Tuesday 19 November 2019

37 and 38 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

We’re well and truly into the “any minute!” phase of pregnancy now. Throw the bags by the door, make sure you’ve shaved your legs and get the panic stations ready! It’s go time! Or... that’s what everyone had me believing at 37 weeks. Writing this right now I’m actually 38+5 and I am the most pregnant I have ever been and I’m so unreasonably annoyed by that fact!

I’ll begin with my 37 week appointment. I’d last seen the midwife at 35 weeks and there had been zero sign of anything happened of course- you aren’t considered early term till 37 weeks. At the 37 week appointment I did mention to her that for a few days I’d had some light spotting but I wasn’t worried (though ANY bleeding in pregnancy should always be checked - always tell your midwife or consultant!) and that he felt lower than usual. She palpated my stomach and declared his head was beginning to engage 1/5 of the way down and that most third babies don’t do this till you’re close to giving birth. After a quick measure and a glance at my birth history, she confidently told me she doubted I’d make it to my 39 week appointment and he’d probably come soon.

Well of course I’ve been obsessed with every fart and stomach rumble since that day. I’ve had every labour sign you can google and more. Has he come? Of course not.

It isn’t just the midwife. Everyone is aware I had my last two at 37 and 38 weeks - even though Archer was an induction and doesn’t count - and so everyone has been on edge expecting me to have had him by now. Where’s the baby? Have you had him yet? He will *definitely* be here by the weekend! Spoiler: he wasn’t.

I sound cross and I am- I feel like everyone got my hopes up, including myself. It doesn’t help that I’ve had regular occurrences of prodromal labour (real early contractions that come and go daily without becoming active labour) with some pains genuinely taking my breath away and lasting hours regularly. Every twinge has me wondering if it’s finally go time....

It’s a torturous time. I have no idea when things will happen, or how they’ll happen. I’m on google more than I ever have been and I can’t help obsessing over it. You can tell me to relax but it’s one of the most life changing intense things a woman goes through- I can’t help but feel like my brain revolves around it all. I know reading and wondering won’t make it come any quicker but it gives me a sense of control in a fully uncomfortable and uncontrollable time.

So... baby is fine. He’s pretty low but he seems comfortable and I’m none the wiser. He could come when I finish writing this, or I may even go full term for the first time! Other than the frustration of the unknown and obvious discomforts, there isn’t much else to say except that I can’t wait to meet him. 

(And you’ll be proud to know, at 37 weeks and 2 days I finally bothered to pack the hospital bag!)

Four Year Old Girls Christmas Gift Guide

As Isla gets older, she gets more and more excited for Christmas. At four she’s completely grasped the concept and by September she was already talking about what she was going to ask Father Christmas to bring her. To be honest as she gets older the range of things suitable for her age in the shops can be a little overwhelming as more and more things are released every year! I thought I’d share this gift guide to give you some idea of the things she is getting and to give you some ideas for your own four or five year old!

Some items were gifted for inclusion in this guide. 

Isla has been obsessed with the My Fairy Garden range for a few months as she is constantly seeing it advertised on the television so I know she’s going to be thrilled with the new dragon tower they’ve released! It comes with little characters for her to play with and a beautifully presented tower for her to grow her own grass and pea shoots. I’m actually really excited for her to grow some things of her own- she grew sunflowers at school this year and it was a great learning opportunity so this gift should be too. 

The 3Doodler is amazing and honestly I have so much envy for my own childhood toys not being as good as this. Using the special pen children can essentially 3D print their own designs or follow on the designs in the book that comes with it. From sunglasses to jewellery, there are loads of ideas in the guide and I can’t wait till Isla comes up with her own ideas for what to make. If you have a creatively inclined child and you’re looking to branch away from stereotypical colouring and painting I’d definitely recommend this for Christmas. 

Isla is a massive music fan- she’s always singing along to the radio or having her own impromptu discos in the living room, so the Toniebox is absolutely PERFECT for her. Think of it as a child friendly and interactive speaker. The Toniebox itself comes in a variety of colours (we’ve chosen a festive green) and the starter set comes with a creative Tonie figure- we can upload up to 90 minutes of MP3 into this and when Isla wants to listen she can simply pop the character on top! When she’s done she just has to take him off again. As well as the creative Tonie, there are loads of other characters available for purchase which make amazing stocking fillers or additional collectibles- perfect for a relative who isn’t sure what to get your children. The characters all come preloaded with music and stories and as our two are currently Lion King mad, of course we’ve gone with Simba- there’s something for everyone though ranging from the Snowman (perfect for Christmas), to the Gruffalo and loads of classic Disney characters. I’m really excited to build our collection and I know the Toniebox is going to be huge this year.

Fuzzikins Fuzzi Street

Continuing with our “creative” arts and crafts style presents this year we’re going to give Isla this Fuzzikins Fuzzi Street set. These sets come with all customisable features which I think will keep Isla busy for hours. The fuzzy characters can be decorated with the stickers and felt tips included and then washed if she wants to start again! The shop can also be coloured and decorated and so can the accessories. Isla absolutely loves little “characters” and role playing with them and I love the fact that this range adds in the crafty element and can be done more than once!

I remember Blopens being on television adverts even when I was a child and I always wanted some of my own to make spotty art! I’m really excited for Isla to use these and see what she comes up with. Using stencils and blowing, children create loads of different pictures and blend colours together easily with an airbrush effect. All the stencils are reusable and I know this gift will offer hours of fun for her and any child who loves to get creative. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks Art Station

We’re already big fans of the Little Brian Paint Sticks range in this house- we were gifted some of their fabric paint sticks from our friend for Isla’s birthday and I love how practical and clean they are vs traditional paint and brushes. I’m really excited about the Paint Sticks Art Station- there are two sides meaning Archer and Isla can draw together at the same time. One side is chalk and one you can hang paper and it all wipes clean- it also comes with the paint and chalk sticks. I hate saying “no” when Isla wants to paint and this will take the worry of her ruining the house out of things now. Everything you need for instant art is I the box so they can use it as soon as it’s out of the box and popped up! 

