Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cadbury's turns top Eggsplorers into Eggheads!


Cadbury's Easter Egg trails have become an annual treat for us, a real Easter treat combining outdoor adventures with chocolate - our perfect combination! This year the trails are themed with an "Eggsplorer" theme (do you see what they did there?). Cadbury's held a poll to decide UK children's favourite explorers of all time and in celebration of the results, the top 5 have been turned into special Eggsplorer Cadbury Eggheads and gifted to the explorers! 


In first place, Bear Grylls secured 24% of votes, with Sir David Attenborough coming in second place with 17% of votes, Christopher Colombus gaining 12% of votes, Helen Skelton gaining 9% and the surprise entry..with 6% of votes.. Ant & Dec!



33% of children said they wanted to be explorers when they grow up, with 68% of children who voted stating their parents had the best explorer qualities! Something I'm sure my son would agree with - although he may also point out the time I got us lost while we were out exploring and we had to use Daddy's phone to locate us..! 

There are over 260 trails taking place over the Easter weekend, with lots of variety of venues to choose from! Last year we visited Foxbury in Hampshire, where we only had to pay the fee for the trail and not an additional entry fee, it was a marvellous event with plenty to see and do! You can check out where your nearest trail is here: Eggsplorer Easter trail

Monday, 14 April 2014

22 Weeks Pregnant - Do you have bump envy?!



I read an article on bump envy, and sighed as I wondered how many people have bump envy - comparing their bump to other pregnant ladies and deciding whether their bump looks better than yours? It's not something I do? Am I abnormal in looking at other bumps and going "aww you're pregnant to!" rather than "oh your bump is rounder than mine" or "Ha! Your bump is tiny look how big mine is!" or is my attitude OK? I fear that the media has caused us all to fall into a frenzy not just about baby weight gain and post baby weight loss, but about the actual baby bump itself. I know myself the shape of the bump depends hugely on how baby is laying, and the look of the bump is dependent partially on what I am wearing! Today I was wearing an over-sized jumper in a rather nasty synthetic fabric, as I walked my maternity trousers rolled down, and rather than looking pregnant I looked like my belly was an empty sack of potatoes.. hmm attractive! I have to confess I've started to worry that my bump is not big enough.. OK that sounds silly, but seriously I'm sure I was bigger at this stage with the other two? I keep reassuring myself that the 20 week scan was OK and I can feel the bump bouncing around, and the bump is not exactly tiny..OK..maybe I am worrying about nothing..I'm huge!



The week has flown, and I'm already counting down to the 24 week midwife appointment, and am armed with a long list of questions I want to ask her - most of which she'll refer me back to the consultant with I'm sure, but hey ho!

Ms G x

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Theraline The Original Maternity and Nursing Pillow - Review



When I was breastfeeding E, I really wanted a decent breastfeeding cushion, but time passed and by the time I found one I liked I had managed for so long that I was coming to the end of breastfeeding. I was sent a Theraline Original Maternity and Nursing pillow to review a few weeks ago, and I've since been using it daily - as a pregnancy pillow! 

The joy of the Theraline pillow is it's versatility, I can use it to sit up in bed, extra support while watching tv, to take the weight of my hip in bed - by laying on my side and resting my knee on it, or popping it behind me to prevent me from rolling onto my back - which I seem to do frequently now I'm 'not supposed to..!'.

Here's a short video showing you how versatile, and supportive the pillow is both in pregnancy and during nursing;


.

So, what were my thoughts? As a pregnancy pillow, I love it, I can't imagine how I managed without it! The pillow is full of mini beads which are soft, and seem to mould around your shape, sitting up in bed there is no more fussing to get the pillows comfortable behind my head, I just pop the Theraline pillow behind me, and can comfortably (no aching neck!) sit to read or drink tea! I have noticed the boys - especially my three year old, use it to sit supported watching cartoons which is very sweet, and I think a huge recommendation for how comfortable it is!



As you can see I have quite a neutral coloured cover, but there are plenty of cover designs to select from the very plain to the very exotic! The cover is machine washable, and super soft to touch!

I can't obviously comment about how it worked from a breastfeeding point of view yet, but I can already see that I would be comfortable and it would support baby well so I'm sure it will be a marvellous aid to breastfeeding! Priced at £44.95 I think the Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow is a great price, it has already had plenty of use and I want to take it with me for the birth!

Ms G x

Disclaimer - I was sent the pillow for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Pocket Money Tales - Magpie Money


Boo has taken after me with his love of books, and is eager to read anything and everything he can get his hands on. He recently discovered Roald Dahl (still one of my favourite authors!) and he is enjoying reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory which he borrowed from the library. He's been asking for a while if he could buy some Roald Dahl books as he wants to build his "own little library!" and I have been keen to let him as I love Roald Dahl! Today I promised a quick look in our local charity shop for a puzzle, and E was pleased to find a puzzle which was perfect for him! Boo was unimpressed as there was nothing suitable for him, and so I suggested a look at the well stocked children's book section. It was then we uncovered a big stash of Roald Dahl books, and after some deliberation Boo decided to use some of his saved pennies to buy George's Marvellous Medicine!




I had to resist the urge to buy all of the Roald Dahl books they had, as part of the fun of this was allowing him to use his own money to buy a book which he had chosen all by himself and for 50 pence he's delighted! So a little maths practice and a new favourite book, not bad for a 5 year olds first day of Easter Holidays! Now to explain that under no circumstances can he try out George's recipe on Granny or anyone else for that matter!!

Ms G xx

Linking up with the lovely @missielizzieb for #MagpieMonday

Friday, 4 April 2014

Colic Help!


