Saturday, 30 August 2014

Toddler Holiday Wishlist with H&M!

As you may or may not know, we were recently picked as Butlins Ambassadors for 2014/15, this means that we can finally have our first family holiday and boy have I been preparing early! We are heading off mid December once all the Christmassy decorations are up so that'll be pretty magical I think! In the meantime I've already written up our checklist of things we need, a separate one for Abbie, Ben & I, complete with necessities, clothes & what snacks to take for the car journey, yes really. 

With all that excitement, I have also decided to start saving for new winter clothes as at the moment Abbie's wardrobe is all pretty floaty and not so cosy outfits, luckily we have a few months to save up and I've had lots of fun browsing! My current favourite store for kids clothes is H&M, literally everything they have, I want for Abbie, what I like most is that it's really affordable but the clothes are all amazing quality too, just what you need when looking for bits to keep your little ones warm and cosy! So after the H&M kids catalogue came through the post yesterday morning, I dove straight in circling what I liked until I realised I hadn't left anything unmarked...so it was time to move to the laptop and to create a wish list, I added everything I liked to my basket, knowing I would go back later on and delete the bits that were too pricey or that weren't completely necessary! So here we go, i've shared my favourite items in this post, all of which I am hoping to have enough money to buy, not just for the holiday but for the winter too!


SOCKS | GLOVES | HAT  

Winter Warmers
Definitely need some cosy jumpers and cardigans for the time of year, I am in love with number 2 the most, I just think a toddler wearing a hoody is the cutest thing ever, Abbie's gonna look like a proper little girl in it! The denim jacket with the furry hood is probably my favourite item out of the lot, and typically, the most expensive, but it's so adorable and denim always stays in fashion so it can be passed down too!

Accessories
Wooly hats, fluffy gloves and snuggly socks, necessities for any winter wardrobe whether you're a toddler or an adult! Abbie doesn't mind wearing hats in the winter, last year we bought her an adorable little owl one with fluffy ears and big eyes on the front, it keeps their head warm as well as their ears whilst making them look super cute as well! Gloves are probably a little more challenging to make them wear but once they reach the age of 18 months+ it's a lot easier to get their little fingers into the right parts! Ha ha. 




When it comes to playtime they need to be able to move easily, leggings, tracksuit bottoms and long sleeved tshirts will do just that whilst still keeping them warm! There is an amazing soft play area at Butlins so all the leggings above would be perfect for running around in and climbing the frames etc, my favourites are probably the little grey ones with the little bunnies on, i'm hoping she'll get these for her birthday! :D. I've just realised there's a pattern emerging in the colour scheme, grey and pinks, I guess thats the colours for the Autumn season!

When we visit the fairground she needs to be warm and comfortable still, so i'd probably put her in a pair of jeans, some boots, long sleeved top and a nice snuggly jumper, perhaps with a body warmer over the top for some extra warmness, also the perfect outfit for a trip to the beach too, yes we will be going! :)


One of my favourite things to do now I have a little girl of my own is to dress her up! I always thought she was too small before and dresses looked a little, well, silly and always too long on her, but she seems to have had a big growth spurt recently and now looks about 6 years old in them! I picked the black and white striped dress and black tights for a gorgeous monochrome look, then matched it with the baby pink cardigan for a little softness and well, I can't forget the pink theme can I! 

Review | Degustabox July


Hello all
Today's review is the July Degustabox (better late than never), we have lots of fun each month reviewing these and always get excited before it arrives! We always wait to do our food shop when we know the Degustabox is gonna be delivered, it gives us inspiration on meals we can cook with ingredients provided and boy were we glad we waited this time! This was the opportunity to make some dinners we hadn't tried before with products we hadn't ever tried! Here are our thoughts on this months box!



Maggi Range
Ever since I was about 9 years old I've been brought up with Maggi sauce in cooking, we had a friend of the family who was Nigerian and she was a goddess in the kitchen and added it to everything possible! Since then I've used it all the time, I remember introducing it to Ben (who by the way is not one who likes to try new foods), but he loved it, he always asks me to add it into the cooking and since having Abbie, she loves it too, especially on her rice at lunch!

