My Week That Was {13}

Monday: We packed the car up and set off for Butlins, Bognor Regis at around 8.30. We planned to stop at a Little Chef on the way but the three we passed were all boarded up. By 11 we were all hungry and ended up having a burger and chips from Burger King.
Shortly after half past 1 we arrived at Butlins.
That afternoon and evening we explored the complex, had chocolate crepes, watched Billy Bears Storytime, went bowling and went to Papa Johns for a really yummy dinner.

Tuesday: This morning started with a really lovely breakfast at the hotel. On the way to the restaurant we saw a leaflet for Beauleui Car Museum and both got excited. We'd planned to stay on the complex that day but couldn't turn down a day out.
We certainly didn't regret it. It was a fantastic day out which we all enjoyed.
Before dinner we saw Barney, which made Charles very happy and then we went for cocktails.

Wednesday: We'd planned to go to Brighton today so soon after breakfast we hit the road.
We visited the sea life centre and then went for Fish and Chips on the Pier.
We then went back to Butlins and had a few hours fun on the Fairground.
That evening we went back to Papa Johns for dinner and it was even better than the first night. The boys ate lots too which made us particularly happy.
We popped to the shop afterwards and then headed back to our room.
I downloaded a book onto my Kindle and snuggled in bed with the boys to read it.
It was probably my favourite evening of the whole holiday.

Thursday: We spent Thursday on the resort. The morning consisted of another amazing breakfast, then we went on the Fairground, walked to the beach for an explore, watched Bob the Builder on stage and then had lunch with Billy Bear, Elmo popped along too.
We were invited to a panto at Butlins but lunch ran over into 2 o clock so we missed it. Instead we went back to the Fairground and for a drink (Strawberry Daquiri, mmmmm) and went back to the hotel room.
To our surprise both boys fell asleep on the bed for well over an hour so we relaxed with a gin and tonic and got the majority of our items packed and in the car without the boys in the way.
We decided to have a late dinner tonight after eating a big meal at lunchtime so we went to the Tots Disco, which the boys loved, Harry in particular as he danced with one of the Redcoats and wouldn't let go of her hand!
I then sat and watched Barney with Charles, which was absolutely amazing whilst my husband and Harry went for a drink at the bar and listened (danced in Harrys case) to Chris Andre.
Our dinner plans changed and we ended up having to go to one of the two places open past 8 o clock.
We were all pretty tired so rushed our meals and went back to the room.
I had a lovely long soak in the bath before going to sleep.

Friday: Home time.
The journey was easy despite it being Good Friday.
We got home around 3. I put a load of washing on straight away. By 4 o clock Harry was being very sick. He ended up in bed early, although woke at 9.30 and was sick all night.

Saturday: My mum had Charles for the day and Harry slept most of it. I've never seen him so poorly. It was awful.

Sunday: Lazy day with a very poorly Harry still.
My husband worked all day.



A Sneak Peek

I couldn't wait to look back on some of the photos from our 4 night break. We had a couple of days out including a day out at Beaulieu, and a day at Brighton visiting the Sealife Centre and the Pier.
Not to mention a few too many photos of the fairground at Butlins and of Barney!





10 Things I've Learnt This Week

1: I need to go back to being all blonde. Dark roots around my face do not look good.

2: A pair of tweezers and a magnifying mirror should be in my handbag at all times. My eyebrows are a disgrace right now.

3: A car museum can be really interesting, and old cars are absolutely beautiful. I'm not bothered about their speed or how well they are made but just to look at them is amazing.

4: My husband seems to understand Harry more than I do and I seem to understand Charles more than my husband does.

5: My husband and I are more scared of big(ish) fairground rides than our 3 year old son!

6: Cider doesn't excite me anymore.

7: Brighton isn't as amazing as it's made out to be.

8: Full english breakfasts taste much better when followed by a glass of grapefruit and natural yogurt.

9: My boys are very messy eaters.

10: I pack FAR too many clothes, even when trying not to.


Perfect Children

My children are perfect.
To me they are.

I'm horribly paranoid when out and about with them. I feel like everyone, EVERYONE, is watching me and judging me.
I try my best not to notice, to ignore and to not care but it hurts.
Really hurts.
So what if my children don't eat all of their dinner when we eat out.
Ok, Charles won't sit still for any amount of time, but I try and keep him there, what else can I do?
Harry will sit with a knife and fork sometimes. Yes, a knife, what an awful parent I am! And although it clearly looks like I'm not aware of what he's doing, I am. I watch from the corner of my eye, I don't have to stare at him and not take my eyes off him.
Yes I'll let Charles walk a meter or 2 away from us, as long as we can see him and he can see us it's ok, depending on where we are.
Children get bored, impatient, fed up, as we do. We are able to take ourselves off to bed if we want, and have control over where we go, children don't get that control, so of course they are going to run around, sit on the floor, and vent their frustration in a different way to us, in fact you see adults doing the same when they get frustrated. We stand and pace the room, because we can, yet we tell children not to. How is that fair?!

