Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Pop Goes Your Name personalised cd review

We were recently asked to review a personalised pop song cd for Eva from Pop Goes Your Name. She loves listening to music or stories in the car so I jumped at the chance of having something new to keep her entertained.

Pop goes your name is a family business run by 2 parents who are also musicians. They started by singing songs to their first born child and the business developed and grew from there. They now have a cd which can be personalised to over 800 names. 

I must admit I didn't have high expectations for this as most of the time children's music is nursery rhyme based and a bit drab to say the least. When the cd arrived, both myself and Eva loved the cover. It's bright and eye catching. Eva wanted it on straight away. 

There are 12 songs on the album and they are all very different, ranging from songs about animals to bedtime and many more. Once the album started Eva was instantly hooked. As soon as she heard her name she was delighted. She loves the fact that all the songs are about her and she thinks it's really special. Her particular favourites are 'come out to play' and 'rock it out'. 

This cd stands out from others not only because it's personalised to your child's name but by the music itself. It is what it says, a pop cd. The songs are actual pop songs and I think that's what makes it so appealing. I think the children feel like they are listening to real, adult style music. The songs are very catchy with easy lyrics to sing a long too. I must admit, like Eva, I now know all the words to every song.

I can't praise this cd enough. Even the hubby likes it and that really is a testament to how good it is. It has been enjoyed by all of us especially Eva. I can't recommend it more. Eva likes to listen to normal pop music but as we know the lyrics in a lot of pop songs on the radio (take anything by Rihanna for example) can be rude and trashy so I love the fact that the cd is safe for Eva to listen and sing a long too. It would make a unique gift for your child or a friend. The cd is priced at £12.95 and is worth every penny. Have a browse at their website for more information, Pop goes your name.

Does your child like to listen to music in the car?


Monday, 28 September 2015

You know you're in the 3rd trimester when

I thought i'd write a little post about the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. The home stretch of what seems to be the longest time ever!!! So here area list of 10 things. You know you're in the 3rd trimester when...

1) You drop something on the floor and stare at it for about a minute before deciding stuff it, it really wasn't that important anyway!

2) Getting out of bed involves determination, focus and a countdown from 3 to 1. It then involves a lot of twisting, rolling and all around general moaning and anger.

3) You count down how many shifts you have left in work by the day and hour.

4) You run yourself an amazing deep, relaxing bath and then when it comes to getting out a feeling of doom impedes you. You have no idea how you are going to get your whale like self out of the bath. The water starts spilling out from the sides, you slip, you try endlessly and you become tired. You lie there and think there are only 2 options available. You either drown or you wait to give birth. Anyway, you're allowed to give birth in water. It would be like having the baby in a very small birthing pool. 

5) When someone says 'are you still pregnant?' you drift off into a wonderful daydream where punching them in the face is completely acceptable behaviour.

6) When wearing slip on shoes or boots become the only footwear option available to you.

7) You wake up one day and realise that you have ballooned over night and swelled up to the point where you can't get any of your rings off your fingers.

8) You worry about sitting down anywhere for fear of never getting back up again. 

9) You haven't exercised at all during pregnancy but when you're on the home stretch, you become an Olympic champion at walking and bouncing on exercise balls. Anything to get that baby out!

10) You go out and the first thing you need to locate is the toilet. This also becomes the last place you locate too. 


Friday, 25 September 2015

Molly Maybe's Monsters Book Review

We were recently sent a new picture book by Kristina Stephenson called 'Molly Maybe's Monsters: The Dappity Doofer to review' which is suitable for age 3 plus. You can buy it here from amazon, Book. Eva is currently 32 months old so not far from that age range. It's the first book in a new picture book series.

The book is about a young girl called Molly Maybe and her canine friend Waggy Burns. Nothing much happens in her small, quiet town, but Molly has an exciting secret. She has a trap door in the floor of her treehouse which can transport her to a magical monster world called Undermunder. In this story the monsters are searching for their mascot and Molly and Waggy think they may be able to help.

