Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Review | Degustabox | May

Today I have a review of the service by Degustabox! A monthly subscription box that provides you with a surprise of 10-15 products from sweet to savoury, fresh ingredients to drinks, even brand new items you may not have heard of yet! I think one of my favourite things about this is the surprise of what you're getting, I was too excited for mine to arrive! This is our second box and I was literally waiting for the postman to bring it I was so excited, sad I know! Haha

After diving into my box and admiring everything, I dove in, and this is what we received...

At first glance I spotted the Blackberry & Elderflower tea which immediately drew me in, if you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know I gave up caffeine after noticing it was making Abbie's sleep a bit rougher at night time, so its always nice to have an alternative that makes my eyes think I'm making a good old cuppa! Haha. I then noticed I had a Cawston Press drink again but this time it was the Apple flavour so I actually think that was the first thing I took out of the box!

Kettle Crisps
Probably one of the most well known crisp manufacturers! Known for their funky flavours and natural process of creating their crisps, they are definitely at the top of my list for my favourite crisps!  The flavour we received were the sweet chilli sweet potato chips, things I am already big fans of! I wouldn't usually think about putting them together but it does actually work, Ben & I dug into these during an episode of Friends and even gave Abbie a few too, although she wasn't too keen!


Taylors Tea
Im not really a a big herbal tea fan but the combination of these flavours really drew me in, I'm always up for trying things at least once so I tried a nice infused cup of this and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, I love Elderflower cordial and blackberries in granola and porridge so it was pretty obvious I would like them together, I'm now addicted to this and have a mugful every day! I also put a few teabags into a big jar and added hot water like normal and left it in the fridge overnight for a really yummy and refreshing chilled drink!

Dr Oetker Cake Release Spray
We've not actually used this yet but we are going to be baking some yummy cakes over my birthday and will definitely be trying this out, we had a bit of a disaster a few years back when we attempted a chocolate cake and everything just stuck to the cake tin (beginner problems!) So we will definitely be using this this time!


Elizabeth Shaw Cocoa Crunch Flutes (how amazing does that sound!!)
After last months delicious chocolate treats id decided I will only treat myself when the degustabox comes, so I waited for this box and although it wasn't the kind of choc I expected, I instantly fell in love with these, it the crunch when you bite into it, it's so satisfying! They are great as a snack or to incorporate into a dessert or hot chocolate, add some whipped cream, sprinkle, break a stick in half and place them over the cream, the perfect hot chocolate right there? 


Raw Chewing Gum
I have a slight addiction to gum, I don't know why, I guess I'm always. bit paranoid of having stinky breath (it's one of my pet peeves!) so I'm always chewing it! These are actually energy gums, as soon as you open the packet it's like someone's opening a can of red bull, you can smell the sweetness but it's actually not got much sugar in at all, and for me it was a bit too strong, but I gave a packet to Ben and he shared it with his work colleagues who all loved it and wanted more! Great for that quick boost of energy without having to drink your weight in sugary energy drinks! 


Cirio Sauces
We've always used these sauces so this saved us some money or our fortnightly shop! Perfect for everything like spag Bol, for pasta dishes and as pizza base sauces too! We made a delicious spaghetti boldness and homemade pizza with some of ours, heavenly! A necessity for your kitchen cuoboard! 


Lizi's On the Go Granola
As much as I love granola, I'm not too keen on this On the Go version, we had some in our last box and they were actually yummy but this just tastes a bit bland and flavourless, this is one of those where you really need milk rather than just adding water, definitely needs to be thicker! But for those of you who don't always have time for breakfast and are looking for a quick snack, it's pretty good! Disappointed with the taste but it could be worse! I ended up adding some strawberries into it as I was at home which made it better!

Garofalo Penne
There's not really much I can say about pasta, it all tastes pretty much the same! Penne is our favourite pasta so this was very much appreciated again, definitely a staple in your cupboards, if you have pasta you can pretty much use whats left in your fridge to make up a family meal! 

Cawston Press
I've fallen in love with Cawston Press drinks since our April box came, I've even searched for it at my local supermarket to add to my fortnightly shop! I loved the Rhubarb one and the Cloudy Apple is now my favourite, its refreshing and definitely quenches your thirst! As I mentioned last month, the sugar content is pretty high at 31% of your RDA a can, so it's definitely a treat but a yummy treat none the less!