Both boys are slightly poorly at the moment and have a bad cough, sometimes resulting in a coughing fit. It surprises me how many people will look at my children in disgust as they struggle to catch their breath and gag as they cough.

In fact, over all I'm pretty annoyed, frustrated and hurt at the amount of people that seem disgusted with my children. How they look down their noses at them.

CHILDREN. That's what they are.
3 years old and 20 months old.
Still learning etiquette and correct behaviour.

How can I parent them properly, and to the best of my ability, and naturally, when I feel pressure from parents who are clearly perfect themselves?

It saddens me that parents don't support other parents enough.
Parenting is all about learning, it's a "journey" (I do dislike that term) and I think there's not one person who gets it completely 100% correct.

I'm certainly not going to restrict my boys from everything. Whilst we learn how to parent them, and bring them up correctly, or in a way we see fit, Charles is currently exploring his independence and seeing how far he can go, and Harry is just exploring, well, everything.

Our children might be awful to some but to us they are perfect, even if they are a handful.


My Mothers Day

Due to my husbands birthday being on the 10th of March I made the decision to postpone Mothers Day, his birthday was much more important to me and I didn't want it to be shared with what is essentially, just a commercial day.

On the morning of my Mothers Day I wasn't lucky enough to be treated to a lay in.
I was treated to breakfast at one of our favourite little restaurants/tea rooms/cafe and afterwards we went for a short walk around the park it is situated in.
I used to play in this park a lot when I was little so it was nice for the boys to walk around it too. It's a lot smaller than I remembered it to be!

The boys were both poorly at various times during the day so we dropped them off at my mums and continued with our plans of a carvery dinner, but just with my husband and me.

It was a lovely day, other than the boys being poorly of course, and just what I like. Not enough fuss but a couple of treats.



My Week That Was {12}

This week has been a bit of a haze really with two over-tired poorly boys so I can't remember a huge amount of what happened!

Monday: Charles still seemed quite poorly so I kept him home from pre-school. Every now and then he would lay on the sofa and go to sleep for a little while, which is completely unlike him.

Tuesday: Charles seemed a bit better today so after a morning of watching Tangled I took him to pre-school and went into town to the Vodafone shop to pick up my replacement phone.

Wednesday: Again a morning of staying at home and then the pre-school run.

Thursday: I'd had enough of staying in and needed to get out so we went over to Matalan in the morning to look at their swimsuits for the boys. I also bought myself a pair of Chinos and tights.
I decided to avoid Jo Jingles with Harry this afternoon as I was becoming increasingly irritated by the lady who runs the class, especially as she talked to Harry in a disrespectful unnecessary way the previous week.
I asked him if he wanted to go to Jo Jingles or to the Zoo, he replyed with "ROAR!" So we had our first trip to the zoo with just the two of us.
I decided to not take his pushchair and to just let him walk wherever he wanted. It was really lovely.

Friday: We watched Labyrinth this morning and then took Charles to preschool. He fell over on the way in and cut his knee but the pre-school let me use their first aid kit.
All three boys had a haircut after Charles had finished pre-school.

Saturday: After a rubbish nights sleep and waking up with a migraine my husband let me go back to sleep for an hour or so.
I got up and he then went off to work.
My mum took the boys in the afternoon so I could have a bath, wash my hair and get some bits sorted for holiday.
Mum came back to ours with the boys and babysat as me and my husband went out with friends we haven't seen for 7 years! It was a really lovely night with amazing food.

Sunday: Today will be full of packing, popping to Matalan to change one of the swimsuits as they clearly expect a 4-5 year olds waist to be triple the size of Charles'! I will also be on the hunt for some black boots as my ones decided to break last week and I desperately need some for our holiday!



Therapy Taught Me

It's been a week and a half since my last therapy session.
I haven't talked about therapy as openly as I would have done say last year, or the year before, because I wondered what I was getting out of it. I wondered if putting it on here was boring people, if it was a case of "oh she's talking about that again".

To keep it all fresh in my mind, to go over it and to keep working at it, reminding myself of what I need to do to be happy, to feel safe and live the best life I can I have decided to write it all down over time.

Therapy taught me that it's good to have a place to write everything down. To have somewhere to go if I am feeling a bit down, just needing somewhere to vent and to let go.
I find a lot of the time I can write something down, and then I feel much better.
It might be too personal for some but if me sharing some of these feelings makes me feel better then where is the harm?
Mental Health is such a taboo subject and making it normal, talking about it openly, is surely going to help to break that?

