Friday 30 October 2015

Christmas sacks from Izabela Peters

Gone are the days that just wrapping christmas presents was the norm. Over the last few years there has been a huge rise in using christmas sacks to present your christmas presents. In fact I bought one last year. I think there is nothing better than seeing sacks and presents around the tree. Nowadays you can get them in all sort of shapes, materials and sizes. I think sacks are brilliant space savers for small rooms. I know our living room would be swamped if we didn't use them.

I was delighted to be asked to review one from Izabela Peters. They're an award winning textile and design company and they really do have a beautiful collection. Another great thing about them is that everything is created in their UK studios.

The sack we received was the grey penguin which was personalised with Merry Christmas Eva. They come in 3 different sizes, medium, large and extra large. It's a beautiful print and is certainly unique compared to ones you will find on the high street. The penguin print is childlike so it's great for little ones. I love the fact that it's linen and not a hessian style (like most that are available). This means that it's completely machine washable so it can be used over and over again as the years go by. The sack is very sturdy and doesn't feel like it'll break at all when placing presents in it. It's great that it can be personalised as that always makes things feel more special and unique, especially for children. I'm gutted that I don't have any decorations up so that I can photograph it amongst a christmas decorated room so you can see how lovely it really is.

There are also lots of other great designs on the website, sacks. I'm thinking about getting one for all of us and especially bump that is due in 2 weeks. Here's all my favourite prints. I think they are suitable for all ages including us grown ups!

There are also other christmas linen's available on the website such as stockings, decorations, table covers and runners. I absolutely adore the robin printed table cover and runner. 

Overall, I am really happy with Eva's new sack. I think it's great value for money. Delivery is also very quick. I can't wait to let santa use it and Eva's face light up when she see's it filled! 

Do you use sacks for presents? What's your favourite print from the others I have picked?

Thursday 29 October 2015

Disney Junior 6-in-1 game collection

We were recently sent the Disney Junior 6-in-1 game collection to review. I jumped at the chance to review it as Eva loves the Disney Junior channel so I knew she would be over the moon at having a new game.

 When it arrived, Eva was delighted before she'd even opened it (as predicted). Just the sight of all of her favourite Disney Junior characters such as Princess Sofia, Mickey, Doc Mcstuffins etc was enough to send her into excitement overdrive. Of course we had to play with it straight away.

The collection as it states contains 6 different games to play which are Bingo, Go Fish, crazy 8's, dominoes, matching and four in a row. The box itself contains one game board which has 4 sections, matching tiles and domino tiles, picture cards, a deck of cards, tokens, a spinner and of course some instructions. It seems like a lot but actually the box and it's contents are fairly small and well contained. The manufacturer suggests that the game is suitable for ages 3+, which is currently perfect for Eva.

Eva loves to play the matching game. It is definitely her favourite of the six. Another firm favourite is bingo which she likes to play with her dad a lot. I think she really enjoys the fact that the game doesn't have to be the same thing over and over again. She likes to play all 6 games and then she will put the game away. I think the fact that there are 6 games in one, really captures her attention and allows her to concentrate through all of them as she is not getting bored.I'm afraid there's no pictures of her actually playing it as she seems to get annoyed at me for not paying attention when we are playing together. I get told 'mummy no photo's, just play!'.

As a parent I am really happy with this game collection. It's an ideal starting point for preschoolers to learn about playing games. It helps encourage them to learn about turn taking and playing with other people. I also love the fact that most of the games help promote memory learning. Eva has had other board games before and has had things such as snap but it's only been since she's been playing all of these games that she now clearly understands the concept of matching pairs together. 

I would recommend this game to anyone with young children. I also noticed that there is a Frozen 6-in-1 game collection which I have added to santa's christmas list after the success of playing with this one.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Bump Watch - Week 37

Week - 37

Baby developments - Baby is now pretty much fully developed as she is now considered full term. Baby is now in the engaged position, so is ready to go. 

My bump - I'm pretty pleased with how my bump is looking. I have hardly any stretch marks at all and I seem to be carrying weight all in my front. It's completely different to how I looked at this point with Eva.