I am so impressed again with this box, with the total contents originally costing £21, Degustabox only costs £9.99 so you're saving over 50%! I really think it's a must in your household, I'm always so excited when I know it's on it's way and i'm never disappointed! With nutritious snacks, refreshing drinks, yummy treats and more, I cannot recommend them enough!

Visit the Degustabox website for more information and to get started on your surprise food box! :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Right Time For Another Baby?

Before I delve into the topic, I will warn you that this post consists of a lot of word vomit, my emotions on a plate and its a bit jumbled and repetitive, but that is exactly how it is in my head, I have been writing this for about 2 weeks now and after getting teary and upset from re-reading it, I had a few days off from writing it and decided to finish it off today, so its not constructed in my normal writing tone, its a bit bleeugh but it's something I wanted to share, and my god I hope i'm not the only one who feels like this!

Ahhh the good old topic of baby no2, when is the right time to have another? Should you wait a few years or try straight away? Perhaps you want a big age gap, maybe you want them super close together, its your choice, isn't it? It seems as soon as your first child hits their first birthday (or even before), the initial reaction from others is 'oh time to have another one', i've always been polite with my answer, laughing along and saying 'ahh we're fine with just the one at the moment', but now that Abbie is coming up to 2, i've been feeling a little well, upset, almost angry with the pressure..I don't know why, I cant put my finger on it, but all of a sudden, i'm stressed, scared and anxious..

Before we had Abbie, we decided we wanted lots of children, hence one of the reasons we wanted to start at a young age. The idea of having lots of little ones on Christmas Day, jumping on our bed and getting super excited was such a special image in our minds.

After having Abbie, I suffered with depression and major anxiety, it was probably the hardest time in my life, and Ben's, anxiety doesn't jut affect the person involved, its the people surrounding it too, but I suffered, terribly. To the point where I didnt leave the house for 3 months, I didn't get dressed, I didn't eat, which resulted in me going down to 8 stone (underweight for my height), I would panic at the slightest noise that Abbie would make, my heart would race, I would have multiple panic attacks a day, I would cry on and off, I would be stressed probably 21 hours a day, the other 3 I was trying my best to sleep, I didnt want to be here anymore, parenting hit me like a brick wall, the lack of sleep, the insomnia, just about everything, I thought i was prepared, I thought i'd know what to do, but as soon as she was born, I forgot it all. I had this tiny baby who needed me, and I suddenly felt like a failure..

Don't get me wrong, there were amazing moments, moments I will treasure forever, the first smiles, the newborn snuggles, the content little faces when she was feeding, the giggles, the first steps, everything like that makes it all magical and I couldn't imagine my life without her, she is amazing and beautiful and perfect, she is completely worth everything I went through, I just don't want to go through the bad stuff again..

I've asked myself many times, do I want another baby? Am I ready for everything again, what if I'm not prepared, what if I get ill again, depression and anxiety is not easy, especially with a newborn what if i cant handle it again, I don't want to be how I was before, I don't think I would get through it, even with all the support, I'm petrified of feeling out of control and having panic attacks again, petrified of not being able to cope and scared to go through everything again..

I then think of Abbie, I would love nothing more than for her to have a sibling close to her age, I see her at the park and out and about with other kids and she wants nothing more than to play with them and gets so excited when they start playing back! The idea of her having no-one to play with or that she can go to when she's older with things that might be a bit embarrassing to tell your old mum, I want her to have a sibling, I really do, even right now, id love her to be a big sister, and i've been called selfish for saying I'm not ready, so should I put aside my fears and the fact I'm not ready, just so Abbie can have a sibling? Ive seriously thought about that, whats a few years of super hard work of parenting and dealing with anxiety again when it gives her a best friend, someone she can rely on, someone she can look out for and a person who will play with her...

I'm sure people think I'm finding excuses, but Abbie has just started sleeping through the night at 20 months, we co-sleep too and I just don't see how she would stay asleep when a new baby is crying right next to her! Maybe when she's in her own room and sleeping well and stuff, I might feel different, but right now I get full of panic and anxiety when I even think about it..

So what do i do?

Suck it up. Do it for Abbie, do it for the rest of the family, you know what you're doing this time and you can spot the signs of PND straight away and get help for it.

Wait a few years. Wait for Abbie to be at school, that way you have the daytime to spend looking after the new baby without the stresses of an energetic toddler on top of that..

Accept the fact that maybe you're just not cut out for more than one child. 

