Friday 29 September 2017

Surviving a Family + Dog Holiday

The family holiday, the one time of the year when you can all get away together for a calm and relaxing week away. That’s the ideology, anyway – the reality is far, far different and preparation should be taken...

As any parent will tell you, the most important thing is to make sure that the kids are happy and having fun. Any holiday simply must cater for our little ones and resorts should be baby friendly and have a children’s play area, ideally, allow the family dog to come along, too! If this is taken care of, then you are halfway there to surviving the week away!
Holiday activities are a must, because even though we all say that we aim to do nothing all week we, and the children, get bored very easily. Whether we are sunning it up in the Costa del Sol or sitting by the pool in the more humble surroundings of a domestic holiday park, our sense of adventure soon takes over. For example, close to the Midlands is Orchard Lodge, a small yet vibrant holiday park which is run by Allens Caravans. The park is located a short drive away from Stratford-upon-Avon, otherwise known as Shakespeare country as it is the birthplace of the famous playwright. Breaking up the trip by heading out and about will help all of your party to appreciate the time away together, as well as tiring out the children!
When at the resort, make full use of children’s areas and other amenities on offer – after all, they are there to be used. It would be a shame not to at least try the arcades and let loose your inner child.
 As much as we love the kids, it is important to make some time for yourself. A little quality adult time to do adult things is your right, and don’t feel guilty about doing so! Most parks or resorts will put on children’s clubs where parents can leave their kids for a couple of hours for a break/alone time. During this time you can enjoy a nice quiet meal together or some Netflix and chill without the Netflix. This also provides a good opportunity for your children to socialise with other kids their age who are staying at the same park or resort and make friends. It’s a win-win situation.
 It’s not a family holiday unless the dog comes as well, is it? We love our pets and they are just as much a part of the family as any of us, so why shouldn’t they get to come along (not the cats, of course!)
If you're seeking a holiday destination where you can bring the dog along, you will more than likely be looking domestically than overseas, mostly for logistical reasons. That’s okay as there are numerous places in the UK that are more than happy to welcome the family dog in – many hotel comparison sites offer ‘pet-friendly’ as an option when picking where to stay. Children will, of course, love having their best friend with them as they can play with the dog on holiday, and also provides an element of home which should help them to settle into their new surroundings that much better.
However you choose to spend your family holiday, remember that planning is essential. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail (in the way of getting the most out of your holiday, anyway).
*Guest written post

Monday 25 September 2017

Elective Caesarean Section; My experience

You may have read a few months back my post on my choice of having a VBAC (Vaginal birth after Caesarean) or an elective section for Mylo’s birth, if you didn’t, you can catch up and read about it here but, the decision was made shortly after that and speaking to a few other people, that I was going to have an elective c-section. I wanted to share with you my experience of the entire thing, from start to finish, so grab a cuppa and take it all in...

When we found out I was pregnant, we announced it around this time last year (I think it was mid-october), and one of the thoughts that came into my head instantly was, “Oh, god. I’m going to have to decide if I want to do things naturally or not...” and that’s because Millie’s birth was such a traumatic one, I really didn’t want to end up going through the same thing again. So, quite early on, I started to do my research into VBAC’s and Elective sections so that I knew I had a good amount of time to decide on what I wanted to do. I took in all the options, all the reasons and by 20 weeks, I knew that I wanted another section, just because of the anxiety and uncertainty of things going the same way if I were to try naturally. Our midwife gave us some fab advice and was really supportive of my decision but the same can’t be said for my consultant, unfortunately.  

When we went to visit the consultant to book the date of the surgery, she was very negative and judgemental on my reasons as to why I wanted a section - she made me leave the room in tears. She had basically told me that I was taking the easy way out and that I wasn’t aware of all of the risks of having a section (obviously forgetting I had actually already had one...) and even was so rude to ‘remind’ me that I wouldn’t be able to drive for 6 weeks just before we left the room, like that would change my mind! She was very rude and abrupt and made me question myself and whether I was making the right decision, something that a health professional should never do, especially when dealing with pregnant women! I actually saw the midwife minutes after this and explained what had happened, she apologised and reassured me that it is 100% my decision and I have done it for the best reasons. But even after this, I left the hospital so deflated, even after being given the date for the surgery - I should have been excited however, I was far from it. I know that at some point in life, everyone will need the NHS and it’s definitely not something to be taken for granted, but with an experience like this, I can understand why people go ahead and claim for negligence or other reasons, even though mine is a different situation. I actually went through PALs which is the NHS’s Patient Advice and Liaison service for my problems with the consultant but if you’re looking at something more serious, you can contact Your Legal Friend who will help you through your situation step by step. 