Eva was instantly drawn to the cover of the book. She has a dog of her own so she immediately mentioned the dog and also liked the shininess of the cover. She enjoyed the illustrations on each page. They are big, vibrant and easy to view for little readers. There are lots of different compelling characters to hear about. However, Eva just couldn't seem to listen to the story. I think there are quite a lot of 'big' words in the book for a 3 year old and I think this was confusing her slightly. She definitely struggled to keep up with the story. Even though the names of things are very imaginative she couldn't understand the concept of the underworld called undermunder etc. She did love looking at the book and as previously mentioned she was fascinated with the dog Waggy Burns. She was more than happy to discuss the dog's own adventures on each page. He's clearly her favourite character in the book.

As a parent I think the book is great for little readers who are older than Eva's age. She is slightly younger than 3 so maybe that age gap makes all the difference. At this age the words were just a bit too much for Eva to understand.
I think it's wonderful to see a girl as the main character in a monster book. Girl's need a tough character to look up to who is strong and brave and I think Kristina has achieved that in this book.
The illustrations are lovely and there are great aspects to the story with lots of problem solving and adventure.
It would make a good addition to any book shelf. We definitely still have it on ours, ready to revisit when Eva is a bit older.

Have you read any of Kristina Stephenson's books?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Bump watch - Week 32

Week - 32. I haven't written an update in weeks, so I am very sorry about that!

Baby developments - Baby is now the size of a honeydew melon and should weigh around 4 pounds. Baby now has toenails, fingernails and hair (although mine probably won't). I didn't have any hair and neither did Eva. The skin is becoming smooth and soft and she gains a lot of weight each week (as do I). 

My bump - It is safe to say my bump is now huge. I do think it's still mainly all at the front but I am now walking like a penguin and struggling to bend down. Stretch marks are still ok. No new ones as yet and I've been using a cream that seems to be making the ones I had less visible.

My symptoms - I had routine bloods taken at 28 weeks. My iron levels are severely low so I am now on iron tablets to help increase them and eating a lot of kale etc. I'm annoyed as i've been telling my midwife for weeks about how tired i've been feeling and how I've been feeling faint at work but she didn't bother to check me out properly. At least I now know why i've been feeling so lousy these last few weeks.

Movements - Bump now seems to have regular patterns of movement. I feel a lot more of her moving around as opposed to kicks. I'm just enjoying it all while I can as there'll be hardly any room for her to move soon.

Cravings - I finally got a proper pregnancy craving. I have to have this all the time, at least once a day. I am completely and utterly addicted to ice cubes. I love everything about them. Just the thought of them is making my mouth water.

Aversions - No real aversions, but I am not getting on with my iron tablets. They make me wretch and feel sick all the time. 

Exercise - I was asked to review an online pregnancy pilates programme which I have been doing. For me it's more stretching though than exercise. I've increased the amount of walking I do too.

Baby items purchased - Still not a great deal of things bought. I'm starting to panic slightly as we are so disorganised and we do have quite a few things to get. I did buy a pack of newborn nappies though this week. 

Best moment this week - Baby seems to have had a lot of hiccups this week, It's the funniest feeling. I love it.

Worst moment this week - I'm really not sleeping very well now due to how much I get up and go to the toilet. Lack of sleep has definitely been the worst problem this week.

What i'm looking forward to - Getting the nursery finished. (We haven't even started). We've been so disorganised. We had ever intention to get ourselves more prepared and ready but life has just gotten in the way.

How Eva is feeling - Eva talks about her sister a lot. She interacts with the bump too which is great. We try and keep her involves as much as we can. We've been asking what she would like to call her sister but the answer we have had is just sister lol. 


Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Pregnancy Notepad review

If you're anything like me as soon as you found/find out your pregnant you dash off to buy pregnancy journals and scrapbooks and lots of pretty things to decorate them with. You will have all intentions of putting your scan photos in there and writing in them daily. Fast forward the clock to 32 weeks and my pregnancy journal has 1 page written in it, my scan photos are all together in an envelope and my pretty things are still in the bag they were in when I purchased them. It's not because I don't want to do it (I really do) but between working, running a house, looking after a toddler and battling with pregnancy symptoms, I just struggle to find the time.

I was approached my The Pregnancy notepad and asked if I would like to try it out. The Pregnancy Notepad is basically your own online journal. You are able to create a scrapbook for photos and memories, share your experiences through your own personal blog and add your appointments to a calendar. This can then all be shared with your family and friends if you wish. There is also discussion areas where you can talk about things to other pregnant women and articles on pregnancy for you to read and use at your disposal.

