Monday, 5 December 2016

Mama's Christmas Wish List

So here we are in December and the Christmas preparations are well underway for most;
for us that means the tree is up, the daily watching of Christmas films has commenced and that I have decided it is acceptable to eat mince pies at any time of the day.
I'm not one of those super organised people who have their presents wrapped by November;
we don't have a huge amount of presents to buy as although we come from big families we tend to buy mostly for the children (otherwise it would be a serious task!), and obviously our parents and friends. Joe and I tend not to buy big presents for each other as generally Christmas is an expensive time anyway but we do usually buy each other some sort of snuggly Christmas pyjamas- that are getting more ridiculous as the years go by!
The little guy has been old enough in the last couple of years to tell us what he actually wants for Christmas so its fairly easy to buy for him. We tend to get him a main present and then a few little ones as it's what we had when we were younger too. I don't think it's a good idea to go too overboard with gifts as it can be quite overwhelming for children! Saying that it's lovely picking out little things that you know they'll love and seeing the excitement on their faces on Christmas morning; 
it really does make you feel like you're getting to experience the magic all over again but in a completely different way. Obviously this is also our first Christmas as a family of four so it is already feeling very special.

Although I'm not expecting Santa to pay me a visit I thought it might be fun to put together my own wishlist while I'm enjoying a bit of peace this evening!




1. I've heard so much about "Hygge" through instagram over the last few months so I had a little read of this when I was in Waterstones last week and thought it was such a lovely concept. I'm all about creating cosiness so it's right up my street!
2. You rarely travel light with two little ones in tow so I'm always on the lookout for the perfect carry-all; I've wanted one of these Kanken bags ever since I saw them last year; I love the smart design and every colour they come in is gorgeous- apparently they were designed to be super light too which is an added bonus!
3. I came across these Mama Bear Sweatshirts on Instagram and thought they were so cute; And they have matching Papa bear and Bear cub ones too!
4. I've recently discovered cashmere and how ridiculously warm it is. The only problem of course is that it's rather expensive so mine tends to be secondhand if I can spot a bargain here or there. These would be a serious treat!
5. I've wanted a pair of Adidas originals since my tomboy days as a teenager- but these are my favourite colour too. Swoon.
6. It's no secret that I love my Pj's - My favourites are brushed cotton and traditional styles- Cath Kidstons designs are just perfect.
7. I am a huge fan of Benefit cosmetics; I've been using Benetint for years and recently switched to their Oxygen foundation which is just perfect. I need everything of theirs especially the mascara/brow collection but I'll have to build up my collection slowly!
8. I don't wear lots of jewellery usually but I do love nice rings and stacking ones have become my favourite in the last year,  I love these silver stacking rings and how they can be stamped with your loved ones names. Simple but beautiful.
9. Super Cosy Slippers. And of course they must be able to accommodate fluffy socks.

Well that's my Christmas wishlist- I think I should probably get on now with the actual Christmas shopping or at least some ironing!

What's on your wishlist this year?

x
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Hello again.

I've been having a little break from social media and blogging over the last few weeks;
Sometimes it feels good just to disconnect from the constant hum of technology and really connect with home. It's so easy to get distracted by a phone that's buzzing throughout the day that often you wonder when you are actually present to the people around you...
I think being a mum is another factor in needing to just needing to switch off sometimes and just "be" with your children.
Time seems to escape when you're looking down at your phone and you tend to miss the real moments when you're only half looking.
I think being able to see so much of people's lives online these days starts to affect us after a while; subconsciously or not. Social media is such a great way to connect and there's often a great sense of community, particularly through apps like instagram, (my favourite)
But sometimes, unfortunately, it can also be a judgemental place, whether it's negative mum/dad-shaming comments or the way you judge yourself for not being as well together as the people you see popping up in those little squares every day. 
You forget that life isn't about perfect white walls, artistic coffee shots and catalogue style family scenes.
You start to think that it's not good enough that you aren't doing the same.
That you're not good enough.
But life doesn't fit into squares or posts or status updates.
It really should go without saying but it doesn't.
No we don't have picture perfect family lives.
We argue with each other. We mess up. We sometimes sleep in beds that seriously need changing and wonder if we can go just another day without washing our hair. We wrestle angry toddlers in and out of trolleys, never seem to be wearing clothes that don't have something down them (is that cereal/paint/baby sick?..) and have pizza for tea (again) because cooking with a baby on one arm just isn't working today(again). Sometimes we are broken and sad; and sometimes things just aren't ok.
What we share isn't our whole story.
But at the end of the day all any of us can do is our best; we love our families fiercely and there's nothing wrong with sharing the best parts of our days.
I suppose we just need to remember that we're only seeing that. The best bits.
I love the escapism of scrolling through instagram and seeing the lovely photos of people I follow; I love spending too much time on pinterest pouring over perfect homes and a million crafting ideas;
but as soon as it starts to take over my precious time with my family or makes me feel overwhelmed with trying to do it all, it's time for a break.
Building up this blog over the last year has done so much for my confidence and our family.
I love being able to share the things we do and the people I've met through it along the way, even if not in person. To me it's a way of counting my blessings as well; it reminds me to be thankful for the small bits of loveliness in our day to day lives. That even on hard days, there's always an instagram worthy moment worth remembering...

