Sunday 15 November 2015

Bump Watch - Week 40

Week - 40 and 3 days. I knew i'd be late! I don't mind but when everyone else due after me has their babies then I get grumpy.

Baby Developments - There's not really anything I can say here as baby is fully developed. All I can say is that she's cosy. I do worry though as the longer she stays in there, the heavier and longer she becomes!!!!! Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Bump - Bump is still looking great. No stretch marks but quite veiny. I'm really pleased that i've managed to carry everything all at the front. It is pretty big now but hey that's understandable when you're overdue.

My symptoms - Where shall I start. I pee every 15 minutes probably including at night time. I don't get any sleep due to the frequent trips to the bathroom and the sheer uncomfortableness. She seems to love turning around which is so painful. The braxton hicks contractions I get are very sore to say the least. I do not remember having them like this last time.

Cravings - I'm still enjoying ice-cubes daily! I had a huge craving for madagascan vanilla though this week so I ended up by the ice-cream and normal cream.

Aversions - No aversions at all.

Exercise - Don't be daft! Getting out of bed is all the exercise I need for the day. 

Baby items purchased - At last we finally bought some things. We got a snuzpod which arrived today and I also went shopping to the Jojo Maman Bebe christmas event. They were doing a lucky dip at the till where you win 10, 20 or 50% off your purchases and I got 50. Wahoo. I bought bump 3 new baby grows including a christmas one.

Best moments this week - On my due date the hubby and I went to a cooking class that was taken by a chef that we both like called Omar Allibhoy. He's a spanish chef and we have his cookbook at home. It was blogging event which I was unsure whether I'd get to but luckily I did. It was fab and we both had a great time and learnt quite a lot.

Worst moment this week - Knowing at least 3 people who are due after me and they have all had their babies. :(

What i'm looking forward to - Hopefully feeling a bit more organised. I still don't feel ready.

How Eva is feeling - Eva keeps saying that her sister is coming out soon. I hope she's right.


Friday 13 November 2015

Ideal gifts for 2nd time parents

I've decided to write this post as lots of people have been saying how stumped they are about gifting second time parents. I've had a good, long think about what I think would be practical, useful and very much appreciated. First time around there are so many things you want but as you have more children, it becomes harder to think of new things. This post obviously isn't just for second time parent ideas but obviously 3rd, 4th etc.

1) Babysitting:

I can guarantee you will make any parents smile by offering them some babysitting. Even if it's only taking the other child/children for an hour. You could make up your own little vouchers and gift them to them. A friend of mine recently had our daughter over to sleep for the night. I think it's one of the kindest gifts i've ever been asked and given! I can't tell you how much we appreciated it.

2) Food:

One thing I really appreciated first time around was when people brought us meals to pop in our freezer. I honestly didn't realise at the time how much this helped. It was amazing to be able to go in the freezer and pull out a chilli or stew etc and know dinner was covered without me having to do hardly anything. I can only imagine this being even more useful with already having children as there will be even less spare time to do anything.

3) Vouchers:

Seeing as most things were brought first time around, vouchers can be an ideal gift. This gives the parents the freedom to get things they actually need. You could get any kind of vouchers. Clothes vouchers are ideal for letting them choose things for the new baby. Supermarket vouchers are a great way of helping them cut the cost of their food shopping. Mums tend to like going for a coffee when they are on maternity leave so what about Costa or Starbucks vouchers. Other good ones could be cinema vouchers (if they ever get a chance for a date night) or spa vouchers for a bit of a pampering and much needed time out.

4) Cleaning services:

How about paying for a cleaner to go and blitz the house. During the first month or so you get so many visitors and I don't think people understand how stressful it is trying to ensure the house is always clean and tidy when people pop over. Not only that with other children in the house it is bound to be even messier.
On the same kind of theme you could pay for ironing to be done. 

5) A coffee machine:

I can't even begin to tell you on my first how many times I attempted to make myself a hot drink and either never got around to actually making it or by the time I made it and drank it, it was stone cold. Parents need caffeine to help with the serious lack of sleep!
We have a coffee machine in the house but it's way too technical and takes up too much time. An ideal splurge gift would be a pod coffee machine. Imagine how easy you would make their lives. All they would have to do is pop the pod in, press a button and hey presto a hot drink is made. I'd recommend something from Nespresso.

