Saturday, 6 February 2016

Zazzle Valentines Gifts For Everyone!

With Valentines Day fast approaching, my mind has been firmly focused on what to do to make it special!

Jon & I don't go crazy when it comes to Valentines Day as it does seem like a bit of a money spinner of an occasion really and it falls so soon after Christmas that neither of us really wants or needs any big extravagant gifts!! 

Before we had kids we used to go out for dinner on Valentines Day but these days we tend to stay home and get an M & S meal deal or just cook for ourselves - if truth be told I never really enjoyed the Valentines dinners out as the restaurants were always packed, service was slow and the themed menu's really wound me up!

We do exchange Valentines cards as we think its a nice little excuse for a bit of soppiness, and we usually give each other a little token gift - just something small! But I also like to include the children in the Valentines celebrations too - in the weeks leading up to Valentines Day I have some Valentine themed craft and sensory activities to do with them, and I'll be making Valentine themed breakfasts and dinners on the day as well as giving them a little token gift each - just a little teddy bear or something along those lines!

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Zazzle and asked if I'd like to choose a few Valentines gifts for other people in my life - to show that this occasion can be used to recognise anybody you love and think deserves a treat! I thought this was a lovely idea so I set about choosing some presents.

Here's what I selected:
valentines day

1) This super cute "Sunday is for Snuggling" fleece blanket is one of my favourite buys - it's only quite small but it's the perfect size for kids, and so I thought it would make a lovely gift for Tyne as he just loves getting snuggled under a blanket on the sofa and watching his ipad or flicking through a book!

It's so super soft and the design is just gorgeous - Available here priced at £24.00

2) This "Haters Gonna Hate" notebook is ideal for anybody who needs a little help with organisation, and I love the reference to the Taylor Swift lyrics - I picked this up for my friend who is always complaining about needing more organisation in her life! This is available here priced at £10.15

3) For the same friend, I also picked up this fantastic weekly planner dry erase board! This is so great for using to organise weekly appointments, blog work/scheduling or using to meal plan! Available here priced at £27.35

4) I love a bit of a motivational phrase, and I thought this on trend monochrome poster was really cool - this is going to make a brilliant gift for a monochrome-obsessed friend of mine who's having a bit of a hard time at the moment! Available here priced at £7.95

5) And finally, I thought I'd treat myself to a little something too - this personalised notebook is just gorgeous and will be so handy for a little blog organisation! Available here priced at £7.80

If you're looking for some Valentines inspiration, be sure to check out Zazzle's fantastic range!

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Friday, 5 February 2016

My Birth Plans, Hopes & Fears Third Time Around

So we're now into February, and for me that means it's baby month!

I can barely believe the month is here - I remember so clearly taking that pregnancy test in the bathroom and being left reeling at the positive result, standing there looking at my 4 week old baby thinking to myself "Oh my goodness, how is this ever going to work?!".

Perhaps it's because we didn't announce the pregnancy until I was 6 months along and so there was very little time spent discussing it, but it feels like the whole thing really has flown by in no time at all - and even though the past couple of months have been quite difficult compared to the relative ease of the rest of the pregnancy - I'm still a bit sad to think it's all going to be over with so quickly, as this could well be our last baby and the last time I'll ever be pregnant! (No decisions have actually been made on that, and we have said we may well consider a fourth...though not for a good few years time!...but we're undecided.)

This baby is going to be born via elective c-section, just as my other two children were - but this time is slightly different, as it's classed as medical need rather than maternal request as the previous two were.

With the birth now so very imminent I've been thinking about my hopes, plans and fears for the delivery this time.

Even though a c section is something I elected to have with previous births, it still leaves me with a lot of anxiety - when I think back to Noah's birth and remember how long it took them to correctly fit a cannula as they were unable to locate a vein, I panic! The worst part of the surgery for me is going numb and worrying if I'll ever get the feeling back, and so the longer I have to lay there panicking about the numb feeling...the worse my anxiety gets!

My midwife has written in my notes to remind them of the trouble they had last time and suggest that an ultrasound machine is available in theatre to immediately locate the vein, so hopefully it won't happen again - but the thought still scares me!

To be perfectly honest, I had never really thought that a c-section birth allowed for a mothers own choices and decisions to be made - I thought it was simply a case of me turning up for the operation and going along with whatever way of doing things the hospital had - it was only after Noah was born that I learned of other C-section mothers devising a birth plan and making specific requests to make the experience more personal to them.

With that in mind, this time I do intend to discuss a few things with my midwife that would make the experience more comfortable for me and help to ease my anxieties - these include:

*Requesting music or radio be played during the procedure  - this was something that was done during my first sons delivery and I found it really helped to give me something other than the beeps and whirrs of the machines to focus on. During my second sons delivery the theatre was silent, and I found this very anxiety-inducing as I focused so much on the sounds from the machines and panicked when any of them changed at all.

*Delayed cord clamping - I'm sure this won't be an issue as it was recommended by the hospital themselves when Noah was born and wasn't something I'd heard of, but after reading up on it I will be requesting it's done again

*Cord Ties - I really hated how big and bulky the plastic cord tie was which was used for Noah, and it was only after he arrived that I heard about handmade cord ties using embroidery thread when reading Belle Du Brighton's birth story  - they just seem so much more comfortable for baby, less intrusive for feeding and nappy changing, and just look so much nicer as I really felt that Noah's huge plastic clamp spoiled a lot of his new born photos! - so if possible I'll be asking that my own cord ties are used instead.