Anyway, after all of this drama pre-section, things went super smoothly on the day...

3rd May 2017, we left our house at 6:30am, all ready and packed, we were told to be at the hospital for 7am so I wanted to make sure we were there right on time! We arrived and it was as if we were checking into a hotel! We were greeted by the nurses and taken straight to our waiting room where they gave Adam a cup of tea and asked for me to wait to be checked. A few doctors popped in, checked my details and that all was ok and left again. We stuck the telly on, I called my best friend and facetimed her for a while and then the midwife came in to give Adam his scrubs and we were told we’d be first in! 9am and I was in theatre, getting ready to meet this little one... Finally. 

I was so calm and relaxed, I wasn’t at all worried as it was just a smooth ride 100% of the way. The only time I got nervous was when they tried to pop my cannula in. I have super thin veins and it is a massive ball ache for anyone who tries to get blood from me and because they were trying so hard, I hadn’t eaten or drank, I went really faint and just had to lay down for a little while. They managed to get the cannula in and got the spinal done too and that was it. They prepped me, popped some music on an told me to relax. I lay back chatting to Adam and the midwife and then all of a sudden, I was congratulated and heard a baby cry! Ed Sheeran, Castles in the Sky was playing in the background too and I’ll always remember that! They asked if I wanted the curtain dropped but I said no and the midwife cut his cord whilst Adam went over to meet our son. I was lay on the table just watching everything and they bought him over to me. I held him, had some photos and sat with them for what felt like 10 seconds and they finished stitching me up whilst Adam was taken into the recovery room. This, for me, was the only ‘bad’ part of it all as I was suddenly on my own with all these doctors and nurses but they were so lovely, making conversation and talking to me about names etc. I remember everything as if it happened yesterday which is another lovely thing about it. With Millie’s birth, I can’t quite remember what happened as it was all so fast. 

We were in the recovery room for about 45 minutes, the nurse in there was making sure I was ok and Mylo had his first breastfeed, for a whole 30 minutes! We were then taken to ward and reassured that someone would be round to check my observations every 30 minutes and they did. The nurses and midwives on ward were lovely - they did all they could for us and made us feel at home. They helped with the breastfeeding as I was struggling, got me some toast, tea and fruit (as that’s all I wanted to eat) and just looked after us the whole time we were there. 

I knew that I wanted to be home the following day so as soon as I got the feeling back in my legs, I asked to be escorted to the shower and I washed myself down. You also have to do a certain amount of wee before you can do anything and so after the biggest wee of my life (700ml!!) I showered and felt myself again. We had a few visitors and then were left to be on our own for an hour or so. 

Adam could have stayed with me that evening but there wasn’t any point as Mylo was sleeping well, I just wanted to nap and there wasn’t anywhere comfy for him to stay so he headed home at 10pm and left us to it. That first night is always the best as it’s just you and baby. Again, the midwives were brilliant as they helped me when I needed it, watched him whilst I went to the loo a few times and also had him out there for an hour so that I could get some sleep. I couldn’t have asked for better care. 

Post-section was also a lot better, of course, it wasn’t amazing - I did just have my stomach cut open but, I was up and about 2 days after! We went for a slow walk through town and I was able to cope, I did have lots of pain killers though for a week afterwards just to take the edge off but because it was a lot more relaxed than an emergency section, like the first time, my body was able to heal itself better and my mindset was a lot more positive too! I didn’t feel like I had many post-baby blues either and I think because the whole situation was so relaxing, it helped with everything post-birth for me. 

In all, my whole elective section experience was fantastic and for anyone worried, I really wouldn’t be. It was so calm and relaxing, slightly strange as you feel like you’re going to pick up a parcel you missed, but at the same time, it’s nice to know when baby is going to arrive! If you’re prepping for a section, you can also check out my hospital bag checklist as I actually used all of it (minus the iPad) so you can take some hints from there. 

(Collaborative post) 

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Birds and the Bees: What to say to your children

There’s one moment that every parent is dreading from the moment their little one arrives... The moment when your child asks you about sex or anything to do with it! How are you supposed to explain something so complicated, and not always appropriate, in a way that they can understand without just fobbing it off using any old excuse!? It’s an absolute nightmare, but if you don’t teach them about sex properly, their only knowledge will be stuff they’ve picked up on the playground, and you don’t want teenage boys to be responsible for the ideas that your child has about sex because they aren’t going to be great!