Ive seen the adverts on telly for the So Juicy and Tray Bake products and always wanted to try them but I never actually have, possibly because it's something a little different, so upon opening my box this month I was super excited to see 6 packets that we could try! I think the one i'm most excited to try is the Soy & Garlic chicken, I'm in love with oriental flavours so this would be perfect with rice and a dash of maggi sauce too! It's on the menu for next week so will post the picture of what we had!


It was DELICIOUS! And without sounding too cheesy, it was so juicy, the chicken was melt in your mouth and not at all dry, the flavours were perfectly balanced too! I decided to cook it with noodles and stir fried veg with an extra drizzle of soy sauce and some sesame oil, definitely will be cooking it again! :)




Portlebay Popcorn
A small crew from Decon who want to make great tasting fun and interesting food and decided on Kracklecorn, a bit different from you average popcorn. 
"One bite of our sweet and salty artisan treat and the love affair will begin"

The flavours sent were Chilli & Lime, Slightly Sweet & Salted & wait for it...Crispy bacon and maple syrup! I'm not actually the biggest fan of popcorn, I just find it too sickly and the texture isn't really my cup of tea! I was reluctant to try them for this reason but I did and I was pleasantly surprised by the chilli & lime one, as I mentioned above I love oriental flavours and this was perfect, sweet, sour and with a touch of heat, I ended up eating the whole bag myself! The bacon and maple syrup one was weird, ha ha, I will be honest and say it wasn't for us, it was an unusual flavour and definitely doesn't tickle our fancy at all, pancakes with maple syrup yet, with bacon on popcorn? Definitely not. But I'm glad I tried to and it's definitely worth a taste!



Green & Black's | Lemon Bar
Infused dark chocolate with a zesty lemon flavour striking a balance between a fresh citrusy hit and enticing rich dark chocolate. "The subtle lemon flavour tang of the bar will transport you back to hose long hot summer days of years gone by."

What I love about Green & Black's chocolate is that although it's nice to wolf down an entire bar of chocolate of this size, they make it so you literally can only treat yourself, a few squares of this is enough, because it's dark chocolate it's a bit richer and stronger in taste, but still enjoyable! We actually made hot chocolates with whipped cream and shaved some of this on top and it was delicious!


Frank's Honest Snacking 
Blueberry & chocolate snack bar!
I love love love snacking bars, I'm always looking for healthy alternatives and if chocolate is involved in that then its the best of both worlds! Ha ha. I really enjoyed this, it has the usual texture you'd expect with healthy chocolate bar alternatives, they are made using dates which creates a slightly grainy texture, I find these sorts of bars really do fill that gap between meals, it doesn't leave me wanting more which is perfect! I have since bought other flavours of this range and it's gone down well with Ben & Abbie too!



Dr Oetker Cake Toppings
Eton Mess
Violet Crystals

Inspired by the latest baking trends, new Dr Oetker Eton Mess & Violet Crystals Sprinkles are the perfect way to add extra colour and flavour to all your home baking and desserts. These edible decorations can be easily added to your home baking to create your own very special look! We made cupcakes and cookies with these as toppings and silly me forgot to take proper photos on my camera, we added nutella then topped them with these two, so yummy! A little goes a long way with these too so you're definitely getting your moneys worth!


Zeo Drinks 
Forget the usual sweet and sticky soft drinks, when it comes to refeshing yourself this summer, discover ZEO. It's a crisp, dry soft drink with a tingling taste sensation that comes in three light fruity flavours, peach and Grapefruit Burst, Citrus Crush & Lime Zest. 

I don't usually get excited about drinks, food yes, but not drinks, but these were really yummy, I fell in love with them and have since bought them on almost every food shop! My favourite was definitely the Burst flavour, so refreshing and thirst quenching without all the nasty sugars that are in most products of it's type! They are all unique in their flavour, the perfect drink for Summer!

x

Friday, 29 August 2014

Debenhams Back to School Competition!

Good afternoon all!
Hope you've all had a good week and looking forward to your weekend!