We shouldn't have to hide away and not talk about feeling a bit pants, or feeling anxious over things which, to others, seems irrational.

I found that by telling my therapist that I wanted to do something, or that I aimed to do X by 2 weeks I then felt I had to do it. I had no pressure from her, non-whatsoever. But I then felt like I would be proud to walk in, sit down with her and say "you know I said I wanted to go to go to the WI? Well I went. Except rather than going with two friends, I went by myself"
When I said that to my therapist she couldn't stop telling me how proud she was of me.
That made me feel amazing.
But one thing that worried me about our final session was that I wouldn't have her to go to to say "I'm going to do this, or I want to do this".

So, we agreed that it would be good for me to do that on my blog. To replace her with this.
I could replace her with a family member, I know that. But there was something different with having her in that role.
Maybe because she was there to help me move on, to support me, and only knew me in this way.
I sat in with her one day and commented on how strange it is that we sit in a room, with a stranger, and pour out our feelings, information about our personal lives, we cry, we laugh, we talk about anger and hurt and we talk about happy times.

I wrote a post on February 15th. I've Got a Plan, and once this was out there then it was pretty much, well I have to do this now.
The same happened with the WI thing. Even though the two friends I was supposed to be going with were unable to go, I had people asking me if I was going.
It wasn't a good enough excuse to say "no because my friends are not going".
The support of knowing that people were wanting to know if I was going, were wanting to know if I had gone, and indeed how I had got on was really encouraging.
So it would be silly to not use that to my advantage, and to do similar again.

Therapy Taught Me: My blog is a good thing.


Lindam Clarity Digital Audio Monitor {Review}

For a while we didn't use a monitor with Harry. I'm a pretty light sleeper and a lot of people I know think it's not important past a year old.
I realised that, despite being a light sleeper anyway, I was keeping myself awake by listening out for him. I decided it was time to get the old monitors out, except the boys had been using them as walkie talkies and as a result the backs were missing and they weren't in the best of condition.

Lindam kindly offered to send us their Clarity Digital Audio Monitor to review.

The monitor is easy to set up and had rechargeable batteries included so we were able to set up the units straight away.
I was interested to see what the battery life would be like. My plan was to leave the cradle for the parent unit downstairs next to the sofa, away from grabby hands, and then to take the monitor to bed every night without the use of the cradle.
Our previous monitor didn't seem able to be able to last long out of it's cradle and had a very poor battery life. I assumed this would be the same for all monitors but the Lindam monitors can be off the cradle all night and still have plenty of power.
The parent unit will operate up to 300 metres away from the main unit.
The monitors also have the option on being mains or battery operated.

The sound is clear and free of any interference. The monitors offer a two-way talk back function so you can simply press the button on the side of the parent unit to comfort your child. Although I did find there was a slight delay in getting the sound back after pressing this.

The baby unit is compact and has a night light in the centre. The parent unit has a light feature to indicate sound levels, this can be really useful if your baby stirs.

The specifications as listed by Lindam are:
  • 300m range
  • Talk back feature
  • Portable parent unit operates with 2xAAA rechargeable batteries provided or with the power docking station supplied
  • Parent unit charging docking station
  • 120 automatically selected channels for interference free monitoring
  • Out of range warning
  • Parent unit LED Sound Level lights
  • Comforting night light
  • Mains or battery powered
  • Adjustable volume control
  • Low battery warning
  • Includes Parent unit docking station and Nursery unit power adaptor
  • Includes 2 x rechargeable batteries for parent unit
  • Belt clip
We were sent the Clarity Digital Monitor for the purpose of this review. All words are honest and my own.


More Than Freebies

Sometimes I wish more people understood blogging. Or in particular what my blog means to me.
One friend refers to it as "your blog" (said in a silly pathetic voice) and constantly asks "what have you got for free recently?"
I've heard a few people say "I'm going to set up a blog so I can get loads of free things"
Ok, I admit that reviewing items is a perk of blogging but it's not what it's about for me.
Reviewing isn't always as easy as people seem to think. You have to take time to write the post, research it in some cases, and photograph it, edit the photos, and so on.

I've had some fantastic opportunities in the two years I've been blogging. I appreciate every single thing that I am offered, sent and given, but would I say that it's all my blog is about? No.
If I wasn't offered things to review would I still blog? Of course.

