Flexibath {Review}

If there's one thing I hate about our house, something which I can't change, its the fact that we are on a water metre. Its extremely annoying, especially when we have a water obsessed three year old.
Before Harry came along I would have baths with Charles so that we were, in effect, saving water by sharing, but it wasn't always ideal,
We had a baby bath but found it wasn't practical as he got bigger due to the shape and depth.
Since having Harry the boys share most of their baths together. This was a little more practical before Harry could sit up as we would place him in his bath support and not have to constantly worry about them knocking each other over, or worry about him slipping.

I'd heard of the Flexibath before so was delighted when I was asked to review it.
I kid you not I was ridiculously excited about reviewing this product.
As soon as it arrived Charles inspected it and decided it should be known as a 'storybath'. He thought it was a giant book when it was folded and clipped closed.
Although it was early afternoon we had nothing planned so I gave the boys an early bath.
Before we placed the Storybath Flexibath in our tub  I decided to give it the "Charlie Test". This is when we let him loose with a product to see if he is likely to break it within seconds of touching it! (We used this test on a washing machine we liked in Currys and he straight away broke the drawer....see, there is a method to our madness) He was unable to break it or damage it in any way (which is obviously a great thing!)

It was easy to set up and quick to fill. I love the fact that the bath is deep. I find a lot of other baby baths are sometimes too shallow but the fact that I can really control how deep or shallow the boys baths are.
There is enough room in the Storybath Flexibath for both boys to sit, and for some toys as well.
It is ideal for us to save water as we don't even use half of the water that we normally use, which I think everyone can agree is a great positive to this product.

There is a black starfish plug at the bottom of the bath which is easy for me to pull out, but not so easy for the boys to pull out (they both took an instant liking to it and tried to pull it out immediately) The flow of water from the bath as you take out the plug is great and it doesn't drain slowly as I've found other baby baths do.

The bath folds up so easily and is really compact. We have a smallish bathroom so normally a baby bath is a nightmare and a hassle to home but this lives between the bath and the sink take up no room at all.

There are so many other uses for the Storybath Flexibath too. We used it outside for water play/water fight. Once the boys have outgrown it we will use it as toy storage or maybe as a laundry basket/a home for my ironing.

The Flexibath is available from the Whitestep website and is priced at £29.95 (at time of this publishing) This is a really reasonable price for a product which will be used over and over again for years.

We were sent a Storybath Flexibath for the purpose of the review. All words above are honest and my own.


Skin to Skin and Breastfeeding {NBW}

I am a huge fan of skin to skin and with both boys had planned to have as much skin to skin as possible.
Charles was born in a birthing pool but had to be taken out and given oxygen so I didn't see much of him straight away. I also had to get out of the pool, onto a bed and hooked up to a drip because my uterus decided to not close properly so I was bleeding quite a bit, although thankfully once he'd had his oxygen we were able to have a quick skin to skin session before I handed him over to his daddy for cuddles and so I could get stitched up.
It wasn't the dreamy skin to skin moment I had hoped for but the birth went perfectly which made up for it.

With Harry we had the opposite. The birth wasn't too amazing although he made it out in one piece (thank goodness!) and was delivered straight onto my chest/tummy.
I will never, ever forget the feeling of a gunky, slimey, gooey mess that Harry was coated in. I LOVED IT. Ok, yes it was dirty I guess but it was natural stuff and I would be having a bath soon anyway...and was covered in all other kinds of muck that it didn't matter.

Within no time he was rooting and had his first breastfeed. It was wonderful. It was as I had always wanted.

The first two/three weeks were painful. Harry was lazy at latching and instead of latching properly would prefer for the milk to just pour into his mouth without him doing any work.
We spent a lot of nights having skin to skin to encourage him to latch, to know his way around, and just to get to know each other, to feel a really close bond and to reignite the positive feelings from the birth (probably the first time I've realised why I love skin to skin with him so much)
Within no time at all he was feeing really well and the pain had gone.
I think the skin to skin time helped massively.

Harry will be one next Thursday (although I am in denial) and we are still co-sleeping and still breastfeeding.
I aim for us to have skin to skin contact at least 3 nights a week. This has been especially helpful recently because I went through a couple of days last week when my milk supply seemed quite low.
The hot weather has increased my supply massively though thankfully.

I think personally that breastfeeding mums should have skin to skin time in their routine somewhere. I don't have a routine but we have co-sleeping to ensure our skin to skin time. If Harry was in his own room then I would set an hour or so of cuddle time to reconnect and have skin to skin with him.
You can't beat the feeling of being naturally close to your baby like that.



Charles...Aged 3 Loves...

A friend recently posted a similar photo to this on Facebook. I asked if I could pinch the idea and this is my result.

If you'd like to join in please do, and add your link below.

Breastfeeding in a Toilet {NBW}

I'm normally quite open and confident about breastfeeding in public. I know what I'm doing, I know how to feed discreetly, I know my rights feeding in public.
I'm very much pro-feeding in public. I don't see why we should have to hide away. I don't see why we should be ashamed, should feel like we are doing something wrong.
I try to encourage people to feed in public, I try to help with hints and tips. From what to wear or assist whilst feeding out and about, to knowing your rights.