Today I am taking part in The Debenhams Back to School competition over at Mellow Mummy, the challenge is to create a 'Back to School Look' using anything from the Debenhams kids section, this can be party dresses, casual jeans and tshirt or even a onesie matched with slippers if they wish, it's a great way to get your little ones involved and allowing them to pick their favourite items for their first day at school! Obviously if your little one's are a bit little and won't be going to school for a few years like Abbie, go ahead and create your favourite outfit for them instead! Abbie is always wanting to get involved in anything when I'm using the iPad so this was a great chance for her to feel included and proud! This was a bit of a joint effort but Abbie genuinely pressed on the items in the mood board,it may have taken an hour but we got there!!

I present you with Abbie's chosen outfit.

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And the steps it took to get there...

So I popped onto the website and instantly Abbie started shouting PEPPA, PEPPA PIG, as soon as she saw her, and enthusiastically prodded the screen at the pinafore dress, she carried on pressing at different bits on the screen so the dress was off the page before I could even blink but I decided that was her choice and if i do say so myself, is pretty perfect for school actually! (not that she knows).

Next we somehow ended up on tops and she scrolled and scrolled, then noticed the Owl tshirt, HOOT HOOT, TWIT TWOO x a kazillion! Anyone that knows Abbie knows her obsession with owls, her (soon to be) bedroom has an owl duvet cover, pillows, toys and wall stickers, so this was an obvious choice really ;).

Now this is where she started to get a bit excited/bored and wondering where the Youtube app was so clicked everywhere, still, I took this as her choices and it made both Ben & I laugh..

I clicked over on the shoes section, because well, we need shoes don't we? And despite all the cute boots I wanted her to pick, she insisted the "PINK Shews" were a must, I pointed out the pretty snow boots to which she responded by pulling my hand out the way & clicking on the fluffy bright pink slippers, trendsetter maybe?? I like her thinking though, new school shoes can rub and cause blisters, slippers will be soft, snuggly and comfortable, genius! But she wasn't quite finished on choosing shoes (silly mummy should've been quicker changing the category), but this does make it cuter and funnier! She was practically grabbing the iPad screen at this point, she wanted these shoes out of the screen and on her feet NOW, I don't actually know why she picked these, she didn't shout any words or colours, just clicked and stared at them for a while...hmm.

To finish off her 'look', we popped over to the accessories section and chose a 'tick tock', she swiped and chose what she wanted because of the 'Heaarrtts', and that's it..

And my choice...


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Now, I couldn't not pick out an outfit for Abbie myself, she really is like a living doll for me, I love choosing different styles for her and dressing her up! I decided to choose an outfit that was a bit more grown up because let's face it, their first day at school is confirmation that they are no longer tiny little newborns and are now in fact, all grown up :(. Luckily for me, Abbie won't be at school for another 2 years (yay!) so I have lots of time to cuddle her and pretend she is still tiny! :D

I chose this gorgeous yellow dress for her first of all, I love the design, the pretty little bow, the colour and the girlyness too, it can be matched with so many different bits so it's a really versatile little dress! Abbie approved this by telling me it was 'yellow' so definitely a winner in my books!

I chose this absolutely precious bomber jacket next, I thought it would keep her nice and warm in the autumn and winter months but would also go perfectly with the dress to make it more casual! It can also go with every single other outfit in her wardrobe too so will be used probably most days of the week! 

Accessories
If the weather is a bit cooler I thought it would be perfect to pair with some gorgeous black or white tights to keep her little legs warm too, we actually already have the Jasper Conran ones in the mood board and they are easily the softest tights i've ever seen! As soon as I saw the little yellow bandana headband, I had to add it to my wish list, it's probably the sweetest headband i've seen, it has a gorgeous polkadot pattern on one side and the puppies on the other too, perfectly matching with the dress too, a must have for her outfit :)

For shoes I picked these stunning black quilted boots with pretty flower buckles, I love the style of biker boots at the moment and as soon as I noticed these I pictured Abbie in them, they really finish the outfit off perfectly (in my opinion) :P. Perfect for the whole autumn and winter seasons as well as being acceptable at school as well!