So I'm back here again, sharing our family journey, mostly the nice bits;
I hope you'll stick around.

I also hope that if you're reading this today that someone has told you you're doing a frickin awesome job and that you are so, so good enough.
x



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Friday, 28 October 2016

Starting the weaning journey...again.

I'm not really sure how it happened...
five minutes ago I was leaving the hospital with a little newborn bundle and now I'm trying to keep hold of a wiggly little boy who laughs, chews things and watches everything his big brother does in amazement.
I always say it but the time really does fly.
And here I am again trying to work out whether he is ready for food yet..
Only this time I think I'm the one who isn't ready!
I've been so blessed with both my babies to be able to breastfeed them myself quite successfully; (I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet here I'm just going by the alarming rate at which they grow.)
but whereas first time round I was eager to see our little guy eating real food I'm much more apprehensive with Little E. I don't want to accept the speed he's growing at, I love the feeling of being completely relied on and being able to give him everything he needs!
But my feelings are quickly replaced by wanting to see my two boys eating together and watching him grow as big and strong as his brother.
He is now five months old so weaning is definitely on the horizon;
although he isn't sitting independently yet he does hold himself up for a while and has mastered grabbing things and putting them into his own mouth. He also watches with serious fascination when I'm eating!
I do actually love the weaning stage really, as there are so many great ideas out there for introducing different foods and I loved coming up with different things for the little guy to try.
Of course I have headed to pinterest for some new ideas;
my plan is to start with baby rice or rusk as an introductory food and then gradually move into different flavours; I would always go down the baby led route though and be guided by the little one as they know when they're ready.

There are some seriously great tools for the weaning stage so I thought I'd share a few of my favourites that I'm thinking will help us along this journey!



1. I actually haven't seen these for babies before but I think they'd be great for varying consistency and progressing onto more lumpy foods, Great for mashing up bananas, or ripe peaches, avocado etc. This little one is by Annabel Karmel
2. How awesome are these little grass drying racks by Boon?!
Perfect for all those little plastic bits and bobs that always go missing in the washing up bowl.
Also I just think it's adorable.
3. Also by Boon, love this silicone flower brush!
4. We had some of these for the little guy but they were a soft mesh rather then silicone which was difficult to clean and he got fed up of it rather quickly, these by Clevamama look great though. I think they'd be great for teething on too.
5. I'm not one for too much gadgetry but this little 2-in-1 blender by Phillips ticks all the boxes for super easy food prep. It steams fruit and veg and then flips over to blend; no pans or bowls required!
Definitely tempted to treat myself to this one!
6. There are a lot of freezer pots on the market for storing baby food however from previous experience, the individual pots are best for me as you can just grab them and pop into the changing bag rather than having to put them into another container before you go out.
I actually didn't know JoJo Maman Bebe did other baby products, but these look perfect.
7. Soft  spoons are the best for little chewers! These are from the Tommee Tippee Explora range
8. So these little bowls are quite hard to find in shops but I think they're so handy; the bottom part can be filled with warm water and is sealed to avoid spillage. They're just great for taking the chill off baby food without having to use a pan! brilliant for on-the-go feeding too. This one is by Vital Baby.
9. I saw this yesterday and though it was brilliant for messy meal times! Such great way to get your little one learning to self feed and learning about food! Anything that helps contain the chaos is always very welcome too! This genius invention is by Tidy Tot.


So that's my best weaning tools round up;
Have you got any great products to share that take the stress out of weaning and baby feeding?!?





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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Mama Mio!