Chocolate Emoji Maker

What’s Christmas without chocolate? Jumping on the popularity of Emojis (my child is known to laugh at the poop one very often) these little kits make the perfect stocking filler and Isla will get to make her very own chocolate emoji. Once the brown is melted into the mould, she can use the white to draw her own designs or her favourites (again I expect the poop to be featured!). Yummy and creative, and a lovely activity to do together. We really like the little packs of things for a little activity time by Zimplii kids so I’m excited for her to try this. 

Balloon Fun by Lotte Moore

When I was a child, my mum always made a point of ensuring I got something new to read every Christmas- it can’t all be toys! This is something I’m keen to continue with my own children and Isla is just beginning to learn to read herself, so we read to her every night to keep her passion for reading high. This year she’s getting a lovely colourful and fun book by Lotte Moore- Balloon Fun. It tells the story of a fancy dress party attended by two cheeky balloons... I wonder what mischief they may have? It’s a lovely little book with really bright illustrations which I think will make her smile!

The Dessineo Learn to Draw is a wonderful set designed to teach children to draw recognisable shapes and characters (cars, animals, people) and it’s perfect for keeping Isla entertained and for encouraging her creative mind to keep developing. With step by step guides as well as a projector to shine through and help her trace, I’m sure after no time she will be the master of drawing! There are 30 templates to slot into the projector for hours of fun and keep her busy. I’m really keen on this as the tracing and copying will really help her fine motor skills with a pencil which is perfect as she begins learning to write in school. 

Colourmazing 3D Jungle Adventures

The Colourmazing 3D drawing range are a really fun and innovative way of keeping children entertained. The sets come with magic ink and various activities to keep them busy. As they colour with the special pens, the ink spreads and blends together before magically stopping at the lines (so very little chance for them to get upset over leaving the lines!), and each activity sheet can be assembled to create something 3D- in this jungle set they can even create a mobile for their bedroom!

Toddlers Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is a truly magical time of year, and I’m so excited for it this year. Archer has hit the magical age of two and a half and is really beginning to take the world in and understand things- we’ve been mentioning Father Christmas and presents and it seems he’s finally grasping it (even though when asked what he wants, he responds “pizza” every time). I’m really excited for him to experience opening presents this year, and I’m sharing what he’s getting with you all so you have ideas what to buy your own toddler for Christmas this year. 

Some items were gifted in exchange for inclusion in this guide. 

If you have a toddler, you’ll know they don’t sleep. Archer especially is a very light sleeper and often finds ways to delay bedtime- thankfully a story always helps and we’re gifting him this lovely personal book for Christmas! I was able to customise the features of the child in the book to represent him and the story features his name throughout which I believe will fascinate him. Add in the fact the theme is going to sleep and I’m hoping this story becomes a regular bedtime feature!

Atlantic Nano Junior 3-Wheeler Scooter by Skates.co.uk

Archer has been asking for a scooter for as long as I can remember and now he’s close to 2 and a half years old I think he’s finally big enough to try one out. It was really hard finding one that I felt was suitable for his size (he isn’t the tallest) while still being easy to use with three wheels and that could grow with him. We got this scooter from Skate Shop- they have a huge range for all ages and the quality is amazing. The wheels are sturdy which will help him balance and the height can be adjusted as he needs which was a must have feature for us so it will last!

I’m absolutely in love with this book. It’s fully personalised with Archers name and face and tells the story of his Christmas preparation- from sneaking downstairs to check the presents, to eating snacks when he shouldn’t! The story is beautifully presented and I know Archer will find it hilarious to follow himself and see his face doing all the things illustrated. You can add a message at the beginning too when personalising. It makes a wonderful gift and it’s something I know will be kept a very long time and read over and over. 

Swimming is completely essential life skill for children and we are planning on starting swimming lessons for both our children in the new year. As part of this, we are giving Archer a Mini Manta swim support so he can begin practicing before hand. The float is perfect for his age and building his early confidence floating in the water and is designed to promote the proper body position in water for learning to swim. It’s the perfect practical gift for this age group, rather than purely buying toys!

Count with Peppa

I’m so excited by this toy as not only does it feature one of Archer’s favourite characters, but it’s educational too. Peppa comes with ten different coloured coins and helps teach your little one their basic counting number skills, as well as first colours in a fun interactive way. I can see him sitting and playing with this for hours (he is very into posting things at the moment) and I’m happy knowing it will be teaching him too- when he posts the coins into the slot it adds them up and I can see he will pick it up quickly by copying!

Mr Tumble Learning Pad

Archer absolutely loves Mr Tumble and the programme Something Special, and I’m really excited by this toy. He’s always watching us use phones and computers so he’s been keen to get his hands on his own “tech” so this first tablet is perfect for him at this age where he’s still too small for a proper one. The Tumble learning pad teaches numbers, letters, instruments and more in a fun interactive way and again, at this age, I’m a fan of any toy that can provide an educational element while still being fun. It features most of the characters from the show and its so colourful, I know it'll capture his attention.