Maybe i'm meant to have one, I can give her all of me, without the risk of the anxiety and depression coming back, I can afford to give her more than if we had more than 1. I can relax and not worry about possibly having to go through it all again..

My heart is pulled in so many different directions, just as I decide on what to do, I think of something else, I don't know what to do, it makes me so sad, i'm suppose to have a big family, lots of little ones, it was there in my hopes and dreams for the future, why do I now suddenly feel so different.

There is another option...something I have thought of every now and then, but something that needs a lot of thought and consideration before even contemplating going for it. 


Maybe its the idea of having a new baby that scares me, those night feeds, the crying, the sleep deprivation, the refusal of naps etc etc..As much as I can see myself with a little baby again, the cute little noises and all the firsts, I am instantly eased when I think about having a toddler again, they can communicate with you, they can tell you what they want, what they don't want, how they feel etc, no anxiety, no depression, no panicking. And in return I will be giving children the family they have always wanted and deserve, thinking about the happiness I would be giving them just makes me feel so good and its something I would do over and over again! As I said, its been a thought so I've not looked into it completely, I know there are lots of other things to think about, I know a few people who have been adopted and they all have such different stories, some good, some bad, some who wanted to find their birth parents, some who didn't, others who suffered with bullying from other children and so many other things. Its definitely something I would consider and want to research further. 

So when is the right time for another baby? Who knows. But for now, I am happy, I have a healthy happy little girl and a wonderful supportive partner who, although wants lots of babies, completely understands my worries and is beyond supportive. For now, we are happy as a family of 3, really happy, so we will continue to enjoy our little family and if we decide to have another baby, we will, if we don't, we are grateful for the fact we have our daughter and will give her everything she could possibly need, in love and in a family.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Baby & Toddler Essentials!

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven

With everyone around you telling you the things you need, don't need, shouldn't waste your money on, should invest good money on etc etc, it's pretty hard to keep track of what you do need! Don't let others take the fun away for you and buy what you want to buy, every baby is different so just because your friends baby hated her bouncer, doesn't mean it won't be a life saver for you!

Teething Toys
Abbie has always been pretty good with her teething, we've tried different teething toys and she would just chuck them on the floor and never look at them again! We were recommended to get a Sophie le giraffe as its actually the post popular teething toy on the market, and used by a huge range of celeb parents too! Abbie LOVED her Sophie straight away, especially one of the legs, it was always in her mouth! Plus now she's a toddler she loves the squeak on it too and it always makes her giggle! I can't say much for other teething toys as we've not had much success with them but I can't recommend Sophie enough!

Weaning products
Whether you start weaning at 4 months or 6 months or even later, you will probably feel so overwhelmed walking into a baby store and there are 3 aisles on 'feeding essentials' things you didn't even know existed and others you just cant quite figure out..Personally you only really need some plastic bowls, their first set of cutlery (if they do use it, Abbie can use them but prefers to use her hands!). We used a magic mat from Tommee Tippee too because Abbie likes to throw her bowls or plates on the floor so it was perfect for her to learn how to properly scoop her food out of the bowl too! When it comes to sippy cups, its trial and error really, I think we tried Abbie with about 8 different brands and spouts before we found the right one, I worried so much about her getting dehydrated because she just wouldn't drink anything! We then tried her with a straw like cup and went for the Nuby one, it worked from day 1 and she took to it straight away! So just be patient and try lots of cups!

Bigger products
I didn't know what to put as the title here haha, but things like the highchair, car seat, cots, bouncers and swing etc, all the things that tend to cost the most but are the super essentials! For me I would have to say for next time we will DEFINITELY be getting a swing, if he/she is the same as Abbie, they will need motion to get them to sleep, so thats at the top of our essentials list, preferably one that rocks back and forth as well as side to side! The next is the car seat, you can't actually leave the hospital unless you have one so it's pretty important!! My personal favourite brand is Cosatto, they have such a gorgeous range packed full of personality, citable from birth right up until they no longer need it! High chairs! I say 's' because what might be suitable when they first start weaning might not be good for when they get slightly older, we started with a Baby Bjorn highchair which was perfect at first, until Abbie decided she wanted to try and get out of the chair, and although it was secure, I felt much more at ease with the Cosatto 3sixti as it had straps and harness!