Some months ago in the middle of my pregnancy with Little E, I was asked to write a guest post for the Mama Mio Skincare blog.
I was extremely flattered being asked as I had never wrote for another blog before let alone for one like the Mio company, with such a huge fan-base.
Mama Mio was started in 2005 by four mums who wanted to create a range of great skincare products that were suitable for pregnant women as well as free from nasty chemicals.
Since then they have expanded their Mio range so that all women can enjoy their gorgeous products. Hooray!
 It was a real treat to be able to try some of the Mama Mio range during this pregnancy;
in my first pregnancy I didn't really use many products bar the occasional bit of Palmer's as I had such terrible nausea all the way through and to be honest it just wasn't a priority to me, however I went 12 days overdue and it was those last days that the really purple stretch marks appeared.
I have never worried about stretch marks from a cosmetic point of view, to me they are proof that my body can do an amazing job, but in later pregnancy they can become very red and sore for me and I did start to become concerned about my skin elasticity and its overall condition.
Little E was quite a small bump but my skin was still becoming quite itchy and sore as the pregnancy progressed;
I started using the Mio Tummy Butter at around 20 weeks. Apart from how thick and creamy it is I noticed straight away how soothing it was on the bump and how super soft my skin felt afterwards.
It smells lovely but I the fragrance isn't overwhelming; I struggled with any sort of perfumes or strong smells all through my pregnancies so this was a bonus.
It also helped a lot with the itching which surprised me, as I assumed it would just continue as my skin stretched!
I did use it most evenings and although my faded stretch marks are just visible I didn't notice new or worse ones this time round at all.
I've been using it on my tummy these last few months post-partum and I personally think it has actually improved my skin elasticity; my tummy skin seems to have tightened up quicker and I can barely see my stretch marks at all, whoop!
The Mega Mama cream is just as gorgeous;
It's a little more fluid, like a thick lotion, which makes it easier to use all over your body.
Again it leaves your skin feeling so soft and nourished without being heavy or sticky.
I like to use it after exfoliating so it can really sink in.
It's also brilliant for tired and aching feet (if you can rope your husband into giving you a foot rub!)
Despite staying well clear of fragrances for the whole nine months, I loved Liquid Yoga.
I'm not sure if it can truly disperse family tiffs (!) but it definitely left me feeling relaxed;
I liked to spray it onto my pregnancy pillow before I collapsed into bed on an evening!
It's a gorgeous blend of essential oils which includes Lavender, Lemon, Chamomile and Mandarin.
It is very light and smells like a whisper of scents rather than one overwhelming fragrance.
I'm not a do-er of Yoga but thankfully you don't need to be to enjoy this beautiful space spray!

I'm not surprised so many mums choose the Mio range for their baby growing bodies; it's so difficult to find great products that work and don't have a long list of chemicals we'd rather not be putting on our skin.
At the same time carrying our little bundles is hard work, and being able to feel a bit pampered at the end of the day is enough to keep us sane for just another day of the pregnancy journey, so I'd go as far to say these are serious mama essentials for both pregnancy and after.

Thanks Mio!
X






N.B: Mio very kindly gifted me this lovely parcel of their products after I wrote for their blog and haven't asked me to review or blog about them at all, but I loved them so much I wanted to share them with you!




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Friday, 19 August 2016

Pastel Jellies

We're midway through August and even though the weather finally seems to be picking up, there is already a sense of summer being on its way out.
The shops are filled with September school supplies and summer sales have almost finished, making way for Autumn coats and woolly jumpers.
Despite all of this I'm determined not to head into the mindset of Summer being over and enjoy what's left of these sunny days with our two boys.
These warm and lazy August days are my favourite part of the summer and we are spending as much time as we can exploring the local greenery, playing out and having lots of picnic tea times.
Now that we're all a little more settled into family life as a four, the little guy and I have even been managing some creative time on an afternoon, so of course we have been putting our aprons on and getting into the kitchen.
Whatever else he is doing he will always put it aside if I ask him to help me make something -
I love that he loves baking and cooking, and now that he's not my only little one it feels like it's something we can always come back to just to re-connect and spend some quality time together doing.
When we had some quiet time last week, the little guy and I had a little summer party together listening to some summer tunes and eating sweets while little E had a long nap.
Ever since I started making milk jelly a couple of summers ago I have been dreaming of making some pastel coloured jellies.
I got a bit inspired after seeing the gorgeous colours of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and of course the famous Mendl's patisserie with their pastel coloured cakes (Which I'm sure I'll be making soon..!)
 I adore pastels, but I also love the summer memories that I get from seeing these pretty colours together;
Ice-cream sodas and candy floss, sunshine and sandy toes, long summer days, beach huts.
They remind me of the plastic bowls of Neapolitan ice cream we used to eat in the garden as kids, playing on the beach after ten sticks of pink and blue and yellow sugary rock, the jelly shoes we all wore, sherbet sticks and hands covered in pavement chalk.
These little jellies are made of summer-time memories and are perfectly easy treats for kids (and adults!).
They are super simple but look so effective and special.