Crackle Baff Colours & Gelli Baff by Zimplii Kids

Archer is a huge bath addict- I can’t have my own without him insisting on taking over with toys and bubbles and I am so excited by the Crackle Baff and Gelli Baff by Zimplii kids. We’ve used the Gelli Baff before when he was younger (yes he ate a fair bit but thankfully it’s non toxic and he was fine!) to create a fun colourful sensory experience in the bath. There are also smaller packets available for fun sensory activities including ones that make snow which are perfect for tuff trays or sensory boxes this winter! The crackle baff are a definite favourite for my children as it literally makes the water snap and crackle like popping candy.

Newborn Baby Christmas Gift Guide

If you’ve been following along for the last nine months, you’ll know I am currently due my third and final baby, just in time for Christmas! My last two children were early summer babies, so when it came to Christmas shopping for them it was easy to branch into proper “first toys” as they were beginning to crawl and really interact with the world. But what do you buy for a newborn baby?

Of course I wanted to get him some things as he’s still a person and it would mean the world to the bigger children and their belief in it all if he’s also got presents under the tree, so today I’m sharing some practical and sentimental ideas for what to buy a newborn baby for Christmas! 

Some items were sent in exchange for inclusion in this gift guide. 

Jelly Cat First Rattle

I absolutely love the Jelly Cat range for babies and children. All three of my children have the small rabbit in different colours, and when I saw there was also a rattle version I couldn’t resist- it will be the perfect first toy as it’s so soft and perfect for a newborn. 

Johnson’s Bathtime Gift Set

A more practical gift but still perfect for unwrapping! Johnson’s Baby have produced this wonderfully presented bath gift set with all their classic bath products and a soft bath puzzle. While baby is too small to enjoy the puzzle I’m sure his big brother and sister will enjoy helping him with it when they’re in the bath together, and a lovely calm bath at the end of Christmas Day will help him sleep after all the excitement. 

Beatrix Potter Muslins by Enesco 

Enesco have the most beautiful Beatrix Potter range for babies and I think they’re the absolute perfect gift. Most presents for a newborn would really be for the enjoyment of the parent opening them and they’re the perfect soft design to suit almost every taste. Perfect for wiping a milky mouth after Christmas lunch!

Personalised Bunny by Giftpup 

If you’re looking for a more sentimental present, Giftpup have a huge range of personalised gifts and we’ve got our little man this bunny with his name on. It’s actually the first thing we have with his name on and I’m hoping he keeps it for all his life. It’s incredibly soft and such good quality- perfect to last and something that will always remind us of his first Christmas with our family. While he’s too small to cuddle it now, it will look lovely in his nursery and then become the perfect cuddly toy as he grows. 

Doidy Weaning Gift Set

When it comes to buying for a newborn it’s definitely worth considering a gift for the months to come. By the time a baby is born the majority of the newborn and early days items have already been bought! That’s why we’re wrapping up this lovely weaning set by Doidy, ready for when he’s a big boy and moving onto trying foods. As far off as it seems, I’m excited for him to use the slanted cup which will be much better for his teeth and the bowl has a suction base meaning hopefully by next christmas he will know better than to throw his dinner!

Monday 4 November 2019

Perfect Parent Planner [Review. Giveaway on Instagram]

Let’s talk organisation! As a parent I’m ridiculously unorganised. I forget appointments and have to double check the dates over and over again to get them to stick, and now both kids are in clubs and being invited to birthday parties nearly every weekend it really is all on top of me- especially being as pregnant as I am and suffering with baby brain!

I was recently sent the Perfect Parent Planner and it’s safe to say this baby has changed everything. There’s a section for every little thing a parent needs to keep on top of- from family finances, school dates, club dates all the way to party planning and Christmas planning. There are even sections for gratitude and positive goals and affirmations which are wonderful additions for some positivity amongst the chaos of family life.

Having somewhere to actually write down my goals regularly and my dreams has me motivated to actually achieve them and has given me so much more focus and drive than I had before. There’s even a section for “me time” which is something I often forget as a mum. I’ll be sure to add plans in there every month once baby is here.

I’m usually writing random things either on my phone or random tables on excel in an attempt to organise myself and to be honest I usually forget all about them and end up winging it. Thankfully I’ve been able to start using the planner already as it includes some months from 2019 as well as a section for Christmas this year as well as next. If it wasn’t for this years Christmas section I’d have no idea who I’ve already bought for and where I am with my budget!

I couldn’t recommend it enough for getting yourself organised and it’s just a huge bonus that it’s presented so beautifully.

Be sure to check the store out here and you can visit my Instagram here for the chance to win your very own in time for 2020 as I’m giving one away!

I was sent a planner in exchange for this honest review. Photos and words are my own. Giveaway not in association with Instagram.

36 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

It’s been a few weeks. Admittedly I’ve had things I’d like to write about but I just haven’t had the energy! Pregnancy is officially kicking my butt and I’ve gone from not really caring when I give birth, to wanting this baby out as soon as healthily possible because I am done!

I’m currently in week 36 which means “full term” really is on the horizon. They say 37 weeks is when baby is developed enough to be born, and labour really does become any minute from that point. I had Archer at exactly 37+1 but that was induction as a result of my SPD. I had isla at 38+1 which is good for a first baby so I’m hoping this baby follows trend. Part of me is relieved to have made it to the end but the truthful part is, who knows when the end really is?

People have began asking me in the street “when is baby coming?” but no answer seems satisfactory. I say “the end of November!” and I’m met with comments about how I must be wrong because that’s so long away and I’ve looked ready to burst for weeks and Baby is just *so low*. If I say “I don’t know!” which is actually the only truthful answer because due dates are nonsense and better ignored, people look at me like I’m crazy for not knowing. I’ve even answered “any time from 1-5 weeks from now!” which allows for birth between 37-42 weeks and again I’m looked at like I’m insane. It’s gotten me quite cross as I realise I’m counting down for absolutely no reason because nothing is certain. 