Colic, is distressing for any new parent. One of my strongest memories of being a first time Mum, was inconsolable crying from Boo who used to turn bright red and lay rigid like a soldier, I had no idea what was wrong! The midwife arrived and said "Oh he's got colic!" and after 20 minutes over her shoulder and a huge release of wind he settled until the next feed..! Boo was like the 1 in 4 babies who struggle with colic, and he really did struggle! Many nights were spent with Mr G and I wondering what we could do to soothe his cries while pacing around with him over our shoulder! 

Infacol (The UK's number 1 selling infant colic remedy) have set up a Virtual colic support centre, developed by parents for parents, there's a simple test to fill in to see if the problem might be colic, and a host of FAQ's with straight forward answers! You can even email questions you might have, while this isn't a replacement for medical advice, it is a great resource to any parent struggling with a colicky baby! It's a stressful time having a newborn, without feeling you can't console their cries due to colic! 

I'm preparing for our new arrival this summer, and I have to say I'm already reading up on tips on how to prevent colic! The site is easy to use and I like the combined use of videos and text! Thanks to Infacol for bringing it to my attention and for sending me a lovely box of treats to help me relax!



Ms G x

Disclaimer: I received the lovely box of goodies shown above from infacol to celebrate their new site, all words thoughts and experiences are my own honest experiences based on my experiences with a baby suffering from colic, and the site.

20/21 Weeks pregnant


20/21 weeks Pregnant, Emotions - fear.

I wrote a post last week, and it's still sat in drafts as it pondered on my feelings of reaching the half way point in pregnancy. It is a great post, far better than anything I've published, but it's not something I feel ready or able to share -yet - so instead you have this post. It's a great relief to get through the 20 week scan being told things are fine, a delight to see baby bouncing around and as long as you're told everything looks OK you walk out feeling elated! After the 20 week scan last week, I had a big cry, it was a massive relief that everything on the scan looked "normal", with E we were told we needed an ECG and so had weeks of more stress yet he was born healthy and is a happy three year old now, so even that turned out well! I guess my fears with this pregnancy are based on previous losses, discussing it with Mr G, we both agree that even though we can see the growing bump and I can feel the kicks, it won't seem very real until we are holding our newborn! 

20/21 Weeks Pregnant, How I feel..

I still have my horrid cold..yes three weeks on I am still carrying a haul of tissues in my pockets! I've had fun with major pressure on my bladder - thanks baby! Took a sample of wee down to get it checked for infection and it's all OK, it is literally just baby pushing down on my bladder causing the discomfort! Heart burn has set in, so i'm trying to remember to eat dinner early, else I find myself sat up in bed glugging a spoonful of gaviscon for company! I'm still stupidly tired, but I think this relates to the lack of sleep due to my cold!

20/21 Weeks Pregnant, Planning..

I am having a clear out, I'm horrified by the amount of clutter we have accumulated in the last year and it needs to go.. the charity shop isn't going to know what to do with all the bags I intend to drop off over the Easter hols! I'm thinking about maternity leave, and wondering when to go on leave, it's tough weighing up the fact I feel exhausted with the financial implications of going on leave early.

20/21 Weeks Pregnant, Siblings..

The boys are excited, they think the baby will be great fun. Boo continues to offer to help with night feeds..(not sure why he's fascinated by this idea!) bless him  he then asked if we could show him how to sterilise baby bottles, we had a giggle and explained that he would be more help if he could put his lunchbox into the kitchen after school and Mummy and Daddy would sort baby out! 

The Bump..21 weeks, this took an age to capture as I seemed to keep only capturing half a bump! 




Ms G xx

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

WIN a Personalised Fluffy the Bunny toy with My 1st Years!


Being a Mum-to-Be I'm always on the look out for exciting baby gifts and I love the idea of having things personalised so the children can grow up with something really special! 



My 1st Years are a company devoted to creating personalised gifts ideal for new babies and their parents! This Easter they are working to raise money for a bunny sanctuary to help raise awareness that pet rabbits aren't just for Easter but need homes for life. As part of their campaign they're donating a % of profits from each sale from their Easter bunny collection! 

My 1st years are giving one lucky reader the chance to WIN a fabulous personalised Fluffy the Bunny toy! All you need to do is follow the simple steps on the rafflecopter widget below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pregnancy + App - Review


People assume after your first pregnancy, you know how it works and that you'll remember it for the subsequent pregnancies. I don't know about anyone else, but in my experience you tend to forget things which happened and also each pregnancy is very different! I was offered the Pregnancy + app to try out, and I was delighted to try it out as it meant I could have a handy guide to pregnancy at my finger tips! I don't have the most up to date version, as my little iphone 3gs can't cope with all the many features the app has, however the version I have has impressed me and I find myself eagerly checking it daily to see what is happening with baby! 

The features, a daily and weekly section which tells you what baby might be up to. A section with images showing you roughly how big baby might be, e.g this week my baby is about the size of a mango! 



Each day the app greets with you with exactly how pregnant you are, which is handy especially if you end up having to pop to the Dr's and then "about 20 weeks" means they sit and fiddle about with their chart trying to work out how many weeks plus days you are.. (or is that just my experience of Dr's?!).
The organiser is great and gives you a section to store pregnancy appointments in, and a handy shopping list of suggested items plus a section you can complete yourself of things you may want. 

The section we are playing with the most at the moment has to be the baby names, with the top 500 or 100 of names. I have to confess to trying to avoid the top 10 baby names, when we named our eldest his name was unusual, it is now a name (in abbreviated form!) I'm hearing frequently and I sigh as I did like the fact it was a bit unusual! This time round choosing names seems even harder, so the app is helping with plenty of ideas! 

The "Me" section on the app, enables you to track weight gain (if you wish) foods you can and can't eat and a great section on births (different types!) how to know if you're in labour, and perhaps most importantly a section on when to call the Doctor - I learnt a few things from reading that which I wish I'd known in my first pregnancy! 