My symptoms -  Where do I start!!? I've had two bleeds but thankfully both myself and baby are fine. I am having the most hideous braxton hicks contractions, all the time and I have such an intense pressure lower down constantly. I don't remember suffering this much with Eva. When I move positions I now hear all my bones clicking and i'm super, duper, tired!

Movements - These are very intense now and can sometimes be quite painful. I guess this is because there's not a lot of room left in there now.

Cravings - I'm still loving ice cubes!

Aversions - I haven't had any aversions to anything.

Exercise - Other than walking the dog and chasing after Eva, I can't say i've done much else. I just haven't had the energy.

Baby items purchased - No baby items bought this week. I have to say we are very unprepared and disorganised this time around.

Best moment this week - Getting another scan was the best moment this week. I had to have one because of the bleed but Arwyn and Eva came with me and it was lovely to see the baby this late on.

Worst moment this week - Having to go to hospital and stay there for pretty much 2 days. They let me home in the evenings. I'm hoping the next time I go in, it will be to actually have the baby.

What i'm looking forward to - Feeling organised and prepared, which we aren't at the moment. We can't decide on a name, the nursery still hasn't been started and I haven't washed any of babies clothes!

How Eva is feeling - Eva talks about her sister a lot but I honestly still don't think she has any idea of what is actually coming. Her world is going to be turned upside down. She has a new baby doll recently which she seemed to think was her sister. 


Monday 26 October 2015

ByStroom Changing bags

If you've read my blog for a while then you will know that I am a bag fiend. If there's one fashion accessory that makes my mouth water then it's the bag. However, since having my daughter, it's not often that I get to take a bag for myself out and i've swapped my arm candy for a change bag. With baby number 2 due in just over 2 weeks, I can kiss long goodbye to my Mulberry but thanks to ByStroom, I can say a big hello to my new beautiful change bag, The BEA.

ByStroom have got the most desired collection of changing bags that I have seen in a long time. If you're looking for a bag that's not only practical but oozes style and trendiness then you will definitely find one from this brand. They are a perfect brand match for me as they have managed to capture exactly what I am looking for. Every single bag allows you to still be fashionable whilst hiding your baby essentials. 

My BEA bag is beautiful. The shape is quite unique and is large enough to fit anything and everything in it. In fact i've joked about it being similar to a Mary Poppins bag. I just keep pulling more and more things out of it. For now I am using it to carry around all of my essentials such as phone, purse etc and my daughter's essentials such as change of clothes, snacks, and a drink. I have no doubt that when my new baby arrives, I will be able to fit all of our things in it, which as a mother is music to my ears. You always have your hands full, so the more I can get in one bag, the better. With my last change bag I found I couldn't get everything in to it.

I adore the style of it. The handles are braided so it gives it a more special look. The colour black goes with pretty much everything but it is available in 10 different colours. The bag is easy to clean as it's water and stain resistant so you can wipe it with a wet wipe or wet cloth. This again is also very handy when you have a baby and a toddler as things do tend to get very messy. The bag contains a changing mat, bottle holder and a toiletries bag and also has lots of different compartments and pockets. This is great for me as I'm also a bit of an organised freak. 

I am loving using this bag and I can't recommend them enough to anyone. I will write another blog post once baby arrives, so that I can update you on how it is working with using it for the essentials for all 3 of us. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

I've also chosen my other top picks of bags from their website. It was very hard to narrow it down as I could honestly happily use any of them. I would like to get a tan coloured one too, to match any outfits i'm wearing that black doesn't look good with. 

1) This is a new bag to the website which is called the INGA. I absolutely love the shape of it!!!!

2) This is the GANLY which is a best seller. I love the style of it.

3) This is the ALMA. It does look a bit smaller than most of the of the other bags that they do but I am still a big fan of it. I love all the buckle detailing.

4) Is the INGA again but in a different colour. I must like this one seeing as I've featured it twice.

Have you heard of the brand before? Do you like their bags? What changing bag did you have? Make sure you like their Facebook and instagram pages to keep up to date with any offers and competitions, Facebook,  instagram.