*Skin to skin - With both of my children, the baby was taken away and cleaned up before being handed to us wrapped in a blanket a few moments later - this time I would really like to request immediate skin to skin if possible. I have always been told this isn't possible for a c section due to my position and the position of monitoring wires on my chest but I have seen many mothers having c sections being given the chance for immediate skin to skin contact, so I want to try to press for it more this time.

*Baby to be shown to us right away for us to see the gender - As this baby is our first "surprise" when it comes to sex, I really would like for them to hold it up so we can see for ourselves and find out together what bits baby has!!

If the above things are agreed I know I will feel much happier about the birth experience, I plan to discuss all of this with my midwife at my next appointment which is today - wish me luck!

What specific requests did you have for your birth plan? Is there anything you think I should add to my list? As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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Half Term Holiday Fashion!

With Half Term fast approaching, it's time to think about what the kiddies will be wearing when schools out!

Joules have some gorgeous and reasonably priced play clothes on offer at the moment which I have been loving!

Here are some of my favourite picks:

Applique T Shirt - £17.95

Joules also have such a gorgeous range of baby clothes available which I have my eye on for when baby number 3 arrives this month, as soon as I find out the sex I will be popping straight online to place my order!

What are your favourite go to items for the kids during the half term holidays?

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Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Facebook Motherhood Challenge Debate - And Why I Don't Care If You Do It Or Not!

A few weeks ago, I noticed a new viral "Challenge" doing the rounds on Facebook.

Nothing new there of course - over the past year or so I've seen many of them pop up every now and then -  the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge...the No-Make Up Selfie Challenge...the list goes on. 

It's just a fact of life where Facebook is concerned now that every few months or so a new challenge will pop up and go viral - sometimes they raise money for charities which is great, sometimes they're a bit more self indulgent - but whatever they are, they're really just a way to pass 5 minutes on social media. Nothing more, nothing less.

So how has this new "challenge" managed to stir up so much debate?

The challenge in question is of course The Motherhood Challenge - even if you don't use Facebook you'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard of it as everybody seems to have an opinion on it!

Infact I've just read an article from The Guardian online all about this very subject - one of the strangest, most anti-women articles I've seen online in quite a long time actually as from what I can gather, it seems the writer is of the opinion that women can do no right no matter how they approach motherhood unless they shut up and get on with it quietly, or have struggled to conceive in which case they're allowed to feel proud but must be careful not to cross over into "smug" territory!

But more on that in a moment.

Back to the challenge itself - the basic idea is to share 5 photos that make you proud to be a mother, and to then tag some of your friends to share their own - the number of friends to tag seems to vary and I have seen many people on my own feed simply state that they "Tag all mums" or don't tag anybody and just invite whoever wants to take part to do so.

I was tagged to do it a few weeks ago.

I haven't done so yet but not for any real reason other than I simply haven't really had chance to think about it - I saw my friends photos, "Liked" them and thought for a moment about how cute they were...and then I moved on with my life. Thinking maybe I'd do it if I was bored one evening, maybe I wouldn't...who knows. 

I honestly didn't think this was going to be any kind of life-defining decision...I didn't think my choice of whether to partake or not was going to suggest my allegiance to any particular "side" on the matter.

But of course...the word "Mother" was involved in this challenge and therefore some kind of war inevitably had to break out.

Soon we had "The Anti Motherhood Challenge" make its debut - where Mum's who prefer to show the more "realistic" side of parenting showed off their own mid-tantrum, potty training gone wrong, all of the usual child-related comedy.

I saw some of these - I giggled - I moved on with my life.

I also saw lots of other takes on the challenge - such as "The Non-Motherhood Challenge" in which child-free friends of mine posted their own takes on moments that made them happy not to be a Mum - such as various photos of them sleeping soundly, photos of them having drunken nights out, and so on.

Again...I saw, I laughed, I moved on with my life.

But now, of course, the big debate has started and it's all started to get a bit ugly - now I'm seeing women being made to choose which side of this ridiculous fence they stand on - 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

My Top 5 Parenthood Pet Peeves

It goes without saying that raising children is one of the greatest blessings in life, and of course ALL of us love our children beyond words and well up with pride at all of the little things they do.

Show me a mum who doesn't get teary watching her little one ride a bike for the first time or who couldn't cry with pride when they first decide to share something with their sibling - something about parenthood seems to turn us all immediately into emotional saps and we could all spend our lives waxing lyrical about just how much we love them.

I get it. I feel that way too.

But, let's get real for a moment - as much as we all have those moments of utter joy and pride...don't we also have moments where actually they're driving us absolutely nuts and we're staring at the clock counting down to the seconds to bedtime even though it's only 11.30 am?!

Sometimes it's not even the kids themselves that do it to me their cuteness makes up for any strops or tantrums! -  but the many many little annoyances that go along with owning small people which keep cropping up throughout my day tend to chip away at my cheerful demeanour ...

Of course they're nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but I often I only the only parent out there who finds these things annoying?! What other things do people get annoyed by?!

So what are my parenthood pet peeves?

What are those little, seemingly insignificant things that manage to combine together to wear my patience thin?

Well to be honest there are thousands of them, but for the sake of are my top 5:

1) Soggy Wet Bath Toys

This has to be my number 1 greivance of having small people at home - nobody warned me that they come with a need for bath toys!

Bath toys sound pretty harmless, don't they?

At first I made the mistake of thinking they were cute and I allowed them into my home in plentiful quantities....rookie mistake....those adorable little squeaky ducks I bought 2 years ago now sit along the side of my bath looking mouldy and disgusting..but I'm never allowed to throw them away because they're the toddlers "favourite thing ever".

When I dare to pick them up to try to move them out of view, they assault me with a blast of icy cold days old disgusting bath water and leave me recoiling in terror and looking something like this....


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