So, who would I recommend this app for? Any pregnant lady or their partner, I found it really helpful, it's been like having a pregnancy book with me at all times! The basic app is free, but the full app is priced at £1.99 I think it is a bargain, it is available via Apple or Android! Check out the http://www.health-and-parenting.com/ site for further information!


Disclaimer: I received the app free of charge for the purposes of an honest open review.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Bravado Body Silk seamless Nursing Bra - Review


In pregnancy, underwear is something which is vitally important, you want comfortable maternity bras, and pants which accommodate the baby bump, but you also want the wow factor - attractive maternity lingerie!
In my first pregnancy, my growing breasts were greeted with dread, how on earth would I contain them? Shopping for bras I was rather clueless and I bought functional bras which were, erm, ugly and I hated them. Pregnancy number two, I worked out I needed comfort and style and this time I'm opting for the same tack! 




Bravado sent me a Jungle Teal seamless silk nursing bra, it's perfect for maternity and nursing with a handy kit included to convert it into a "normal" bra so you can carry on wearing it!  I put the bra on and it instantly felt comfortable, it's supportive yet still ultra comfortable, attractively cut across the chest so it can be worn with lower cut tops without exposing the front of your bra (I problem I find with some maternity styles!) - so ideal for wearing with summer vests for example! There are 4 sets of hooks so you can loosen the bra off as your chest expands during pregnancy and to ensure it'll still be comfy afterwards! It comes with moulded cups - these are removable, but I liked them as they cover my nipples which since becoming pregnant are larger and tend to be visible if I'm wearing a fitted top.


The moulded cup is removable and can be seen to the left of the image.


It's a very attractively cut bra, a beautiful colour (it also comes in a rose pink colour to!) and the pattern is eye catching! It made me feel very feminine while still being ultra comfortable, and I am sure I will enjoy wearing this into my third trimester and beyond! Care, I am not going to lie, the fact I can pop this bra into a cool wash is a great positive! It retains it's shape well and drys quickly - bonus if you're like me and tend to be dashing around trying to find clean underwear from the hanging still drying laundry on a Monday morning!

Disclaimer: I received a bra for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own based on my experience using the bra.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

19 weeks.. Colds, tiredness and emotions.

Wow.. 19weeks already the weeks are flying by! I have to confess the combination of a laptop breakdown (so this is written on the useless blogger app on my phone..) and a horrible cold have made this week a bit challenging. Colds in pregnancy are rubbish, hot ribena to drink and olbas oil dropped on a tissue by the bed has been so helpful, but I'm struggling with the lack of sleep adding to my "normal" pregnancy tiredness. I'm also struggling with a lack of appetite, nausea in part i'm sure brought on by the iron tablets.. However, it has encouraged me to tempt myself with fruit and vegetables with the odd handful of nuts thrown in. I've discovered cucumber sticks seem to go down well at the moment..I might start looking like a cucumber at the rate I'm eating them!

A big issue I'm struggling with is people who continually remind me of how unhappy I was after the ectopic, and talk about it as though those feelings were wrong. I was grieving, and those feelings of grief and desperation were normal! However, i am allowed to be happy, and move forward without that being questioned or reminded about one of the most horrific times in my life which by the way gets mentioned at every medical appointment anyway! On to happier things.. 

Baby is jumping about a lot! Which is wonderful, and it makes me smile each time I feel a wiggle! We have started thinking about names, but cannot agree on any of them.. Next week we could ask if baby is a boy or a girl, but I think we are going to keep it as a surprise, much to my dear friend T's dismay! She thinks I'm crazy to want to wait to find out, and who knows I may well change my mind by next week! We have been looking into travel systems, while I will be doing a lot of baby wearing I still think I need a set of wheels! I think it'll take us ages to decide as Mr G wants something sporty, while I want something modern but gorgeous! Who will win?! 



Ms G xx

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mother's Day Chocolate Mice Cupcakes!


Boo made cupcakes last week, and they were so adorable he's promised to make them for me on Mothering Sunday. This isn't my usual recipe post as Boo did this one, but as he's not great at typing, I'm doing that bit and sharing his lovely cake idea on his behalf!


It's a really simple recipe, and I have to confess the cake was fabulous and spongy! The recipe (as written by Boo) is here:


Mix the ingredients, and pre-heat your oven (ours is a fan oven and we had it heated to 180c). The mix makes 12 cup cakes, and they cooked in 17 minutes in our oven.

When the cakes are cool, melt some chocolate (we used cadbury giant buttons) and then spread a bit on the top of each cake. Break a giant button in half, to make two mice ears, and you could use a piece of strawberry lace for the tale but Boo used a slither of chocolate button (and ate the rest..). Boo used silver sugar balls for the eyes and nose, but you could use smarties to keep up the chocolate theme!


So that's what I'm hoping for on Mother's Day, what are you hoping to receive for Mother's Day? 

Ms G xx

18weeks Pregnant..


I have been tired for most of this pregnancy so far, and finally I was told it was OK that I felt so exhausted as I have low iron stores. I'll be honest I almost leapt across the table and kissed the registrar when he told me this, as I had been thinking I was just becoming the laziest girl in the world! Anyway, he reassured Mr G and myself, that no I was definitely exhausted due to the lack of iron, apparently my levels would normally be around 30 and currently they're 12, so I have a nice dose of iron tablets to take and instructions to drink plenty of orange juice to help iron absorption! I'm now worried I'm going to end up constipated (a known side effect of iron tablets!) so am eating all fibre rich foods I can find! We're reassessing our food planning, shopping and diet generally to make it rich in iron and high in fibre! 