If you're interested in getting involved, pop over to Mellow Mummy's blog and read all the terms and conditions to get started, be quick though, the competition ends this weekend!

What is your favourite item from above?

x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Giveaway | DotComGiftShop Baking Goods!




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Good morning all! 

I haven't done a giveaway for what seems like forever so thought it was about time I gave you all something back! The lovely team over at the DotComGiftShop have given you guys a bunch of baking goodies to win, how lucky are you? I've really been getting into baking this past month and I am rather impressed with my icing skills, who knew!! Haha. Although I've been sticking to cupcakes, I did tried a batch of cookies which didn't end up too great and a little burnt..but next week I will be attempting a victoria sponge! Woo! I didn't realise just how much amazing and adorable bits and bobs there were for baking from retro scales to paisley cake tins, lots of cute and girly bits perfect for every taste!

Above I have picked my favourite bits from the category from the website, I think my absolute favourite has to be the adorable cake tins, great for storage and drums for Abbie haha :)

So what are the prizes for this giveaway?


T H E    G I V E A W A Y

Prizes!!

Set of 3 Regency Cake Tins (number 1 above)
Pantry Design Cotton Apron (number 2 above)
60 Paisley Flower Cake Cases (number 3 above)
Set of 4 Pantry Measuring Spoons (number 4 above)

How do you win?
Enter the rafflecopter below, the more options you complete, the higher your chance of winning! What are you waiting for? Read the T&C below and happy entering :)

T&C's
1. All entries will be checked and verified so don't waste your time cheating :)

2. If the winner does not respond to my email within 28 days, another will be chosen! :)

3. Open to UK residents only (including Rep of Ireland!)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My NHS Maternity Care Experience


As any first time mummy to be you're anxious about what to expect, from the pregnancy to the labour and delivery, through to the aftercare and support over the coming weeks. I’ll admit I was rather naive, I've got all the support I need at home after I've given birth so I’ll be fine, but I didn't actually give a second thought to the care I would receive during and shortly after...I watched many programmes with women giving birth in their own rooms and being looked after around the clock and being shown how to do certain things. But boy was I in for a shock, things were so different to what I thought, I actually felt like a nuisance on what was meant to be one of the happiest times of my life...you can read my Birth Story here if you're interested! 


When I phoned my local hospital the morning I went into labour, I asked if it was possible to get checked over before we make our way to the chosen hospital 30 mins away (something that had been discussed with them previously), but I couldn't actually get through to anyone for almost half an hour, when a midwife finally answered, her tone made me feel like I was being dramatic, I mentioned I might just go straight to our hospital, to which she replied with 'oh I wouldn't do that, if you're not in established labour you'll be wasting their time, I've heard they're chocker this morning...' Great attitude there, I then felt obliged to stay home as I didn't want the hospital to get funny with me... 


Cutting a rather long story short, we headed to the hospital only to be sent away at 2cm (fair enough, 4cm is considered active labour so I was happy with that), we stayed local and headed back after 2 hours, I phoned them before we paid for parking to which I was told with a huff, "well if you're not in active labour well just send you home, were so busy!" Again I was made to feel like a nuisance, we sat in the car park debating whether or not to go in yet, but I could feel I was progressing rather quickly. I was at 4cm, almost 5, and we were almost instantly shown to our delivery room, a lovely light room with a separate ensuite with a giant bath which my midwife ran for me, everything seemed a lot calmer and relaxed now, just what I needed! Our midwife was lovely, helpful and checked in on me regularly! Everything was actually perfect, it was coming to the end of her shift so she hugged both Ben and I and wished us luck, that extra touch was lovely! Our new midwife again was wonderful, within an hour of meeting us she was delivering our baby, we were looked after so well, I was given a toe to toe sponge bath and cleaned up, Abbie was all snug on my chest and off we went to the delivery room...that's when things went back downhill... 