Ranting about the undefinable countdown to getting this baby out aside, as I said I am done with pregnancy and I’ve remembered exactly how much it is rubbish at the end. I’m currently host to a wiggly squirmy entity who makes me cry if I don’t eat every half an hour but when I do eat I don’t have room for more than a few bites before I’m done. I’m also host to a haemorrhoid so large I’m worried the baby will think it’s his mother instead of me and honestly sitting down has become a literal pain in the bum. The worst part is I’m so upset about it making me walk like I’ve had an accident that I’m happy to tell everyone and their mum about it just so they don’t think I’ve had an accident... 

Nesting is gearing up and this week I scrubbed some mildew marks off a wall and windowsill in my bedroom so hard that I stripped some paint off- but who cares, it’ll look so much better for the baby right? I had the uncontrollable urge to sleep for days after such a hard activity so the rest of the house is a state, but the wall is clean so it’s okay. 

I think it’s sort of clear I’m not having fun anymore. I’ve been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions and every now and then one will hurt a little in my back or make it harder to breathe which has me a little hopeful that my body is getting ready for the big day. I’ve also had a couple of tiny spots of red/pink in the last week which could be my cervix softening which is also a great sign. 

I’ll probably look back on this pregnancy fondly. I’m so grateful everything is healthy with baby and of course that I am pregnant at all... so I feel bad for moaning so much. It’s just one of the absolute toughest thing a body goes through and with the SPD and swelling and contractions and lack of sleep I’m turning into a beast. I’ve shouted at Jack more in the last week than I count and I can’t even remember why! Sorry Jack. 

1-5 weeks to go! Haha. 

Monday 14 October 2019

The urge to nest in pregnancy

I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts that strangely I have had little urge to actually get “ready” for baby number three. Of course it’s something I want to do and will do, but there has been little urgency and I’ve been exceptionally relaxed about it all compared to when I was pregnant with Isla and Archer.

With Isla, I had the nursery painted and put together around 2-3 months before she was due. By 32 weeks I had a fully stocked hospital bag complete with an instruction list for the last minute things to be picked up and where they would be. I was reorganising and repacking everything in her bag and room for weeks and the night before I went into labour I spent ages folding all her sleepsuits again. The urge to nest was overwhelming (although unfortunately for Jack it didn’t stretch to me actually doing much cleaning, just a lot of fussing with baby things haha). 

With Archer, having the pelvis issues, I got his room put together at 28 weeks. By 30 weeks, all his things were washed and organised and his room was ready to go. Of course, as I did with Isla, I spent a lot of unnecessary time in there fussing over it all. I had my hospital bag done by 32 weeks, and again I spent a lot of time writing lists and planning it and reorganising it over and over again to be the most efficient bag it could be. This was only fuelled by the fact I was induced as I had a lot more time to plan for specific dates and even prepare overnight bags for Isla. Again, I didn’t branch too far into tidying (I was too sore and in the wheelchair by the end!) but I would try as much as I could because I didn’t want the baby to come home to clutter. 

This third time around, as I said, I’ve been ridiculously relaxed. I’m about to hit 34 weeks and I’ve only just started to feel any urge to get it all done. Of course, frustratingly, now that I feel that nesting desire I can’t actually do anything to appease it.

Our third bedroom had a leak when we moved in and the wallpaper has always been a state (Archer admittedly made the loose parts worse) and being rented there wasn’t much we could do until the landlord agreed it would be good to redo the room. Thankfully she did give the go ahead and we have decorators plastering and sorting it all out. They’ve been here a week and should hopefully be done soon which is a relief as my house is full of misplaced furniture and boxes of new things for the baby. 

Once they’re done, I’m going to try and get it all sorted ASAP. I feel as though once that’s done I’ll be able to begin hospital bags and folding clothes and fussing again. It’s increasingly anxiety inducing knowing I can’t do it yet, but at the same time part of me is still relaxed and tempted to just pack the moment I go into labour. 

Luckily for Jack I actually have the urge to clean as well. This weekend he helped me do a big detail clean in the kitchen and he’s been down at floor level where I can’t go (without getting stuck that is) emptying and tidying the kitchen cupboards for me. I’ve also been fussing over the bathroom being as clean as possible (what if I go into labour on the loo and the ambulance comes in and sees a smeary mirror?!) and ensuring the carpet in the living room is clean. 

I’ve heard some women are up in the middle of the night cleaning and painting and organising things to a crazy extent... personally, as much as my skirting boards could use a wipe sometimes, I enjoy what little sleep I can get far too much for that nonsense. 

Did you do anything crazy when you nested? Or did you find yourself more relaxed with subsequent pregnancies? I’d love to know!

Friday 11 October 2019

33 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

I wonder if I’m writing far too much about pregnancy sometimes on this little blog of mine, but the fact is pregnancy literally takes over nearly every aspect of life.

I’m 33 weeks now, and it’s nearly all I can think about. It’s a big change considering a month or so ago I was worried that I was too switched off from it all and dismissive. I was actually forgetting I was pregnant sometimes.

I’m obsessing over the baby’s bedroom and his furniture. We’ve been waiting for the decorators to come in and do some work and we’ve had to fully empty what is currently Archer’s room for them, so the entire house is in disarray. That didn’t stop me going to Ikea because I simply couldn’t wait any longer and buying all his things to go in there once we reassemble the room. Of course my pregnant brain glossed over the fact I couldn’t actually build the furniture or store it anywhere so my living room is now full of unopened boxes in top of the million packages of baby things I haven’t got a home for yet.

