The First Night Away {Clara from MyTwoMums}

Yesterday I had Kirsty from My Two Mums post for me and today I'm lucky enough to have the other half of My Two Mums, Clara.
As with Kirsty I really hit it off with Clara at Britmums and she too has become a good friend. 
Britmums was my first night away from the boys and I was interested to know how Clara felt and coped with leaving their gorgeous son Monkey for the first time.

When Monkey came into my life I felt an overwhelming connection with him, as I'm sure almost all new mothers feel for their newborn babies. I didn't like him to be out of my sight for a second. 

When we first took Monkey over to my mums, she ordered me to eat some dinner whilst she looked after the baby. I was very run down and I probably looked in need of a decent meal. I remember my mum picking him up and walking out the door and into the living room. I panicked! What did I think was going to happen? It was an immediate reaction to get out of my chair and head in the direction my child was taken in. Of course I was told to returned to my seat but that was the first time I'd experienced attachment anxiety.

As the months passed and my baby grew and became more independent, I found it easier and easier to leave him with family members for a couple of hours. However I'd never spent more than 4 hours apart from him. 

When Kirsty and I decided to purchase tickets to the blogging conference Britmums Live we were so excited. It meant staying over night in London, which we hadn't done with M yet. We planned our trip well in advance, as you do with young children. Then with only 2 months to go until the event, we were delighted to be invited to attend Cybher, another fantastic conference. Of course we jumped at the chance, babes in arms were welcome so it never entered our minds go alone.

To say we found the day a challenge is an understatement. Monkey started walking at 8 months and wanted his usual freedom to wander around and explore the new surroundings, but with approximately 300 other bloggers at the event, that just wasn't possible. This of course didn't sit right with M who spent the day shouting and squirming his way to freedom. 

The next day we decided to leave Monkey at home whilst we were at Britmums Live. Over night! 

We agreed it was best to leave Monkey with my mum. They have a great relationship and we had just moved back home with them so this meant we would not be leaving him in unfamiliar surroundings. As the event got closer, I started to feel quite anxious. There was a knot in my stomach. The night before we were due to leave I honestly thought I was going to be sick and burst into tears. Kirsty was fantastic and eased my fears, even though she was experiencing her own worries and anxieties about leaving our son for the first time. 

The morning came around very quickly. We tried to keep his routine as normal as possible. The car had been packed the night before so we had more time with him. Then my mum strapped him into her car to take my little brother to work. I kissed him goodbye and the lump from my chest burst out. I was sobbing on Kirsty's shoulder as my baby was driven away. 

I kept telling myself "It's only 1 night and you'll see him tomorrow" I wiped the tears from my eyes and we began the journey to London. 

As the day passed my anxieties seemed to fade, I was having a fantastic time and I was actually having in depth, uninterrupted conversations with another adult. We facetime'd M at the hotel on the Friday afternoon and then again on the Saturday morning, he didn't seem to realise anything was different. If I'm honest I felt a bit unwanted but I was spending quality time with my wife, which was amazing. All was well. 

What was I worried about? All those nights spent awake worrying, all those tears cried and I ended up having one of the best weekends in a long time. Saying that, when it was all over, we couldn't wait to get home

We stopped for some dinner to spend a little bit of quality time as a couple but we made it home before 12am. I know this is kind of a step backwards but I was happy in the knowledge that I had seen my baby every day for his entire life. 

We've already booked our tickets for both Cybher and Britmums 2014. We've also signed my mum up for babysitting duty. 

This time, we're treating ourselves to an extra night away.



My Ultimate Wardrobe {Capture By Lucy}

Lucy who blogs at Capture By Lucy is one of my Ultimate bloggers. I have followed her blog for a year now, although only recently realised she was knew to the blogging world when I started following her, seriously, the woman is a pro!
Lucy's blog is a work of art, thanks to the subjects she blogs about and her amazing photography.
One thing I've noticed about Lucy is how well dressed she is all of the time, and knowing she has such great taste in clothes I wondered where on earth she kept them all.

When we were planning our extension the year before we had Sammy, there was one thing I was desperate for. A walk in wardrobe. 

I remember going to Florida with my cousins when we were young and the villa, or rather the wardrobes, blew me away!