I've made these using miniature moulds from the ever reliable Tala which I picked up in Sainsbury's;
not only are they a very cute traditional jelly shape, they have handy lids on the top, which help to release the jelly (this is equally helpful when making layered jelly in case you forget which colour you've done first!) and on the bottom- for storage and on-the-go jelly of course.
(For any mums out there, these can double as handy snack pots for the little ones!)
I've had a few people have asked me about quantities regarding how much condensed milk to use, I have tried different amounts but really it depends on how sweet you want the jelly to be!
I have a sweet tooth so these are the amounts I use to keep the jelly sweet and not tasting of the gelatin- I think it would also be lovely to add a flavour essence like rose or peppermint!

Milk Jellies
You will need:
Powdered Gelatin sachets
1 Tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk
Boiling water
Jelly Moulds
Food colouring ( I used Wilton Gel Colouring)
Method
To make the milk jelly simply add one sachet of the gelatin powder to 1 pint of boiling water, when it has dissolved pour in 1/4 of the tin of condensed milk stirring well.
You can then add any colour you like, bearing in mind it will be milky coloured!
Remember to let the jelly cool before adding to another set layer.
Milk jelly sets much quicker than normal jelly- in around 20 mins - so if you forget while letting it cool and it becomes lumpy or set, just warm very gently in a small pan until liquid again and then use as normal.
As you can see these really are very quick and simple to do and make for a fun afternoon activity.
The little guy and I loved these, they're definitely a favourite make and one we'll be doing again.
It took a lot of persuasion to stop him diving onto them before I had taken a few photos!
This one is a sweet fiend and he absolutely loves jelly;
this is a great make for kids to do, just let the mixture cool before letting them get creative with different shapes and colours!


Hope you're enjoying these last few weeks of summer with your sweeties
x

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Newborn Essentials

Our little E is now over the 12 week mark, technically meaning he is no longer classed as a "newborn" (*sob*)
The time really has flown by and like everyone says when they welcome a new family member, it's as though they have always been here.
Although we all enjoyed those lovely quiet few weeks of being in our own little bubble, having another energetic little person to care for meant we had to settle back into our normal routine fairly quickly.
Thankfully our littlest is a very chilled out happy chap. He's most happy when he can see everything, just like his big brother, and will sit quietly just listening and looking. He really is very content but also very smiley and giggly!
We took him for his first cinema outing last week to see the BFG and he was so good; I was worried he wouldn't like the noise and was prepared to have to leave but he actually watched most of the film and made funny noises when he saw the giants faces.
It's been a completely new experience, having a newborn and another child to care for.
Joe had to go back to work after a month so thankfully he was here to help out during those first few difficult weeks.
It's all gone by so fast though and I've been surprised that although there are a fair few difficult moments looking after two young children alone, it's been a pretty good transition and I absolutely love being with my boys.
They are both strong and grow very fast, the little guy has needed new clothes and shoes over the last few weeks, simply because he has shot up this summer and I have just finished putting all little E's newborn clothes away.
We're still a bit disorganised but it's a happy kind of chaos...
It's been quite a different experience becoming a mum for the second time and although each pregnancy, birth and baby are different, there's nothing like experience to help you along the way.
Part of the reason I think little E is quite relaxed is that we've already done this before so aren't as stressed about it all!

With that in mind I thought I'd put together what have been some of my newborn essentials these last three months, hopefully some mums-to-be or new mums out there might find them helpful.
Most mums know they'll need piles of nappies, cotton wool and wipes so I've just included some that aren't so obvious that I've found great second time around.