I was in a room with 3 other women and 4 other babies, to be honest it felt like we were animals, sectioned off from each other with a curtain and no privacy in the slightest..I was just left there, given some tablets for any pain and woken up every few hours to get my blood pressure checked...as I had an epidural I was told to buzz for a midwife to help me over to the toilets, after she arrived she looked at me and asked why I buzzed, I explained to her and she replied with "well you haven't had a caesarean so you can make your own way over there, why do you need me.." I couldn't believe I was having to explain to her that the epidural numbed my legs and I haven't stood up in a few hours, she huffed and helped me up and didn't say a single word to me again, even when I had thanked her..it was clear they were lacking in staff, they didn't have enough midwives for people coming in.. 


The morning after was pretty much the same, I hadn't eaten anything in 24 hours, and was starting to feel hungry but I was told that a midwife would help me over there and let me know when breakfast was ready..7am came and went, 8am, 9am, so I buzzed and asked if I would be able to have something and was told it’s a self-serve system which has been open since 7am..I couldn't believe it, everyone around me had already eaten after being taken around to the canteen, and I was forgotten about...I felt so lonely and isolated, luckily Ben then turned up so I went off to have something to eat...Abbie had all her necessary checks and we were told we would be shown how to bathe her and wash her hair as we had asked previously...we waited..and waited...until a midwife turned up at 1pm and told us we were being discharged..great! I couldn't wait to get home to be honest, somewhere comfortable and safe feeling where I had help and support! 

Overall I feel like the care could've been so much better,  I felt rushed to have my baby and made to feel guilty for even being there, you could tell they were understaffed, but I saw no passion at all from anyone, I understood it was busy and I wasn't the only person there but to feel like I was being a nuisance seemed too far...I have even contemplated the idea of going private next time, even if it means having to travel to get to a private hospital, they say you get what you pay for...we will see! 

For me personally, everything there sounds exactly what I would love, I always have this little niggle in the back of my mind about having to go through the whole aftercare again, but if I can be guaranteed all the above points, I know I’ll be able to instantly relax and enjoy my newborn without feeling like a nuisance, having my own room and being able to rely on people as opposed to forcing myself out of bed because no-one was answering my buzzer calls! 


What are your experiences? 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Autumn Bedroom Decor Ideas!


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Autumn is just around the corner and as someone who loves changing their bedroom decor each season, I wanted to share some of my Autumn inspiration ideas with you all! Last year I started with a red and white theme for Winter, then moved onto a Monochrome design, then finally for Summer we had a pretty floral design with polka dots and pastel colours! 

Bedding
This is probably my favourite thing to buy for bedrooms, the amount of patterns and design are endless, whatever you imagine in your head you'll probably be able to find, no matter how abstract or unusual! I think bedding is the statement for a bedroom, firstly its something you sleep underneath every night but it's also usually the first thing someone notices when they walk in, so whether you're looking to redecorate your own room or the guest room, you can find tons and tons of gorgeous bits online! 

Lighting
Probably the second most important part of the room, you can choose to light your room in so many different ways, from dainty fairy lights wrapped around your bed or strung across the wardrobe to funky patterned lampshades that project stars across your ceiling, the possibilities are endless and you really don't need to spend a fortune either! If you're feeling crafty why not have a go at making your own? It's really not as hard as you first think, have a look over on Pinterest for some ideas to get your cogs spinning, remember, there's no need to start from scratch either, you can always buy a cheap basic lamp and decorate if as you please, make it your own and one of a kind!

Accessories
These are what makes a house a home, when it comes to the bedrooms you don't need too much, just little homely bits that make the room feel a bit cosier! I have a bit of an obsession with bird cages at the moment, not just as decorations but as candle holders too, cushions are probably my favourite decor items, to say I'm addicted is probably an understatement, our bed alone has 9, our sofas have 4 and Abbie even has 2 in her bed (which she is yet to sleep in may I add). They make the rooms look so cosy and snug, perfect for the cooler weather and adds that extra homely touch any guests staying will love! The same goes for throws, blankets and rugs, anything fluffy, soft and snuggly is exactly what is needed during autumn and especially the winter months too! You can usually get accessories at amazing prices, check out eBay and Amazon for amazing daily deals, especially the first week of September, grab yourselves some bargains!

What makes your house cosy?
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