There are 3 types of subscription available. A trial month is £4.99, 3 months is £9.99 and a year is £24.99. 

Setting everything up is pretty quick and the website is easy to follow. I added my own profile picture. It seemed to take a while to do this on my computer (probably because I had lots of other things going on at the same time). When I did it from my phone it was uploaded instantly. 

The next thing I did was to use the calendar function to add all of my appointments. You can also set up alerts to come to your mobile phone and once you have added this you then receive a text 1 week and 24 hours before that appointment. I actually found this feature extremely useful.  Even though I have written appointments on my calendar on my wall at home, the fact that you can get the reminder is fab. I actually did forget I had one appointment but my text jogged my terrible baby brain. 

Even though I already write a blog, I found the blog section great. It's a way of being able to reflect on my feelings and is a place to put those feelings into words. I loved being able to write about positive or negative experiences and also write about things that may seem insignificant to others but to me and probably to other pregnant women reading it, were lovely little moments. I think because it's online I didn't feel pressured in to writing too much. When I wrote a pregnancy journal on my first pregnancy, I more often than not didn't write in it as I felt I had to write enough to fill the whole space that was provided. Seems silly I know but I think on an actual notebook, I didn't want to see gaps and spaces! Yes I know, I am bizarre. 

The best feature for me and the one that I have enjoyed using the most is the scrapbook section. Here, you are able to add photos, give them a title and add them into the current week of your pregnancy. It's a lovely area to document and visually see your bump growing and changing. Even though I tend to take lots of pictures, more often that not I don't print them out and I certainly forget to print them to be able to stick into the pregnancy journal I bought. Using this scrapbook, enables me to put them all in once place, very quickly. 

One thing I haven't used enough of is the community section. I simply have been to busy with work, looking after a toddler, writing my actual blog and updating other bits on my Pregnancy Notepad. I think once I am on maternity leave (t minus 3 weeks) then I will use that feature more. 

Overall, I am really pleased with The Pregnancy Notepad. I would recommend it to anyone who is pregnant that prefers technology to actually writing. It's quick and easy to use and is a lovely way to document cherished moments and memories. I am looking forward to using it in my final weeks.

Have you written a journal? Do you think you would use something like this?


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Pregnancy Style - Look 5

Last weekend we were invited to a christening. I panicked as I knew I had nothing to wear. At 32 weeks pregnant I didn't really want to buy a new dress that I wasn't going to wear again. I'm trying to save as much money as I can so buying a dress in a larger size would mean I wouldn't get a lot of usage out of it. Someone advised me to buy something that would be suitable for breastfeeding. Genius idea I thought. 

As per usual I'd left it to the last minute and I had to dash into town the day before the christening to try and find something. Most of my old breastfeeding clothes were from JoJo Maman Bebe so I thought I would try there first. They didn't have a huge selection in store and only had one occasion type dress. The hubby pointed out that even if I bought a more casual style one, it would still look dressy enough with a pair of heels. 

I found this perfect maternity/breastfeeding wrap dress which was £39, wrap dress. I tried it on and immediately fell in love with it. I even managed to buy it in a small size. I think that's proof of how well made it is. 

It's ideal as it's so versatile. It can be worn through your whole pregnancy for every day wear, work wear or evening and occasion wear. You just have to accessorise it accordingly. It also has concealed breastfeeding access so it can be used after pregnancy. The fabric is very comfortable and moves with you. It didn't feel tight in any areas. The skirt isn't a wrap skirt which is great as normally they flap open and you end up showing off your knickers!! You can also tie the wrap part at the front, side or back, therefore making the dress appear different every time you wear it.

I can't recommend this dress enough and thankfully I have checked online and they have it in 3 different colours so I am definitely going to get another one in black, Wrap dress.With the festive period coming up i'm going to need something to see me through all the family and work parties.

Have you bought any clothes from their before? They are my favourite place for maternity wear! It always fits so well.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

#SugarRush in Mothercare

According to my twitter account there were lots of people watching Jamie Oliver ' s show about sugar on Friday night. I can't speak for everyone but I did learn a lot. I was shocked by how many children's teeth are pulled out each year and by the number of leg amputations needed from diabetes.