I’ve also began getting the occasional “nesting” panic. I was cleaning the bathroom a few days ago and began worrying about the few mildew spots in the sealing around the bath and the fact the gaps between the tiles aren’t properly white anymore. When will I wash and organise his clothes if the decorators don’t hurry up? Will be have to be naked if he’s born before then? This is all illogical thinking of course because I have seven weeks. Relax Steph. Perhaps I was better off not caring so much about the prep!

Physically I’m not amazing. The SPD is of course still an annoyance and I still can’t push myself too much or I’ll be in pain the next day or so and unable to do anything- I actually just got an exciting product designed especially for helping with SPD which I’ll be sharing soon, hopefully it helps. Round ligament pain is irritating me in the night too which has made moving in bed in general nearly impossible without a lot of effort and grunting... sorry Jack. It’s generally worse when I need to pee as it adds weight and pressure to everything, but needing to pee is exactly why I need to move to get out of bed and of course I can’t move because of it all.... it’s a very annoying cycle.

I’m moaning so much about it all. I do enjoy being pregnant, I just don’t particularly enjoy the fact my body just doesn’t seem to cope with pregnancy. It’s disheartening to see women about to give birth who can still jog or exercise or just bend over in general when my body seems to have struggled physically all three times. I understand some people have it worse, but that doesn’t make me feel better. At least I can say I’ve officially passed the milestone I ended up in a wheelchair last time!

Baby is doing well. He kicks regularly and he seems to be getting quite heavy now. Favouring head down, he spends a lot of time massaging my lungs with his feet which is the absolute worst so of course I give him a shove because I do need to breathe actually mate! I just can’t wait to meet him.

7 weeks to go!

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Ten baby boy names we love but won’t be using!

We picked a name for baby number three when I was around 18 weeks pregnant. We’d found out we were having a boy at 16 weeks and had been discussing names for both boys and girls long before we knew! It took a lot longer for us to pick Archer’s name than it did for this little one, and I’m pretty sure (if my baby brain serves me well) that I was suggesting Isla from 13 weeks onwards.

Friends and family do know his name but I likely won’t be sharing it on my blog or social media until he’s born. There’s always the tiniest chance we will change our minds once he’s here and it’s quite fun keeping one aspect secret when I’m usually so public with everything else. 

With that said, here are ten baby boy names either myself or Jack liked that we will not be using!

1. Ozzy

Jack absolutely loved the idea of Ozzy (yes, as in osbourne) and he nearly had me for a minute before I decided it sounded too much like a pets name. I considered it as a nickname for something like Oscar but he vetoed that idea. 

2. Bowie

Can you see a theme? We’re both massive music nerds and this one was my idea. I even considered it for Archer, or a shortened version/homage “Beau” but Jack wasn’t keen as it would likely be mispronounced, just like David Bowie himself used to complain about. 

3. Forest

This was another of mine. I thought it sounded really outdoorsy and rustic, just like Archer. I got Robin Hood vibes with the duo! Of course, one mention of Forest Gump had me and Jack change our minds instantly. I still think it’s a lovely name but I couldn’t personally shake the association. 

4. Michael

Jack suggested this name a lot for Archer. He thought it went well with our surname, but I’ve always disliked the shortened version of “Mike” so I just couldn’t go with it. 

5. Finn 

One of my top names last time and this time. I don’t know why but I just think it’s a really sweet name... but it didn’t seem right. There wasn’t a particular reason, except it sounding like it suited him or our family. 

6. Henry

This was my favourite, besides Bowie. I love the name Henry and I think it ages exceptionally well, as well as being cute and suited for a little toddler. It was all too odd though seeing as Jack’s best friend and the children’s “godfather” is called Henry. 

7. Charlie 

I suggested this one and just like the name Henry, Jack has a very close friend with this name so again he didn’t like the idea of using it! I know some people don’t mind this sort of thing but it just doesn’t sit properly with us. 

8. Jacob

I love this name! I don’t even know why but it’s definitely always been high on my list. Jack didn’t even hate it and I sort of loved how similar it was to his own name... until Jack suggested that he liked the shortened “Jake” which I actually couldn’t stand for some reason which struck it off my suggestion list pretty quickly. 

9. David

We both liked David when I was pregnant with Archer. Again, it was an homage to David Bowie in my eyes and Jack likes “normal” sounding names. It was a big contender for our boys until Jack started putting on what I can only describe as a “pub voice” and calling the babies Baby Dave! It was funny for a moment but it became too much of a joke for me to to take the name seriously anymore. 

10. George 

I pushed for this name almost till the minute before we decided on Archer during my second pregnancy. It came up again this time but I wasn’t as passionate about it... it took me a while to get over the fact Jack wouldn’t agree to it back then (although it definitely wouldn’t have suited Archer in hindsight!) so maybe I’d just let the idea of a son called George go?

I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with any of these names, don’t get me wrong! They’re actually some of our favourites. It’s just so hard to find the name that really fits with baby and with the family... With that said I’m ridiculously happy with what we’ve picked and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

Which baby names would you have put on your top ten?

Tuesday 8 October 2019

New Baby Brother- Do they understand?

In a little over a month, I’ll be classed as full term and really getting things sorted for baby number three. It’s obvious by my blooming bump that I’m very pregnant and the house is full of baby talk.

With that in mind I’ve started to wonder how well my children understand what is going on. Do they really *get* how much it’s going to change when their new brother is here? Do they understand he will be with us forever?

When I was pregnant with Archer, Isla was under two and she had an exceptional grasp on language. Through conversations and explanations she seemed to really know what was what. If asked, she would explain about mummy going to the hospital, and that the baby would come out of her tummy and that he was a brother. I did sometimes question if she understood or if she was just parroting the things we have told her, but in the end she adjusted ridiculously well and very quickly.