My blog isn't about the freebies. They are an added extra.
My blog is therapy for me. A best friend in some ways because if I'm feeling a bit down I can run straight to it, write everything down, post and feel better.
I've made a lot of friends due to it too. Some I would even consider as being best friends, despite never meeting them or only meeting them once.
Is that weird? Maybe. But the friends I have made know me inside and out because they read my blog. They know there's more to it than freebies.
They read the personal posts, they offer advice or a virtual hug.
And I guess those who thing it is just about the freebies don't understand it, and probably don't want to, especially if they haven't looked at it properly in two years.
In fact it kind of offends me that friends don't want to understand this as it is a big part of my life.

Thankfully some people get it.
My therapist "got it" and said it was a really positive thing for me to have in my life.
My husband gets it.
My online friends get it.

And even better, my BritMums Sponsor Medela get it.
This tweet today made me smile and tear up.
I try hard to promote breastfeeding without being to 'Nazi' about it.
When they agreed to sponsor me to go to BritMums Live I was over the moon. I wanted to shout it out to everyone.
They were my dream sponsor.
To me, when they agreed to sponsor me the excitement was more than them just sending me to the conference, and more about the fact that I was good enough to work with them.

A main issue of mine, in my personal life, is not being good enough, not being accepted, and not being recognised for doing good things.

The following made me feel amazing and made my day.
This is why I blog.
Not for the freebies.
But for that lovely feeling of being good enough, being accepted and being recognised for doing good things.



Medela Breastfeeding Cafe

As you may, or may not know, I breastfed Charles for just over 18 months and am still breastfeeding Harry, who is now 20.5 months old.
I'm very passionate about breastfeeding and really hope that this year I can get the ball rolling and can train to be a Breastfeeding Peer Support.

I think people tend to be a bit surprised when they learn that I didn't go to a breastfeeding cafe with Charles until he was 13 months old and then it was just a one off because I didn't gain the support I needed.
I passed my driving test 5 days after Charles' first birthday, so going to any breastfeeding cafes was either impossible or would interrupt my husbands work. Looking back if I could have driven in the first place then I would probably have gone to cafes as it would be easy to get there, and I would have had more in common with the other mums as we would have all had newborn babies.

I also only attended one breastfeeding cafe with Harry, which was when he was around 6 or 7 months old. There was two of us there, myself and a friend, and that was it.
Going to a breastfeeding cafe with a baby and a toddler wasn't the best experience of all.
Although we were told there was a nursery nurse to keep the toddlers entertained you still can't switch off and feel the need to have one eye on them and one eye on the cakes.
If Charles was at preschool when Harry was a newborn then I would have definitely made the effort to go to a breastfeeding cafe, but Harry was 14 months old when Charles started preschool and I didn't want to go through the same experience as last time.

I think a lot of questions regarding breastfeeding are around the first 3-5 weeks. It's the time when a lot of us feel we need support, and just to know we are doing it right, and that baby is getting what they need.
Getting out with a newborn in this time can be a struggle. Add that to a feeling of being anxious out with a newborn, meeting new people and so on and you can understand why new mums may avoid breastfeeding cafes.
From what I've seen more mums tend to stick to Google and asking for advice on Twitter. This, I think, is great, I certainly get a lot of support from my Twitter friends. Of course being restricted to 140 characters and not having an expert on hand can be frustrating and this is where Medela comes in.

Medela’s Breastfeeding Café hosted by babyworld.co.uk has been relaunched!
The Breastfeeding Café  is a monthly web chat to provide mums with a fun and interactive support forum. and was originally launched in 2012 was such a success Medela and babyworld have decided to run it again.
Once a month mums are invited to join the live café session, to share their breastfeeding stories and tips, as well as ask questions and get advice from the experts. These monthly events are a unique opportunity for mums to get support from Medela’s lactation consultant and babyworld’s independent midwife.
As one of the country’s leading parenting website, babyworld.co.uk provides a trusted place for mums to meet, and find the information they need on conception, pregnancy and babies. The site gives mums support in all aspects of parenting, and this extended partnership with Medela certainly marks their commitment to becoming a respected forum for breastfeeding mums.

With more than 20 years of experience working with breastfeeding mothers Medela’s lactation expert, Sioned Hilton, is able to guide mums through every breastfeeding hurdle.  She’ll be helping with specific issues and advising on general breastfeeding concerns, the advice will be friendly and practical with the latest in research based finding and peer-to-peer tips sitting happily alongside each other. The partnership has created a unique platform for those seeking support and information. Thanks to the Breastfeeding Café, mums have the chance to engage with experts on a personal level without having to leave the comfort of their own home.  These sessions provide a space for general discussion, sharing advice and for mums to realise they are never alone.
As well as responding to individual concerns, each month there will be expert advice posted on topics relevant to both expectant and breastfeeding mums therefore allowing mums to browse the site in their own time to pick up other top tips. Topics will cover everything from how the body changes during pregnancy through to breastfeeding for working mothers.