It’s much harder these days as kids are going to be getting all sorts of conflicting ideas about sex when they’re online. Regardless of how well you protect them, you can’t avoid these influences completely so it’s up to us to teach them about sex properly and make sure that they aren’t influenced by anything else! I imagine we have a few years yet before Millie starts asking questions and it’s not going to be fun but we've just got to bite the bullet and get it over with. Here are a few tips to help ease things along...

Be Relaxed
The most important thing is to stay calm and relaxed throughout the conversation. If you are judgemental in any way, then your child is going to think that sex is something that they should be ashamed of and they won’t want to come to you in future with their problems. If you get it wrong the first time, they won’t feel comfortable talking to you and they might make some big mistakes when they’re a little older. Children are going to ask some pretty embarrassing questions but you just need to remain calm and try to answer all of them seriously.

Listen Properly
It’s tempting to rehearse your answers beforehand and reel off a long lecture about sex as soon as your kid mentions it, but if you do, you’re probably not answering their questions. When they start asking you about it, really listen to their questions. They might just want to know something fairly simple which doesn’t require a long explanation about the ins and outs of sex. If you come back at them with too much information that they weren’t ready for, you could scare them a bit. If you’re unclear about what they want to know, ask them a few more questions and really get to the bottom of what they are after.

Avoid having a knee jerk reaction to anything they say as well. Their questions are usually inspired by something that they’ve overheard or been told by somebody else. That means some of those questions might be inappropriate or they might express some pretty misguided views about sex. It’s important that you don’t get angry with them. It isn’t their fault that they don’t understand so you need to just explain to them why they were wrong without getting angry with them.

Be Age Appropriate
You need to think about what is appropriate for your children at their current age. If they aren’t very old, you should be careful about how detailed the information you give them is because they won’t be mature enough to understand it. Younger children are most likely to ask you where babies come from. You can tell them about the nuts and bolts of it all. Explain how the sperm and the egg combine to create a baby but it’s probably too early to get into detail about exactly what goes on under the sheets. They won’t understand it yet and it may confuse and worry them.

Teenagers are going to be a lot more difficult. They’ll already know about the science behind it, what they’re looking to find out is more about the relationship aspect. It’s crucial that you speak to them about this because they’ll be at the age when they’re starting to enter into relationships and think about having sex. It’s important that you teach them that they shouldn’t feel pressured into anything and should always respect their partners. With so much toxic information on the internet, it’s vital that you give your teenagers a healthy understanding of relationships and sex.

One of the most important areas to cover, especially with teenagers, is contraception. An accidental pregnancy is bottom of any parents wish list. Hopefully, they’ll be getting taught about contraception at school but it’s a good idea to go over it with them as well because they might want your help sorting out some contraception. Microgynon is a contraceptive pill that is used often so if your daughter is asking about contraception, it’s worth taking her to the doctor and asking about it. However, it’s also important to talk to them about the dangers of disease and infection as well as pregnancy. Taking your son or daughter to sort out contraception is the best way to be completely sure that they’re using some, and that they know what they’re doing with it. Talking to them about your own contraception needs is a good way to ease the embarrassment that they might be feeling.  

Encourage Them
The more they ask you about sex, the less likely it is that they’ll make mistakes in future. When they ask you those difficult questions, make sure you encourage them and let them know that it’s a good thing to be curious. That way, they’ll know that they can always come to you with questions about anything, not just sex. It’s a brilliant way to encourage openness between you and your child which is never a bad thing.

You can use this as an opportunity to teach your children about the importance of privacy. Make sure they understand that they need to respect the privacy of anybody that they may be having sex with in the future because teenagers love to boast about that sort of thing. It’s also the perfect time to teach them that you as parents need some privacy as well, it’ll help you to avoid any awkward encounters with them bursting into your room unannounced.

Talking to your kids about sex is always awkward, but it’s vital that you do it so just follow these simple tips and get on with it.
(Guest written post)

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Aldi Baby Milk Review (Aptamil comparison)

We regularly do our weekly shops in Aldi and have done for a while now but it’s been over the years that they have added more and more lines to their baby range, including the squeezy food pouches and even follow on milks, but, I was so surprised to see that they now have their own blend of Infant Formula, or 1st stage baby milk for just £6.99! 