How wonderful to be able to walk in, see all your clothes and have space for boxes above and below. It seems the norm for American house builders to factor in a space for an English woman's dream closet.

I share my home as part of my Happy Home Tour on my blog. You can have a peek at my living room and kitchen and I hinted that our bedroom was next! So you will have to pop over to my blog and see the next instalment to see how my very own walk in wardrobe turned out!

We did the best with the space we had and have a wardrobe that has a great racking system from Ikea. Open so we can see everything. Room for memory boxes on a top shelf and space underneath for shoes and odds and ends.

If I had all the money in the world though, I think these would have to be my inspiration.

You can see all of these on my Fantasy House Pinterest board.

Light, airy and open. I don't see the point in hiding all your clothes away if they are in a dedicated room! I have see a few celebrity closets on the internet and none of them ever seem to have windows, they are so dark!

I adore the idea of a little stool or ottoman in the centre, so you can enjoy sitting in the space. And driftwood rails - oh my days!

What do you think? Are these walk in wardrobes over the top or a must have if you could blow the budget?!

Thank you to Lauren for having me, Lauren has fast become one of my best blogging friends, if only I could get her to move to Weston Super Mare! Have a fabulous holiday Lauren - we miss you!

If you fancy reading more about me, our family and my little life you can follow my blog here






Tomorrow and Next Week



Beanies Instant Coffee {Review}

One thing I can't go a day without is coffee. It was only when I was pregnant with Harry that I started to appreciate coffee, thanks to tea which set off my morning sickness.

I was recently offered some Beanies Instant Coffee to review. My first job was to select which flavours to choose. I went for Irish Cream and Rich Hazelnut and was sent a surprise 3rd jar, which was double chocolate.

If we have a takeaway coffee I tend to get a dash of hazelnut syrup so I had high hopes for this flavour, Irish Cream is my special treat mainly at Christmas but if we have any Irish Cream in the house then it is the law to have at least one cup of coffee with it in.

As soon as you open the caps on any of the flavours you are immediately hit by the most amazing fragrance. The coffee plus the smell of the additional flavour is quite strong but not at all overwhelming. In fact I now want candles in the exact same scents.

I went for the Double Chocolate flavour first and although I'm not a big chocolate fan, I really liked this. The smell of the chocolate was quite strong but when brewed the taste wasn't as strong, which for me was a good thing.
The Rich Hazelnut coffee also didn't disappoint and tasted better than the takeaway coffees with added syrup.

My mum was the one to try the Irish Cream flavour, and although the smell was amazing she wasn't blown away by the flavour. She found it to be a little too strong and asked for sugar to be added (she doesn't normally have sugar).
With this in mine I thought I would experiment a little and make one of my Frappucinos using this coffee. It worked SO well that I don't think I'll ever make a Frappucino with "plain" coffee again.

I would buy these flavours again, and will also be trying some of the other flavours, especially as I've just seen that Sainsburys stock them! I think next on my list to try is Cinder Toffee.

One 125g jar of Beanies Instant coffee costs £2.75.

I was sent these jars for the purpose of this review.


A Norwich Date Day

Almost a month ago we sent the boys to my mums for the day and spent a much needed day together. We
were going to go on a lovely tour of a Royal building nearby but with tours fully booked we had to think up an alternative.
So we got on the train at 9.50 and headed over to Norwich. Once we got there we found a Costa Coffee and sat enjoying a view of the river, eating a pastry each and a latte.
One thing we haven't done is to visit the Cathedral, and with nothing really planned today we decided to go and have a look around.
There was a service going on at the time so we looked at the other areas and were left stunned by the beauty of it all. I was going to include more photos of the Cathedral here but it deserves a post of it's own.