The Breastfeeding Café will be held once a month on a Wednesday at 8pm. Last time this was by far the most popular time for mums, as either their baby was asleep or they had an extra pair of hands to help out. Not only is the café set to provide great support it is ensuring it is accessible to as many mums as possible.

Commenting about the service, Debbie Bird, Editor of babyworld.co.uk ‘said ‘Last time we ran the Breastfeeding Café it was a great success so we are thrilled to be teaming up with Medela again. We feel it’s really important to be able to offer mums trustworthy and honest advice, and Sioned does just that. We hope the café will continue to be a great success and mums will feel they can come to Babyworld.co.uk with their queries and concerns.’
Sioned added:’ The Breastfeeding Café is a brilliant platform to connect with mums all across the country, I hope they really enjoy the regular events and benefit from logging in each month.’
The next breastfeeding café will take place on 20th March and is set to be very popular!


My Week That Was {11}

Monday: With a slight snowfall during the night my husband took Charles to school and collected him as we didn't want to risk my car on the roads. My mum came over for the morning and played with Harry so I could get on with housework and blogging.
My husband took me into town in the afternoon so I could, yet again, take my phone to the Vodafone shop.

Tuesday: Yuk. Tuesday was a tough day with the boys. I think they were both feeling tired and run down. Charles had the beginnings of a cold.
I was waiting to hear from Vodafone all day with an update on my phone.
I had to take Harry to the doctors in the morning. Charles had preschool in the afternoon.
I attended my first WI meeting.

Wednesday: I was on a high all day following the WI meeting.
I had my last therapy session today which I felt quite sad about but loved being able to tell her how well I'd done with the WI meeting.
I headed back down to the Vodafone shop to pick up my phone, only to find out, whilst there thankfully, that the issues still weren't sorted. I just let Harry walk there as I thought we would only be quick but after 40 minutes I was completely stressed. He had pulled my earrings out, pulled my hair, almost exposed my chest to everyone, managed to knock down two accessory arm things and ran around the shop making the staff laugh. I had to leave in a rush as I had to leave my phone there, again, and head to the other side of town to collect Charles from school and didn't think I'd make it!

Thursday:  Another trip into town to the Vodafone shop. This time to pick up my SIM as, surprise surprise, the phone isn't working and needs to be sent off.
I then took Harry to Jo Jingles in the afternoon, I think it's our last session next week and although Harry is enjoying it (I think) I will be glad when it's over.

Friday: Charles' turn to go to the doctors. He went to bed for a nap in the morning, which is totally unlike him! Thankfully my husband looked after Harry, and made me some lunch whilst we were gone.
I kept Charles home from preschool today, which was a good decision anyway as we were longer than I thought at the doctors and after waiting for our prescription and he would have been half an hour late to school.

Saturday: After an early morning wake up call, which is all I've had this week, Harry went for a nap mid morning. Whilst he napped I snuggled on the sofa with Charles and watched Labyrinth. We actually ended up watching it twice today as he fell in love with it. (proud mummy moment)
My mum came round in the afternoon and I was able to go and have a peaceful bath....peaceful until Charles then gatecrashed it at the end.

Sunday: With it being my husbands birthday last week today is my Mothers Day. I had busy night up and down with the boys, including a hot chocolate trip at 5:30 because Charles was cold.
My husband surprised me with breakfast out. We had mentioned last week about going out for breakfast but I chose to have a present instead.
We all had pancakes, except for Charles as he has lost his appetite, then went for a little walk.
I was allowed to choose where the boys would take me for dinner today so I chose a carvery. We've now decided to leave the boys at my mum and go without them as 1: they won't eat much anyway 2: It will be my treat to eat my dinner with no hands getting in the way and with no unnecessary toilet trips 3: It will be stress free.



An Acceptable Mothers Day

Today is my Mothers Day, as it was my husbands birthday last Sunday.
I'd like to say I was treated with a full nights sleep, a lay in, coffee in bed, a nice hot bath and a trip to the toilet with no audience or interruptions. Heading downstairs to a beautiful breakfast buffet. Of course the complete opposite happened. I was up a few times in the night with the boys, and both decided that I should be awake at 6:45.
I tried to go back to bed but despite our efforts we couldn't wake my husband as he was in such a deep sleep. He is now having an uninterrupted trip to the toilet, and I am downstairs stopping the boys from fighting over the ride on toys and matchbox cars, making my own coffee.
The interruptions, early night and early wake up would have been acceptable if we were waking up at the Millenium Baileys, in Kensington.