18 weeks pregnant

 I've had more blood tests relating to my rhesus negative blood type, as they have found an abnormality in my pregnancy booking bloods, which they're investigating, but they've reassured me that the pregnancy should be OK. I get to see them again after my 20week scan, (which is two weeks today!! - yes I'm a little excited by the scan!!) to discuss what will happen next and whether I can just remain under midwife care. I'm far more chilled out with pregnancy this week than I was last, although I'm finding myself get quite agitated with people who can't do simple jobs very frustrating, and I find myself biting my lip trying not to go "araggghhhhh! why do you have to make things difficult!". Think I should start meditating or something?! Lots of flutterings which are baby wriggling about, which are lovely! Having to remind myself to sleep on my side which I will admit I am finding difficult as I want to roll onto my back, but all is good!

Ms G x
 

Friday, 7 March 2014

I am 16 going on 17 weeks pregnant..


16 - 17 weeks pregnant, I'm still nauseous..and when I'm not nauseous I'm ravenous!! I feel very faint if I don't eat when I get hungry, so trying to eat little and often, I also now have to get up from chairs slowly, I feel ancient!! I can't sleep properly at all, pregnancy seems to have caused me to have very disturbed sleep, I can't get comfortable and wake up in the early hours wondering what to do with myself. Pregnancy back ache is here, I have problems with my back anyway, but currently the aches are horrible, and after taking a couple of images for #bumpwatch on twitter I can see why my back is so sore.. photo one:



As you can see there's a big curve in my back and that's where the aching is, so I took another photo while trying my best to hold my tummy "in" and standing up straight..



The bump looks smaller, and while I find standing up properly more tiring, my back aches less. Mental note, when standing, stand up properly, otherwise sit down! 

The boys are both getting excited, E has started to pat my tummy and say "Hello baby!" which is rather cute, and then carries around his toy monkey like it's a baby saying "look Mummy, I have a baby too!". Boo is more reserved on the matters, but asks questions like where will he be when the baby arrives, something I can't answer but have reassured him that we will make sure he knows what is happening nearer the time! He's also keen to know what he can do to help baby when baby arrives?! We asked what he'd like to do and he replied "Feed it" to which Mr G had to explain that perhaps he'd be better being in charge of selecting the toys for the baby, which he seemed to think was a good idea!

Ms G x

Thursday, 6 March 2014

FREE Downloadable Colour in Story Book for World Book Day from Eggnogg


If you want a great way to celebrate world book day with your child or children, download a copy of Under the Weather Wendy a colour in story book from Eggnogg, free for World Book day - 6th March 2014 only! 

5 yr old had fun colouring this picture!


Under the Weather Wendy is a fun book for children to enjoy reading and colouring in as they follow the adventures of Wendy since a cloud starts raining on her head after her brother made her mad! It's a fabulous way to encourage little readers to either read on their own, or listen to the story! 

You can download the story here: FREE DOWNLOADABLE COLOUR-IN STORY BOOK (06/03/14 only)


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Maternity Essentials: Cantaloop Pregnancy and Nursing Tank Top Review - Super Comfort!


When I became pregnant, I very rapidly realised that I wanted comfortable pregnancy underwear! I wanted maternity clothes which grew with me, supported me, and could be used for a few months after birth - especially if I decided to breastfeed. This pregnancy, I have so far suffered with very sore breasts, and so when I got the chance to try out Cantaloop's pregnancy tank top, I was very excited as it promised to be supportive yet soft and comfortable. 

Designed to accommodate your bump throughout pregnancy, the top has plenty of room to accommodate your bump and yet looks great even with my 4 month bump due to the ruching under the bust line.The fabric is super soft, seamless, and while the design is quite plain it is extremely flattering!

Image used with permission from Cantaloop.

I have to confess, I already love this top and will continue to wear it throughout pregnancy and during breastfeeding! I have been wearing it underneath wrap over cardigans, it looks just like a vest, and I forget I'm wearing it yet it gives me ample support - which is impressive as I'm an E cup currently - and getting bigger! I haven't been able to wear a vest bra-less comfortably in years so this is great! It washes really well, and retains it's shape which is excellent as I'm terrible at just throwing everything in the machine at 40c! The straps have easy catches which unfasten to enable you to breastfeed easily, I already have the white Cantaloop pregnancy and nursing tank top on my wish list for this summer it really is exceptionally comfortable maternity wear!


Disclaimer: I was sent a Cantaloop Tank Top in Black for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts are based on my own experiences using the product.


Friday, 28 February 2014

Barny's Winter Little Adventure..in the woods..


I'm not going to lie, we're big fans of Barny here, both boys love the little bear cakes which are filled with yuminess, and I love the fact they're individually wrapped - ideal for lunch boxes. When we were sent two boxes of the new flavours; strawberry, and apple, we were very excited and I may did have to replace the boxes for the purposes of having Barny to take take on our adventures!

As the weather has been awful, we've been a little limited where was safe to adventure too, the boys finally convinced me that we could go to the local woods and check out the storm damage. Every storm we've had the woods have actually survived rather well, every storm until the last one, we were greeted by this;





 Having seen that the paths through the wood were either impassable through mud and flood water or partially fallen trees, we decided to stick to the fire break path.



 We spotted a Chinook helicopter;




Followed tracks;



And finally found a place to stop and enjoy our Barny snacks which I'd been carrying in my coat pocket,




Unfortunately, one fell in a big muddy puddle...



but we recovered it quickly and no harm was done, the packaging had kept it safe! 



Unfortunately, Barny didn't make it home from our adventures, but was enjoyed by all of us! After our brief stop we had to run all the way back as we got caught in a heavy down pour of rain!
 
I have to admit the apple Barny's were most popular with my boys, though I enjoyed the strawberry ones a little more personally! They're an ideal "clean" snack and as previously mentioned, I do pack them as a lunch box treat!