Yet I have a confession.
On June 14th and June 16th we went out for a meal to celebrate Charles' Third Birthday.
On the 14th we visited Nandos. We went to Norwich on the train, as we sat on the train I started to feed Harry. We were on our own seat, a quiet carriage, I had a hungry baby so I fed him.
I went into my own world, as I normally do. Cooing at Harry trying to make sure he didn't get distracted and expose a boob, and then the female conductor came over and started talking to me about some other loud sweary passengers. It wasn't until she left that I realised we had talked whilst I fed and she didn't bat an eyelid. She definitely knew I was feeding Harry but I was discreet, and within my rights.
This is how it should be. It was perfect and I felt a real skip in my step. 

We then went bowling and I felt a little bit out in the open and hoped that Harry wouldn't need feeding. At one point he did become a bit agitated and I did the best I could to distract him and it worked.
We then went to Nandos. Now the Norwich Nandos is very open and although we could have been sat in a booth we would then have no room for a high chair for Harry so we were sat smack bang in the middle of the room. These were the only options. Not due to it being busy, but due to the seating plan. Other tables and chairs are next to a window, which has chairs and tables outside on the other side of the glass.
We were sat right by the sauces, cutlery and drink dispenser so not in a quiet part of the restaurant, although there is no quiet part.
Then came time for Harry to want some milk. I sat and looked around. Got my scarf ready but just couldn't do it.
I didn't want to face anyone looking at me, anyone making comments or staff mentioning it.
So I went to the toilet. I put the lid down and sat and fed him. It was a quick feed, somewhat faffy. I was glad to have done it whilst hidden, and in control rather than out in the open.

On the Saturday we went for a meal with my dad, his wife and my nan. My nan is extremely proud of me for breastfeeding and we regularly have conversations about how I must get my crazy milk supply from her and how she was told that she was "as bad as a cow" when she was breastfeeding my dad. Therefore I will feed in front of her with no problems, although I am still discreet because I feel it's respectful.
I will feed if my dad is around but I will try and really cover up or turn away if I can. He's not freaked out and is supportive of me too.
We were sat in the middle of the restaurant, again, and near the carvery line, toilets and dessert table.
Everyone was walking past and aware of us.
In any other location I would have sat and breastfed at the table but once again I went to the toilet, popped the lid down and sat and fed.
Again I was glad I did because Harry unlatched himself, exposing my breast for a couple of seconds whilst he babbled then continued the rest of his feed. We were again, very quick.

I also breastfed him in the toilet at the pub in Silverstone. Simply because there were a lot of people coming and going, walking past our table and paying attention to the boys.

I sat and wondered why I should feel ashamed of going to the toilet to feed my baby.
Ok its not the most hygenic of places but I have my rules. If the toilets are clean I will feed in there, I won't feed in toilets which are dirty.

I have to think of Harry when I am feeding, and how breastfeeding isn't simply about him latching on and feeding, its about us working together. I need to feel confident and comfortable and if by hiding away I can do that then so be it.
No, its not ideal. But if it works for us then it's something I have to do.

If I know its going to be a quick feed then I will go to the toilet. For a longer feed or a "he could fall asleep on this" feed I will either eat at the table, ask to sit elsewhere just for that feed,  go to the car or simply feed outside.

I expect to be judged on this action but being honest about it and by saying "hey, yes I do breastfeed in the toilet sometimes" actually makes me feel better about it and less ashamed.


Water Play, Water Fight.

With Harry still suffering a tiny bit with chicken pox and Charles possibly about to get it, mixed in with hot muggy weather I decided we should take our new Flexibath and some of our Munchkin Squirty Fish into the garden to have a bit of water play to cool ourselves down.

At first we were having a wonderful time, just splashing, fishing out the fish, and then one thing lead to another and it became a full on water fight. They started it....I promise.....ok....I started it.
I have memories of really fun water fights with my brother when I was little so it was fantastic to reignite some of that fun and those memories but with my own boys.
Charles ended up soaked and was a really good sport.
I also ended up soaked with mascara all down my face, hense the lack of photos of me this time.

By the end we were all cooled down, for half an hour at least, and feeling a lot happier.
This is how he does thumbs up.



Essential Items For A Breastfeeding Mummy {NBW}

When I fell pregnant with both boys I immediately set about writing a list of things I needed.
Cot bed, moses basket mattress, moses basket stand, body suits etc.
I had always planned on breastfeeding both boys, and have been lucky to be able to breastfeed both.
There is a misconception with some people that breastfeeding is easy. All you need are your breasts.
I looked online and was quite bowled over with the amount of products available. Some items seem totally pointless and a waste of money.
Some seem like fantastic ideas, don't get me wrong, but the price tags sometimes seem way over the top, especially when there much cheaper alternatives.

I love muslin's. They are handy for everything. I've used muslin's as alternatives to a bra at night by simply folding it over and laying it on my chest, or laying on it. I've also used them as alternatives to breast pads, by tucking one into my bra when feeding (only really suitable when at home) They are great to mop up sick and for any mop ups needed during nappy off time or "tiddles" when changing a nappy.
They also make great bibs for weaning.

Breast Pump-
I first started off with a handheld pump. It was cheaper than an electric and I didn't see how an electric pump would be much different. It's a lot different, in my experience, and is well worth the extra money. Electric breast pumps have great resale value, provided they are in good condition of course. Or, you could donate your breast pump to a local breastfeeding group. I have a Medela swing and it is amazing.

Always nearby. If you baby is anything like mine, both boys have been the same, they will fall asleep on the breast or very soon after. Blanket to lay over them or wrap around them is essential obviously. I have a silly amount of blankets for this very reason. Even just cheap cellular blankets, perfect for a quick "drunk" baby.