We are yet to take a holiday as a family of four. This saddens me because when Charles was 4 months old he had his first holiday. It was just a UK break but it was just what we needed to connect as a family of 3. Whilst on this holiday we booked a second holiday at the same place for just 4 months time. And once that holiday had passed we had a third holiday booked, camping in the South of France, in 4 months time.
It was lovely having these breaks to get back to being a family, and having that special bonding time. Especially for my husband and Charles.

Due to one thing or another our plans for a family holiday never materialised and the closest we came was a mini break to London last year. We stayed at the Millenium Baileys for two nights. It was amazing and made us realise that mini breaks in the UK, in a top hotel, are just as good.
Amazing breakfast buffet, comfortable beds with really the comfiest pillows I've slept on for a while, staff that treat you like you are a VIP and can't do enough for you, all add to the luxury of this hotel.
It's safe to say we all miss staying there and hope to return one day (I'm hinting at a romantic break there for my birthday).

I was sent a beatiful L'Occitane Hand Cream gift set for Mothers Day and in exchange for this post. All words are honest and my own.


Boy's Summer Wardrobe Checklist

Not only do I need to start thinking about updating my own wardrobe for the summer, I also have two growing boys to think about.
I thought having a second boy would be easy when it came to clothes due to the fact he would just be handed down his big brothers clothes. And with Harry being born in the Summer, the same as his brother, surely the clothes would fit around the same time (summer clothes fitting in summer, winter clothes fitting in winter etc)
Ideally this would have happened, but with Harry being chunkier than Charles was (and maybe taller) all of the clothes ready to be passed down don't fit!

So instead we get to invest in new clothes for them.
As with my wardrobe, I like to get things that the boys could get a lot of use out of. In 2010 I bought Charles some lovely shorts, they were far too long and as a result he's been able to wear them every year since, he may even get to wear them again this year.

Neautral tshirts are always great because they can be worn in the winter with a long sleeve top underneath or a cardigan over the top.
I always get tops a size too big for the boys. I think boys can get away with wearing clothes that are over-sized, without it looking scruffy or like the clothes don't really fit.
Also there isn't normally a big difference between a size 3-4years and a 4-5years for example, so it makes sense to invest in the bigger size so it will last a little bit longer.

Cardigans. Nice thick ones and a couple of thinner ones. I much prefer cardigans and zip up tops for the boys than jumpers due to the ease of getting them on and off. Again, these are an investment because they are not just suitable for a particular season.

In my opinion children can never have too many pairs of jeans! I used to get frustrated due to the amount of choice girls have (jeans, skirts, shorts, leggings) compared to boys but then I discovered coloured jeans and chinos!

Shoes and boots. Like women, children can never have too many shoes, especially living in the UK where the weather is so unpredictable. One day you are dressing your child in a tshirt, shorts, and Converse and covering them in a layers of sun lotion, and the next day you are in need of jeans, jumpers, winter coats and a pair of Hunter Wellies.

I'm not going to let our silly unpredictable weather beat me and will ensure that my boys are dressed appropriately and stylish whether it's raining or the sun is shining!



Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate {Review}

The first thing any parent should do when their child shows an interest in becoming mobile is simple.
Purchase safety gates.

I remember when Charles first started crawling. Baby gates went up on the kitchen door, at the bottom of the stairs and at the top of the stairs. And after we had moved him from cot to bed and realised he would wake at 5, come into our room and wake us up, we placed a baby gate on his bedroom door.

We purchased Lindam Safety Gates. We have the screw fit ones as well as the pressure fit.
The screw fit is permanently on our kitchen door and at the bottom of the stairs.
All other areas have pressure fit (even at the top of the stairs which is NOT recommended by Lindam but we simply have no choice)
Despite having no previous experience with buying baby gates we instantly knew to go for one made by Lindam.
We had heard of Lindam, I think it's one of those brands that everyone recognises when it comes to particular products.
Change Bags - Pink Lining
Nappies - Pampers
Nappy Rash Cream - Sudocrem
Safety Gates - Lindam

The pressure fit gates are fantastic and very practical. I think these are, for our needs anyway, most useful for bedroom doorways due to the fact that you don't really want permanent fixtures here, as you won't need the gates on the doors for that long (there comes a point when children learn to open them *sigh*) and they do make doorways slightly narrower due to the bars either side.
These are also great if you don't want a gate up all the time and just need one here and there.

We were recently sent the Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate.
  • NEW - Contoured, slim line handle design for easy one handed opening.
  • NEW - Extra wide walk through section.
  • 4 point Pressure Fit - U shaped power frame provides solid pressure fitting.
  • Triple opening action.
  • Double locking option.
  • One or two way opening for maximum flexibility.
  • Strong steel construction.
  • Assembled and ready to use.
  • Adjusts to fit openings from 75cm to 82cm.
  • Can be extended up to 138cm with separate extensions
  • Safety barrier conforms to EN 1930:2011.
We plan to use this for Harry's room when he goes into a bed but in the meantime will be using it downstairs.
Our lounge leads off from a small hallway/lobby area. It can get quite crowded in the lobby area if we are bringing in our grocery delivery, loading or unloading the car etc, and also in the summer we need a plug socket by the front door to be able to mow the front lawn, this is quite difficult when you have two children wanting to escape through the front door.