Millie used Aldi nappies and Mylo does too and they’re actually one of the best nappies we’ve tried (we’ve tried them from pretty much everywhere!). She also had the food pouches and we use the baby wipes and have nothing but good stuff to say about it all, so I was intregued to know what the formula was like. The first time I spotted it in store, I didn’t buy it as, well lets say, I was a little too sceptical after only ever using the well-known, and well-priced Aptamil at £10.99+ a tub. So instead, I came home and took a look at the ingredients of both tubs to see if there was much difference and then I would go back and get a tub to try as at £6.99, if Mylo didn’t get on with it, I’d simply give it away or throw it away. 

Aldi Baby milk review

Making up bottles
So the Aldi formula comes in a tin rather than a cardboard container like the Aptamil one does. It has a smaller blue scoop compared to the yellow one in Aptamil but the formula looks very similar. The Aldi seems a little finer but one major difference we saw is that it doesn’t foam up like the Aptamil one does when its shook - the Aptamil gets so foamy that its a struggle to see how much you have left in the bottle, even after some has been drunk. The Aldi one is a thiner consistency so you don’t get the froth that you do with Aptamil. 

Mylo has never had a problem with his Milk so we’re quite lucky to be able to try a different formula with no problems. It didn’t effect him in anyway, he wasn’t bringing any bottles back up when we switched them and he was happy with the Aldi version over his usual Aptamil. I also noticed that it doesn’t have the overpowering baby milk smell either - you know the kind. 

Both containers also have 900g of formula so you’re getting the same amount for a much lower price. 
Aptamil (average) £10.99 vs. Aldi Mamia £6.99 

Ingredient comparison
Now, for the more technical comparison and probably the one that is going to be the most asked - the comparison of ingredients really shows that there isn’t much difference in the Aldi formula compared to the usual Aptamil formula we use (I can’t compare to any other formula as we’ve never used anything other than this). You can see from the images below what difference there is (if any) in the ingredients listing and the energy and nutritional information - there are exactly the same ingredients used in both formulas and nearly the exact same amount of minerals used in them too. Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil ingredients
Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil vitamins
Aldi baby milk vs. Aptamil minerals 
All baby formulas have to undergo checks to ensure they are suitable and are FDA-regulated to make sure they provide all the vitamins and nutrients babies need. Most women choose to provide formula rather than breastmilk for various reasons, you can read about my breastfeeding experience here and is why a lot of formulas state they are a ‘substitute for breastmilk’ as they try and get the ingredients as close as possible to that of natural breastmilk. Both of these formulas are milk based including Lactose (milk), a variety of natural oils (for fat calories), vitamins and minerals and both are completely fine to use for healthy, full-term babies. The only noticeable difference in the list of ingredients above is that Aldi use Whole Milk powder and Skimmed Milk powder where as Aptamil only use Skimmed milk powder - not sure what effect this has but I doubt it’s a huge one! 

You can also see the similarities in the vitamins and mineral components with Aldi actually having more of certain vitamins and minerals than Aptamil (Vitamin A, Vitamin K1, Vitamin B2, B2, B6, Iron, Sodium and Magnesium in particular). 

I do think that these two formula’s are very similar and we’ll happily continue to use the Aldi formula for the time being - with 2 tins being almost the same price as one of the Aptamil ones and because there is no effect on the change to Mylo, it means if we want to use the ready made bottles of Aptamil at any point, we can easily switch back and know it won’t effect him in anyway. 

Hopefully with the ingredient lists given, if you use another formula, you can do the comparisons yourself however, I have popped a breakdown photo of the ingredients in the formula that you can save and compare if you wanted to. 

Like I said, it hasn’t effected Mylo at all and the change of milks really hasn’t made a difference at all so we will be buying more and keeping them in stock at home - this is probably my only issue... Aldi isn’t open ALL the time whereas, if we ever run out of Aptamil, we know our 24/7 garage and Tesco expresses sell it but, failing that, we also know we can go back to Aptamil if we are ever out of Aldi formula without any problems. 

Have you tried the Aldi Formula or have you looked into it? 

Friday 15 September 2017

Infant to Toddler Rocker Chair

Mylo is getting to the age now that he enjoys sitting up and playing with his toys. We pop him in his Bumbo for a short while but I don’t like how his head isn’t fully supported so rather than having him on the floor or in his bouncer all of the time, we now use this Infant to Toddler chair from Fisher Price! It’s a combination of a rocker, bouncer and chair all in one! 