I started my relationship with Lansinoh later than I should when Charles was born. A week after he was born, and when he had his tongue tie snipped I then started using Lansinoh religiously. Second time round I used it before Harry was born, to prepare myself more than anything. I won't lie and say it helped completely but I found I wasn't as dry or cracked as before.

Water bottle/squash bottle-
Staying hydrated whilst you are breastfeeding is extremely important. Consider the fact that sometimes you can be stuck under a feeding baby for quite a while and may not have the chance to get up and grab a drink, having a squash bottle of water or juice to hand at all times is a great idea. You can always prepare squash bottles and keep them in the fridge ready for if needed.

Breast Pads-
In the early days, well first 6 months, its worth stocking up on these as much as possible. You may even need to use these whilst still pregnant. Breast pads are one thing you don't really want to be caught short without.

Cheap vest tops-
Ok so I do own a couple of breastfeeding dresses and a breastfeeding top but I found in the early days that my milk supply was out of control. I leaked on most items and in most cases my clothes ended up stained. As a result I swear by cheap vest tops.  Either pull them down to feed or pull the top up.

Terry towel nappies-
We bought these initially because we wanted to use them with Charles. We found them too hard to use but instead they became my essential breastfeeding item. I used these more in the early days than muslins due to them being thicker.

Cheap but thick Towels-
Mine were just basic ones from Asda. I found them perfect to sleep on or lay on on the sofa so I didn't end up soaked too much.

Big scarf-
Although I love the idea of breastfeeding scarves I have never used one. Instead I use sarongs, shawls or normal big scarf. You'll notice on photos that I wear an elephant scarf from Next. It's amazing and I've also bought a similar scarf but with a flamingo print. It keeps me covered and means I can drape it over Harry if I need to.
The great thing is that I still go unnoticed, I can wear the scarf the whole time without having something additional to carry. And, once breastfeeding has come to an end they will still be able to be used.

Nursing bras-
Obvious really. I have never been fitted or measured for a nursing bra. With Charles, my mum bought me a range of bras from Mothercare and returned the ones which didn't fit. With Harry I went shopping with my husband and tried on a huge number of bras. I found I was a different size depending on the style in both cases.



What Is Mastitis? {NBW}

When you become a mummy you hear of all sorts of illnesses, diseases and medical issues which you've never heard of before.
Before I was a mummy I'd never heard of tongue tie, or Mastitis. And maybe I wouldn't have done had I not been breastfeeding or in fact experienced both of these things.
When Charles was diagnosed with tongue tie I didn't know much about it. I'd never heard of it before. So I researched as much as I could, asked the breastfeeding counsellor and consultant about it and found out a lot about it.
I had heard of Mastitis when breastfeeding Charles but didn't know too much about it as it wasn't something that I had experienced.
When I then got it in May this year I made sure I knew what I was dealing with. Mostly so I knew why it had happened, what was happening to my body, how it would affect me, Harry and my milk and if/how I could prevent it in the future.

What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can be caused by obstruction, infection and/or allergy.

Can it affect my milk?
Milk may look lumpy, clumpy, “gelatin-like” or stringy. This milk is fine for baby but it may be best to strain the lumps out if the milk is expressed. Milk may contain mucus, pus or blood in some cases.
Milk may taste saltier than before, this is due to increased chloride and sodium.  

Is it common?
Mastitis is most common in the first 2-3 weeks, but can occur at any stage.
Mastitis may come on suddenly, and most commonly will only be present in one breast. 

What are the symptoms?
Red streaks, or blotches. The breast may be hot to touch and may feel bruised.
You could experience Chills, flu-like aching and fever.
The breast may feel lumpy or have what feels like a large wedge inside. 

What causes Mastitis?
Stress, fatigue, low iron and weakened immunity after a cold or flue can be causes of Mastitis.
Engorgement or inadequate milk removal due to baby not feeding properly either due to tongue tie, over-supply, short and quick feeds, baby being distracted at the breast or latching problems.
Skipping feeds can also cause Mastitis. Some of these cases are obviously unavoidable (ie teething so baby not so interested in feeding, growth spurt causing more naps, weaning) so it's best to express if this occurs. Even if you just express by hand it would make a difference.
Sore or cracked nipples can also cause Mastitis. These become an easy target for infection so it's best to get these treated as soon as you can. 

Is it treatable?
Yes. You should seek advice from your doctor or breastfeeding counsellor as you may need a course of antibiotics. 

What can I do myself?
Express or feed regularly from that breast. Keep it as empty as you can.
If possible (IE if at home all day) loosen your bra or don't wear one. Wear loose clothing.
Have warm showers and blast warm water on the affected breast. Alternatively you can place a warm flannel over the breast.
Massage the breast as often as possible.
Make sure baby latches properly at each feed if you can. You may find that changing the position you feed can help the pain or to clear the duct.
If expressing you could try hanging over a bath or sink. Gravity will help to dislodge any blockage in the duct.
Cold flannels will also help to ease the hotness.
Increase Probiotics either by eating/drinking probiotic yogurts or through vitamin capsules/tablets. 

Should I stop feeding?
NO! By stopping feeding you can encourage the infection and make it worse. If you do choose to stop feeding baby then at least pump and feed baby the expressed milk. You may feel after the infection has gone that you would like to recommence feeding because of the pain going.
You want to feed or express at least every 2 hours if not more. Keep the breast empty if you can. Don't forget to feed from the other breast too though.