1. I'm usually raving about how great Coconut Oil is but I'm going to say it again; it is great. So far I've used it to fend off nappy rash, improve cradle cap, moisturise the little one's and my own skin and for baby massages. There are so many uses for this lovely natural stuff and I love this one by Kokoso baby- it's the perfect size to pop into your bag and you don't have to worry about it being anything other than 100% organic coconut oil.
2. I never bought any bottles first time round as I was determined to feed the little guy myself which I did without too many problems; I've done the same this time round and can honestly say it's been much easier, however little E seemed to have a lot of trapped wind in the early days and has always got hiccups! Overfeeding him tends to make it worse and a bit sick, so I  tried giving him some cooled boiled water in one of these Dr Brown's bottle's which are designed to prevent air being swallowed, and it seems to do the trick. I know in the early days, bottles or dummy's are not encouraged but I only started trying him with the occasional drink after a few weeks when he was well established at feeding and these seem to be very good!
3. Hydration. Need I say more?! Feeding a baby gives you the most unquenchable thirst; there are bottles of water all over our house! Joe bought one of these Brita fill & go water bottles a few weeks ago and I have been stealing it ever since. I love that they filter your water and are also really slim and light enough to keep in the changing bag.
4. I've mentioned Faye & Lou muslin's before as I bought some first baby round and loved them. This time they were kind enough to send me some to use with little E and I am still just as impressed; Over the last three months they've endured countless uses and washes and are still gorgeously soft and vibrant. There are muslins on sale anywhere that sells baby clothes but I still think these are a seriously worthwhile investment, if you want great quality that lasts.
5. The little guy never took to a dummy and I didn't expect little E to, however using me for comfort seemed to just be making him too full and he'd often be crying as though he had tummy ache. I'd heard a lot about these natural rubber dummies and they came highly recommended by the lady in the shop who had used them with her own daughter so I decided to give these Hevea ones a try. Little E took to it straight away and it just helps him to doze off if he's full. They are all natural and very soft; as they are made from natural rubber they need to be replaced every two months as they start to break down and peel a bit, but I'm happy to do that it for the benefits of it keeping him content and not having any nasty plastics in.
6. Again, unlike his brother, this one loves anything silky. We gave him a little blanket like this with silky edges and he loves holding it and having it near his face!
7. I always thought nursing pillows were a bit unnecessary and that they were just expensive pillows but I have been proved wrong as this little Snuggle up pillow has been really handy; although I was sent this I would definitely buy it again- We use it every day and I take it up to bed for night feeds. It's so soft and he has snoozed happily on it since he was born; he also loves sitting up on it now so that he can see everything. It has a lovely soft cover that is also removable for easy washing.
8. I bought this Bowron sheepskin for our first little guy whostill loves it and it has been used just as much with little E. These really are another good investment; although he is now four the little guy loves it that much he was reluctant to share it with his baby brother!
It has fit into most of the prams we've had and I also used it for them both in their baby rocking chair. Bowron Sheepskins are sanitized but can be put in the washing machine, which I have done a few times without any problems. They are brilliant for keeping little ones warm and cool and are really good for when they're feeling poorly as they help to regulate body temperature.
9. The Baba Sling has been great with both of our boys; I find it really comfortable to wear and little E sleeps very happily in it and is always cosy. It's made of lovely soft strong cotton and the shoulder has nice thick padding to stop it rubbing. I love slings but I never loved the idea of the outward facing carriers so this one has been perfect for me- I love having him all bundled up next to me!


I cant believe we're already over the newborn stage; time has just flown by! But although I'm sad we're leaving the early days behind us I'm really looking forward to the next stages, watching him grow and learn and do so many things, all of which is such a privilege to do.We're so blessed to be able to do this journey with our beautiful boys.

Hopefully you might have found a few of these baby buys helpful;
We'll soon be heading into the next baby stage of sitting, toddling and weaning so if you have any tips or tools, drop me a line!
x














N.B Kokoso Baby, Faye & Lou and Snuggle up Pillows Kindly sent me these items however all opinions are entirely my own.
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Friday, 5 August 2016

Bloom & Wild

This Spring I've had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Bloom &Wild's Wildflower Collective meaning I've been able to experience some of their stunning letterbox bouquets over the last few months.
I first came across Bloom &Wild via Instagram (where they share some beautiful pictures!) and loved the idea of being able to send flowers so easily without worrying about someone being in to receive them!
Obviously I wanted to try out Bloom & Wild and was keen to see how their flowers would fare being sent by royal mail-
I sent some pink roses to my sister who was away in Scotland and I was told they arrived beautifully packaged and lasted much longer than expected!
I did blog about my experience back then with Bloom & Wild as I love sharing great companies via our blog, so I was thrilled when they got in touch to ask if I'd like some letterbox flowers of my own.
Everything about a Bloom & Wild delivery is special, from their elegant box to the individually wrapped flowers inside finished off with their signature gold ribbon.
Despite arriving in an ordinary way, their flowers are anything but.
Although their boxes are slim they contain the most perfect stems which just get prettier and last so well.
What I love about Bloom& Wild's flowers is the simplicity of their bouquets;
they aren't huge arrangements which arrive filled out with busy foliage and too many other varieties of flowers, they just use beautiful blooms and complement them without all the fuss.
Their bright pink Peonies for example, were the main attraction in the Eloise bouquet but bright pops of yellow were added to really make them stand out which I just loved.
The Florence arrived just in time for the Chelsea Flower show which inspired this gorgeous arrangement of stocks, snapdragons and spray veronica;
the whole thing looked as though it had just been scooped out of an English Wildflower garden and smelled so beautiful!
Having Peonies in the house was a lovely treat this spring, especially the big blooming pink Peonies at the centre of The Belle.
Over the last few months we've been getting used to being a family of four so it's taken me a little longer than I anticipated to share these gorgeous blooms with you, but even though these particular bunches are not available this season,Bloom & Wild have gone and created even more stunning flowers for you to brighten someone's (or your own!) day with including some seriously pretty mini posies with contain little jars for you to make up your own little displays with.
I was already impressed with Bloom &Wild but having had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of their lovely letterbox flowers I am even more so by their quality and designs.
Well done Bloom&Wild
They're blooming marvellous!
x