There was a particlar part of the show where Jamie was taking on the supermarkets for having sweets and chocolates along side the till. He focused on the fact that most of it is at children's eye levels to draw them in to wanting the sweets. If you've had a child then you will have been in a battle with them at some point in your life due to this.

Shopping with children is stressful enough without having a battle just as you've almost finished, over whether they can have what is on display at the till. Many a time we have had a temper tantrum whereby Eva has put things into the trolley or basket and then I've taken them out.  She then starts screaming the place down and causing unnecessary stress for everyone around us and especially me.

Some supermarkets are changing what they display at the tills because of Jamies campaign. Tesco have removed sweets and chocolate but have replaced them with crisps and drinks. Not ideal but an improvement.

So as you can imagine I was absolutely mortified to find myself having this particlar shopping battle in a well known children's shop....Morhercare. I was shopping there with Eva to buy new clothes. We'd had a pretty good experience until we got into the queue. All along the barrier at her eye level, so we're talking the height of children between 2-5, were lots of shiny, pretty chocolates. Not just any chocolates, the type that really sucks Eva in, character chocolates. Once again it was like world war 3 had started when I tried to get the frozen and peppa pig chocolate lollies out of her hands. We had tantrums and hysterical crying. I even dropped all of my shopping on the floor at one point (an extreme annoyance whilst 30 weeks pregnant). We were then called to the next available cashier who I could barely here due to Eva's protests. All of a sudden she decided to quieten down. Finally, I thought, only to realise she was then taking the SWEETS from directly next to the till!!!!!!!!

I was honestly so enraged. Where on earth do mothercare think it's ok to sell stuff like this. I was furious. It's not even a shop that sells food such as a supermarket. It's a children's shop!!! At least the likes of Tesco and Marks and Spencer actually sell food. Who on earth do mothercare think they are. Placing chocolates at young children's eye level is totally immoral. They pride themselves on supporting parents! Well they certainly need to rethink that statement.

What shocked me even more is that Jools Oliver (Jamie Oliver's wife for those that don't know) exclusively sells her children's clothing range there. I would've thought Jamie would have tackled mothercare about this issue for that exact reason.
I really hope Mothercare change this problem and any other shop that is causing hassle and stress for us.

Does this issue bother you? Did you realise they did it in Mothercare? Have you noticed any other shops (that aren't supermarket's) doing the same thing?
Binky Linky

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Kimberly Wyatt, Mum On A Mission 24/7 event

A few weeks ago I attended an event hosted by Kiddicare for parent bloggers, which was all about postnatal fitness for mums. The event was showcasing the lovely Kimberly Wyatt's new online exercise programme 'Mum On A Mission 24/7' which is available on Instructor Live. There were also other industry experts there, who were on hand to offer advice, support and guidance. 

At the time I was 26 weeks pregnant and I wasn't too keen to actually participate in the workout incase I hurt myself. At that point I hadn't done any exercise at all during my pregnancy. I didn't want to risk anything as I was in London so I was very far away from home. So I sat down and relaxed whilst watching all the other mummy bloggers sweating away whilst exercising! 

The workout is available on http://www.instructorlive.com/#!/ and is of course based around dance. We all know Kimberly Wyatt for being a member of the pussycat dolls and a dancer so I would have expected nothing less. The workout lasts 24 minutes and you should do it everyday if you can, to see results. It uses a high intensity interval training (HIIT) method which helps you burn fat fast. There are 7 different moves to each workout, which are repeated at high intensity and there are periods of recovery. If you want to find out more about the workout then read about it here, Mum On A Mission 24/7.

After watching Kimberly, Glenn and the other bloggers complete the workout, I realised I probably could have joined in. I have to admit the word HIIT scared me slightly but I could have joined in and not increased the intensity of each move. The moves were very simple to follow and some of them also managed a giggle from us which meant that everyone was having fun whilst working out. I was also worried about the dance element of the workout seeing as I have no coordination whatsoever but again the moves were easy enough even for a terrible dancer like me.

After the workout we had a question and answer session with a panel of experts which consisted of Kimberly, Glenn, Luke Walker - co founder of instructor live, Dan Cartner - a marketing executive from Sports Shoes, Mike - a marketing executive at Asics, Lynn coates from Kiddicare and Margarita Bennett a postnatal fitness instructor. 

