Tuesday, 15 May 2018

My Car History*


My beloved Mini!
Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to drive so when I started driving lessons just after my seventeenth birthday I couldn't wait to pass my test. Just the thought of being able to get to places by myself whenever I needed or wanted was very exciting. It did take me around nine months to be ready to take the practical test but I passed first time as I had with the theory test. I also already had a second hand car that I'd practiced driving in with my dad, often with some arguing.
But how I loved my first car, a Vauxhall Nova. I remember so well the first journey I drove by myself after passing my test. It was a short drive down to my friends house. It felt amazing being independent albeit a little nerve wracking driving completely alone. My trusty Nova was in my life for the next three years until it was in an accident and sadly written off.
Next I ventured down the new car route, I'd been saving for a while so had a deposit could afford the monthly finance payments. My second car and first 'big purchase' was a Renault Clio. How exciting it was ordering a brand new car, I had to wait a few weeks before it was ready to be picked up, I still clearly remember that day and how I stalled it doing a right hand turn on to the main road as I left the show room! I kept it until 2011 when I decided I wanted a new car, a Mini  to be specific! I bought it before I sold my Clio and again absolutely loved it, even though I had no idea about the 'Stop/Start' function when I first drove it and was confused when the engine cut out when I stopped at traffic lights! I only had it for a year and a half before I sold it due to wanting/needing a five door car when pregnant with Eliot. As my parents were getting a new car they gave me their old one, a Nissan Almera. It saved me from paying out for another car and was ideal for a growing family. When I went back to work full time I decided to go down the new car route again and went for a Renault Captur. My Clio had been reliable and efficient so I was happy to go back to a car brand I'd driven before.  It's still the car I'm driving today.
I feel lucky that with all the cars I've had, I've not had any major issues (touch wood), only problems to do with batteries. The worst case being with the Almera when the battery was cutting out when I was driving which wasn't great and also a little scary on a dual carriageway!
Of course I've replaced a fair few tyres, sometimes with the MOT highlighting the fact they needed changing. I knew worn tyres were pretty dangerous but wasn't aware that tyre blowouts are one of the main causes of car accidents. I've admitted before that I'm not the best at safety checks with my car which is why it's useful to have my dad frequently reminding me. Sometimes it's a bit of a pain to get car jobs done etc which is why it is helpful to book online. If you need new tyres you can reserve tyres online & get free professional tyre fitting from Iverson Tyres Ltd. in London. 
It's really important to do regular car safety checks, such as making sure your tyres are the correct pressure and the tread is not worn beyond the legal limit.
How often do you do car safey checks?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

We Are A Turtle Tots 2018 Ambassador

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen last week that I announced Nola and I were chosen to be one of the Turtle Tots ambassadors for 2018. I was thrilled when I received the email to say we had been selected.
 I have swam myself for as long as I can remember, weekly lessons at my local pool throughout my childhood and as part of PE in primary school. It was a hobby that gave me confidence as it was something I was good at. I always knew that when I became a parent I wanted my own children to swim, one of the main reasons being that it is a life skill. I took Eliot to lessons a couple of months before he turned two then had to stop as the parent & toddler lessons were only on weekdays and I was going back to work full time. When he was three he started lessons again and has been going ever since.
When Nola came along I knew that at some point I wanted her to begin lessons and she has a lot sooner than I expected! We've had a our second lessons with Turtle Tots and she is loving being in the water! As well as being a skill that could save your life and a way to exercise, baby swimming offers many more benefits that I hadn't looked into. The physical benefits include building strength and motor skills. The classes also benefit social and emotional development too, you can read more about their benefits here.
We'll let you know how we get on in our lessons over the next few weeks and keep an eye out for a chance to win a £50 voucher for Turtle Tots swim products and a free taster lesson!   