N.B I was kindly sent some of Bloom & Wild's Letterbox Flowers as part of the Wildflower collective however all opinions are entirely my own.

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Nod Pod

When you first set out buying things for your new baby it can be a minefield trying to work out what products are best.
There's so much choice and if you're new to motherhood trying to work out what you will need before you need it seems impossible at times.
Most of us can navigate the standard essentials like clothing, blankets and probably pushchairs and cots but generally its only when you have your baby that you realise what would be helpful!
I found asking other mums about their experiences really helpful when it came to working out what I might need or the best tools for a job, so I found mum blogs to be a great place to get honest opinions about baby essentials.
So, now I have my own two little ones and a bit more experience I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my opinions on things that have been helpful to us.
Recently I was contacted by Nod Pod and asked if we would like to try one of their new baby blankets with legs;
Of course I was happy to give one a go but I'll admit, I was a little skeptical...
I never got the "Slanket" craze for adults and I wasn't sure what the difference was between just using a blanket or an all in one suit!
{First try of the Nod Pod is met with approval!}

The day the Nod Pod arrived Little E had been restless most of the night and day for some reason, being a few weeks old I think he was just overtired and getting used to the noise level around here!
I decided to try it out straight away and as it was chilly on our way out, I popped him into the Nod Pod and into his pram after which he fell fast asleep for the next few hours.
He has never liked wearing hats and seems to get very aggravated whenever I put one on him but he was perfectly happy with the fleecy hood over his head and I was happy that his little head was warm! He really did look very cosy and the fleece material is so soft.
Being wrapped in snuggly fabric seemed to do the trick for Little E!
I've discovered that there really are a lot of pro's to the Nod Pod. 
Having legs on the blanket helps to keep it in place and prevents you having to put an all in one suit on which tend to be thicker and might be too hot.This is also a great feature when using a carrier or putting your baby in a car seat; The wings, rather than sleeves, enable you to wrap or swaddle the baby and then open them up easily if they get too warm without disturbing them, and the little hood is light and again is easy to pop on and off without waking him up!
We have been using the NodPod ever since in his pushchair- we are using a Quinny Moodd at the moment- and I have also been using it when he is in his Babasling; as it isn't too thick it fits in really well and keeps him warm.
Last week we attended a their Great Grandma's birthday party which was a very big event being that all the family were invited and we spent most of the day outside as it was a sunny day.
Before we left the house I put little E into the Nod Pod in his Maxi-Cosi car seat; He nodded off quite quickly but then slept nearly the whole afternoon and party!
It was easy to belt and un-belt him without disturbing him thanks to the shape of his Nod Pod.
He was lovely and cosy in his car seat and as the day got warmer we just unwrapped the wings or moved the hood back without him waking at all.
{Snoozing at the Party}

It seems like a lot to put down his peaceful sleep to a little blanket but I really have been impressed with the Nod Pod.
The quality of the fleece is lovely; it is lightweight and easy to fold up into any bag and I've since put it through the wash and it has come out just as soft as before.
I haven't found any negatives to the Nod Pod up to now, but having had another boy who is grows at an alarming rate, it's getting a little snug and I think we'll be needing a bigger size very soon!

It's often trial and error buying baby things but it's great to find products that are genuinely good quality and useful to us mum and dads, as well as being reasonably priced.
I would definitely recommend these lovely blankets and am looking forward to seeing more from the Nod pod company!



N.B Nod Pod kindly gifted us one of their newborn Nod Pods in winter white however all opinions are entirely my own.