With a combination of being a supporting chair which lays flat, a rocker and also for when Mylo is older, a chair he can comfortably and safely sit on, this Infant to Toddler Rocker has become our favourite thing in the house! It’s so strudy and supportive but also gives so much room for Mylo to kick his legs and sit and watch In the Night Garden (his favourite programme at the moment!) It’s a Bright, comfortable seat that has 2 positions - upright or lay flatter for naps or relaxation time. If your baby doesn’t nap in a crib or moses, this is fab as you can kick back the stand and turn on the vibrations to help soothe and relax your little one without worrying they will roll as they are securely fastened in! 

Having the entertainment bar means that Mylo can sit and play with the rattling animals which he often laughs and giggles at and will also help to strengthen his gross motor skills! This simply clicks in and out too - it comes off for us when its TV time! I think its amazing that the rocker will last right up into his toddler years as your usual bouncer only really sees them through until they’re sitting up and you end up getting rid of it! 

The cover is washable (a must when you have a messy baby like Mylo) and the plastic body is wipeable as we have tried anti-bac wipes on it to clean up sick and food splashes (why do they make baby food bright yellow!?) 

RRP £59.99 however, it is currently on offer in Smyths Toys for just £49.99 - for something that will last for over a year, it’s an amazing price to pay for something thats 2 in 1 and you will definitely use over and over again! 

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Annoying Pregnancy Problems That Aren't Actually Bad For You

Pregnancy is perhaps the most incredible miracle of all. From a simple (but fun) act in the bedroom, a new life is produced, forming and growing in your womb. But for all the magic of the process, it’s still a pain in the neck - sometimes quite literally - for those going through it. Scientists think that this has something to do with the way humans evolved. People have only been walking upright and having upright pregnancies for a few hundred thousand years and in that time, evolution has only partially completed the job, giving us the physiology for upright pregnancies, but not giving us the robustness that other animals seem to have (queue the hormones and moodiness!)

But it turns out that many of those annoying problems we experience during pregnancy aren’t problems at all. In fact, much of the time, they’re exactly what you’d expect, given our half-complete biology. The good news for moms, is that there’s often no need to worry, even if it seems as if you’re ill. Here are some conditions which health experts say probably aren’t worth worrying about...

Blood Spots 
Bleeding a few days after conceiving can sometimes seem a little scary. After all, shouldn’t the bleeding have stopped now that you’re pregnant?! Many women worry when they see spotting in their underwear, but there’s no need to worry necessarily - at least according to Yvonne Bohn, doctor and author of several pregnancy guide books who says that "bleeding, especially in the first two weeks of pregnancy, is actually a good thing. It’s a sign that the fertilised egg has implanted itself into the wall of the womb and has begun to mature. She also says that it’s fine even if you don’t experience any spotting. It doesn’t mean that you’re not pregnant: it just means that the wall of the uterus didn’t shed around the implantation site.

Morning Sickness
What is morning sickness? Nobody really knows what causes the queasiness says the NHS website, but most experts think that it has something to do with the high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone circulating around the bodies of newly pregnant women. Rapid changes in this hormone may explain why some women feel sick in the morning during pregnancy. Saying that, morning sickness is part of a healthy pregnancy seems a little strange, given that it can transform into a debilitating condition that prevents women from getting out of bed. But doctors are convinced, even if the symptoms are serious, that it’s an entirely normal part of pregnancy if a little unpleasant.

The stats given suggest that mother and baby survival is actually higher among women who make frequent visits to the bathroom though! Doctors have theorised that the sickness helps women to avoid foods that might harm their babies during the initial phase of pregnancy. Morning sickness, therefore, might be a kind of biological defence against poor dietary choices.

Higher-Than-Normal Discharge 
Discharge is a normal part of a woman’s reproductive health. But during pregnancy, thanks to all the changes down there, it can go into overdrive. Often women will wake up to a colourless, odourless liquid in their underwear during their pregnancy. Experts believe that this is an evolutionary response: while a woman is pregnant, it makes sense to ramp up the production of discharge to clean out the birth canal and prevent the baby from becoming infected. What’s more, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve. According to, there are plenty of underwear products which can control the problem, especially in cases of incontinence during the latter stages of pregnancy. Extra discharge, ultimately, is a good thing that protects both you and your baby.

