hother high risk groups.

Who is in these ‘high risk’ groups?

  • People aged 65 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • Children and adults with underlying health conditions
  • Children and adults with weakened immune systems

If I am in a high risk group, what could the complications be?

The risk of you developing potentially serious complications of flu (such as pneumonia or bronchitis) is much higher if you are in the high risk group.  These can lead to very serious illness or even death.

Who should get which flu vaccine?

In 2018, three types of vaccine are being offered

  • a live, quadrivalent flu vaccine (protects against four types of flu strain) which is given as a nasal spray to children.  Children aged 2 and 3 will be given this as well as those in school years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and reception
  • a quadrivalent injected vaccine. Given to adults aged 18 to 65 who are at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition and for children 6 months and above in an eligible group who cannot receive the live vaccine. This is not a live vaccine.  Carers may also be offered the vaccine as they are in close contact with those who are chronically ill.
  • an adjuvanted trivalent injected vaccine. This is for people aged 65 and over.  More effective in this age group

Where can I get a flu jab?

Your GP should invite you to one of their flu jab clinics.  You can also attend certain chemists who offer this service.  If you are pregnant you should speak to your midwife.

Are there any side effects?

Serious reactions are very rare but some people can be allergic to the vaccination.  More commonly people may have a mild fever and achy muscles for a couple of days post vaccination.  This is due to your immune system responding and is not the flu itself.  The site of injection may be red and sore.

The nasal spray side effects include a blocked or runny nose, headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.

Who shouldn’t get the flu vaccine?

  • People who have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine previously
  • Egg allergy – people may be more susceptible to a reaction wif they have an egg allergy and this should be discussed with your GP
  • If you are poorly with a fever (temperature over 38 degrees celcius) you should delay getting your vaccine until you are better.  There is no need to delay your vaccine for a mild illness
  • You can have the vaccine if you are antibiotics provided you do not have a fever

How long will the vaccine protect me for?

The flu vaccine will protect you for the upcoming flu season.  It is offered yearly as different strains of flu may be more prevalent in different years so the vaccine is tailored to account for that.

Can the flu vaccine cause flu?

No!  The vaccine is not a live one so can not cause flu.  You may get mild symptoms for a couple of days following the injection.  As the vaccine takes about 10-14 days to become effective, if you do get flu it is just generally bad luck and you would have caught it anyway.

The nasal spray given to children is a live vaccine but only contains a weakened version of the virus to prevent children developing it.

Why do health workers get the flu vaccine?

This is recommended as they are in contact with people who are severely ill, chronically ill and have weakened immune systems daily.  Carers may also be eligible for the same reason.  You can also pay privately for the jab, many chemists over this service.

I did a poll over on my Facebook page, asking people if they would be taking up the offer of the flu vaccine this year.


There were also some people comment with a reason for their choice and I have collated a few below.  It was interesting to see that a couple of people have been told by their GP or other medical professionals involved in their care not to have it – the official NHS advice is that unless you are severely allergic, you should.


I also think there are many people who don’t know the difference between a bad cold and the flu.  The flu is a lot different and so much more dangerous.  As us spoonies have a weakened immune system, a cold can hit us badly and we will be possibly be more poorly than our family and friends and take longer to recover.  It still doesn’t mean we have the flu.

Flu tends to appear a lot quicker than a cold which will come on gradually.  A cold will also mainly affect the nose and throat, the flu will affect the whole body.  The NHS have produced this video to help explain the differences –

NHS ‘Cold Or Flu’ Video

I hope this post will have helped with common fears and misconceptions about the flu jab.  Being chronically ill for so long I take a keen interest in the medical world and enjoy doing research!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have, and comment below with your experiences.  It is great for people to see others experiences as well as my own.  And I will make sure I get round to having my jab next week and report back!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

November – The Happiness Challenge

So, October has been and gone and November is upon us already!  It’s beginning to look a lot like….Chr….nearly!

October Challenge


So last month’s challenge was #blogtober – posting a blog post every day during the month of October and I failed dramatically!  Unfortunately I was still recovering from being unwell which had taken it’s toll, and with the start of the cold weather my arthritis was playing up and I was very fatigued.  I did miss out a part of the month and did think about trying to catch up once I started feeling well again.  I chose not to as I would have been placing even more pressure on myself when I had just started feeling better and probably set my recovery back.  This is life with chronic illness – despite your best laid plans, not every will always work out the way you want it to!

Challenge For November


I am enjoying my challenge’s and so have decided to keep this going and have picked a one for this month.  Being chronically unwell puts a strain on your mental health as well as your physical health.  Having to miss out on things when you are unwell, and the slightest activity wearing you out can really make you feel even more rubbish.  With that in mind I thought I would choose a challenge for this month to encourage me mentally.

With that in mind I came across this while having a Pinterest scroll.  It looked like exactly what I needed!


Apostrophe S is a fab blog with lots of great self care ideas and inspiration.  Check out the blog by clicking here

I won’t necessarily do these in order but I plan on doing one a day.  I aim to fill you in on the daily challenges over on my social media pages so make sure you are following me –

Facebook     –     Twitter     –     Instagram

and updating at the end of the month (and possibly halfway through) as to how I found it and how I am feeling on here.

Self Care – Is It Selfish?

Self care has become very popular recently and can mean anything from taking control over your mental health to giving yourself a little me time and having a bubble bath!  I think everyone needs to be able to treat themselves once in a while but self care, in my opinion, can be even more simple than that.

When you have mental or physical health problems, or are a parent, self care is very often forgotten about, or even consciously denied.  When you feel poorly, low and depressed, people will often ‘punish’ themselves by withholding simple care behaviour from their life. They may feel like their health concerns already take over too much of daily life and refuse to concentrate any more efforts on themselves.  They may feel unworthy of this kind of attention, that they don’t deserve it.  A parent can feel too busy and like they should be dedicating all of their time to their children and their needs.  The thing is – we all deserve a bit of TLC and the common quote – you can’t pour from an empty cup – is very true.

Starting simple with things like ensuring you are taking all your medication at the correct time, that you are staying hydrated and drinking the recommended amount daily and you are getting some fresh air are great places to start.  These sound like simple things but they are so often forgotten when you are focusing on your children or you are struggling with feeling down.  Self care is about looking after you and encompasses everything you need to be doing for yourself.  You wouldn’t forget to give your child regular drinks throughout the day.  But, as I have in the past, you could be cooking tea and realise you have only had one cup of tea all day!

Wish Me Luck!

I am really looking forward to this challenge and definitely think it will be a really positive one for me at the moment.  I would love it if you would like to join me, let me know in the comments below if you would like to participate!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy