Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

The reason for my little impromptu break from blogging was because I was beside the seaside. I had meant to write a few things up before I went but things got a bit hectic and I ran out of time.

We headed east to the seaside town of Skegness to spend a long weekend celebrating one of our best friend's 30th birthday. They booked us in at Butlins, and aside from the fact we had to fashion our own kind of mattress for Ethan's cot as they didn't provide us with one due to 'health and safety reasons', we had a camp ol' time for sure.

On Saturday, we braced the chilly breeze for a walk along the seafront, playing on the penny slots and enjoying fish and chips by the sea. In the evening, we dressed in our Disney finest for dinner and were largely mistaken for members of staff. We had a lovely time celebrating our friend's birthday and Mickey (Ethan) was on his best behaviour and even waved properly for the first time.

Sunday was another day of firsts as Ethan tried his first ice cream, sat on the beach and tried some jelly - it was quite a momentous day for him!

Monday was our last day, so we enjoyed breakfast as a group before we had to hit the road, taking a slight detour to visit the house my grandparents lived in and where I spent most of my childhood holidays. It was really nostalgic being there and during the car journey, I worked up an idea for a book that you never know, one day I might just write...















Friday, 11 April 2014

Mix up your routine

Yesterday, I had a topsy turvy start to my day; first, I washed my hair with conditioner, rinsed, then lathered my mane with shampoo, second, I put moisturiser on my wet skin, rinsed it off then jumped out the shower.

No, I wasn't half asleep, bleary eyed mixing up the bottles in the bathroom. The reason for my shower shake up was to put two new beauty routine theories to the test.

First up, reverse hair washing. Sounds like a completely ridiculous idea doesn't it? I mean, we've all spent our lives washing our hair with shampoo then following with conditioner, in that order, every time. No questions asked. It tells us so on the bottles themselves! Of course you have to wash your hair first before adding conditioner, it just makes sense.

Well, apparently not. The latest trend to cause a buzz in the beauty world is to wash your hair first with conditioner, rinse, then follow with shampoo once or twice, depending on your usual preference.

'But why?' I hear you cry!

The theory is that washing your hair this way round is that it won't dry your locks out, with the promise of soft, shiny, full of body hair.

The great thing about this trend is that anyone can give it a go - no purchase of new products required. I thought it sounded completely mad but was interested to see if it made any difference. It felt strange to start with conditioner but I went with it, then followed the advice of using a small amount of shampoo (around the size of a 10p coin - the amount we should all have been using all along), before rinsing then drying.

I added my split end protection cream before brushing and blow-drying as usual, and was pleased not to have been faced with a head full of tangles. Straight away, I noticed my hair had a nice shine to it, but didn't look greasy at the roots as I had feared.


The end result isn't too far removed from how my hair normally looks but I do feel like I have more natural body and shine than usual. My advice? Give it a go - you never know unless you try and this could be one beauty trend that could make all the difference for you.

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Secondly, I recently bought the Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser (currently on offer in Boots for £2.37 for 250ml). A gimmick of a product if ever I've heard one, you are meant to apply this in the shower after washing, leaving it for a couple of minutes before rinsing off then towel drying as usual. It's like conditioner but for your skin.

I wanted to give this a go as I am too busy / lazy to moisturise my body as much as I should and dislike the still-tacky feeling I'm left with when I put on my clothes for the day. I love the new Vaseline Spray and Go as you can read here and wanted to see if an in-shower moisturiser could really add anything to my routine.

I chose the honey version as I'm a little obsessed with the stuff at the moment (I have the Body Shop lip butter and face mask and I even drizzle honey in my morning juice).

The Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser smells lovely and has a nice creamy texture. It's easy to use and I did notice a difference when I stroked my arms later on in the morning. My skin felt smooth and my dry patches near my elbows weren't as bad as they can be.

I do still think it's perhaps another product that you don't really need but if you're like me and you often skip on the moisturiser as you have somewhere to be / something better to do, then this is a nice addition to your shower routine.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The waiting game

I've decided that being a mum is just one big waiting game.

In the beginning, you wait for the 'right time' to have a baby (note: there's no real right time, just a time when you feel 'ok, I can do this, I've found the right person / I'm financially stable / I want to add meaning to my life / I want to buy cute little clothes' - delete as appropriate).

Then you wait for the right time in the month to give baby making a try, ahem, followed by many minutes waiting for a blue line to appear on that little stick that will change everything forever.