So having a pressure fit gate which we can easily and quickly attach to the doorway is ideal at keeping the boys (and the cat) confined in the lounge. They are able to see us and know we haven't abandoned them and more importantly we are able to keep an eye on them and make sure they are not up to any mischief! Much better than closing the lounge door I think you'll agree.
My husband is normally head of attaching gates but I decided to try it for myself. It couldn't have been easier, well it could if the boys hadn't insisted on helping me out!
It was as simple as attaching the 'arms', making them fit snug in the doorway and there you go!

Charles recently learnt how to open gates with this type of lock BUT for some reason he cannot open this one! This now means that maybe we will transfer it onto his bedroom door so I can get an extra half an hour sleep in the morning.
There is also the added lock at the bottom of the gate in addition to the handle at the top.

The Easy Fit Plus Deluxe retails at around £23.99 (which is a really good price for this! I was pleasantly surprised) and is available to buy at Argos.

We were sent the safety gate for the purpose of this review. Words and photos are honest and my own.


Investing in a Summer Wardrobe

After two pregnancies it’s fair to say my body shape has changed. Bigger here, wider there, with lumps and bumps and odd bits everywhere.
Dressing for my shape is more important than ever before. Trying to hide and cover those areas I’m not so keen on, and paying particular attention to areas I am keen on.
Empire line dresses, skater style dresses, with thick tights or leggings in the winter are essential. Team these with big cardigans and scarves and this tends to be my style.

Of course this is fine in the winter, but come summer I have a problem. I love wearing my dresses, but wearing dresses isn't always practical with two boys to run after and play rough and tumble with.

I need to get a move on in sorting my body out. Losing weight, toning up those not so toned areas, especially doing so in time for summer. 

As comfortable as it is to wear leggings and summer dresses it would be nice to be able to wear something else. 
Something which can cope with sand a little more, and cope with last minute paddles in the sea.  I made the mistake of wearing leggings into the sea last year. 
Have you ever tried ripping soaking wet leggings from your legs before? 
You should try it.

So this summer I will invest in a new wardrobe. Something practical for running after two boys, something practical for playing in the sand or for walks in the park and the woods.
My plan first and foremost is to make sure I feel comfortable, and look comfortable. That everything is practical and actually suits me.
I also think it's important to make investment purchases. Buying things that won't go out of fashion and can be worn next year too, or through all of the seasons.

My summer wardrobe shopping list includes: Vest tops, v neck t shirts, denim shorts, with pumps or flip flops.
Obviously with the addition of a lightweight cardigan or jacket because this is the UK after all!



Be Bold and Courageous...


Sat Alone

I went to a breastfeeding cafe only once with Charles.
He was 13 months.
I went because I wanted support.
I wanted to be around women who thought me feeding my child past 12 months was normal.
He was the oldest child there, the rest were newborns, up to around 4 months.

I walked in, and sat down at a table. No one else was sitting there. The other 3 tables were surrounded by other mums. With no spare seats.
They looked at me and looked away.
It was clear they were not ready for anyone else to join in their little group.

I tried making conversation as we drifted around the room. Charles exploring this new room and the outside.
I didn't get very far. It was clear that I wasn't welcome by the other mums.

The only conversation I got was from the breastfeeding councillors and the nursery nurse.
But then it was clear that they could see that we didn't fit in and that we weren't accepted.

I made my excuses after 45 minutes and left. Promising to go the following week.
I didn't go again.

Maybe that is why I don't want to go to the WI alone tonight.
The fear of this repeating.
Except this time I won't have my comfort blanket.
My children.

I won't have an excuse to run away.

I'll be stuck there. Alone.
Sat there, alone.
With the only conversation being that of pity.

Why does everything have to be so hard?


Crocs and Jelly Egg {Review}

The boys were both in desperate need of new shoes. Charles needed some which were strong, hardwearing and comfortable for preschool, and Harry was in need of some warm, snug wellie boots, perfect for exploring in the woods without his feet getting cold and wet.

Jelly Egg offered us shoes for both of the boys, and with Charles' assistance we selected a pair of Crocs Kids Hover Sneak Sea Blue/Lime for Charles and Crocs Kids Iridescent Crocband Gust Boot Navy/Sea Blue.