When it comes to how much to spend, I would say it's always better to spend more on the bigger things that will be used for a long time, that way your money will go further and you won't be wasting anything! Weaning products are usually suitable from the recommended 6 months until they start using adult plates and cutlery, but they're also really good prices so thats one less thing to worry about! The same goes for the car seat, invest in a 1-2-3 one, suitable from birth until forever, it can be adjusted through different stages whilst ensuring complete safety too!

If it's your first baby, you're allowed to go a little overboard, i'm giving you permission, it's ok!! :). I felt like I kinda missed out on certain things because we listened too much on what every around us was saying, so if you want to buy a wipe warmer, you go for it, you want a £200 swing, go get em! You live and learn as parents and its all trial and error too, if you end up spending a bit of money on something and never use it, you can either save it for the next one or sell it on!

What are your baby and toddler essentials?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Review | Cosatto Giggle

Hello all!
As you will probably know, I am currently a Brand Ambassador for Cosatto, they are not only a fantastic company but my favourite pushchair brand even before Abbie was born! They provide you with funky and retro patterns in the form of pushchairs, highchairs, nursery furniture, car seats & more! The designs are sleek and modern whilst being practical and are affordable too! 

So over the past few months, we have been testing out the gorgeous Giggle travel system in Oaker and I cannot wait to share with you what we think! There are so many different designs to choose from when it comes to this pushchair, they are all so different and appealing for different reasons, but we chose the design Oaker for ours, I thought it was perfect for the warmers months coming up and would definitely stand out from the rest! I was too excited for it to arrive so I could set it up and take Abbie straight out in it! 

Putting it all together was super easy (didn't even need the instructions), but I have used a Cosatto pushchair before so kinda knew what I was doing anyway! Just click the wheels on, decide whether or not you want forward or rear facing (or attach the carrycot part if you have a newborn) and within 10 minutes it's all set up and you're ready to go!

I love this pushchair so much, it's not only pretty but it's so light too! We all need that pushchair we can put together easily and fold away quickly if we're in a rush! With the oaker you don't have to compromise on style either!

There's no doubting that this pushchair is vibrant, the yellow really grabs your attention and the pretty leaf outlines really add to the artistic effect that you really don't get with a lot of pushchairs, I think my favourite thing about Cosatto products is you can really choose something to suit your personality, there is something for girls, boys and a lot are perfect as unisex items too! 

The Giggle is suitable from birth using the matching carrycot, right up until they well, no longer need it! Below I have listed the other fab features you can expect to find!

All round suspension
Suitable from birth carrycot
Pushchair seat with in and out facing option
Compact, easy fold
Lightweight aluminium chassis
Quick-release removable wheels
Lockable swivel front wheels
Adjustable handle height
UPF 50+ sunshade protection
4 position recline
Lockable swivel front wheels
Removable bumper bar with cover
Spacious storage basket
Carrycot includes carry handle and removable washable liner
Carrycot suitable for occasional overnight sleeping
Toy loops in hood

As you can see, it comes complete with shoulder pads too, to stop the straps rubbing against your little ones shoulders and keeping them safe at the same time, I remember being younger and always moaning at the seatbelt in the car rubbing against me so my parents bought me some pads for that too, it made the car journeys so much easier!

As you can see, the bumper bar can be easily detached on side, making it even easier to get your little one in and out! The bar itself is the perfect material for little hands to grip, so once  they get the hang of sitting up and keeping an eye out on the world around them, it will keep them safe and secure!

Giggle transforms in the blink of an eye, from pram mode for newborn to duo-directional pushchair for two-way cruising. The car seat mode lets you pop the Hold group 0+ car seat (sold separately) on and off the chassis for no mid move mither. Jam packed with fab features for superheroes and super-parents Giggle is lightweight with a fabulous flat fold. The whole world loves this radical roller.

Sizes and measurements!
Chassis Folded Size: L97cm x W62.5cm x H25cm
Chassis Assembled Size: L97cm x W62.5cm x H87cm (Weight 6.5kg)
Carrycot: L72cm x W31cm x H18 cm (internal size) (Weight 4.9kg)
Pushchair Seat: L85cm x W39cm (Weight 4kg)
Hold Car Seat: L69cm x W43cm x H59cm (Weight 3.9kg) - car seat sold separately

I love the sturdiness, lightness, comfort and most on all, the practicality and design, it's full of so much character and is the only pushchair you will need from day 1, snug, comfy, secure and gorgeous to look at! To have a browse of the full range of pushchairs, click here, or to go straight to the Giggle Travel System itself, click here!

The Lifestyle Lens © . Design by FCD.