Then you wait nine months or so for your baby to be welcomed into the world. Pregnancy alone involves all kinds of waiting, from waiting for midwife appointments and tests results to waiting for your bump to show, to feel the first kick and for some, to find out if you're a blue or pink supporter.

There's the whole matter of giving birth too, which for some poor women can involve a lot of waiting and even if baby does come along in a timely manner, it will still probably feel like an age due to the pain you might be feeling (I've got to be honest - childbirth involves pain, at least it did for me!).

Then baby arrives and you spend the next couple of months in a whirlwind of nappy changing and feeds every two hours and functioning on zero sleep (yep, some of the clich├ęs are true). All the while, you're waiting. Waiting for a routine to form. Waiting for your baby to sleep a little longer. Waiting for your first interaction, where baby properly looks at you and knows who you are.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

It's enough to make even the most patient of people go over the edge.

Babies go through so many changes in their first 12 months on this earth, it can be really hard as a new mum to know what to expect and to follow the stages. Ethan has been through all of the above, he's been weaning, he's started teething and now, we're waiting for him to start crawling.

Tick, tock...

He had his monthly assessment at nursery last week and they had to mark him as 'red' for physical development as he's 11 months old and not yet crawling. He's been sitting and leaning for ages, he pushes himself right up when he's on his tummy, he can pivot and he's been scooting on his bottom for the past couple of weeks. He's even learnt to reverse. But no proper attempt has been made yet to move forwards, one knee in front of another. Let alone one foot in front of another.

As well as the waiting, it's hard not to compare your child with all the other children you might know. All the babies I know from my yummy mummies group have started crawling or even walking, even those who are younger than Ethan, and Facebook is always full of posts along these lines.

I know Ethan will get there in his own time. Every baby is different. There's nothing to worry about.

All that's left to do is wait.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Win a Poddle Pod!

When Ethan was really little, all he did was eat, sleep, eat, sleep, eat, sleep. I loved those newborn cuddles and would quite happily hold him in my arms morning, noon and night, not just because that was the easiest way to soothe him but also because I wanted to snuggle him and couldn't let him go.

After a few weeks however, a bad back and sore arms soon made me realise that I'd have to put my baby boy down now and again. I had things to do after all, like laundry, shopping, er, sleeping, and at least I could still stare at him whilst he snoozed away.

We used a Fisher-Price vibrating chair most of the time, but although he loved it, I wish we'd had another option as he was rather small for it for a long time, then too big, and it would have been nice to have had something soft for him to sleep on when he was downstairs with me (he refused to sleep in his cot during the day).

If only I had known about Poddle Pod then!

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Poddle Pod is a very useful baby snuggle nest that provides baby with somewhere comfy to sleep during the day. Made in the UK and available with a wide range of fun, bright and easy to wash covers in either cotton or fleece, the Poddle Pod is a great solution for sleeping babies up to the age of around six months.

The Poddle Pod is priced at £29.99 and covers are £9.99.


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Never fear however, when your baby gets a bit too big for the Poddle, there's the Toddle Pod!

There's even a new rocker available for both types of Pods, so you can gently rock your baby into what will hopefully be a nice long slumber so you can enjoy a cuppa before it gets cold.

I love the design of these Pods and the choice of covers and think they are a simple but very practical solution.

Competition
So, I'm offering one lucky person the chance to win a Poddle Pod of their very own. You could win a Poddle Pod, complete with a cover and a handy drawstring bag to keep the Pod nice and clean when not in use.

Now for the official bit: Entries are open today and can be made below via Rafflecopter, and the competition will close at midnight on Tuesday 22nd April 2014. The competition is open to UK entrants only and the winner will be notified on Wednesday 23rd April 2014.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

To never know who she is

The news that Peaches Geldof had passed suddenly in unexplained circumstances yesterday afternoon shocked a lot of people and the statement from her father - 'we are beyond pain' - has been seen on all the front pages of all the nationals.

The news really shook me, as it has many other people. I didn't really know that much about her before but I do remember she took on Katie Hopkins on the subject of attachment parenting on This Morning a few months back and she really held her own. Series brownie points there.

I also knew that she was a mother to two young boys, her youngest being just three weeks older than Ethan.

And for this reason, this news has affected me.