We then decided to go and get a drink from somewhere. We headed to Giraffe and chose a cocktail from their menu. We were slightly disappointed at first as these exciting flavours were quite boring in the sense that we couldn't taste the alcohol, we were pretty much convinced that we had been conned...until half an hour later when we started giggling when we popped into the shopping precinct. We then realised that there was alcohol in the cocktails afterwards.
Then it was time for food. We had booked a restuarant but we were delayed after our cocktail drinking and with it being nearby we instead tried to get into Yo Sushi, which just happened to be packed, so we thought we could just turn up at the place we had booked and apologise for being late.
On the way there though we went past a Cuban restaurant. I'd noticed it before and thought the menu looked interesting and before I knew it we were out the back sat with a menu choosing which Tapas we wanted.
We had a wonderful time here, just talking, drinking Mojitos, Daquiris, and Rum. And at this point my husband offered to treat me to a dress I had seen at Joules on the way there.
Our tapas took an hour to get to us, in which time we were a bit fed up so decided to not then order a main and instead head to Yo Sushi again. The tapas were amazing, but we just didn't want to face another hour long wait for more food.
We went via the Joules shop and I left a very happy girl with one of my dream dresses (the boat dress as featured in one of my lust lists).
We got a booth straight away at Yo Sushi and after a couple of dishes we were full and decided to get the train home. 
We had enough time to walk back via the Cathedral, this time managing to have a walk inside. 
If you are ever in Norwich you must take a look around the Cathedral, it is truly beautiful.

Arriving back in our home town we stopped off for a drink in a bar on the way back to our house.
My feet had been hurting for a while so I decided to take my boots off and walked home clutching onto them and just walking in my tights. 
It wasn't until I got home and put my pjs on that I noticed the extent of the damage my boots had caused to my feet. Blisters. OUCH!
It was a really wonderful day and I loved having my husband to myself. Enjoying each others company, having a drink together, sharing our food.

Tonight we are off to a theatre in the forest and I simply cannot wait to have that quality time with my husband, snuggled in the woodland watching Shakespeare.






Qfiber Heat Therapy Wrap {Review}

Due to bad posture, stress, carrying two boys around my body tends to ache in certain places on a regular basis. And then at a certain time of the month my back seems to completely breakdown on me. Not even paracetamol can cure the aches and pains.

I was sent a Qfiber Heat Wrap from JD Harris and was interested to see if it would cure, or help to reduce the aches and pains.

The Qfiber wrap is an advanced infrared heat therapy system used to restore health, relieve pain and rejuvenate muscles and joints. The multi-layer fabric technology releases infrared heat on contact, the same heat our bodies need from the sun to be healthy.

It's wearable therapy that goes where you go:
1-Patented Qfiber multi-layer fabric is fireproof, lightweight, formatting and emits high levels of infrared therapy.
2- Infrared heat penetrates deeper into muscles and joints than traditional heat therapy.
3- Fully adjustable contour wraps are comfortable and convenient, while staying secure and breathable for longer treatment sessions.
4- Detachable strap extensions allow for full body coverage.

I used the Qfiber Wrap for my lower back and my shoulders.
I found that a 20 minute session was enough to ease (not cure) any aches I had. It was slightly tricky to set up due to the amount of components:
Heating Pad
USB plug on heating pad
USB socket
Thermal indicator
Power and thermal button
Controller Plug
Wrap extensions
But once I used it a couple of times I knew exactly what I needed and where it needed to go.

My husband also used the wrap in his shoulders and neck as he tends to suffer with muscle aches. He saw a chiropractor earlier on this year and although the problem eased it still niggles every now and again, and the Qfiber Wrap helps him enough and stops the pain from getting any worse.

The heat wrap is currently priced at £52.95, which I think is a very reasonable price.

We were sent a Qfiber Heat Wrap from JD Harris for the purpose of this review.

Some Things I Love #6

This might well be one of my favourite blog posts ever. Not just because of the adorable subject, but also because of the photos. Katie is so talented, I'm in awe of her. I love the way she has written this and set it up.
Ok I don't really tend to swear on my blog, I may have done it twice in two years (maybe three times) but I have to share this video. Don't hit play if children are in the room.
When I watched this I almost wet myself. I had to pause it a few times because I couldn't see through tears.
I am absolutely obsessed with Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter) and the first half of this video is hilarious.

Leggings! I got 2 new pairs of leggings last week and have worn them non stop.

The boys have been playing their Barney dvd a lot this week and I am always made to perform to Mister Knickerbocker, I'm sure it's just so they can laugh at me but still.