This post is an entry for BritMums ‘Winter Little Adventures Challenge’ sponsored by Barny, individually wrapped bear-shaped sponges with a hidden filling. Find out more about Barny here > www.barnyworld.co.uk

 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sore nipples and other pregnancy grumbles


OK, when is the whole glowing in pregnancy thing going to kick in? I have stupidly sore nipples, super fuzzy hair, wind, heart burn, nausea, spots, and a constant battle with constipation. There was me thinking that the middle trimester was meant to be the good one? Come on now! I have my 16 week midwife appointment today, which I'm not massively excited by, I feel I might just sit and cry on the chair. I have lots of questions, and I'm fairly sure she'll have no answers, though perhaps she'll surprise me? 

My weight has become a big issue, I've never cared about my weight in pregnancy before, but this time every time a "baby bump" is mentioned I panic, and still feel I just look fat. It's not that I don't want to eat or want to not gain, I'm just very concious what I'm eating, and it's possibly starting to verge onto the unhealthily concious, though perhaps it is healthy and I've spent so long not being healthy it feels wrong? I don't know. I'm hoping the midwife weighs me, and that I can express my concerns to her without her just brushing them under the carpet.  Yes ok, I'm probably worrying about nothing, but I feel if I have gained lots since the 12 week scan then maybe my concerns about my weight gain are justified? (I must point out that I was overweight when at the start of pregnancy, I'm not secretly a size 8!).

I'm still struggling with tiredness, it doesn't seem to matter how many hours sleep I get, I wake up tired! I look tired, the dark circles around my eyes make people ask if I'm OK, and I reply "Yes, I'm just tired!" then try to bite my lip as they advise me on not burning the candle at both ends! With tiredness I find my nausea is worse, and I am also finding my thyroid meds make me feel incredibly sick. I've also reached the stage where eating or drinking anything other than water after 7.30pm is a huge mistake, resulting in reflux..and a few hours in bed spent sat upright! I wonder if this means the baby is going to have a full head of hair again?! 

One thing which is exciting about today is that I hopefully get to hear Ducky's heart beat! Tempted to try to record it, is that daft? OK, thinking about that I am smiling and don't really care that I look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards! 

Have a good day every one!

Ms G x



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Craving ice pops?


One of the things you always laugh about before you're pregnant is what you might crave when you are pregnant, my friends have all craved things like chocolate, salt and vinegar crisps or strawberries. With Boo, I can remember I craved pineapple, I literally could not get enough of it, whether it was out of a tin or whole, I never went any where without a pineapple from about 4 months pregnant. As the pregnancy went on, my cravings shifted, and I started to crave ice lollies, I had to have them, even to the point where one night Mr G had to drive to a petrol station to find me some! I discovered Mr Freeze freeze pops, they were really tasty and also I liked the fact I wasn't taking up the entire freezer with my craving urges!



 I have to confess, my cravings got more strange as pregnancy went on.. I started to crave sand, yes I wanted to eat the stuff! It got to the point where we were sat on a beach eating chips and I seriously contemplated sprinkling a handful of sand onto the chips.. That was a weird craving, which now makes me go "eurgh!" and the only thing I could find to vaguely suppress the urges was crispy seaweed - we got to know the local Chinese restaurant fairly well! 

With E, I only craved Mr Freeze although in the final months ahem..sand (again) much to everyone's horror! Thankfully I discovered that I could use freeze pops to distract me from the urge to raid the sandpit with a spoon! I think it was the crunching the ice pops up which helped to distract me, I found them refreshing, and my favourite flavour was always the cola one!
 
This pregnancy, I've used freeze pops to help me through the later stages of nausea, they seemed easier to manage when I felt really sick! I have to admit that they are a regular item for the weekly shopping basket, I just have to hide them from the children! 

If you're a Mr Freeze fan like me, why not tweet Mr Freeze or say hi on their facebook page

This post is written based on my own experiences of cravings in pregnancy and eating Mr Freeze ice pops!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Meal Planning w/c 24.02.14


I've forgotten to meal plan the last couple of weeks, and the result has been disorder in the shopping and eating..not too much waste but more than I want and certainly we've spent more than we wanted to! So here are dinners for this week, there are some exceptions which I've posted below!


Monday

Steak pie with vegetables

Tuesday

Salmon with stir fry and noodles

Wednesday

Lasagne

Thursday

Baked Potatoes

Friday

Fish cakes with mash and vegetables

Saturday
  
Takeaway - Chip shop!

Sunday 

Bangers and Mash!


Tonight (Monday) Boo has asked for a home made pizza, so I'm going to make the pizza dough and then he will help me make the pizza when he gets home, this should do both boys for dinner and then there will be enough left over for Boo's lunch box tomorrow (I hope!). I'm trying to liven up Boo's lunch boxes as he's bored of "just sandwiches", so today he took potato cakes and salad, which I hope will be popular! Tuesday the boys will have salmon with potatoes and veggies rather than stir fry as neither of them are very keen on stir fry yet!

Breakfasts are porridge or weetabix, although I may have a go at making some brioche..go me! 

Snacks.. if I can actually remember to buy the eggs I'm going to make my easy tea loaf and some flapjacks as they mean the boys are content after one slice..(in theory anyway!).

Linking up with Meal Planning Monday, do check it out for lots of fabulous ideas!

 

Do us a flavour! Meet the Judges!


Have you ever considered yourself as a connoisseur of flavours? Do you think the idea of gingerbread and chilli flavour crisps sounds appealing or perhaps it's all about the extra hot chilli beef and red leicester cheese flavour crisps? Then read on my friends!