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To think that her children will never know her. She will never take them to school. She will never have the chance to beam with pride when they take part in their first nativity play. She won't ever take part in the mums race on sports day. She won't have the chance to beam with pride when they get their A-Level results, when they pass their driving test, when they bring home the girl they hope to marry.

They will forever wonder what life would be like if their mum was still alive. They will hear countless stories of who she was and what she was like, all told second-hand in the hope they will provide some comfort and offer them some little piece of their mum that they can cherish.

Peaches often said in interviews that becoming a mother was like being born again. They gave her reason. The gave her life meaning.

And now, their lives must continue without her. With the support of their father and their wider family, they will grow up and find their own meaning in life.

But the meaning of a young woman passing before her time and leaving her beautiful boys behind is one I will never understand.

Snack without the guilt

I love a good snack. Honestly, I think I could live on tapas or pick on picnic food and be quite happy. Saturday night in particular is made for snacking; open the crisps, pour the wine and enjoy a film. Perfect!

Not that I believe you should feel guilty for anything you put past your lips - life's too short to not enjoy what you eat - I've discovered a new snack that is almost completely sin free.


You may have spotted Pop Chips in places such as Starbucks - I know I have, but I have never picked them up. However, I was sent a fab bundle of flavours to try, complete with a 'keep your crisps fresh' clip which is going to be really useful.

So, what's the story? Pop Chips are popped potato and corn chips that are never baked and never fried. 'A little heat and pressure' is all that's needed, then pop!, a potato turns into a chip just like that. Flavour is added and the end result is a tasty snack that's full of flavour but low in fat and calories; less than 100 calories and around 3g of fat per bag. Not bad at all.


Available in original, sour cream and chive, sea salt and vinegar, salt and pepper, barbeque and thai sweet chilli flavours, there's a Pop Chip for everyone.

I was kind enough to share some of these on a Saturday night as a nibble while we watched some TV together as a family but I also managed to sneak a couple of packs just to enjoy by myself.


I particularly enjoyed the barbeque flavour, which had a nice tang to it, and the salt and pepper was a really different taste and a welcome addition to my 'eat at my desk' lunch.

If you like a snack but you're bored of your usual crisps, give these a go. Honestly, they taste great and the brand is bags of fun to boot.

* Note: I was sent some of these chips by the lovely Pop Chips team but decided they were too good to keep to myself. You can thank me later.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

One month until you're one...

 

Hello my sunshine.

 

Ever since you were born, Daddy and I have sung certain songs to you. My special song for you is 'You are my Sunshine' and it's cheesy but you are. One look at your little face can cheer up my cloudiest days.

 

Even when you're not feeling that great or your teeth are causing you some jip. You've still got your cold and the past two days you've had a particularly nasty cough which has kept you up at night. You've been sick quite a few times, ruining a couple of rugs in your wake. Your top front teeth have been breaking their way through and I'm pretty sure that the teeth next door to them want to make an appearance soon, so at times you really haven't felt that great. Luckily, Mummy and Daddy cuddles work wonders.

 

You've been much more interactive with the world recently and pointing at anything and everything and saying 'de!' Is your favourite thing. When Sherlock, your eldest cat, comes to say hello, your face lights up in such a wonderful way and every morning when you catch sight of the dog you do a little jig and start saying 'do-gh! dor!'.

 

You're a chatty man and you've also learnt to share, passing us toys and letting us have them before indicating that you want them back. You also find it particularly funny when you have your Colin crab toy, as you like to nibble him and think it's hilarious when Mummy and Daddy eat him too.

 

This month you went to the park and had a go on the swings for the first time, which you LOVED. You very quickly worked out how to swing yourself, moving your legs in circles. One of your Godmother's, Bex, came to visit last week and she couldn't believe how much you had changed. Auntie Erin babysat you one day, you've had some play time with Nanny and Grandad and next week, you're going on a seaside holiday with our best friends for your other Godmother's big birthday.

 

It was also Mother's Day last week and you were very lovely to Mummy and spoilt her a lot.nthank you. Feel free to do so every year...! Honestly, spending the day with you doing something special is all I want and I can't wait for next year when you might finally say Mama!

 

In one month, we're having a big party for you and you are going to be spoilt rotten. We can't help ourselves. Instead of pass the parcel, it'll be pass the Ethan as so many people are coming to celebrate your very first birthday.

 

I can't want to tell you all about it when you're a little older.

 

As always Ethan, Mummy loves you.

 

xxx

 

 

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