Now that she’s four, of course she has a much better understanding of the world, and having gone through getting a new sibling before I do think she’s prepared but perhaps not mentally or emotionally... it’s a lot to take in and maybe just talking about it will never be enough. Though she understands it might still be a shock and a big change to the dynamics she is used to. I hope she adjusts as quickly as she did last time.

Archer is older than Isla was during my last pregnancy but he doesn’t have the same grasp on language she had. He talks well for his age and listens well but she was more advanced. As he doesn’t speak as much as she did, it’s sometimes hard to work out how much he is taking in. He’s naturally quieter and thinks about things a lot. I do talk to him about it all and ask him questions and while he responds most of the time, he does get bored of the topic quite fast and ignore me!

When we went to our 4D scan (you can read about that here) he did suddenly seem to associate us talking about “baby brother” with my growing stomach which has been a big breakthrough. He likes to hug my tummy and kiss it and if we ask about baby brother he knows where he is. We’ve also got a few of our scan photos around which he calls by the baby’s name.

I suppose we will just have to wait and see if his association switches from photos and a baby bump to the actual baby once he is here!

They both love babies so I’m not worried too much about whether or not they’re “ready” as I think that will just develop once he’s here. Until then we are just continuing talking about it all as much as we can and we’ve been reading stories that include babies, as well as talking about baby brother every time we buy something for him.

How did you get your little ones ready for a new arrival? I’d love to hear any advice or experiences you’ve had. 

Friday 4 October 2019

Envirokidz Cereal- Breakfast with a purpose! [Review & Giveaway]

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and now Isla is in full time school it really is! I do what I can to make sure she’s had a good start to the day so she keeps her energy up till her lunch- all the fun and learning can really drain her.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been trying the Envirokidz cereals by Nature’s Path every morning. There are currently three different varieties to try- Leapin Lemurs, Gorilla Munch and Choco Chimps!

Envirokidz cereals are high in fibre, dairy free, gluten free, organic and according to my children- yummy! I was actually a little concerned that being a “healthier” cereal they wouldn’t take to them or they would taste bland- they aren’t fussy kids, but they like the sugary kinds of cereal usually and have turned their noses up at some brands in the past... I don’t know if it was the fun packaging or the fact that it’s healthy AND some are chocolate flavour still, but each box has been a hit! It’s a huge relief to not have any arguments about eating before school. 

Even Jack has been on board with them as he’s been trying to eat healthier lately!

I will admit the peanut butter taste in the Leapin Lemurs didn’t jump out at me but they were still gone within a week with all of us enjoying them.

These aren’t your fun themed cereals though- each pack is themed around the animal they’re named after and features fun facts and activities which aim to teach children to protect the world they live in- they even have things to do inside the box before you recycle it! Nature’s Path also donate 1% of all sales to support endangered species and each of the animals featured is an animal they help through the donations. How wonderful is that?

If you’d be interested in trying them, they’re £2.99 a box which is pretty reasonable for a branded cereal in my opinion- add on that they have a better purpose and it’s definitely more worth it!

You can also check out the widget below and enter to win the range yourself! Good luck!

I was gifted these cereals in exchange for review. All words, photos and opinions are my own. Please ensure you read the T&Cs of the giveaway if entering. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 3 October 2019

32 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

Let me preface this post with the following statement: I love/hate my iron pills.

I’ve been taking them for two weeks now, and the difference is ridiculous. I didn’t realise how tired and miserable and just *done* I felt until they made me feel a bit better. Anyone who has had anemia knows how horrible it is- it shouldn’t be taken lightly and brushed off as normal pregnancy exhaustion and I couldn’t even climb the stairs in one go- but honestly even just two weeks of these pills and I’m a different person.

The side effect of iron... not so good. Let’s just say my poop is not nice... it’s green and very often (though for some, its a once a week treat) and I’ve nearly been caught short on my waddle home from taking Isla to school. The pills are also causing a huge amount of heartburn as I’ve been taking them with a little orange juice as recommended. To counteract the heartburn, I take antacids. They contain calcium that stops the iron being properly absorbed as well as it should - it’s all a very dull cycle, so the midwife has told me I can cut down to two a day till a few weeks postpartum. 

Back to the general pregnancy though! I’m 32 weeks today. The home stretch is flying by and absolutely nothing is ready, yay! We have the majority of the things we wanted and needed for him and I’m really excited to share it all with you, but nothing is actually ready, it’s all just stacked in my living room. We’re waiting for the builders to come and fix up the back bedroom before we buy our storage bits or set up. Thankfully they’re coming on Monday so I’m feeling confident we will get it done. 

Maybe it’s a third baby thing... I feel the urge to nest and get ready but I’m being patient as I know I can’t. It’s a strange comparison to the last two where everything (even my bag for hospital!) was done by this point.

I do feel more well in myself. It’s a huge relief. The SPD though? That’s getting worse. I’m needing a long hot bath with salts nearly every other night just to relieve some of the pain and pressure from my pelvis and even moving slightly too fast has me crying out in pain, worrying anyone who hears. I’m doing what I can to not just tough it out and I’m still not as bad as last time (by this week of pregnancy I couldn’t go out without a wheelchair) so the midwife is happy to ignore the topic of induction so I can stay under her care instead of moving to a consultant. 

Yes it’s a little miserable. I can’t carry my son. I can cook and do dishes and tidy, but slowly and with rests during even the smallest jobs. I can’t roll over in bed without sounding like a cow mooing in pain. I’m coping though and I’m happy to carry on for the next 8ish weeks!

Finally, baby is doing well! We had a couple of days over the last week where I noticed his movements reduced/changed and I’ve kept in touch with the midwife and know if it happens much more, to head in and get a more in depth check. I’d always rather go in and be told it was nothing, than not go in and have something be wrong! 