Tender Breasts
You would've thought that tender breasts were the last thing you’d want before giving birth to a child. After all, teething children can sometimes be a little rough. But it turns out that sore breasts are a natural part of the hormone cycle of having children. Both oestrogen and progesterone levels rise substantially during pregnancy, and these can lead to rapid increases in the size and fullness of the breasts. It can make you feel as if you’re lugging around a load of extra weight. But, as with many other changes in the body during pregnancy, sore breasts are perfectly normal. You’ll usually experience the most tenderness during the first trimester of gestation, although soreness can persist throughout all stages in some women. The pain should subside before breastfeeding begins.

Have you experienced any of these annoying but completely natural symptoms during your pregnancies?! 
(Guest written post)

Monday 11 September 2017

How important is Routine for a Baby?

We love routine in our house. It was a lifesaver for us when we had Millie and we knew that when Mylo was at an age to start structuring a routine, we would go with the same one that Millie had as it worked perfectly for us. 5 months in and it’s like clockwork but I wanted to share with you what we do on a standard day...

5am - Mylo tends to wake up around this time but doesn’t have a bottle. We settle him back to sleep by popping on his Ewan the Dreamsheep or his 2 in 1 Soother to get him back to sleep for another hour or so. Sometimes we need to pop him in bed with us so he settles better but this doesn’t happen very often. Adam is usually up at 5:30am for work anyway so I plump up the pillows (these would be great for this) and lay him next to me until it’s time for us both to wake up.

7am - We all get up and it’s bottle time for Mylo. He loves his morning bottle and as long as he goes back to sleep after stirring at 5am, he usually wakes up so happy and chatty it’s adorable! I get chance to make a tea and get the dog and cats sorted too most mornings - it’s a little chaotic in our house in the mornings so I know I have to get a good sleep to keep up with everyone! I then get myself dressed, sort Mylo out and pop him in his bouncer and then get Millie up, fed and dressed ready for school (or her day). 

8:15am - Now Millie is at school, we aim to leave the house for 8:15am (this is the earliest we can leave to get to school if we’re walking) so I get the dog ready, Millie ready and Mylo in his pushchair and we walk up. He usually naps at this time, sometimes I can get him to wait until we’re home and I’ll pop him in his moses basket for a snooze. He will sleep between 9am - 10:30am most mornings. 

11am - Mylo’s 2nd bottle + breakfast. We have started weaning him now with purees as I feel he is ready and it’s the same time I started with Millie. He loves his fruit purees too and opens his mouth wide for it as soon as he realises it’s that time! He then plays for a little while and goes down for his main nap between 12:30pm and 1pm until 3pm. This is his most important nap as if he ever misses it, he’s so grumpy and it can effect his bedtime routine massively!

3pm - 3rd bottle time. Sometimes he can be real grumpy after this bottle but other times, he’s fine. I tend to feed him his bottle, play for 20 or 30minutes and then he comes into the kitchen in his bouncer with me whilst I clean and start getting dinner ready. 

4:30pm/5pm - 6pm - Mylo naps around this time for the last time of the day, if he doesn’t, he ends up falling asleep on his bedtime bottle and is a nightmare to put to bed after. Even if its just a short 30minute nap, he definitely needs it! It’s usually when I get our dinner done too so it’s perfect timing and works well for us all.

6:30-7pm - Bedtime bottle and bath (3 x a week) I don’t bath Mylo everyday, I think it’s bad for his skin if he has too many baths and so he tends to have 3 a week or a quick shower with me at times too. Millie has 3 baths too however, it’s sometimes more as she just enjoys playing in the bath some nights and it helps me if I have some bits to do. 

7:30/8pm - Mylo is usually fast asleep by now. He is still downstairs in his moses basket during the day as it’s easier for me to sort him if he stirs however, this week... I’m going to start moving him upstairs this week for his naps though and perhaps just do some jobs up there so I’m with him. We do have a baby monitor, I just don’t feel like he needs to be put up there on his own just yet. Millie also goes to bed at 7:30pm, sometimes 7pm depending on how her day has been and if she’s tired or not. She loves her own routine - always has and always will I think! 

8pm-10pm is usually my down-time. I get some blog stuff done, some Younique stuff and have a bath if I get chance. I just tend to watch crap TV and relax though as it really is my only time of the day that I have more than 5 minutes to myself! 