6) Membership passes:

One thing I worry about with having another child is that I won't be able to afford to entertain my toddler all the time whilst i'm on maternity leave. I still want her to enjoy herself and have a fab time with me but as you know, money ends up tight. A great gift to give someone would be an annual or membership pass to attractions and play centres. This will help new parents be able to continue having fun days out.
I bought an annual pass for myself and my daughter for a local play centre called Mountain View Ranch. It cost £20 each per pass but we can now go as many times as we want for a year. I think I had more than paid for the 2 of them in about 6 weeks as we visited quite a few times cause I already knew the cost was covered. I think people worry that they won't go but if you know it's already paid for you don't have a lot to lose. Even if it's a far away attraction, you would still make the journey a few times. 
Another place that I know do annual passes which is a fantastic day out in Wales is Folly Farm. I wrote a blog post about our trip there earlier this year, Folly Farm blog post. It's amazing value for money there anyway but with an annual pass you could go anytime of the year.
Other suggestions would be Noah's Ark Zoo FarmLongleat and Merlin. Check your local areas and see what one's are on offer close to you.

7) Things to entertain the other children with:

Someone pointed out to me that more often that not the other children tend to get missed out and forgotten about when it comes to gifting. Visitors come over with gifts for the new baby but tend to forget the other child will be there and will feel left out. 
Bringing things to entertain the other child will be handy in more ways than one. Even if it's a colouring or sticker book, it'll make the child's day. It will keep them entertained when visitors are there to see the new baby and also when the parents are feeding the baby. I can imagine in the first few weeks it's difficult to get them to understand that when you are feeding the new baby you can't give them your undivided attention.

8) Photography

Something that would be a great help is vouchers for a photography session. It's always nice to get professional photographs taken. 
You could also get vouchers for places like Photobox or Snapfish. That way the parents know they can get the endless amount of photos they take actually printed or turned into unique gifts.

9) Food subscription boxes

This is one of the best gifts I think. You can get a food subscription box delivered. This is so beneficial in more ways than one. The food is delivered to the house and it comes with a recipe. That way the new parents can have something lovely for dinner without the thought of having to go shopping and the hassle of thinking of something to cook.
It's also a nice idea for date nights for them as they can make a lovely meal to enjoy at home. It's not the same as going out but when you're a new parent you'll take any attempt at a date. We've tried the boxes from Gousto before and they were amazing. 

10) Stay at home boxes

How about creating hampers or boxes for the parents to enjoy at home. You could theme them such as 'a spa from home' and fill it with luxurious candles and beauty products or a 'movie night' and fill it with popcorn, a dvd etc. The list of these is endless but I think they would make a really thoughtful, unique gift.

What would you have liked to receive?

Thursday 12 November 2015

Easybelts review

We were recently asked to review some toddler belts from Easybelts who make toddler belts for all ages including adults. I jumped at the chance as I can never find any belts to fit Eva's tiny waist. Even though she is coming up to age 3 she is definitely not in that size and more often than not, trousers end up to big for her and they need to be worn with a belt. I can never find any belts in her size, they all seem to start at age 3 or older. Easybelts are all velcro fastening which really got me intrigued.

I allowed Eva to pick the belts she wanted to have from the range on their website, toddler girl belts . She of course loved doing this herself as she is her mother's daughter and loves nothing more than a spot of shopping (providing it's for her). She chose a pink one with a heart motif and a black one. All I then had to do was measure her waist and pick the size that suited her best. The sizes are offered in inches rather than age which is perfect for little ones. 

When they arrived Eva loved them. They are quite plain looking but the motifs on them give them a more 'pretty' look. They are easy to use which make them so suitable for toddlers. I quickly taught Eva how to thread the belts through her jeans and then she easily learnt how to tighten it herself. The velcro feature is what makes the belt so special. Even the smallest of hands will be able to use them.