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

A Good Mug

In our house, we love a good cup of tea.
(Yorkshire of course.)
I think most people who love a good cuppa will agree there's more to it than meets the eye.
Tea is usually associated with home comforts; a welcome hug for the weary after a hard day, or night; a warm reminder of home.
I love the whole ceremony of making a proper cup of tea and sharing it;
whether its in the morning having a cup with Joe before he heads off to work or with my mum while we put the world to rights!
One thing I have discovered is that although tea in itself is wonderful it can be greatly enhanced by a good slice of homemade cake, and in my humble opinion a suitably wonderful carrier.
Yes, I do love a nice cup.
I love finding lovely cups and mugs, to me it makes a good cup of tea even better.I recently found Doris & co. an English company which makes a beautiful range of pottery and home wares using traditional methods;
Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog, Hello!) will know that I love anything that is made using old fashioned skills or crafted by hand and that will last for years to come.
Not only do Doris & co create products that have that traditional feel but their range is made with such care and attention, it's hard not to fall in love with it.
I really do love a good mug.
And thankfully so do Doris & co, who have solid ideas about the "perfect mug"!
Doris mugs are made from a gorgeous cream earthenware and each one is made by hand;
Their traditional designs reflect the love that goes into each of their mugs, each one carefully decorated with sayings from by-gone days or words of hope, encouragement and endearment that just warm your heart!
Doris kindly sent me this beautiful acorn mug before I had little E which they chose for me in mind of our impending new arrival;
I love that it now reminds me of that time in my life and how our little "acorns" are growing so fast!
Doris' heartfelt designs can be found across the rest of their gorgeous range, like these lovely cotton tea towels as well as their teapots, jugs, vases and other beautiful home wares.
One of my favourite are these little mugs, which I think would make perfect gifts for children as keepsakes.
(Maybe a "Little Lovely" design next Doris & co?!?)
Although my heart will always be in a strong cup of tea, as a mum I also am heavily fuelled by a good cup of coffee most mornings, and Doris have a simply perfect range of espresso mugs, with thoughtful quotes from the likes of T.S Elliot and William Blake for those quite moments of deep thought on a morning-
if you get some peace that is!
I'm so glad to have come across Doris & co and am looking forward to seeing more from this perfectly lovely company!











N.B Dori& co were kind enough to send me some of their range to try however all opinions are entirely my own 

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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Our Little Arrival

Three days after his due date our little one made his entrance into the world.
Even though it was only three days it felt like forever, and after several false starts and weeks of Braxton Hicks I was starting to feel like he would never be here;
I know that morning I had decided to stop worrying about it, and as I was feeling much better and able to walk around normally (Suddenly!), the little guy and I went for a stroll around the supermarket and some breakfast together before heading to my mums for tea.
Around half three I started to get consistent pains that were getting closer together but I still wasn't convinced. Somewhat reluctantly I went home where Joe was a waiting and got in the bath around half five but after a few minutes was getting painful contractions.
After a quick call to the hospital they asked us to go in where they booked us in and got us settled.
I tried again to relax in the bath but could not relax so I headed back to our bed where it was confirmed I was much further along than I anticipated!
Our beautiful little one wasted no time, and was born at 9.30pm on the 30th April.
The day before my own birthday,
the best present ever!
The whole experience of his birth was completely different and although I decided to go with the flow I desperately wanted a natural experience this time and I'm so grateful to say it was.
The midwives were wonderful as was the care we received afterwards.
We have spent the last few weeks in a complete bubble of happiness,
it has been the most wonderful time for our little family and we have been surrounded by so much love and kindness.
Just like I thought, it is like he has always been here and we can't imagine a life without him.
I was so worried about how his older brother would respond to this new person in his life but he has been brilliant and loves him so much; he showers him with cuddles and kisses, proudly telling everyone about his baby brother.
It makes my heart ache to see them together and see how proud their dad is of his two boys.
Our journey as a four has only just begun but it has been the loveliest start..

Hope you'll stick around!
x
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Labour Cake