10:30pm - Mylo’s last bottle and we take it in turns between us both to do this every other night. It works better this way for us as it means if we need an early night, we can get one. Heading to bed is usually the highlight of my day too but we are desperate for a new mattress as every night, I wake up with such a stiff back it’s driving me crazy! 

Not just for the kids, but for us, I feel like routine is so important, especially a bedtime routine, it gets your body clock in check and you just know how your day is going to go. It has worked absolute wonders for the kids and does the same for us and I would urge anyone to try and get themselves into a routine if you’re not already. It’s easily done and definitely worth while, knowing that you are getting those few hours in the day to get whatever you need doing done and bedtime can be something you can look forward to as well! 

Thursday 7 September 2017

7 dinners in 7 days

A post for all you foodies out there!
May make you extremely hungry

I thought I’d share some of my favourite meals that are super easy to make, super healthy and perfect for all of the family! Millie has had nearly all of these meals with us, some without the added spices and some with! You can adjust, add or remove a lot of the items to suit you too so don’t feel like you need to copy everything. I’m not going to post recipes to them all but I’ll give a quick rundown of what’s included. Some recipes have been taken from Hello Fresh and Gousto boxes, I have just altered them slightly. 

If you’re into your meal planning then here’s a weeks worth of meals and you haven’t even had to do anything... 

Pasta with Green pesto, chicken, cherry tomatoes and green beans - pretty simple, really tasty! Perfect for lunch or dinner, plus... you can batch make for meal prep! 
*Slimming world friendly - 3.5syns for 1tbsp Pesto, approx 2 syns per serving*

Satay Chicken and Rice

This is Thai style Satay Chicken with Rice with the idea coming from a recipe from Gousto. It’s my absolute favourite meal at the moment and I could eat it everyday. In simple terms, it’s chicken with thai style flavours (ginger, garlic, chilli etc) mixed with rice and then your satay sauce over the top. I added sugar snap peas and more mushrooms to ours to bulk it out and actually ate both mine and Adams portions (oops!). You can get 50% off your first 2 boxes with Gousto too, we absolutely loved the recipes in ours and have recreated most of them again! Just follow this link to get your 50% off! 
*Slimming world friendly - you can use powdered peanut butter instead and syn per tbsp used*

Butter Chicken

This was a quick day dinner which is basically a packet butter Chicken sauce, Green beans and Baby corn. Super yummy and literally ready in 10 minutes! 
*Not Slimming world friendly however, you could use a different blend of spices and same methods*

Messy Meatball Cobs

Jamie Oliver’s Quick and Easy food, Messy Meatball cobs. If you are watching his new series, you would have seen these bad boys and I just had to make them! Mince, pesto - make meatballs. Fry, add  tinned tomatoes - simmer. Open Mozerella, add whey to meatball pan - simmer. Cut mozerella into chunks and add to the meatballs and let it melt. Pesto on the cobs - meatballs + sauce on top = heaven. You can find the proper recipe here. 
*Slimming world friendly with wholemeal bun (HEX B) and Mozzarella as HEX A or syn Brioche burger bun for 8 syns*

Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne, a massive hit in our house! This is my slimming world friendly Chilli con Carne recipe and its bloody lovely! 
*Slimming world friendly*

Another really quick, easy meal. Breaded cod (frozen - perfect to have in for quick dinners like this one!), Salt and Pepper Potatoes - basically normal boiled potatoes but covered in salt and pepper! And then garlic Green beans and Tomatoes. Blanch the beans in boiling water then add to a frying pan with the tomatoes and a clove of garlic and olive oil and flash fry for 2 minutes. Done. 
*Slimming world friendly - breaded cod 4.5syns*

Spicentice Chicken Jalfrezi

This was the only meal that Millie didn’t have as it would have blown her head off. It’s a SpicenTice Chicken Jalfrezi spice mix. I did what it said to do on the packet but added mushrooms and baby corn to bulk it out a little bit. I’d eat with a glass of milk if you can’t handle spice as this was super fiery but still edible and I’m not usually a spicy curry fan! Use code TW20 to get 20% off your order on Spicentice too - they have so many kits on there that you simply add fresh ingredients to and you have a yummy meal. Plus, a lot of their kits are completely Slimming World Friendly!
*Slimming world friendly*

Monday 4 September 2017

My Name Tags Review

It’s finally here... Millie starts school on Wednesday and I’m not sure how I feel about it! We’ve been saying for months “I can’t believe she starts school this year...” and now the time has come! I also didn't realise how much there was to prepare and buy in regards to school wear, kit, bits and bobs and of course, name tags for the uniform! My Mum used to sew in my name tags on all of my school stuff so it’s something that’s completely new to me! But, I was recommended MyNameTags by my friend Emily as you can get either stickers or iron-ons which are perfect to label literally everything! 