Walkers crisps are on the hunt for a new flavour as thought of by a member of the public who enters their fabulous new competition "Do us a flavour!" where one winner will Win One Million Pounds!! Now that's a prize not to risk missing out on, so get your thinking caps on! The judges of the competition are the amazing chef Marco Pierre White and the "crisp expert.." and comedy genius David Walliams! I can only imagine how much fun they're going to have judging this competition - do you think they'll have to test all the flavours?! Even the really horrid ones?! If you want to learn more about the judges watch the video below, it's worth watching just to see Marco Pierre White squirting David Walliams with sauce.. oh yes he does! So check out the video, and let me know what you think!


 

If you're feeling inspired to enter (and for that amazing prize who wouldn't be?!) head to www.walkers.co.uk for all the details you need on how to enter! 


This post is brought to you in association with Spreaditfast.com 

Midwife Booking Appointment..


As soon as I'd had the early scan, I booked my midwife booking appointment, this is usually the first proper contact with a midwife you get when you're pregnant. I've had mixed experiences of community midwives, and so I had already decided that if she wasn't going to listen to me I'd take my chances at the ante-natal clinic at the hospital. The appointment came, and I took E with me, armed with a comic and stickers, I had already filled in the maternity forms and so I could concentrate on all the questions I wanted to ask - yes even though I have done this before I still have questions! 

The midwife was a bit tentative, and kept saying "Oh yes, I booked you in then you had a miscarriage before the 12 week scan, then you had an ectopic.. oh.. you have been unlucky.." which didn't make me feel any happier. I explained that, even though I had seen the baby was in the right place, I was still concerned, and what if it went wrong again? I pointed out that I felt that if it did go wrong again I needed a little more support than being patted on the back and being told "oh well" like they had before. She tried to reassure me, then started filling in forms for a consultant referral, I have an underactive thyroid which means they like to send me off to the consultant, I'm not sure if the ectopic would cause a referral otherwise? I'm not sure. 

We briefly discussed options for birth, and basically the only option everyone is comfortable with at this stage is a hospital birth. I bled heavily in the final stage of labour with Boo, and this meant with E I had to get out of the birthing pool as soon as he was born to ensure I was safe if it happened again. I had a great birth with E, it was perfect like you'd imagine every birth would be. Boo's however was nothing less than horrific and even thinking about it now makes me feel anxious, no idea how I went on to have E to be honest! 

The midwife took bloods, and explained when I'd need to see her next and that she'd arrange the 12 week scan - "something to look forward to". I smiled and tried to look like I was feeling positive, but I'm not going to lie all I could think was "I hope I get to 12 weeks.."
I tried to leave on a happy note and managed to leave smiling even though I just felt stressed, I felt like screaming. As soon as I got home I called my best friend and cried down the phone at her, thankfully she has known me so long she knows how to calm me down and make me smile! I always think booking appointments are a bit disappointing anyway, as you have lots of expectations and then in fact all that really happens is they weigh you, test your wee and take some blood!

To be continued..

Ms G xx

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Win a £20 voucher for Mama Jewels!


Most parents have experienced that moment that your baby picks up the favourite necklace currently hanging so appealingly around your neck and yank..suddenly you have two bits of a necklace! Or worse still they attempt to put every item into their mouths, which means suddenly you find yourself with every pretty item of jewellery you own becoming a choking hazard. Mama Jewels specialise in jewellery which won't break with a tug, and are safe for baby even if they do decide to chew on it - although do remember these are only suitable for grown ups to wear! 




There are plenty of designs and I adore the baby-proof bracelets especially the classic Coco Pearl design it's so elegant! 



As you probably know I'm currently pregnant, and with both my sons I wanted to have something special to remind me of them being tiny, but with one thing and another I never got round to getting anything done, this time round I already have this silver finger print charm in mind, it such a lovely memento!

Anyway, the lovely people at Mama Jewels, are offering a £20 voucher to spend at Mama Jewels all you need to do to enter is follow the simple steps on the rafflecopter widget below, please make sure you read the terms and conditions which can be found on the widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Stationery delivered to the door!


I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit of a geek, and I love stationery! My love of stationery actually serves a useful service, and as I am self-employed it helps me keep clear records of income and expenses. From notebooks to jot down ideas, elastic bands to keep bills in order, or paper clips for sending reminders of invoices due for payment - yes I still find myself having to send reminders by post! I was sent a fabulous box of goodies from Viking, they specialise in office supplies and have an extensive range of products, check out what they sent:




The hot chocolate and Cadbury treats didn't last long and were enjoyed by all of us! It was the perfect incentive for me working from home!

I'm already starting preparing for April seeing the start of the new tax year, working out a clear system of where I will record income and expenditure. Of course many documents I do store on-line, but after not being able to recover some files a couple of years ago, I'm somewhat more cautious to keep the old fashioned paper records to.. I can hear people screaming a their screens "Why!!" but seriously, when organised it takes no longer to duplicate records than to just record on line..honest! I use paper clips to keep receipts together and stash them in plastic wallets, I prefer paper clips over staples as removing staples means I tend to rip the receipts and spend ten minutes trying to stick them back together!

I have to admit I do love using pen and paper, I spent too many hours as a teenager worrying that my handwriting wasn't "pretty enough" and now the hours I wasted "practising" need to be put to good use - even if it is just me who sees it! There's something special about a new pen and notebooks to fill with ideas, I jot down everything in notebooks from ideas for presents, to meals and even more creative plans! I especially like Pukka Pads as they quality of the paper is fabulous, and I loved using them for notes at university as you could write on both sides of the page and each page would remain readable, even when you'd highlighted the most important notes!

Thanks to Viking for the goodies!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Tankini's for Tall ladies - 2014 a sneak preview!


Some of you will gasp that I've chosen to write a peace on swimwear after one of the worst storms so far of 2014, but I'm not sure about you I need thoughts of summer holidays or at least a spa day! I love pretty swimwear, but for me it needs to be practical too as I love swimming! As I've explained previously I'm tall and sometimes struggle with getting swim wear to fit - especially tankinis! 