Munchkin Mighty Grip Utensils and Soft Grip Spoons {Review}

I've always found it a struggle to find decent cutlery for Charles. We've found sets for toddlers but most seem to break within no time and I find most of the character themed sets concentrate on the fact that children will be sold on the character aspect that quality doesn't seem an importance.
Munchkin sent us a Mighty Grip Utensil Set for Charles to try out.
The first thing he loved was the colours.
When we opened the pack I thoroughly inspected the quality of the items to see if it was going to last long, liklihood of them bending and also how easy they would be for Charles to use.

They are extremely robust and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't bend or break them.
The soft grip handles make them easy to hold. the shape of the handles also makes it easy for Charles to hold and use.
Having just turned three Charles is now trusted to feed himself at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We obviously expect there to be a little bit of mess. The shape of the fork means that mess is limited and not as frequent as it would be if he used a normal fork.
Spoons tend to be the item of cutlery I have the biggest issue with when it comes to Charles. They are either too small or too big (almost like a soup spoon, not suitable for a little mouth!) The Mighty Grip Spoon is perfect! Not too little, not too big, meaning Charles can use it for any kind of food.
We've also just reached the stage where he likes to use a knife as often as possible. He wants to slice everything, even a baked bean, so obviously we want him to use a knife which is safe, strong and will do the job.
The knife included in this set is, again, perfect.
The soft grip handle means its safe for him to use and won't result in him slipping and causing an accident. It's not sharp so he won't be able to cut himself, yet at the same time it is able to cut through his food without any problems. 

I have a similar problem with weaning spoons as I do with toddler cutlery. I feel as though most weaning spoons are almost disposable and on many occasions with throw them away after only a couple of uses because I find they lose their shape quickly or simply just don't work very well.
Munchkin sent us 6 Soft Tip Spoons to review and I have to say I am in love with them. I didn't think spoons could make me so happy!
They are SO easy to use.
The first thing you notice about these spoons is the colours. Munchkin products all come in lovely bright colours which I think is fantastic. Not only because it attracts children but also because they are easy to find in the bottom of a change bag or handbag!
I like the fact that the colours are mixed in the pack and aren't just 6 pink/purple/green. Even the pink spoon has blue detail on so all of the spoons are suitable for boys and girls. (I have no problem with my boys using pink spoons or cups but I know some people are funny about such things)

The handles of the spoons are long which makes them really easy to hold. They're also perfect for reaching the bottom of jars or storage pots to scoop out the last of the baby food.
Not only are they easy for me to hold but also Harry. He tends to let me feed him most of his yogurt (which is the main thing we use these spoons for) then decides he would like to do the rest.
The spoons are quite deep which makes it easy to scoop up food and also means its not all going to pour out everywhere and create a mess. Well, of course there will be some mess but its nearly as bad as other spoons we've used in the past.
The spoons are soft yet tough so they won't lose their shape. Harry tends to chew on spoons once he's finished his food and so far we've seen no evidence of teeth marks or damage to the spoons whatsoever.
They are very easy to clean and don't lose their colour or shape in the dishwasher. (unlike other brands, bonus!)
 We were sent these items to review, my words are honest and not influenced.

To read other Munchkin items we have reviewed, please click the image below:


Mastitis and Me {NBW}

 I've been breastfeeding since June 2009. I had a 6 and a half month gap between feeding Charles and Harry.
With Charles I faced serious breastfeeding pain in the first 8 days due to tongue tie. My feet would curl. My nipples bled. It was awful.
Feeding for the next 18 months was a dream (despite the odd bite!) and then when I fell pregnant it became sore again, not to the extent of the early days, but it wasn't pleasant due to the heightened sensitivity due to being pregnant.

The early days with Harry were also quite painful, for no apparent reason. It just seemed it took a while for us to find our rhythm and connect. He also won the nickname "Harry Larry Lazy Latch" as he almost just wanted my milk to fall into his mouth rather than him actually sucking for it.

I remember when Charles was 3 months old and I was sat in bed at stupid o clock and noticed a hot red patch on my breast. I knew this was a symptom of Mastitis. By morning it had gone and hadn't turned into anything.
I felt lucky to bypass it.

Then came Wednesday the 2nd of May this year.
I woke up with a pain in my left breast. To describe the pain I'd say it felt bruised, almost like one of the boys had headbutted me very hard.
Initially I tried to ignore it but as the morning went on it felt as though it was getting worse. I took some paracetamol and headed to the city to shop with the boys. I'd told myself that if this pain hadn't gone by tomorrow then I would just get checked at the doctors or at Baby Cafe.
As soon as we got home the pain got even worse. The paracetamol hadn't touched the pain at all anyway but this was a new level of ouch!
I tweeted about it, hoping for sympathy, and had a reply from Katie aka @mummydaddyme mentioning Mastitis. She asked if there was a red patch, I looked and all of a sudden there was. 5 minutes ago there wasn't as I'd been checking all day.
Then I started to feel dizzy, poorly, feverish.
It was as if the symptoms were all appearing at the same time but in bucket loads.
I called our breastfeeding team who then arranged a call back from one of the nurses (breastfeeding counsellor).
She agreed that it didn't sound good and told me to phone my doctors immediately and get a prescription for antibiotics.
In the time of first ringing them to them ringing me back the redness had spread to cover almost half of my breast.