I think the belts are great for a number of reasons. Firstly, the velcro allows them to be suitable for your toddler to use themselves without your help. This is great especially for when they need to go to the toilet. We all know how children tend to leave a trip to the toilet until the last minute, so the fact that the belt can be quickly undone in these situations is wonderful. It allows them to still remain independent and in control.

Secondly, the velcro is a great safety feature. I won't bang on about how dangerous normal belts can be if used in the wrong areas. At least with velcro you know you can undo and loosen them in an instant. 

Thirdly, it's allowed Eva to wear many of her jeans and trousers again. I had so many pairs that she couldn't wear cause they were always falling down. It's also allowed me to buy her things from shops that she never normally fits into. It's great to see her in something other than leggings.

Lastly, they are such great value for money. They are only £6 each. This may seem more than one's you can get in a shop but at least you know these one's are safe and easy to use. 

Overall, we are both very happy with the belts and would recommend them to anyone with small children.

Do you get the same problem with your child's waist size and finding belts to fit?


Wednesday 11 November 2015

Pregnancy style - Look 6

This will hopefully be my last pregnancy style post. With 2 days until baby is due I'm not planning on buying anymore clothes until my bump has disappeared. 

A few weeks ago I was faced with a fashion dilemma. I had a party to go to and guess what I had nothing to wear whilst I was so heavily pregnant. I really didn't want to buy a maternity dress as I knew I wouldn't get that much usage out of it. I contemplated buying a breastfeeding dress but seeing as I'm not sure what dress size I'm going to be I didn't want to waste my money on something that may only fit me for a few weeks. 

I decided to head into town and have a nose to see if  I could find anything suitable. I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money so I headed straight for Primark. It's one of my favourite go to shops for something cheap, that's fashionable.

I found a couple of dresses to try which was great. I fell in love with this gorgeous black laced dress. The style of it is very me, so I was really hoping it would fit. I grabbed it in a size 8 in the hope that perhaps I could squeeze myself into it and therefore still be able to wear it after I have had the baby.

Luckily enough due to the boho styling of the dress, I actually got into the size 8. I couldn't believe my luck. I had found a dress I actually liked, was comfortable in and I knew I could still wear it after the baby was born. I can't remember exactly how much it was but it was definitely less than £20. I've already worn it 3 times so I am getting my money's worth.

The style of the dress is perfect for this winter season. With regards to fashion it ticks all the boxes as it's, black, lace and has the boho/70's styling to it. It's a great staple piece for your wardrobe as it'll go with so many things. I wore it with a pair of slouchy black calf length boots. You can't see them very well as i'm at the stage where my bump takes up most of the room in a picture! You could wear a different colour pair of shoes or boots to add a pop of colour and to make the dress more evening/occasionwear then don't wear any tights.

I wanted to share this look with you to highlight the fact that just because your pregnant you don't have to wear maternity clothes all the time. I think we tend to fall in a trap of always getting maternity clothes as we feel that we need them when it's better to try and find things that you will be able to wear again. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of maternity clothes as I find them so comfortable but it is wasteful when you are only wearing them for a short period of time. 


Bravado Yoga Nursing Bra Review

I was recently sent a Bravado Yoga Nursing Bra to review. I'm not nursing yet (as the baby hasn't arrived) but for now i'm reviewing it as a maternity bra as it can be worn before hand. I've never tried a Bravado bra before so I was looking forward to testing it out.

The bra comes in 2 colours, pink and grey. It makes a nice change from the usual black or white you see in sports/nursing bras. It costs £34 which is about what I would expect to pay for a decent nursing bra. It's available in sizes small to extra large and there is a size chart available on the website to help with sizing.

The bra is designed to fit into an active mums everyday lifestyle. It can be worn during low impact training such as yoga, pilates and walking or as an everyday nursing essential bra. It has some special features such as, anti-microbial technology which prevents the growth of odour (which causes bacteria). This is a great support feature for working out. It also has a 4 way stretch fabric which moulds to your ever changing shape! This again is great as you can change size quite often whilst you are breastfeeding.