Friday, 4 May 2018

Having A Baby*

I have always known since I was a little girl that I wanted to become a mother. When I was older I did have the worries, 'would I meet someone', 'would it happen for me', 'would it be difficult to get pregnant'?
In my third year of university I missed a period, not because I was pregnant (that was impossible) and started freaking out. Could I be going through the early menopause? I went to the doctor, who was very unprofessional, as well as answering the phone and swearing at his colleague he also laughed in my face when I asked if I could be going through early menopause. I swiftly changed my doctors surgery and after speaking to friends, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) came up. I made an appointment at my new doctors surgery and this time saw a much more understanding and professional doctor. I was referred for blood tests and when the results came back I had a higher level of testosterone than normal. I was then referred to endocrinology at the hospital and took a 24 hour urine test which my uni housemates thought was hilarious. I was also very specific about the day I did the test as I couldn't drink any alcohol which was a very important part of my social life back then! When the results came back they also showed some abnormalities and the endocrinologist said it was highly likely I had PCOS but didn't want to do any invasive scans at that point. As I wasn't planning to have any children in my final year of uni I was happy with that and the plan was for me to have a follow up appointment in a year. When my appointment came through I was actually moving back to my home town as I had finished my teaching degree and had a job. Since 2007 I have not returned to an endocrinology department.
PCOS was always at the back of my mind and I worried it would be difficult to fall pregnant. I always spoke about having a family and when a couple of my friends had babies it made me very broody. In 2012 the other half and I discussed trying for a baby, once my 30th birthday celebrations were out of the way.
Surprisingly I found out I was pregnant less than a month after my birthday. At an early scan the sonographer mentioned there were cysts on my right ovary.
I felt so lucky that it happened as I know that fulfilling the dream of having children is not always an easy journey.
I have friends that have gone down the IVF route  not only because it was hard to conceive but due to genetic reasons. For them I know it was a difficult time. I know that if I had struggled to conceive I would have certainly have seriously considered IVF.
Of course another option is adoption, not only for couples that can't conceive but same sex couples and single people too. Not everyone meets their so called 'the one' to bring up a family but that doesn't mean they can't become a parent, in addition to adoption there is the option of sperm banks and surrogacy. So how much does it cost to get sperm from a bank?  In the UK you're looking at around £800 for a vial of sperm through fertility centres such as Complete Fertility Centre in Southampton.
I can't imagine how painful it is not to have children when you so desperately want them. Fortunately there are options in this day and age to help people become parents and nobody's journey to parenthood is the same.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Dating Game

The night I met my worst date experience!
I met the other half back in 2008 during my final year of university on a night out in Brighton. On our first date we met for drinks and ended up going to a few pubs. On our second date he took me to dinner and of course we went on to have several more dates and the rest as they say is history! Now we have two beautiful children! It is coming up to our ten year anniversary which is just crazy, time has flown!
Prior to meeting my other half I hadn’t really been on that many dates, I’d been in a long term relationship and the next date I had after that I was really excited to be going on. Even though I was at university in Brighton, the guy was actually from near my home town which was a positive start!
We met in a local pub and got on really really well, had lots of laughs and I saw potential for a second date which we agreed we would organize. However I never heard from him again, he didn’t respond to a text I sent or try to contact me. I never understand why this happened or why it still happens to others. If you’re not keen to meet again why not just be honest about it?!
The next date I went on was after a night out with my friend back in my home area. We bumped into her brother and his friend whilst we were out and spent some time with them.  The next day her brother’s friend contacted my friend to ask for my number, she asked me if it was ok before giving it to him and we planned a meet one Sunday afternoon.
I remember the day quite well as it was the worst date I have ever been on! Not that I’ve been on loads of dates but this was the direst out of a few! It was a lovely sunny summer’s day and we met in a pub. We sat in the garden to enjoy the glorious weather but unfortunately I did not enjoy his company as much. He wasn’t unpleasant in any way, shape or form but on the shy side. I found myself trying to stimulate the conversation and was getting very little in return which did make me feel on the uncomfortable side as there were a lot of awkward silences! I found it very odd as I can be on the shy side myself but was the one doing all the work on this date. He did contact me a couple of times afterwards by text but we never met again.
I feel quite lucky that I can call that the worst date experience I’ve ever had. I know things have moved on in the dating game since I was in it. There are lots more dating sites available, including free dating site ‘We Love Dates’.
I’ve perused a couple of sites when helping some single friends pick a possible date which they’ve paid to do, whereas We Love Dates offers free dating. I have worried about friends when they’ve been meeting strangers and made sure they would contact me or someone else if they needed an escape! Thank goodness the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign is now an option for those that feel uncomfortable on their date, not an option that was available years ago but I’m grateful to say I wouldn’t have needed to use it.