Long Tall Sally have an excellent range of pretty and functional styles, cut specifically to fit women over 5ft 8! Here is a sneak preview of some of my favourite tankini styles, maybe I shall brave one this summer!

I adore this 50's style halter neck tankini, the plain bottoms make it flattering on broader hips (like mine!) while the neckline draws the eye up from your tummy! The top is cut longer so it avoids the problems I usually associate with tankinis - the midriff gap! This is available in sizes 10 to 22, and will be available from early March 2014, priced at £40.00

Image used with permission of Long Tall Sally.

 If you fancy something a little more glamourous, how about having a look at the snakeskin print tankini? Cut especially for tall girls, just look how fabulous this tankini is!

Image used with permission of Long Tall Sally

 I love the fact the top has a narrow halter neck, yet the bottoms aren't skimpy, and the print is very on trend! This is such a glamorous tankini, whether you're on a Carribean island or on Bournemouth beach it's sure to make you feel like a superstar! I think I'd team it with a pair of gold sandals and an oversized straw hat! This will be available from Long Tall Sally from early March 2014 in size 10-22 priced at £40!

Ms G x


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Pregnancy after an Ectopic..the first few weeks..


I had felt a bit odd and as we'd been trying for another baby, I tried not to get too excited as previously I'd let excitement get the better of me and then disappointment made me miserable. But this month, I felt very different, very tired. I bought a pregnancy test, and could barely contain the nerves and excitement before I took the test. I tried not to look at the test until the "time was up" and when I did, there were two pink lines, it was positive.

I smiled, laughed, cried and then felt sheer panic which drove me to sob with hysteria. Sat on the edge of the bath sobbing, all sorts of thoughts rushed through my head, what if it goes wrong again? What if I have to have surgery again and then my chances of another baby are gone? Yes, I was hysterical, I looked in the mirror my face which was puffy from crying, and I told myself to "Stop it!" Taking myself to the kitchen I made a cup of tea and tried to think positive thoughts, I told Mr G and he reminded me that I needed to speak to the GP straight away. The GP was lovely, she spoke to me on the phone and explained she'd contact EPAU (Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit) to ensure they organised an early scan, but if I had any concerns please let her know. 

The scan was arranged for 7 weeks, I am not going to lie, I found the wait to the scan stressful, every twinge or strange symptom made me worry. I tried to stay positive and surrounded myself with my closest friends, the ones who have known me for so long they can cope with some hysteria without pointing the finger and criticising my mental state. I felt horrific, nausea seemed to hit at random times of the day making eating a hit and miss operation, I found lots of things I usually love to eat I suddenly couldn't stand. I felt exhausted all the time and headaches were horrid, but I reminded myself these were probably all "good things".

 The morning of the scan we dropped the boys with my parents and arrived a little early at the hospital. The EPAU receptionist recognised me and instantly I relaxed as she greeted me with so much warmth. The lady doing the scan had been the lady who had seen me through the ectopic which gave me a mix of feelings both positive as she recognised me and sadness as I remembered our last meeting. I shed a little tear as the scan showed a teeny tiny blob with a heart beat, and I even though I felt terribly sick, seeing that little blob being in the correct place suddenly the sickness didn't seem quite so bad to live with! I carried away a tiny photo copied scan photo and a huge smile, though the knowledge we still need to get to the 12 week scan to be able to tell our families..

To be continued..

Monday, 10 February 2014

Egg the Duck..


My 3 year old has just started to take an interest in helping me in the kitchen, his favourite thing lately to "cook" is scrambled eggs and he takes great pleasure in whisking the eggs up with a fork! Scrambled eggs are about the only egg based meal I can get him to eat, but I decided with a little encouragement there might be another egg based meal he would enjoy making and eating! This is ideal as a breakfast, or light lunch and you only need bread, an egg and some herbs to season, yes we're making child friendly eggy bread!

Take a slice of bread (we used a slightly stale home made slice!) and a cookie cutter.



Use the cookie cutter to cut out the shape you want the eggy bread to be, ours is a duck (do you see what I did with the title of this post?!..haha!)



Whisk the egg and add a little herbs of your choice (you could add salt if you're a grown up!) then carefully put the bread into the egg mix, make sure you cover both sides of the bread evenly with egg.








The grown up part! Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil (you won't need much just a little spritz) once the pan is hot drop the eggy bread into the pan and fry it for a couple of minutes on each side until brown. Then pop it onto a plate, we added a raisin for an eye and some tomatoes to decorate!







It was very popular with my very fussy 3 year old and you could be as adventurous or plain as you want to be when decorating! We might do an eggy bread version of a teddy bears picnic for breakfast at the weekend! 

Ms G x


My Mummy Says.. Competition



We were sent a fabulous new children's book called My Mummy Says. .written by Justine Smith, Illustrated by Angie Stevens. Angie Stevens may be known to some people as Doodlemum, do check out her fabulous blog!




The book is an absolutely charming board book which both my boys loved reading, and the illustrations are delightful! Follow the story of two Mummy's who take their children to the seaside for the day and what happens along the way (and on the way home!). This is a book which could be enjoyed by your children all year round, but I think it's an especially lovely book to share for Mothering Sunday! We have one copy to give away to one lucky reader, just answer the question on rafflecopter to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com  

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A little announcement..


For the last 48 hours I have been texting my dear friend Ani, I have sent her the top 500 reasons why I'm feeling chubby. She thought I was totally mad, why did she even care?! But she entertained it in her good natured way! I started with the funny; my obsession with mini daims is enough to see anyone grow a Pirelli (other tyre manufacturers do exist..), moved on to the ridiculous; my tummy is reacting to the weather and storing extra fat so I can hibernate through this crap stormy weather! Then at number 500 I told her the truth... it read like this..