Twitter. I never thought I would prefer Twitter over Facebook, but I do.
Most of my favourite people in one place, at the same time.
The place that can sure my loneliness, pick me up when I'm down, or equally make me feel down when I was feeling up.
I love that I can have it open on my phone, my laptop, my Kindle. Or all three if I want to be super multi-tasker-y.

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Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com


A Two Year Review

When we found out we were having another boy I worried that things might be too similar to what we had previously experienced with Charles.
Obviously everything would be the same. They would crawl at the same time, walk at the same time, talk the same, do everything the same. Look the same. Right?
I love that their looks are different, yet they have similar features and similar expressions.
Their bodies are completely different. Charles is very slim and Harry is chunky. Charles has darker hair, and Harry is blonde.

In terms of development, things have been different too.
Harry sat unaided at 21 weeks, Charles didn't sit unaided until around 6 months, he could crawl before he could sit unaided. Harry crawled a month later than Charles and walked a month later than Charles.

Speech has been the biggest difference between the two.
Charles was having clear full conversations at around 18 months. Harry isn't like that. He says lots of words, and has his various conversations. But a lot of it only we understand, and some we can't make out what he is saying and we have to guess until he tells us we are right.
I tried to relax about it, keeping in my mind that 'every child is different' but when you see and hear other children's speech you can't help but wonder if your child is behind. Does he have a problem with speech? Is it something I have done wrong?
It also doesn't help when friends comment and say "he doesn't say much does he?" or "I can't understand a word he's saying".

As a result I was nervous of his two year review. I didn't want to be told that my child was behind, that I'm not teaching him enough, that he may need speech therapy.

With a lot of faffing with the appointment we didn't see the nursery nurse we were supposed to see but instead we were "given" to the Health Visitor. I was so grateful. Despite looking scary she was SO supportive.
We talked about speech and she said children at this age are expected to say half a dozen words to full on conversations. She could see he understood things I was asking him, and heard him talking and could see he was trying. She told me to stop worrying and that if I didn't feel any more confident about his speech in September then I could pop by to the drop in centre.

After her words of reassurance, and she is a professional after all, I've realised I need to relax more.
Ok, there are things I could have done to improve Harry's speech. I became lazy second time round because I was so used to having a child who spoke to me all the time that I forgot that there was this little one that needed to learn too.
And he is getting better.
Every week he has a new word or three.

And this week he has learnt "BRAINS" in a zombie stylee. There is nothing quite as unsettling as a 2 year old boy rushing towards you growling and saying "brains" in quite a scary voice.
Who needs to have a million words and to be able to communicate with sentences when they can imitate a zombie and have the best dinosaur roar ever?!

In September I have him signed up to try out a Tumble Tots class and will make an effort to take him to some toddler groups. I'm not going to worry myself about the adult interaction and put pressure on myself to make friends.
I need to do it for Harry. For him to have interaction with other children, learning to share and queue and be patient.

It's probably the only positive to Charles going to school, Harry will now have time to really grow and blossom and develop. I can get to know him more and realise what he needs help with and what he doesn't.

At the moment I won't take him to the speech therapy dtop in centre, but with it being a monthly thing I know I can take him anytime I feel I need to.

Walking away from the appointment I felt a massive sense of achievement and a weight lifted from my shoulders.
Full of pride of my littlest boy.
Who is doing just fine.



Win Tickets To Lollibop with Skylanders *24 Hour Competition*

Now going into its fourth year, LolliBop remains the UK’s biggest ever festival for kids. It’s designed to delight mini festival goers, providing the best summers day out for under 10s and their families. This year, LolliBoppers will be among the first in the UK to play Skylanders SWAP Force, which introduces the new play pattern of dynamic swapability, before it hits the shops in October.

Skylanders SWAP Force introduces a whole new way of playing with the introduction of 16 new characters, whose top and bottom halves can be swapped to create new characters, providing players with 256 unique character combinations. And if having a play of this fantastic new game before the October launch wasn’t enough, the Skylanders arena at the festival will also have other fun Skylanders activities such as dress up, face painting and puzzles!

Sound good? Well, enter this competition for the chance to win a family ticket to Lollibop this weekend!