Friday 23 October 2015

Reminiscing about our engagement 5 years ago

It's been 5 years yesterday that Arwyn and I got engaged in Kilimanjaro. I cannot believe how time just seems to fly by nowadays. As I realised it had been 5 years, I started to think that years move to quickly and I wondered where the time had gone.

I hadn't started my blog at the time we climbed Kilimanjaro so I've never written about it. I'll briefly describe our experience. We went with the charity Scope and were lucky enough to be put into a team with some amazing people who we still speak to today and who came to our wedding. The climb itself was gruelling. There were good times and bad. If you had asked me about it for a few months afterwards, I would have said it was the worst experience of my life and wouldn't recommend it to anyone (hubby would have said the same). However, looking back on it now it really was life changing. It really pushed you to the limit. It was physically and mentally draining. I had a really bad day one day where I broke down in tears but all of my team supported me. It was if we'd all been friends forever.  They were am amazing group of people. Having to wee and poo out in the middle of nowhere was also an experience I'll never forget (the views were pretty good though). The food was awful and I was put off camping again for a long time! I've lost my two big toe nails because of the climb too.

We didn't actually make the very top as we suffered badly with altitude sickness whilst attempting to reach the summit so the doctor sent us back to camp.
After the climb we all went back to our hotel to get ready for a big party. Arwyn was acting very weirdly. Finally he asked me to go outside and look at the mountain in the moonlight. Stubborn me was shouting at him telling him we'd be late for the bus and I never wanted to see the mountain ever again. I really did make it difficult for him. When I eventually went outside he got down on one knee under the stars and the brightness of Kilimanjaro in the background. I was so shocked. It ended up being the perfect time to propose as we had a huge party that night. The night was so special as we spent it with all the people that we had experienced Kilimanjaro with. We drank lots of champagne and partied the night away. I couldn't have asked for more.

Even though it seems like only yesterday this happened we have been through so much ever since. We had a wonderful wedding (with Eva already in my belly). I found out I was pregnant 3 days before our wedding day. It was lovely knowing we had a little secret to ourselves. We had a fantastic honeymoon in Las Vegas and Hawaii. We got Alfie our dog. We had our first daughter and are now expecting our second. Plus we have had lots of fantastic other holidays and trips.

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun!


Thursday 22 October 2015

Tiny Tears 50th anniversary doll

We were so lucky to be asked to review a very special baby doll who is celebrating her 50th birthday! Tiny Tears was first launched in the UK in the 1960's and to celebrate they have launched a limited edition doll. If you have grown up with dolls then you will instantly recognise the tiny tears name as it's been loved and enjoyed for many generations. Tiny Tears was the first fully functional doll that was able to feed, cry, close its eyes, wet and have moving arms and legs.

Eva is now very much into playing with babies and dolls and loves nothing more than interactive play so we couldn't wait for the doll to arrive.

When she arrived both Eva and I were blown away. As far as baby dolls go, this is probably one of the most beautiful ones i've ever seen. She is absolutely gorgeous. She is dressed in a fantastic pink, sparkly birthday dress and has the most adorable curly hair. Eva loves anything sparkly or pink so this doll was an instant hit before she even came out of the box.

The limited edition doll comes with a feeding bottle and potty. You can feed her with real water and then sit her down on the potty and she will go to the toilet. She also cries and when you lie her down she closes her eyes. 

She also comes with a special keepsake commemorative certificate which has its own unique number on it.

Eva has loved playing with her doll. She pushes her around in a pram, puts her in a crib to bed and loves to comb her hair and practise different hair styles with it. She does struggle when she gives the baby water from the bottle. The bootle tip is almost a bit too big for the hole in her mouth so she has to push it in very hard so that the water doesn't leak everywhere. 

The doll can be purchased from John Adams and has an rrp of £29.99. I think this is such good value for money as other baby dolls on the market that do exactly the same can be almost double the price. It will make a wonderful present for any child.


Thursday 15 October 2015

Sea Bass Tray Bake

This is the first recipe I have ever posted on my blog so please excuse the photos etc. I hadn't cooked this with the intention of sharing the recipe but once we tasted it and it was yummy, I thought i'd share it.  Excuse the fact that I don't have exact measurements. When I cook i'm more of a throw it in person rather than using specific amounts. I tend to put something in and then taste to see if it's suitable.