It was 5pm. The doctors surgery told me that the doctor would have to call me and there was a long waiting list.
I didn't hold out any hope.
Then, 50 minutes later the doctor called back and subscribed some Amoxicillin.
I was in bed by 8 which NEVER happens, EVER!

As I type this (in advance of the post going live) its the 8th of May and I have 4 antibiotics left. They have worked!
By Sunday my breast was feeling less sore but was still slightly tender and achy. Today I just get short "pangs" of aches but other than that I'm better.

Before I had the Mastitis diagnosed I guessed I had a blocked duct and so fed as much as I could from that side. This was the best decision to make, which was confirmed by my Breastfeeding Counsellor. Although it hurt to latch on at first I felt almost a sense of relief as Harry drained the milk from that breast.

A friend of mine said that she knew of someone who stopped feeding altogether because of Mastitis.
Now, although I am not being snobby or claiming to be an expert, stopping feeding is the wrong thing to do. By doing this you're making the breast even more engorged and less likely/longer to heal.
Its best to either letting baby continue to feed from that breast or to pump that breast and let baby feed from the other one if you want to continue.

Of course its also best to get this sorted early and to get treated as quickly as possible.
You know your body. You know when something doesn't feel right.
Listen to your body.



John Frieda Frizz Ease {Review}

In most of the photos I post of myself on my blog you may notice that I have my hair up. I very rarely wear my hair down, since I've had children anyway, as I simply don't get the time to wash, dry and straighten all in one go. It tends to take 3 days to get all three tasks done and in that time I need to wash my hair again so putting it up is the easy option.
I have been blessed with thick hair. And when washed it gets frizzy.
I can wear my hair curly or straight. It has a natural wave to it so the majority of the time if I want it straight, I have to straighten it rather than relying on just blow drying it.

Before I had children I worked for two high street health and beauty brands. One of the main sellers in both of these stores was John Frieda haircare products, in parfticular the Frizz Ease range.
I was one of the regular customers to the brand, particularly liking the leave in conditioner because my hair gets extremely knotty.

One product which we would constantly sell out of in both stores was the Frizz Ease Original Formula Hair Serum. I constantly recieved great feedback from other customers about the product, and found people would stock up as they feared it would one day be discontinued (simply because this kind of thing tends to happen, you find a product that works and is amazing then you can't get it anymore)
Thankfully it hasn't been discontinued and I was sent a bottle of it to review.

The Original Formula Hair Serum is aimed at those with medium to coarse frizzy hair. The directions on the box instruct you to "Apply to soaking wet hair, dispensing 1 pump of serum into your palm. Rub hands together and distribute evenly throughout hair, avoid direct applying to the roots. Use more or less depending on the thickness of hair".
I found I had to use at least 10 pumps of the serum to feel as though my hair was covered. One pump certainly didn't provide anything for me at all.
The serum didn't feel greasy on my hands, or hair, after I had applied it which I expected.
As I dried my hair I could notice a difference. I'll be honest and say that it didn't totally cure my frizz but it certainly helped and I didn't have to use and other products to calm it down.
Normally I would have to use another product to calm down my hair and lose the frizz (wax or similar) and then would straighten my hair. This time all I had to do was straighten my hair and the frizz was then completely gone.

I did find that my hair took a little longer to dry with the product on, maybe adding a further 10 minutes, although this wasn't too much of a problem because of the results but as my hair takes a long time to dry anyway because of it being so thick I was hoping the serum may reduce drying time.

I would buy this product again and would recommend it.

* I was sent a bottle of Frizz Ease Original Hair Serum to review but all words above are honest and my own.



Welch's Fruit Juice {Review}

With the Jubilee weekend coming up we were delighted when Welch's sent us 16, yes 16 cartons of their new Grape Juice flavours to review.
Our fridge was already full to bursting point with burgers, salads and sausages but I eventually managed to fit them all in.
With our friends and their children due to come round the following day we didn't buy any other drinks as we knew these would be suitable for the children and whichever one of the two was driving.
Unfortunately they cancelled on us, so it was down to us to thoroughly review the juices.

I'm a fan of fruit juice anyway, my husband is fussy with it and only likes certain ones. Charles will drink almost anything.
The flavours we were sent were
100% Pure Purple Grape Juice
100% Pure White Grape Juice
100% Pure Rosé Grape Juice

My favourite of the three was definitely the Purple Grape Juice. When pouring it you get quite a shock at first at how thick it is and how dark the colour is. It's almost like a syrup. I loved the strong taste and the almost thick texture.
The white and rosé juices were also really tasty and were the favourite of my husband and Charles.

During the Jubilee weekend we had a couple of bottles of Cava in the fridge and I experimented by adding some Purple Grape Juice to half a glass of Cava. It was beautiful, especially with some fruit added to make it look extra pretty.

When Harry's Godmother came round I offered her a cup of tea or a glass of Grape Juice. Unusually she chose the latter and really enjoyed all three flavours.
Similarly a pregnant friend came round and loved all the three flavours so much that I sent her home with a carton of each.

We also served these at Charles birthday BBQ with his nanny and her partner and took a carton with us when we went to the Dinosaur Park for Charles' birthday.

These are great by themselves, or served with ice. 
Also they can be tried in various cocktails....sorry mocktails. Welch's kindly sent me an example of mocktails which can be made using these three juices.