Reason #500 I'm feeling chubby..as there's a baby in my tummy due to arrive in August! 

So, there you go! We've had a difficult 18months, that this is the most wonderful news for us, and I will update on how the first trimester was for us when I manage to sit down quietly and get time to write! I've felt terrible, and hence the blog has been neglected! This baby is going to be referred to as "little duck" thanks to the boys for deciding that!

Ms G x

Monday, 3 February 2014

Essay writing tips.


I like the look of Grammarly's plagiarism checker because it enables you to check the authenticity of writing, ideal for writing school or university essays and even for ensuring your blog isn't accidentally stealing someone else's writing! We've all been there, I remember at university thinking I'd written a marvellous paragraph on some obscure topic, to then realise (an hour before I was due to submit..) that I'd written more or less word for word what I'd read in the text book that morning.. I wouldn't have noticed but a sharp eyed friend read through my essay before I handed it in and therefore enabled me to avoid the humiliation of being accused of plagiarising. I thought I'd share a couple of my top tips for essay writing, as I know there are lots of parents of teens doing coursework at the moment who might like a helping hand!

1. Think about the essay question, what is it asking you? Make sure you answer exactly what the question asks, so many marks can be lost by giving a generic answer to an essay question rather than answering what they're asking!

2. Plan how you're going to answer the question, this is really helpful for ensuring your essay is coherent. E.g. make sure you put all relevant points together, so if you are trying to say that something is bad, put all the reasons why it might be bad together.

3. Back up your arguments! Don't just say you believe something, back your thoughts and beliefs up with relevant statements, quotes and any other evidence of what you're trying to say. Make sure you clearly state where the quotes/evidence are from, and either use italics or quotation marks to define the statement as a quote.

4.  Watch your tenses! Switching from past to present tense is something I'm definitely guilty of, but is a big mark loser in arts essays! Be careful!

5. End well! Summarise your thoughts and findings, and conclude the essay with your "answer" in brief. 

6. Word count, spell check and grammar check! You should be doing this throughout the essay writing process, but when you end just double check the basics! I also like to read through my essay again once it is printed, and ensure that it reads well, does it get the point I want to make across? If not how could the point be made clearer?


The big thing to remember when writing academic essays, is not to be afraid to ask a tutor for help, if you're not sure where to begin or how to approach a topic go ahead and ask! You're probably not the only student worrying! 


Ms G x


This post was written in association with Grammarly's blogger partnership program and I was compensated for writing the post, although all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Heroes of the City Competition!


Heroes of the City is a cartoon series from Sweden aimed at pre school children and featuring lots of cars and vehicles! My boys, like many children, are very keen on cars and emergency vehicles, so when I was approached to try out a new app for Heroes of the City I knew I'd have two very keen testers! The app is available through Google play and via the app store

 Both boys loved the games, they were quite easy for Boo (he's 5) but E (aged 3)  found them quite a challenge and they enjoyed playing them together! The games vary from hand eye co-ordination games e.g. where you put the fire out by clicking the pump in that direction, to problem games e.g. building the track using the pieces provided so the train can drive onwards. 


The full app version also contains several episodes of the cartoon, as well as lots of games and Boo was very keen on them! The basic app is free to down load and gives you still a very good fun app with plenty to play with, you can then buy add ons to extend the app as much as you want or need to.

We were also sent a great parcel of goodies, containing two die-cast cars, a DVD and a book, and we're giving away a kit similar to the one we received, just follow the simple steps on rafflecopter below!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We were sent a selection of products (as photographed) and given the app for a trial period for the purposes of running this review and giveaway.  Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

biorb 30 and our new tropical fish


For as long as I've known Mr G, he's always kept tropical fish. Infact, I have to confess the name Goriami is actually the name I gave to a pair of rather feisty fish which were Gouramis and I thought they were like a married couple so named them Mr and Mrs Goriami! A later addition after we had to re-home Mr and Mrs Goriami (as they attacked everyone else in the tank..) were the clown loach you see on the blog, and they are not only attractive but hilariously funny fish to watch! I digress, Swell UK got in touch to see if I'd like to work with them, I have to admit I was excited as they have a great aquatics range as well as a specialist pet store.

With Christmas coming up, I had been struggling with gift ideas for Mr G, and Swell suddenly got me thinking, why not treat him to a biorb? We've frequently admired how stylish Biorbs look, and I knew that Mr G had expressed an interest in the tanks which are reminiscent of a traditional gold fish bowl but with all the technology needed to keep tropical fish! I opted for the biorb 30 with a heater pack! The parcel was delivered very fast, and I was seriously impressed that it arrived so quickly especially pre-Xmas! Mr G was a bit naughty and opened it all up before Xmas - he couldn't wait to get it set up! Anyone who has kept fish before knows you need to set the fish tank up for a week or two before you add fish, the biorb has a much shorter set up time, and you can "cycle" with fish in the tank following the instructions carefully! 



Within 48hours we added two hardy Danios who still have run of the tank while we wait for the ph levels to balance and then we're going to add a couple more small fish. The biorb 30 will only take about 6 small fish, and it's not suitable for fish which feed at the bottom of the tank (due to the filtration system - the stones could injure the fish) or fish which will grow greatly, so a bit of research or a chat with the person you buy your fish from is advisable. 



I have to say, it's been the easiest set up for a tropical tank we've ever done, and it is easy to maintain the biorb, the filters need replacing but they are easy to pop in and out and Swell keep them in stock at a competitive price. If you're new to fish keeping I'd say that a biorb is a great way to get started and you have the bonus that the tank is really a feature which people will comment on as soon as they walk into the room as it is so eye catching!


Disclaimer: I received a discount on the purchase price of the biorb and heater. All thoughts and opinions are my own honest experiences.