10 - 15 new potatoes depending on the size
2 Sea Bass
Cooking chorizo slice (at least one)
Cherry tomatoes (the best you can afford and use as many as you want)
400g Broad Beans
300g Peas
Fennel seeds
Lemon Juice 
White Wine condiment or White Wine
Olive Oil


1) Place the potatoes in a pan (I cut mine in half as they were quite large for new potatoes), bring to the boil and then simmer for around 10-15 minutes

2) Heat your oven to 200 degrees and then add the potatoes to a large roasting tin. Drizzle olive oil all over the potatoes (I used about 2 glugs), season with salt and pepper and then roast for 15 minutes.

3) Prepare the sea bass whist the potatoes are cooking by making slashes in the skin and then covering with salt, pepper, lemon juice and fennel seeds. Again just add as much as you think is enough. Once the potatoes have finished add the fish to the tray, along with the chorizo.  We love chorizo in our house so I used quite a bit. At this point I poured a bit more olive oil in along with a few lugs of white wine condiment. I would have used white wine but I didn't have any. I also seasoned again with salt and pepper. Give everything a stir (other than the fish) and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. 
If you didn't have cooking chorizo you could use already cooked chorizo and just add it at the same time as the tomatoes so that it won't burn or dry out.

4) After about 10 minutes throw in your cherry tomatoes. Use as many as you like.

5) Blanche your peas and broad beans

6) Once the 15 minutes is up add in your broad beans and peas, season again with salt and pepper, give it a stir and return to the oven just for a couple of minutes.

And that's it. Enjoy! You could always add other ingredients to your tray bake such as bacon or whatever veg you like.

'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' book review

We were recently sent a copy of 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' book to review. The book hadn't been released in the UK when we were sent it so we were sent a copy/proof type version.

The book is written by a Swedish author and it promises to help children fall asleep at bedtime.  The story is written with clever sentencing and hypnotic words that are supposed to have your children nodding off in no time at all. There are certain words that are in bold which you have to emphasize more.

The story is about a rabbit called Roger who wants to fall asleep but he can't. He struggles to fall asleep because he is thinking too much about falling asleep. His mum suggests that they visit their uncle yawn who is a wizard. On their way they meet characters, sleepy snail and heavy eyed owl, who also have advice on how to fall asleep.

I have to be honest and say that we haven't got on with the book at all. I'm unsure whether this is due to the fact that we are trying to read it as a proof or not. Eva normally likes to look at the book as i'm reading it and she is not able to do it with this one properly. She doesn't find the images very captivating but I wonder whether this is all part of the experience of getting children to sleep. They are not bright or cheerful in any way but maybe that is the desire. 

I've read the story to her on a number of occasions and she has not fallen asleep. I think your child has to be dropping off already for the desired effect. Eva likes to have a few books before bed so perhaps if we read this one last, it may actually work. She doesn't like the story at all and I think it's because of the way it is worded. She can't seem to relate to Roger the rabbit or any of the other characters. It is not capturing her imagination but again this must all be part of why the book sends children to sleep. She gets confused by the fact that the book references her and Roger trying to fall asleep. Perhaps she is simply to young for it.

The book is a bestseller so I wouldn't not recommend it as it's obviously working for some people. The reviews on amazon are very mixed. It is rated an average of 3.5 stars but if you read the reviews people either absolutely love it or completely hate it. Some people say it has their children dropping off within reading a few pages, others have said that they feel their child has dropped off through boredom. Just because it hasn't worked for Eva, doesn't mean it won't work for your child. 

Have you read it or heard about it before?

Wednesday 14 October 2015

What's in our caboodle hospital bag

I have finally got around to packing a hospital bag. Luckily we were sent a gorgeous one from Caboodle to use. The bag comes with a large changing mat, insulated bottle holder and a spare grabby bag that would be useful for creams and medicines.
I love the bag for more than one reason. The first is the size of it. It's actually big enough to carry everything you need in it and it'll also be more than big enough for when I need to use it after the baby is born. It'll be big enough to put all the babies things and some spare things for Eva in it too. 