When first trying on his pair of Crocs Shoes on Charles commented on how comfortable they were, adding that they felt nice and 'squidgy'. The inside of the shoe is a soft spongey material. I completely trust that these will be comfy enough for him to stand, run, dance and play in for 3 hours at preschool without hurting his feet.
The fun, bright colours make the shoes appealing to a 3 year old...according to Charles they are "really cool". He couldn't wait to show them off to his friends, and his 'teachers' at preschool.

 The website describes these shoes as:
  • Traditional lace system provides a secure fit
  • Lace runner accommodates Jibbitz™ charm
  • Lightweight, durable canvas upper
  • Croslite™ material midsole for lightweight comfort
  • Non-marking Croslite™ material outsole
These retail at £34.99, which I would happily pay.

Harry was equally as excited about his wellie boots.
My first concern with these boots was that they were maybe going to be too tight, as they did look quite small and snug. This is simply just the shape of the shoe and the padding. Harry walked really well in these and has wanted to wear them ALL day EVERY day, even in the two rather warm days last week.
I couldn't believe how many people commented on these boots. Everyone seems to notice them.
He's not able to put them on himself as they do need a slight tug to get them on but it's not an issue and just signals to me that they are good quality and fit well. This also means we are unlikely to have any "wellies-stuck-in-the-mud" moments, where Harry walks off leaving his boots in the mud as his feet have come out of them.
The colours again are appealing to children, and clearly to adults judging by the comments we have had.

  • Water resistant nylon upper with fill for warmth and comfort
  • With an iridescent shimmer and shine
  • Rubber outsole pods for increased traction and durability
  • Adjustable elastic and toggle around the shaft to keep the wet and cold out
  • Croslite™ material base.
The price of these surprised me at first. £34.99.
In the past we have just purchased wellies from the supermarket for around £10 BUT now, after recieving these it's clear that the price is completely reasonable, and it's worth paying the extra money.
The supermarket wellies wouldn't always last the winter whereas I know the Crocs wellies will last us until Harry grows out of them, in which case I will then confidently pass them on to a friend, or give them to charity, knowing there will probably still be plenty of wear left in them and buy Harry a new pair.
I will definitely buy Charles a pair of these when he next needs some.

We were sent these shoes/boots for the purpose of this review. All words and photos are honest and my own.


My Week That Was {10}

Monday: My brother is back for a week (yay!) and today booked a track day at Snetterton. You can basically take your own car or bike and ride it around the track. It was an all day thing and I went along to watch him and to take photos, along with my mum, Charles and Harry.
I wasn't expecting to enjoy it at all but I left with a huge smile on my face and felt very proud of my brother.

Tuesday: The morning was spent in its usual clock watching way. Charles had preschool in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day so we walked to preschool and walked back. I didn't even need to wear a coat or cardigan.

Wednesday:  My mum came round this morning whilst I got on with some blogging and housework. I then dropped Charles at preschool and had therapy. My mother in law came over this afternoon so we walked to collect Charles, and surprised him with his bike.

Thursday: My mother in law got the bus home in the morning and then my brother came round. We took the boys to the local soft play place which they loved...and so did we.
After 4 years of going there I finally made it to the top level at the softplay, meaning I could go down the "orange slide". Being afraid of heights I'd never been able to do this before so I was rather proud of myself. 
We came back to my house for lunch and then went to my nans.

Friday:  My brother came round in the morning and drove Charles to school, waiting in the car with Harry whilst I took Charles in. He then, kindly, drove me into town so I could go to Vodafone and pick up my phone. 

Saturday: My husband let me have a lay in! Woooooh! He then went off to work and I spent most of the morning on the phone to Vodafone because the "lovely working perfectly" refurbished phone they gave me is in fact rubbish and not working!
The boys went to my mums around 3 o clock to give me some time to myself as I've been feeling a bit poorly.
It's now snowing as I write this. My brother is due to go home to Somerset tomorrow, on his motorbike...not good!
I was feeling really rubbish so went to bed early.

Sunday: My husbands birthday! Yay! Harry woke at 7am so I took him downstairs for cuddles, Charles woke just after and got himself dressed in speedy quick time and joined us downstairs for cuddles which was amazing. We put on Tangled (which we watch two or three times everyday at the moment!!) blew up some balloons and waited patiently for my husband to wake up.
He woke up at 8:45 so we opened presents, I had a bath then made him a special breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and salmon.
We then went bowling in Norwich and drove around for an hour as we hadn’t timed very well and then went to Zaks for his birthday meal.
Then it was home and a bath for our two mucky boys, Charles is the only one who has managed to have some cake (although a left over piece from yesterdays dinner rather than the official birthday cake)
I’ve had a migraine all day so I expect I’ll have an early night.

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