To win a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) for either the Saturday OR the Sunday please fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

Please be clear on the Terms and Conditions:
  • The competition will close 7pm Wednesday 14th August. You must be able to reply to an email and send your details to me on Wednesday evening so I can send your details on Thursday morning (Augst 15th).
  • You will recieve one family ticket (for two adults, two children)
  • Tickets can be for either the Saturday or the Sunday of the festival.
  • Tickets will be sent in the post, to arrive on Friday 16th August.
  • No travel or other costs are provided – just the tickets.
  • Please fill in the Rafflecopter form correctly,

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School with Nutmeg {Review}

 With Charles starting big boy school in September we are on a mad rush to get his uniform together and perfect before we go on holiday at the end of August.
We were lucky enough to be sent some pieces from Nutmeg to start off our school uniform collection.
Until recently I wasn't aware of the Nutmeg brand. We've just had a second Morrisons store open in the town near us and whilst shopping in there I saw the new aisle dedicated to clothing.

Morrisons have said about the Nutmeg brand:
We think what makes Nutmeg a bit different is the thoughtful details. Knowing there's nothing worse than a tickly label, all the clothes (school and non-school) are free from rough, itchy or tickly labels. And all jackets, tops and t-shirts are made from super soft fabrics for all day comfort. DIY is a big theme in the collection – where there's a zip, they're are big and chunky so kids can do them up themselves and trousers have adjustable waistbands, designed to be easily pulled up and perfect for growth spurts. Get more info on the Nutmeg range here.

We were sent a pack of white polo tshirts, a pair of grey trousers, a blue sweatshirt, a pack of socks and a pair of plimsolls.
The tshirts are in a size 4-5 and are a perfect fit for Charles. They are good quality and well made. They are also soft and from a previous browse around shops in town I found some white polo shirts can be quite rough and 'scratchy'. A pack of 2 polo tshirts cost £2.

The trousers, again are in a size 4-5, and I can't really give an opinion on the fit as Charles is SUPER slim and always needs the aid of an adjustable waist, which thankfully these trousers have. They also have belt loops if the adjustable waist isn't enough.
They are quite long but this isn't an issue as I can simply 'wonder-web' them to size and over time let them down as Charles grows.
Again, the quality is good.
These trousers are priced at £3.

Although Charles will be wearing a branded school sweatshirt I ordered a blue sweatshirt for him to use in PE lessons. Again, it is well made, nice and thick which makes me confident that he won't freeze when playing sports games outside in the winter months.
It fits perfectly, with a little bit of room to grow and I think could easily last 2 winters.
The sweatshirt costs £3.

I ordered a size 8 in the plimsolls not realising Charles now needed a size 9, so I can't comment on the fit. They are slip on and feel really solid. I've taken some photos of them to show the quality of them as it was something that impressed by.
The plimsolls cost £3.

I was quite surprised by the socks. A pack of 5 ankle socks cost just £2! I expected them to maybe be thin but they are PERFECT. Not to thick, not too thin and the sizing is perfect. I can't fault them at all.

We were sent the items listed for the purpose of this review. Thank you Morrisons.


A Gift For No Reason {Review}

You know how people seem to think they can comment on any and every aspect of your life? Well it seems a few people find it appropriate to comment on the way we handle our finances.
In a nutshell its, Get wages, pay bills, the rest of the money is your own.
None of this joint account stuff, or your money is my money stuff. It's how we do it and it works.

It also means we can treat each other more. My husband will treat me every now and then to new outfits, new make up, a cd or dvd. Or even just a meal out or a takeaway.
For me, as a stay at home mum with a tiny income thanks to blogging, I can't treat my husband as often as I would like but it doesn't matter how big the gift is, its the thought that counts.

I was recently given the opportunity to review a book from Presents for Men and their humorous/joke book section.
With my husband being a fan of Top Gear and James May I chose "How to Land an A330 Airbus".
If your husband/partner, dad, brother, uncle, grandad, son, likes James May, and wants to learn how to land an a330 airbus and other vital skills for the Modern Man then this is the book for them.
We laughed at the other categories in the book too, from how to deliver twins to how to survive a week at Butlins.
Full of funny moments but interesting facts and information my husband couldn't put this book down.
I am definitely tempted to buy more of the same not only for Christmas but also for a random "you deserve this" treat gift.

This book costs just £8.99 and is available to buy at PresentsforMen.co.uk.

We were sent a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.


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