The pockets inside are also great. They are actually placed in such a position that you can actually use them without taking space away from the bottom of the bag. By that I mean normally when you use side pockets they tend to restrict the room at the bottom of the bag. This doesn't happen with the caboodle.

One of the best features of the bag is that it's wipeable. This is a genius, very practical idea for a hospital/change bag. They always get dirty as you carry them everywhere and use them so much. 

I also like the fact that the bag isn't heavy. It's lightweight and even when you pack it full of all your essentials, it still doesn't feel ridiculously heavy like most change bags do. The bag comes in a few different prints and is great value for money. To view the bags click here, Caboodle bags

Here's what I've packed. I've probably forgotten loads of things so please leave me a comment if you think I've missed anything out:

For me:.
Big granny knickers
Nursing nightwear
A birthing nighty
Swim tankini for the birthing pool
A towel
Maternity pads
Breast pads
Nipple cream
Shower gel
Dry shampoo
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Comfy clothes to travel home in
Nursing bra
Hair bobble

For baby:
Coming home outfit

For me and hubby:
Phone chargers

What do you think of the caboodle bag. Have I missed anything out of the bag?

Tuesday 13 October 2015

To write a birth plan or not

I am now a couple of days off being 36 weeks pregnant and it may alarm a lot of you that I have not written a birth plan. The problem is I am in 2 minds about it all. 

I had a pretty terrible birth last time and again I hadn't written a birth plan. Some people may argue this is exactly why I need to write one this time, but I think the fact that I didn't have one written, meant that I actually didn't feel let down or gutted that I didn't have the experience I wanted. 

Due to the horrific birth I had last time, I am now consultant led. I have discussed the birth with him but I am going into it with an open mind. I have expressed that I would like to be in a birthing pool as long as possible but that is all i've said. In fact we're not even writing it down anywhere as I don't want to be disappointed if I can't go in it when the time comes. 

I can see the pro's of physically writing down a birth plan. It'll help the midwife's know exactly what preferences you have for the whole time you are in labour and afterwards. It'll help me feel more in control of the whole experience and it would help keep me focused. I can write down what positions I want to be in, thoughts on pain relief, how exactly I want to birth etc! However, the way I see it is that it may not go according to plan.

I think the experience I had last time along with the fact that I work in healthcare (actually in an operating theatre) means that I know too much information. I'm never sure whether my healthcare knowledge is a good thing or a bad thing. I think the problem is I know what can go wrong, how quickly it can go wrong and when it's going wrong. There was no fooling me last time. I know why alarms are going off etc. I also think that my background allows me to put every faith into any decision a consultant will make and therefore that is why I don't want a birth plan set in stone. If they tell me to do something i'm not going to be silly and ignore it, i'm going to do it. 

I am obviously hoping for a nice birth this time and despite what i've written, I am fairly positive that this will happen this time around. I am very open minded. I will be a lot stronger in myself last time and as far as i'm concerned I have no plan other than to go with the flow and do what is needed at the time. I am not against having anything or doing anything. What will be, will be.

Did you write a birth plan? If so did it all go the way you had planned it? Would you suggest that I wrote a few things down or not?


Sunday 4 October 2015

Atlantis The Palm hotel Dubai

I've only just realised that I hadn't written this blog post from our family trip in May. I can't believe I'd forgotten to write about it.

On our way back from Australia we were having a 2 night stay, half board at the Atlantis the Palm in Dubai. We couldn't wait to stay here after hearing such glowing reports from family and friends. We were concerned that it wasn't very highly rated on trip advisor but then when you read the reviews, the negative comments came from non family parties that had stayed there.

When we arrived in reception we were simply blown away by how amazing it was. I can't express to you how big the resort is. It was huge!! It reminded me of the hotels in Las Vegas. There was something to look and explore on every corner.

We were then shown to our room. We had booked one of the regular rooms so we weren't expecting it to be as nice as it was. The room was big in size with a gorgeous bathroom and a balcony that overlooked some of the hotel, the palm and the sea.