I got a pack of the Iron-on’s to start with but the guys over at MyNameTags kindly sent me some stickers and another set of iron-ons too! So, out come the iron and all of her uniform and I stood and labelled everything this weekend! Cardigans, pinafores, polo shirts, PE kit and even her socks! Yes, I labelled every, single, sock just because I know what Millie’s like and she’ll take them off and loose them the first time she does PE! It’s so simple though that I was done in just under 30 minutes and that was 6 polo shirts, 2 t shirts, 2 shorts, 4 pinafores, 4 cardigans and 14 pairs of socks plus, her school shoes and PE shoes.

You simply peel off one of the tags from the plastic sheet, pop it onto the item of clothing wherever you want to tag it, put the iron adhesive sheet over the top and hold the iron over it for around 10 seconds and voila! I recommend using the piece of ironing sheet wisely, start from one corner and go the next so that you don’t waste the paper. 

For her shoes and PE shorts, I used the stickers instead! It’s pretty easy - peel and stick! I’ve been told that they last through washes and tumble drying so I’m keen to see if they really do but, the good thing is you get 52 tags on each sheet so even if some peel off, we have plenty to see us through and maybe even last until next year! 

The designs for the name tags can be changed too so you could add a name and telephone number on if you wanted, you can have black and white or colour, you choose the little icon too so they’re completely personalised for your child! I ordered mine on a Wednesday and they arrived on Friday/Saturday! Amazing turn around especially for such a busy time! So if your little one has a transition period like Millie does, you’ve still got lots of time to order yours and get labelling! 

Friday 1 September 2017

Acai Bowls

You may have seen these colourful bowls of goodness floating around the internet lately, I’m obsessed with making them and so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite recipes with you and even share some of the benefits of them too! 

Acai Bowls are basically smoothies in a bowl, with toppings! The Acai berry contains antiocidants, high amounts of fibre and healthy fats - yes, healthy fats. Our bodies work on both good and bad fats known as saturated and un-saturated fats... but theres a little bit more to it than that as they are split into 3 different categories between the good and bad, things like Acai Berries, Nuts, Seeds, Oils like Coconut, Palm etc, are all healthy fats that your body can work with and needs to sustain a healthy balance. Acari bowls are basically just a fancier way to eat your fruit and good stuff and add a little something different to your diet. I get so bored of eating the same thing and I’m trying not to stick to a certain diet, just to learn to control my food a little better (with the help of Adam), I’m getting better and enjoying it a little more too! 

I have been having Acai bowls for breakfast or lunch most of the time as they’re super filling and lovely to eat in the sunshine! You can use a huge variety of ingredients and make up so many different kinds of bowls with so many fruit and vegetables, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite recipes. I bought the Seven Hills Acai Powder from Amazon and use just a tablespoon in each mixture to add the Acai to it - you can of course, make these without the Acai in as they’re still a super healthy meal alternative. 

Recipe One: Berry Nutty (above)
For the smoothie - Frozen Mixed Berries
1/2 Cup Soya Milk
Tbsp Acai Powder
1/2 Banana 
Handful Blackberries 
For the toppings - Chia seeds
1/2 Banana
Mango chunks

Recipe two: Banana-berry (above)
For the smoothie - Frozen Mango
1/2 Cup Soya Milk
Tbsp Acai Powder
1/2 Banana 
Handful Strawberries
For the toppings - Chia seeds
1/2 Banana
Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Peanut and Coconut butter

Recipe three: Crunchy nut (above/below)
For the smoothie - Frozen Blueberries
Frozen Mango
1/2 Cup Soya Milk
Tbsp Acai Powder
1/2 Banana 
Handful Raspberries
For the toppings - Chia seeds
1/2 Banana
Mango chunks
Grape nuts
Peanut and Coconut butter

If you want to learn a little bit more about how to control your eating habits, want to see some fat loss, or are just interested in nutrition to get back on track with your own diet, head over to Adam’s Personal Training page where he’s offering some FREE advice on how you can do this for a limited time! Better yet, make sure you check out some of my own other healthier recipes including an easy Chilli con Carne, Chickpea Curry and some yummy Overnight oats