100% Pure Rosé Grape Juice
Delightfully refreshing, 100% Pure Rosé Grape Juice includes a blend of White and Red Grapes for a wonderfully uplifting taste, bursting with flavour. Best served chilled for a revitalising experience, it’s a healthy substitute to wine during those nights when alcohol is off the menu.

Rosé Lychee Cooler
This is a delicate blend of lychee juice, fresh lime and Welch’s Rosé Grape Juice with a tropical edge. Perfect for a summer pick me up; this mocktail will cool you down after a long, hot day!
Ingredients25ml Lychee juice
200ml Welch’s Rosé Grape Juice
2 Squeezes of Lime
Cubed ice
Garnish – Lychee
Glass – 12oz Highball

Rosé Summer Garden
This is a light and refreshing take on a non-alcoholic Mojito and is perfect for summer BBQ's.         Just replace the rum with Welch’s Rosé Grape Juice for a party special with a twist. 

2 Lemon wedges
1 teaspoon of sugar
5/6 mint leaves
200ml Welch’s Rosé Grape Juice
Topped with soda (50ml)
Crushed ice
Garnish – Mint sprig
Glass – Highball

100% Pure White Grape Juice
Experience the equally unique taste of a second new juice to join the Welch’s family – smooth and crisp 100% Pure White Grape Juice. Made with a luscious blend of the finest sun ripened White Grapes, this easy going juice is sure to provide delicious refreshment for any occasion.

White Grape Mojito
A colourful and flavourful surprise for the eyes, this tasty version of the classic Mojito is fresh & invigorating with its combination of muddled lime, mint mixed up with Welch’s White Grape Juice, crushed ice and crowned with a fresh mint sprig. You’ll want to drink this all year round.

3 Squeezes of fresh lime
1 tea spoon of sugar
5 mint leaves
250 ml Welch’s White Grape Juice
Crushed ice
Garnish – Mint sprig
Glass – 12oz Highball

The Bolt Reviver

The flavour of a simple delicate mix of Welch's White Grape Juice and coconut water, it's refreshing and extremely healthy. Combine White Grape Juice and coconut water to create a natural energy drink!
50% Coconut water
50% Welch's White Grape Juice
Crushes ice (could use cubed)
Garnish-Lemon Twist
Glass-10oz Sling

100% Pure Purple Grape Juice
Last, but by no means least, Welch’s 100% Pure Purple Grape Juice is made from American Concord Grapes which contain polyphenols, plant nutrients which gives them their deep purple colour, bold taste and antioxidant power. This grape juice has a distinctively fruity & bold flavour, perfect for a taste bud tingling, healthy treat. 

‘I heard it through the Purple grape vine’
Great as a late summer to autumn drink, the mix of elderflower cordial and ginger beer also means you will find it at parties during the winter months.
20ml Elderflower cordial
100ml Welch’s Purple Grape Juice
100ml Ginger beer
3 squeezes of lime
Cubed ice
Garnish – Lime wedge    

Glass – Highball

Welch's Grape Juice's are available to buy from all major supermarkets.

*We were sent cartons of Grape Juice for the purpose of this review. All words above are my own and are honest.
*At the time of this review being published Blogger wasn't letting me upload any photos, so I apologise for the lack of photos accompanying this post.


Preschool Panic

It's fair to say the past 24 hours have been pretty tough. With a visit to A&E last night with Charles and us not getting home until 1.30am and getting to bed at 2am we were all pretty shattered. Harry developed a rash at the hospital which was checked out by the doctor and diagnosed as "probably a heat rash". This was fine as it had been hot in the ward we were sat on.
Today mostly involved him sitting around in just a nappy to cool down, although the rash hasn't disappeared so we are now on "Pox Watch".
To top it off, I've been feeling a bit off the past couple of days and officially have a cold. This is something I really could have done without that today.
So surely that's my 3 bad things? Nothing else could go wrong.

Last year, the day after Charles turned 2 I handed in his preschool application form at the school we'd chosen for him to attend.
We knew our place wasn't guaranteed, especially as we are not in catchment.
I was told to only put down the name of one school on the form, fair enough, that made sense, as we were then more likely to get into that preschool than any other choices. We were told that if we didn't get into this school then we would get into the catchment school. Again this was fine and we didn't mind as our catchment school is good anyway.

Earlier this year I phoned the school to find out when we would be told if he'd been offered a place. I was told end of June. This was fine.

June obviously came and a friend of mine who also applied at the same school was getting impatient at finding out about whether or not we had a place offered to us.
I remained calm as I'd been told end of June, as had she on an email.
We'd then become aware that almost everyone else we know, in fact everyone else we know, with children the same age and due to start preschool in September with the allocated 15 hours had already found out if they had received a place.
So today I phoned the preschool we'd applied at and was told "We've sent out the letters to the children who have been offered a place, we haven't sent out the letters to those who haven't been offered a place yet"
I could kind of understand this as they had to check that all the people offered a space accepted but still, we were left totally hanging with no back up options.
I asked if that meant we automatically got a space at the other school she mentioned and was told "probably yes. Ring them to check"
I did this. And was told no, Charles didn't have a space.
Why didn't he have a space? Because they don't have a preschool.
So despite this other lady telling me they did have one, they obviously didn't.
I was told to ring the Council Admissions phone line, which I did and again, hit another brick wall.
"We don't deal with nursery admissions. You should call that school back and ask to speak to the preschool and not reception"
"But they said they don't have a preschool?"
"You should ring him back. We don't deal with nurseries."
Bang. Head.
"Ok, thanks bye" I quickly hung up the phone. She had a rude tone and I wasn't in the mood to deal with it.
I phoned this second school back and told the man what I'd been told. He assured me that they didn't have a nursery/preschool and said they wish they did and that Charles was more than welcome to attend the school next year.
In the meantime my husband had found numbers of other people to call so we could find out what to do.