The hotel itself has so much to do with its own shopping area, aquarium, water park, swimming pools, spa and marine park. You really wouldn't have to leave if you didn't want to. We only had 2 days so we had to prioritise what we wanted to see. We'd decided to visit the water park, pools and the aquarium. As much as we knew that Eva would have loved to see the marine animals, we didn't think she'd appreciate it enough (especially with how much it cost just to have a basic experience with one of the animals). The water park and aquarium were free for us to visit whenever we wanted with the half board package we had paid for.

The water park is fantastic. One of the best ones I've been too. Eva loved the river rapids and children's water play areas and hubby had lots of adrenaline filled rushes on some of the more extreme rides. I was pregnant so couldn't really go on a lot although I did have a sneaky go on one of the rides that takes you through a see through tunnel which is surrounded by sealife and sharks. As with most water parks the floor gets extremely hot to the point of burning your feet so I would suggest taking some cheap flipflops with you to leave at the end of the rides. We literally didn't want to leave the park but the beauty of it being on the resort is that during peak sun hours we were able to go back to our hotel room for a rest before going back to the park when the sun wasn't so strong.

The lost chambers aquarium  is also brilliant. All 3 of us enjoyed it, especially Eva. It's very well themed and there are plenty of sea life to see and learn about in there. You can also book diving experiences in there and swim with the sharks! 

We'd booked a half board option for our stay which included breakfast and an evening meal.  Drinks were included at breakfast but not at the evening meal and they were quite pricey to say the least. Even a bottle of water would set you back rather a lot. Despite that, the half board option couldn't have been any better. There were a few different restaurants that you could choose to eat in and they were all fantastic. The selection of food available in them was out of this world with so many different cuisines available and everything was very tasty. The buffet style restaurants did get very busy but you had the option to book a table in advance so that was never a problem to us. For lunch there were plenty of different restaurants to pick up a snack from but they really were expensive.

I could honestly write so much more about our stay here as we enjoyed it so much. I don't think i'll ever be able to express in words just how good it was. The staff were extremely friendly and very helpful. They couldn't do enough for you and treated you like kings and queens. The resort itself is spectacular and very clean. The rooms are beautiful and spacious. The activities and entertainment available are endless and the food was perfect. We can't wait to stay here again! 

Friday 2 October 2015

The Dinosaur That Pooped The Bed review

The Dinosaur That Pooped The Bed is the latest edition in the fab series by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter. It was released at the end of August and is available to buy from amazon here, book. I was so pleased when we were asked to review it as I have really enjoyed the other books in the series. I wrote a blog post about the previous ones which you can read here, Old post.

In this story Danny and Dinosaur want to watch the tv but mum won't let them until they have tidied their room. Danny decides that the best way to clean up his room is to make dinosaur eat up all the mess. They think they have gotten away with their plan until there is a rumbling sound!! When there is a rumbling in dinosaurs tummy, it means only one thing. He has to poo!

Eva adores reading this book and she has it read to her a few times a week. She even enjoys having a random conversation with me about it. The illustrations are as good as ever and the story itself is full of humour and easy to follow. The rhyming is excellent but I suppose this comes from the authors being musicians. 

We were also sent the Dinasour That Pooped A Planet sound book to review which was released at the end of last month. If you are a fan of the series then this is a must to add to your collection. Eva loves sound books and I can honestly say that ever since we received it she has asked for it to be read to her every night. It's her new favourite book. The sounds are as hilarious and silly as the story itself. Eva loves the sound of Danny crying and also when she gets to press the button that says poo out loud. I hope they will turn the rest of the series into sound books.

Eva now seems to be the ideal age for really understanding the humour and fun that these books encompass. She laughs when she finds something funny which is brilliant for me as a parent to witness. I love seeing her embracing the story and enjoying something so much. They give us a lot to talk about.

Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter have managed to make story time fun again and I truly commend them for it. If you are looking for books that will entertain both you and your child then these are definetley for you. Don't just take my word for it, head to amazon to see all of the wonderful reviews that have been left.

Have you read any of this series?

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