He’s growing on the 90th line still, and I’m sure he’s going to come out covered in hair because of the amount of heartburn he causes. 

8 more weeks!

Monday 30 September 2019

An interview with my four year old

Two years ago, I did a post called “An Interview with my Two Year Old” where I asked Isla these exact questions (except the first which I changed as Archer isn’t a baby anymore!). I said I’d redo it every six months but it just didn’t work out that way...

But now Isla is four and much cheekier and chattier than she used to be so I thought I’d see how her answers have changed! Be sure to check out the old post here to compare!

1. What do you like to play with? I like to play with my barbies!
2. What makes you happy? Playing with Archer, when we play the baby game
3. What makes you sad? Um, when things are too loud so I can’t sleep
4. What makes you laugh? When daddy does a fart kiss or when Alexa (yes, the amazon dot) does a fart 
5. How old are you? Four. You knew that!
6. How old is mummy? 23? Give me a clue. Is it 27?
7. How old is Daddy? Daddy is 27 because he is really tall and he’s a grown up!
8. What is your favorite thing to do? Play with my brother and laugh at him. 
9. Who is your best friend? Um, Archer because I love him and he’s my brother (oh my heart!!!)
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? A hairdresser because I love hair. 
11. What are you really good at? I’m good at doing something cool (she just got on all fours and did a weird kick thing.... okay..)
12. What don't you like to do? I don’t like to sleep. 
13. What did you do today? I played with my friends at school, I think one is six. 
14. What is your favourite thing to eat? Tacos and fajitas! 
15. What is your favorite movie? My favourite movie is... oh dare I say it... return to oz!
16. What do you want for Christmas this year? Can I have... definitely... a new yoyo and some Harry Potter Lego and figures. And a boomerang. I forgot the rest. 
17. What is your favorite animal? A penguin. 
18. What is love? When somebody likes another person so much and they ask each other to get married if they like. 
19. What does daddy do for work? He does something for money... does he give people money on the computer?
20. What is your favourite colour? Pink and purple!
21. Tell me something fun about you? I play with people.

How would your little one answer?

Thursday 26 September 2019

Is my son ready for potty training?

Potty training. It sends shudders down some parents spines, it’s messy and it’s often difficult. It isn’t something we can avoid though. We had Isla potty trained by two years and two months old, and she was dry at night by around three and a half years old (probably longer but that’s when we realised she didn’t need the nappy at all!)

So how did we know she was ready? Archer was a baby and pretty much as soon as he was born, she began helping us change his nappy. We’d had a potty around the house for a while but we never asked her to use it, it was just there. A couple of months after he was born, she began fussing during her nappy changes. Crying, running away and acting very shy about it all unless she was hidden and just with me or Jack- strange considering she never used to care about who saw her bottom before. It didn’t take long at all for her to be fully dry- two weeks at most!

Archer is another story. They say boys take longer, but we’ve also put off trying as he isn’t as talkative as Isla was at two. He talks yes, and he uses sentences and tells us what he wants, but he’s not talked about his business much. He did go through a stage where he would tell me “my poo coming” a minute or so before one came and I tried to use that as a signal to get him on the potty but he would scream and hold it in, absolutely terrified of sitting on the potty. 

We left it. I didn’t want to traumatise him and he’d never mentioned wee so I didn’t know if he was even fully aware of all the functions enough to begin potty training. 

They say with boys, there are a few signs to watch out for, hinting at readiness and he wasn’t covering them all at the time, but I think he is now:

1. Pulling at a wet/dirty nappy 
2. Hiding to wee or poo 
3. Showing interest in or talking about other family members toilet habits 
4. Larger intervals having a dry nappy 
5. Communicating a need to wee or poo, or that they have already 

Other than pulling at a nappy I’ve noticed all of these in Archer. He does hide and then reappear when he’s done a poo (though he doesn’t tell us in advance as much anymore). He’s definitely interested as he has no concept of personal space when one of us is using the loo- I have to remind him that everyone does their own wiping! We also had him come to us and ask to do a wee a few times- we’ve sat him on the toilet and he hasn’t like it as it’s “too big” so we didn’t get anywhere. 

I think our next step is going to be finding a new potty. He thinks the toilet is too big and he isn’t keen on the low down standard potty- I think squatting is too unfamiliar so I’d like to find something more similar to sitting on a chair. 

We have pants now and we’ve talked about when we will wear them a little. He doesn’t let on that he understands although he does ask to put them on. 

It’s hard. He understands so much and talks so much but he just doesn’t seem to want to talk about this very much so it’s hard to know if he’s taking any of it in. 

I think potty training till definitely start over the next few weeks though, and if it doesn’t work perhaps in the new year. He’s not even two and a half so I know he still has a long time! 

Thursday 19 September 2019

30 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

Thirty weeks pregnant! The ten week countdown begins- of course that’s with the assumption I give birth on my due date, which is unlikely. Isla was born at 38 weeks and Archer at 37, and my poor sister is currently nearly two weeks overdue. So really, it’s a pointless countdown but one I’ll participate in anyway! Yay!

I skipped my 29 week update because I’ve been feeling absolutely awful. I did have a check up on the day I turned 29 weeks with the midwife, but there wasn’t much to update on until my blood results came back. 

Recently I’ve been feeling very run down- normal in pregnancy to an extent, but I mean to the point where climbing the stairs had me breathless and resting before I even reached the top. At only 29 weeks when it started, how was I supposed to last till 40? I’ve also had horrendous restless legs. All my muscles seize up and I find myself kicking out involuntarily and unable to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time... it’s been driving Jack insane as he’s taking the brunt of most kicks in bed!