The bra also has removable pad inserts. I think these are a good idea as they give extra support for when you wear breast pads. Breast pads always make a strange shape in your bra but with these moulds already in the bra, you can't tell that you have any on. The straps have an easy unclip feature to allow for discreet nursing and if you wish the cup can come fully down for skin to skin contact.

The bra itself is actually prettier than I expected it to be. I'm always put off by sports bras and nursing bras as they are normally fairly plain and unflattering. 

One feature is that you can adapt the straps so that it can either be worn as a normal bra or in a criss cross shape at the back to go underneath sports tops. This makes it a very versatile bra as you could use it for everyday wear as-well as for when you are working out.

I've found this bra to be extremely comfortable. In fact, I hardly feel like I'm wearing one. It is definitely the most comfortable one I've owned. It feels very light when it's on which will be great for when my milk comes in. 
Even though I don't feel like I'm wearing a bra it is very supportive. I'll be honest and say I haven't exercised whilst wearing it but in my everyday life where I'm running around after my toddler, I feel very secure in it. It fits well under my clothes and you can't notice it through tops etc. 

Overall, I'm really pleased with it. I think it looks good, is comfortable to wear and is very practical too. I am looking forward to using it for low impact sports once the baby is born.

You can buy the bra here for £34, Bravado yoga bra.

Have you bought a Bravado bra before?

Monday 9 November 2015

My favourite pictures of me and Eva

I'm just 3 days away from my due date for expecting baby girl number 2 and call me silly but i've been a bit emotional about it today. I'm very sad at the thought of having another girl. I know some people are probably reading this thinking 'well what the hell are you having one for then?'. What I mean is that Eva is my best friend. I love spending time with her and we have an unbreakable bond. I am really struggling to understand how I will love another child (especially a girl) when I already have everything I could ever wish for in my daughter. Anyway I know I'm being silly and i'm sure when she's here, and I look at my new daughter for the first time, I will be bowled over with love. I've enjoyed a day of looking through thousands of pictures of my life with Eva and I thought i'd share some of my favourite one's with you. There were so many to choose from as we've had so many wonderful memories and experiences. 

 I think this was the very first selfie I ever took of the two of us when she was just days old.

I just love the way she is looking at me in this one. Again this was taken very early on.

When Eva was a baby I used to love nothing more than snuggles on my bed with her. 

I honestly had a fantastic maternity leave with Eva and the weather was amazing. This is a picture of us enjoying one of those days in the garden.

 Just look how happy we both are here!!! 

This was us trying to perfect a pouting selfie lol!

This was the first time I took her ice-skating (this was also the last time I took her ice-skating as we were both rubbish)

 This was on an easter Sunday after we had been for afternoon tea.

 This was our first trip to Disneyland Paris.

 This was our second trip to Disney which was last christmas time. We are all huge Disney fans in this house.

 This was taken a couple of days before my 30th birthday in Dubai. I loved how we were dressed very similar for our meal out.

This again was in Dubai at the Atlantis the Palm waterpark. We absolutely loved it there.

Finally this was taken a few months ago when I decided to take Eva on a special mummy and Eva day out to Cadbury World.


Sunday 8 November 2015

Bump Watch - Week 39

Week - 39 + 3 days. This may well be my last bump update. We'll just have to wait and see when she decides to arrive. I am thinking I'm going to go over my due date now.

Baby developments - Bump is now the size of a watermelon. How big is that!!!! It's crazy to think there is something that big in my belly. 

My Bump - I'm at the stage where I can't seem to notice the bump growing anymore but people tell me it is. Still no stretch marks though which is amazing. It's definetley dropped.

My Symptoms - I am having tightenings/braxton hicks all the time and they are quite painful. I don't remember them being like this last time. I spend most of my time searching for the nearest toilet as all I want to do is empty my bladder. Sleeping ah night is pretty minimal. If I lie on my side, my bump hurts. If I lie on my back, my bump and back hurts. It's really a no win situation!

Cravings - I'm still munching on ice cubes every day. 

Aversions - I've still not had any aversions to anything specific although I seem to not be able to eat much. It's almost as if I've gone off food.

Exercise - Chasing Eva everywhere is about as much as I can handle now.