This has obviously caused a  huge panic for me and my friend whilst we search for another preschool that will have places so late on.
Open days tend to take place in July (obviously) so we're close to missing this.
For me its not such a problem but as my friend works she needs to be able to book the time off to attend an open day and to get the hours sorted so she can sort out childcare around the nursery/preschool hours.

This has totally changed my mind on where I want Charles to attend when it comes to full time school. The first school I mentioned, the one who has failed to send out letters to those of us who haven't been offered a place and don't see it as an important task to let us know, has received Outstanding in Ofsted reports. Yet, if they can
1: see no urgency in letting parents know what is essentially important information before we've even joined the school
2: twice tell me about a preschool which in fact doesn't exist
then do I really want to send Charles there?
Not really.
Or do I want to send him to the second school, where the man was patient with me despite not being able to help at all and not having the preschool I was asking about.

So through all this panic I have at least come to a decision about big boy school for next year.

Now to search through the possible places and see which has a space for us!


Charles' Guide to Riding a Bike. Part One.

I'm Charles.
For my birthday I got a Thomas bike from Mummy and Daddy. Yay! Harry got me a Thomas helmet. It also has James and Percy on it, it does.
I love my bike. So far I've just played with it indoors. Daddy asked if I wanted it in the garden but I said no. I don't want it to get dirty. I like to sit and watch the TV on my Thomas bike. I also got a Thomas bottle and bottle holder. Daddy put the bottle holder on my bike. I now need water/juice/milkshake in this cup at all times, even if I don't plan on drinking it.
It was Fathers Day yesterday. We went out for some minarni and then we went in the mummy new car to the windmill, which Mister Maker made, and went for a walk.
Daddy got my big big bike out of the boot and Mr Harry Snail went in his pushchair because he's too little to walk properly.
I can't ride my bike properly yet. I did try and pedal but my legs kept going the wrong way, mummy and daddy said.
Instead daddy showed me how to brake.
He put me at the top of some slopes and made me roll down and practise hitting the brake.
I almost hit into Mr Harry Snail and the pushchair. Mummy put the pushchair there because just behind where she is standing is the sea and some big rocks. There is a small barrier which would stop me but it was safer to crash into the pushchair. I wasn't going too fast anyway and daddy was there to catch me.
I can steer a little bit too. I did almost steer off the curb a couple of times. It was a little bit funny but if I did steer off the curb I would have almost fallen in the sea and got wet.
That's why its best that you learn to brake before pedalling.
I had fun on my bike. I am very clever at braking. Look, look.



Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Cake

Being a stay at home mum means I obviously don't have a regular income and therefore can't treat my husband as much as I'd like on Fathers Day. We bought him some Family Guy PJ/lounge trousersand planned to buy him a print of a map that we've seen in a local Antique shop...although they have odd opening times so we are yet to purchase it.
I thought the next best thing to do would be to make him a cake, and I knew he'd appreciate it.
I don't normally bother with icing etc and tend to stick to basic and plain but following his recent requests of a sandwich style cake with jam and cream I came up with this.
He very much enjoyed it, as did I, and stated it was "by far the best cake you've made yet". *Takes a bow*

You will need:
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
250g caster sugar
250g butter or margerine
a glug of milk (I'm never precise over mine and tend to go with my instincts)
3 teaspoons of vanilla essence
Buttercream icing
Cocoa Powder (as much as you feel necessary, I used 55g)
Jam or Fruit Spread (I used Raspberry and Pomegranate but you can use Strawberry or similar)
Bits to decorate

First mix together the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs and flour and mix until well combined.
The divide the mixture between two bowls. Add the cocoa powder and some milk to one bowl and mix well. To the other bowl, add vanilla essence and milk, mix well. I made more of the chocolate mix than vanilla.
You can then choose to add it to a greased cake tin however you want. Either mix it all together in a swirly pattern or "blob" it all in. I made a layer of chocolate at the bottom, layer of vanilla and then layer of chocolate.
Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for 40 minutes.
Once cooled cut in half and then spread a layer of jam or fruit spread. You could add buttercream if you want but I'm not a huge fan of it. Infact I would have preferred to spread some Nutella on it here rather than jam but had to keep my man happy.
Place the lid back on the cake and then spread the buttercream over the top and around the edges.
Decorate with whatever you like, we used silverballs, coconut and almonds.
Serve with a smile.

Pull a cute face....additional chocolate around the mouth optional

Although I didn't use Strawberry Jam in mine I am still going to link this up to Mummy Mishaps: I Love Cake, because it can easily be used with strawberry jam....I just didn't have any in my cupboards or fridge.
Click on the badge and see some inspirational Strawberry themed cakes.