What’s your worst date story?

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A letter to me, the first time mum

Dear me,

My, my, my what an unforgettable journey you've been on...

Lets take it back to when you were pregnant the first time, remember those really REALLY cute pram shoes you bought for your boy? Along with a multitude of other clothing items, you thought they were a bargain because they were reduced and you'd get another sale item half price. Win win, right? Wrong! Eliot wore one pair once and never wore the second pair! However you did learn from this mistake and didn't make the same error the second time around!

Of course I'm sure you recall labour, don't you? All 37.5 hours of it!!! You did a pretty awesome job pushing a not so tiny 9.5lb-er out of you. You were determined to only have gas & air which you managed but it would have been ok you know to ask for some further pain relief! It may have enabled you to get that bit of sleep you so desperately wanted. You were too stubborn to give in and actually a little afraid to ask the midwives. They were very pro natural birth and you were being given lavender to help relax you.

You were not 'unconfident' as a midwife said when giving you reasons why you shouldn't go home the day after birth. At no point during pregnancy or after birth were you told that a baby can still have some amniotic fluid in them that needs to be expelled. It was only natural to panic when Eliot seemed to be choking.

One thing you will always remember is that first poop...sure you'd read all about meconium and knew it would be a black tar like mess. You didn't bank on it happening when your MIL snatched him off you mid change. She was the one that got covered in it though as well as the hospital floor!

Give yourself a pat on the back...it was hard being in hospital for almost a week for various reasons, you wanted to breastfeed but it wasn't happening and there was a concern that Eliot had a hernia. Thankfully he didn't but I know you believe it was a bit a preparation for what would happen around six weeks later.

The best bit of advice you needed in those early days was not to take to heart comments or things that people said about feeding. You tried to breastfeed, staff in the hospital tried to help you breastfeed but you needed to do what YOU felt was right for you and Eliot, you made the right choice for you both.

Remember six weeks later when you took Eliot to A&E after speaking to the health visitor and the GP? You were told it was reflux and prescribed medication but you took him to A&E when the projectile vomiting still continued. As you know Eliot needed an operation when it was discovered he had pyloric stenosis.
And there's another big tip! Continue to trust your instincts and get anything you're not sure about checked out! No matter how small you think it may be, it's always better to be safe than sorry. I know you remember this tip as it was something you needed to do with baby two, Nola when she was two months old.

There were lots of baby groups on and you were enthusiastic about meeting other mums but that didn't really happen and you were quickly put off the baby groups. The one group you did attend a few times  was baby massage, you enjoyed it as did Eliot and you learnt how to use lotions to help Eliot feel relaxed and the experience increased your bond. Even though you didn't know it then, using Vicks baby rub with Nola would also further your bonding experiences and it would be a relief to see her calmer and more relaxed after using it when those pesky teeth played up!

There are so many things you learned that first time round, like how muslins were an invaluable baby essential with various different uses, and how to avoid being pee'd on whilst changing a nappy, well almost, you did get better at it!
One thing is for sure, I know you know it's the most amazing journey you've been on, even with the ups and downs.
Keep going, there's lots more to learn as they get older!

With love,
You xxx

“This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.”
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