I learnt a lot from this session especially from Margarita Bennett. I never knew that the pregnancy hormone relaxin takes 3 months to leave the body after you have given birth and longer when you have been breast feeding. She also taught me essential things about my core and hips and also various techniques for birth. I think she will be a massive help to me once I have had this baby. 

I also learnt that your feet can change after pregnancy so you need to make sure you are in the correct trainers. Wearing a good sports bra is also essential. I really struggled after having Eva with exercising because I was breastfeeding and the sports bras that I had bought didn't give me enough support. I found exercising very painful. This time around I will get measured properly and buy a decent sports bra.

With regards to nutrition, it's best to eat small, well balanced meals. If you need to snack go for healthy things like nuts and fruits. It's also essential to keep hydrated. You may feel hungry but it could be your body is in need of water. 

I had a fantastic time at the event. I can't give you a full review of the workout seeing as I haven't actually done it yet but it does look fab. For £5.99 a month I think it's great. It's much cheaper than paying for a gym and you can enjoy these workouts from the comfort of your own home. I know I didn't feel very comfortable and confident in myself after having Eva to go to a gym so the idea of exercising in my home is more appealing. The only thing that did concern me is where I would find 24 minutes a day to complete the workout. With a toddler and a newborn I think it would be quite tricky to get that quality time. However, at the event there was a young girl there who decided she wanted to join in. Perhaps Eva would also like to do this. I won't know until I give it a try after bump number 2 is born.

Kiddicare did a great interview with Kimberly on life and exercise after becoming a mum which you can read here, Kiddicare interview and they also have some great advice on exercising after having a baby here, Kiddicare. If you have a few spare minutes please complete this Mum On A Mission survey for Kiddicare, survey. Kimberly was an inspiration to be around. She is a very positive person and a great mum.

Did you exercise after having a baby? Have you exercised at home before?

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Dear shops! Move your childrens departments!

I don't know whether it's my pregnancy hormones making me more agitated or whether what I'm about to moan about is actually a fair point. I'm pretty sure it bothered me before I was pregnant so I'm going to voice my opinion.

I honestly feel completely fed up of shopping on the high street and finding that the majority of the children's and baby clothing are all on silly levels of the stores such as level 3 or the basement. I just can't understand the logic of this. I know that the majority of shoppers are women and therefore you'll normally find the womenswear on the ground floor. I suppose this is to draw us into the shops.

However, if you are shopping for children's or baby clothing you will have to venture to another floor. This really riles me up when more often than not I am shopping with the pram/pushchair. Shopping with a child is stressful enough as it is. You normally have a battle on your hands between entertaining them, pushing the pushchair and carrying your change bag and shopping bags. So why is it that the high street then chooses to make us go on a wild goose chase to find their clothes. We can't use the escalators as you can't put a pushchair on them so you have to use the lift. Where are the lifts though? That in itself is a quest and trek as they are normally hidden away at the back of the store. You then have a nose around, get your shopping and once again have to get back into the lift to exit the store.

Why can't the high street and brands sympathise with us parents. I honestly don't know of any store (other than an actual children's shop) that has the kids departments in an easily accessible place. In fact the only big store I can think of that actual thinks of the parent in Cardiff is Next.

Perhaps this doesn't happen in your area? Is it just Cardiff that feels the need to stress me out?! Another horrific example of this is one of our H&M stores which is located in the capital shopping centre in Cardiff. Again, the children's section is located on the first floor so you have to use the lift to get to it. If you plan to shop in there past 4pm (so i'm told by the staff inside the store) then not only do you have the inconvenience of going upstairs, you then have to drag yourself and the army of things you have in tow back downstairs to be able to pay for them!!! They stupidly close down all tills upstairs after 4pm. How ridiculous is that!!? I actually raised this point to the staff when I was last in there (passed 4pm) and explained how much of an inconvenience it is to close the tills down but they looked at me like I was stupid and some sort of deranged women. They couldn't see my point at all and couldn't even be bothered to humour me by saying we will discuss this within management. Let's wait till they have children and see what they have to say about it then.

What is your take on this? I would love to hear your thoughts. 
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