Baby items purchased - Nothing this week.

Best moment this week - Having the feeling of relief at the bump dropping. My chest is so much more comfortable now.

Worst moment this week - The tightenings. Some times they are so bad I feel like I'm going into labour.

What i'm looking forward to - Not being pregnant anymore and being able to wear normal clothes. My wadrobe is now rotated between about 5 things but I am not buying anything else as I have hardly any time left.

How Eva is feeling - Eva talks about her sister all the time but honestly I still don't think she fully understands that a baby will be coming to the house. 


Sunday 1 November 2015

Pregnancy thoughts and emotions - Inside Out

As my pregnancy draws to a close, I've been reflecting on how it has gone and how I've been feeling. It got me thinking about my hormones and how they've toyed with my thoughts and emotions and how much of a nightmare they really are. It's been a roller coaster of highs and lows and ups and downs. There's been days when I've been excited and happy and then there's been days when I've been angry and ridiculously unhappy. Whilst talking to the hubby about it, I started laughing as it reminded me a lot of the Disney film 'Inside Out' and how at times, we have no control over how we think or feel.

Joy - This is the first emotion I felt when finding out I was pregnant. I couldn't have been happier. I was excited! You couldn't stop me smiling. I also felt a lot of joy when telling people I was pregnant. It's such nice news to share with people. I felt it at the scans i've had. I then felt it quite a lot during the second trimester when I had more energy and generally felt pretty good. I've experienced it when seeing my daughter talking about her sister. The smallest of things make me cry with joy and happiness. But needless to say when there are ups...then come the downs.

Sadness - This emotion is non stop during pregnancy. One minute your happy as Larry and the next you are breaking down in tears of sadness and more often than not you have no idea why. It's totally uncontrollable and you feel helpless and pathetic. I have probably cried at least 5 days of the week since being pregnant. The smallest of things make me sad such as being too tired to play with my daughter, not having any ice cubes ready (to curb my cravings), not having a cuddle from my husband. The list is endless. I have felt sorry for my hubby and daughter as they try and cheer me up when i'm sad but they can't. 

Fear - There is so much to fear during your pregnancy. In the first trimester you fear losing the baby and you fear pregnancy side effects. The rest of it is then spent fearing child birth etc. For me personally, I have a massive fear of child birth again. I had such a horrible experience of it before that I fear the same will happen again. This is one emotion I can't seem to shake off. I also fear that I won't be able to be a good mum to 2 children. I fear I will lose my best friend bond with my daughter. I fear that I will let her down as I can't be there enough for her when the new baby arrives. I fear not being able to afford to be on maternity leave with 2 children. I also fear stupid, small things like the food shop! Overtime I come to do it, I worry about going into labour or how am I gonna carry everything! I've made a mental note to start online shopping from now on. 

Anger - Now this is a funny emotion. You don't think you'd ever be angry during such a wonderful time but when volcano Kerry erupts, I sure erupt and as with sadness, most of the time I have no rational reason as to why I am angry. The hubby and my daughter have taken the hit of most of this emotion which then makes me angry at myself. I feel like I don't have any patience and completely lose my rag with them at the smallest of things. I then hate myself for making them upset. When my daughter looks at me when i've shouted at her, I completely melt and sadness and disgust kick in. 

Disgust - As I just mentioned disgust normally kicks in immediately after anger or sadness. I end up feeling like the smallest person on earth (i'm only 5 foot anyway lol). I feel like the worst person on earth. The worst mother on earth. The worst wife on earth. I look at myself in the mirror and i'm disgusted at myself and the behaviour I have shown. I question how I could upset my daughter over nothing! That then leads to questioning how I'm going to cope with 2 children and guess what I then end up sad and in deep fear and the whole circle of emotions start again.

I've wrote this post and likened it to 'Inside Out' to try and highlight to myself and anyone else that we really don't have any control over how we think and feel during pregnancy. Those 5 little characters are up inside our head, toying with everything. We can't beat ourselves up over how we think, feel or behave, it's just a fact of life. We're all good parents no matter what we think and we're not alone in feeling so pants.

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