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. 
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