This week I have turned 40 weeks pregnant;
In the beginning it seemed like forever away but now I can't understand where the time has gone!
Although I'm suddenly very aware of how our time as a three is coming to an end and it makes me a little sad, we're so desperate to meet this little one.
This whole pregnancy has been a huge blessing to us but I'm so ready for this journey to end and a new one to start.
With our first little one I went overdue by 12 days and he was a big baby!
This time we were expecting another baby on the bigger side but we have been for a growth scan and he's measuring normal size. 
Saying that we'd rather not risk going to over my due date just in case he has a sudden growth spurt; but you never know! 
I really didn't want to go down the road of being induced;
despite having a lot of intervention last time I still really want to keep things as normal and natural as possible;
Of course baby comes first though, so if help is needed I'm happy to go with the doctors advice.
One thing I've learned is that you can't plan birth!
Last week my consultant told me I was in a good position to deliver and to eat lots of pineapple-
which according to Google contains an enzyme which can induce labour.
I discovered there are a lot of old wives tales and different ideas about how to get baby to arrive and its been funny trying them out in the last week.
(However eating a lot of pineapple leaves you with a very sore tongue!)
I've been drinking a lot of raspberry leaf tea which is apparently good for shortening labour and preparing for birth as well as bringing on contractions;
walking is said to be one of the best methods, and has become a lot easier as my SPD has suddenly got a lot better now the baby is engaged;
Although I'm not a huge fan of spicy foods it is on the natural inducing list so I have given it a go!
My favourite tip found on-line so far though has been to bake a "Labour Cake"
There's a little bit of "science" behind why chocolate may be good for inducing labour but lets be honest, who needs much of an excuse to eat a delicious chocolate cake at nine months pregnant (or generally)?!
Normally it is a straightforward cake made with a pack of Devils food cake mix with extra chocolate and sour cream added, but as I'm not a huge fan of cake mix I headed to my favourite Nigella cook book and found the chocolatey-est cake in there which coincidentally had sour cream and quadruple chocolate in it.
Not only is it straightforward to make it is  chocolate heaven.
It is super moist and chocolatey with a gorgeous chocolate syrup poured through it whilst warm.
It might not send you into labour but there's no harm in giving it a go! 
 Quadruple Chocolate Loaf
( or "Labour Cake")
200g Plain Flour
1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
50g Cocoa Powder
275g Caster Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
2 eggs
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
80 mls Sour Cream
125 mls Boiling Water
175g Dark Chocolate Chips
Syrup
125mls Water
100g Caster Sugar
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
Method
Simply put everything except the water and chocolate chips into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Scrape down and add the boiling water while processing again-
N.B If you use a mixer like I did you should do this by hand or you will end up with chocolatey water everywhere!
Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a lined loaf tin
Bake at 170 for about an hour but cover with foil if it starts to catch
As it is a dense cake a skewer wont come out perfectly clean when cooked but don't worry it is!
Start making the syrup after the cake has had around 45 minutes
Add the sugar water and cocoa to a small pan and boil for five minutes- being careful not to burn.
Take the cake out of the oven and leaving in the tin, pierce holes in the top randomly before pouring the syrup over it
Leave to cool then scatter with dark chocolate shavings.
~                      ~                          ~                      ~

Hopefully Ms Lawson won't mind me adding her gorgeous cake to the list of labour inducers;
it's definitely worth a try!
Have you got any tips for serving the little ones eviction notice?!

x


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Monday, 25 April 2016

Snuggle up

In the last couple of weeks I've been getting a pretty good nights sleep, and being that I am almost 40 weeks pregnant this is quite impressive.
Although I still have my usual aches and pains and an ever increasing bump my nightly routine has been greatly  improved since my lovely Snuggle up pregnancy pillow arrived.
The hospital physiotherapist I saw several months ago advised sleeping with plenty of pillows at my bump and back to alleviate pressure as well as a couple between my knees; although it of course helps it makes moving really difficult especially if you need to get up in the night, as most mamas do!
Because the Snuggle up pillow is one large long pillow it serves all comfort purposes, supporting your back and bump and keeping your legs well spaced to avoid hip pain.
It's so much easier to get up and turn over at night without having to rearrange the whole bed!
I was surprised when it arrived at how big it actually was;
There are several types of pregnancy pillow on the Snuggle up site;
this one is filled with "Fairy beads" or polystyrene balls that move to your body shape and is covered with a super soft fabric.
It is also lightly scented with relaxing Lavender;
being someone who can't do strong scents generally let alone in pregnancy I was concerned it would be overwhelming but I'm pleased to say it isn't at all.
As well as being the perfect pregnancy pillow it is wonderful for anyone with back or muscle pain, sciatica, arthritis or any sort of sleep disturbing aches.
I let Joe try it out and had a hard time getting him to give it back!
At over 6ft tall he found it amazingly comfortable and supportive and alleviated his back and neck discomfort after I let him borrow it for the night!
Its no surprise this is an award winning pillow;
It really has clearly been designed with mum's in mind but what's great is that it is perfect for using after birth for extra support.
I wish I'd had this gorgeous pillow sooner in my pregnancy but I'll definitely be using it beyond.
With so many different products for Mum's to be it can be trial and error with knowing which products are worth investing in, but I can honestly say that this is one of my top recommendations for any expectant mum. 
But be warned,
 if you let your husband try it out be prepared for him to want one of his own too! 

x





N.B Snuggle Up Pregnancy pillows kindly sent me one of their Premium U Pillows in Sky Blue however all opinions are my own.


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