The most concerning symptom I had with all of this has been my resting heart rate. I feel breathless for no reason, and my heart starts to pound and my BPM have been up to 120 when I’m doing nothing at all. The answer here was pretty clear- anaemia. I had it with Isla and highly suspected I have it again, and I was right. My levels have dropped from 126/L to 105/L. While not exceptionally low, it’s low for me and I’m now taking iron supplements and I have to keep an eye on the breathless/heart pounding feeling in case it relates to anything worse. 

Other than that, I’m feeling mostly well in myself and trying not to let it get me down. The SPD is still creeping up on me but I’m thankfully educated enough to keep it manageable- you can read an update on that here. 

I had my first bump measurement at 29 weeks! I measured the 91st percentile with Isla and the 50th with Archer (and those numbers translated exactly to them at birth!) so I was weirdly excited to see how this little one is doing. I measured exactly 29cm at 29 weeks meaning he isn’t big or small, but it did line up to the 90th line on the chart- I’ll see over the coming appointments if he stays on that line. 

It’s been getting me down a lot that the little complications are coming up. Compared to my last two pregnancies, this one has mostly been easy so far but as I approach the end it is getting more tricky. I struggle with basic daily tasks without feeling sore or exhausted to the point of tears and I know it’s having a strain on Jack to do so much to help when he also works full time. Thankfully he understands, but it doesn’t make me feel less guilty. 

Hopefully with these pills I pick up in the next few weeks and can cope a little better!


4D Baby Scan with Window to the Womb- Milton Keynes [Review]

If you’d asked me back during my first pregnancy if I’d consider a 4D pregnancy scan, I’d have told you no. Admittedly, I’d always been sceptical about them and found them a bizarre concept- why not just have the NHS scans and be happy with those?

This opinion was completely changed for me when I asked Jack back at 14 weeks if we could book in for an early gender scan. I explained to him that I was impatient to find out and that it was something I’d like to try, and he was on board. We went to the Milton Keynes Branch of Window To The Womb at 16 weeks and found out our third baby is a boy! They did a sneak peek of the 4D setting and even back then, you could really see detail... look how he was all curled up with his hands pressed on his face!

I’ve been debating going for the full 4D for a while- then I was very kindly offered the Very Important Baby package by the team at Window To The Womb in Milton Keynes and of course I was thrilled to accept and see our littlest boy again.

One of the best things about the scans here is the fact you can bring up to five guests. Understandably the NHS scans are in the hospital, so it is just mum and one other person in attendance, but having these scans at Window To The Womb meant I could get my children involved. It’s worth baring in mind that these scans still are primarily diagnostic and used for checking the well-being of both mum and baby before moving into gender and imagery, but as I said, as it isn’t a hospital setting you can bring your family!

Both Isla and Archer absolutely loved seeing “baby brother” for our gender scan so they were thrilled to be invited back to see what he looked like. It’s the perfect early bonding experience for them. 

When you first arrive at the clinic, you’re warmly welcomed by the staff who sign you in and invite you to take a seat. Pregnant women rejoice, the sofas are ridiculously comfortable and the atmosphere is so relaxed and pleasant, it really adds to the excitement and joy you feel waiting to see baby. There’s even a fully stocked waiting room/playroom for those with children which means they’re kept nice and entertained while the staff help you fill in a couple of routine forms.

Window To The Womb offers a variety of different scan packages, but as I said we were booked in to the Very Important Baby scan which would include:

-100% longer 4D scan (than the lower package)
-Six full colour photo prints
-Two larger full colour photo prints
-Full movie of our scan
-Two photo keyrings
-Gender confirmation (99% accurate, and baby is still a boy!)
-All images digitally available on the Bumpies App (you receive a code which you can also share -with friends and family who download the app!)
-Well-being check and report
-Free rescan if baby does not cooperate

They say that the best time to have this scan is between 27-30 weeks pregnant as baby is chubby enough to look like a proper baby in photos, but not so big that they’re all squashed up and unable to wiggle into a better position. 

Thankfully our little one was very cooperative- he began with his hand pressed up against his face (just as he was when we saw him at 16 weeks- oh my heart!) but with a little wiggling and a change of my position we were all able to see him properly. The scan is so realistic it genuinely blew my mind, and I can’t believe how “real” he is in there. 

Jack and the children got to sit on the big comfortable sofa and watch the entire thing on one of the three huge HD televisions around the room. The staff even invited Isla up to speak to baby so she could watch how he reacts to her voice! I can’t properly explain how amazing the entire experience was, to watch him play with his feet and yawn and stretch... it really made it all the more real for us all. 

After the scan you get to go and select your photos and things to take home from your package- the fantastic part being it wasn’t too hard to pick as we got all the images to keep digitally anyway! I didn’t have to worry about losing any if they weren’t chosen. They get sent to the free Bumpies app and with a simple code I had them all within minutes of finishing. As you can see, Isla and Archer loved picking pictures of their baby brother!

There are lots of optional extras as well as the photos you get- bears, booties, gender reveal items... they have a huge selection. 

The Window To The Womb team in Milton Keynes were exceptional. Having such an enthusiastic and welcoming team really makes the experience so much more worth it and I’m so grateful that we got to share this experience with them. 

If you’d like to find a local clinic for your own scan, you can do by visiting their website here. If you're not sure if it's worth it... I wasn't either, but it really is. Being able to see how he's growing was wonderful and I feel all the more excited to meet him now and it's been wonderful sharing his photos with our family and friends and comparing his looks to his brother and sister as newborns!

I was kindly gifted the Very Important Baby package by Window To The Womb in Milton Keynes in exchange for this review. I paid for the gender scan myself. All photos and opinions are my own. 

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