A Most Perfect Third Birthday

On Thursday we celebrated Charles' 3rd birthday.
We planned a special day for him and daddy even took the whole day off work to celebrate with us.
We were due to go to the Dinosaur Park but we visited there the previous Sunday instead which Charles' friends (as a birthday celebration treat)
Firstly we opened presents in the morning. Charles' main present was due to be collected at 9.30 so he only had his presents from his nanny and some tops from us. It was lovely that he would have been satisfied with these presents though as he didn't mention getting anything else.
We got dressed and whilst Charles and I went to Jo Jingles, daddy and Harry went to pick up the big present.
We both really enjoy going to Jo Jingles and the lady who runs it (I really should find out her name!) noticed Charles' 3 today badge sent to him from his Uncle. Towards the end of the session the children were able to play with the bubble machine and then we sung/sang/sung Happy Birthday. It was  funny because Charles just stood there with his head down frowning through embarrassment yet secretly loving the attention.
They then came and collected us from the children's centre and we headed straight home. Charles asked if he had anymore presents to which my husband said no. Charles then proceeded to cry until I said that he MIGHT have more presents, which eventually made him stop.
He walked in the house and we directed him to the playroom where he found his Thomas Bike. He'd chosen this bike but thought he was getting it for Christmas.
He did seem a bit more excited about the helmet at first, which was his present from Harry.

He had a quick sit on it and ride around in the house and then we got both of our pushchairs ready and began our walk to the train station.
We realised almost halfway there that we wouldn't catch the train we were hoping for so diverted to the park for half an hour or so. Charles loved this.
Once we were done at the park we caught the next train to Norwich. There was only 2 carriages and as a result it was pretty tight to pack in with our 2 pushchairs. We folded them up and packed them away and sat down.
We soon realised we were in a carriage with two loud, sweary men and even after a warning from the conductor they didn't stop so we simply moved carriages.
Harry decided to scream most of the way there because he was tired. We soon pulled up at the station and when I stood up I realised my seat was wet, not because of me, and I thought the worst....I've sat in someones wee (it could have been spilt drink...who knows?!) so we made a quick beeline for Matalan so I could get some new, clean leggings.
Then we walked to the bowling alley. This was Charles' first time and we paid for 2 games. We had a few problems with the balls not coming back and skittles getting stuck but we had a really good time and Charles enjoyed it which was the main thing.
He won both games.
When I said "Wow Charles, you won!!" He simply replied with "no mummy, I'm three"

We then went for a dinner treat of Nandos which Charles almost ate all of (wow!!) and made a swift exit after Harry spilt a whole pint of coke over the table and floor.

Then was time for the train home which was a nightmare and we had to stand all the way back....right next to the toilet. Delightful.
We walked back via the park and remembered the speed boat racing was on. We saw a couple of boats but after eating ice creams we were too bored and a bit chilly so walked home. We went the picture-esque way back through the marshes and played dodge the slugs!
We also discovered a helicopter! and some almost shipwrecked like boats (photos to follow in a separate post)

Charles said he had "the most perfect birthday ever" and really enjoyed himself. It was wonderful to see him smile and to be so happy.


Peace and Innocence in a Graveyard

On Friday we visited the church my grandparents married, both my boys were Christened, and that my paternal grandad and 2 aunties are buried in (the graveyard anyway).
I've been feeling really stressed, worked up and depressed to a degree about certain decisions we made last year and about issues surrounding Harry's Christening.

I'm not sure I feel brave enough right now to go into detail, I should do as I have nothing to be ashamed of but there's a time and a place and though I think this is the place, I'm not sure this is the time.

I wanted to go to the church to see if it would clear my head at all. To bring a kind of peace to this dark fog.
Part of me was hoping to bump into the Reverend there so I could discuss these issues and get reassurance from her.
She wasn't there so instead we went for a walk around. I was disappointed to find the grass overgrown everywhere so it was hard to walk in and push the buggy.
We visited my families graves, I really pay more attention to my grandads than my aunties simply because I only knew one of them and didn't really have much of a relationship with her.

Charles isn't aware of what a graveyard is, he is far too young in my opinion to need to know about anything related to that subject.
I watched him as he walked through the grass, almost skipping along, totally unaware of his surroundings and the sad meanings behind most of them.
His innocence filled the air and was beautiful to watch in a weird way.

I do have a slight obsession with grave yards. Not in a morbid way but in that I love walking around and reading the headstones, looking at peoples names, year they were born, year they died, age, and if they are buried with anyone else.
So many graves were left to just decay and very few were now looked after and cared for.

A few caught my eye, and whilst I was there I took some photos of them, as well as the church and of Charles.
Three were decorated with Union Jack flags. I really smiled when I saw this. The Jubilee reunited (or was supposed to reunite) us as a nation and I felt proud that the people who put these flags down didn't forget those who had passed and wanted them to be part of it too.

And this next one made me smile a lot. The words were so beautiful and I felt a tingly goosebumpy feeling as I stood next to it.

I love this Church and part of me regrets not getting married there, although I am glad that we got the boys Christened there.



Birthday Fun at the Park

We missed the train we first wanted to catch to Norwich and it just so happens that there is a big park on the way between our house and the train station. With over an hour to spare and us already outside the park we asked if Charles wanted to go in. We were greeted with a very excited boy and cheers of "yay! thank you, thank you, thank you" so in we went.
We only stayed for around 40 minutes but both boys had so much fun and it was a great addition to Charles' special day.
On the way home we walked through the park again and planned to watch the speedboat racing but we got too cold and impatient and ending up leaving....after we had an ice cream and I took some cool photos of the boys first of course.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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