Friday, 15 June 2018

The Golden Hinde London


If you're in London or not too far away,The Golden Hinde in Southwark is one of London's many things to do and is part of a perfect trip out for any pirate/history fans. 
 Eliot has always enjoyed being out and about across the capital and loves the varied sights of what the capital has to offer. Lately, he has been particularly fond of London’s historic sights and revels on the background stories and facts behind them. One of his favourite historic subjects at present is pirates and ships.  So when we mentioned paying the Golden Hinde a visit he was very keen! Especially when his dad told him stories and facts about of one of history’s most famous Elizabethan sea captains, Sir Francis Drake and the mighty ship, he couldn't wait to get there!
 
Situated on the historic banks of Southwark, moments from London Bridge Station, and under the shadows of the gothic majestic Southwark Cathedral, The Golden Hinde is an exact replica of the real thing and is moored perfectly to where many boats and ships of the time would have docked.
Below deck is very tight and apart from Eliot, the rest of us had to duck down as we explored the lower decks. It really gives you a feel for how difficult and awful it would have been for the crewman who manned the guns as explosions and chaos rumbled around the ship. The living and sleeping quarters  were extremely cramped which makes you wonder how the crew coped. 
Being a grumpy, bossy captain!

 
We enjoyed our trip to the Golden Hinde and learning about the different parts of the ship and what they would have been used for.
The Golden Hinde is open daily but do check the website as they close for private functions, you can also see what's on as they have special events on certain days. The day we visited there was a pirate training activity!
Jumping with excitement!

 
Have you visited the Golden Hinde?
 
 
*We received free entry in exchange for a blog post
 

Friday, 8 June 2018

Nola's 6, 7, 8 & 9 Month Update!


General/milestones
Nola you are now nine months old, the same amount of time you were growing inside me. I'm sorry I haven't kept up to date with your updates, there wasn't any big changes between five and six months so I thought I'd pick things up again at seven months, then eight months and before I knew it here we are at nine months old!
You have grown a lot, especially your hair it's getting thicker and thicker! You have become more smiley, you 'talk' a lot making an 'aahhh' sound and you have continued to work hard at holding objects and rolling over. You have been rolling all the time these past couple of weeks and you're getting pretty good at it, you did bump your head at the weekend and bruised your head.

Seizure wise they made a come back unfortunately. When you were six months old I noticed when you were sleeping sometimes you eyes would open and then flicker, I was pretty sure they were seizures. So I sent a video over to the epilepsy nurse, I didn't hear back but then received a letter for an appointment at Addenbrookes with the paediatric neurologist, it turned out the epilepsy nurse had forwarded the video to him. He put you on a third medication and told us he would see you again in July.
The next day you began to have infantile spasms again so called I the neuros secretary and explained. The Dr called me that evening and said we'd stick with the plan, which was introducing the third medicine over four weeks and that should hopefully stop the spasms.
 It didn't so our appointment was brought forward and we saw him again a couple of weeks ago and he said the next stop was to put you on steroids. I really didn't want to put you on these as the side effects aren't great. But the with the overall outcome of infantile spasms there really is was no other choice. You have been an absolute trooper on them though Nola, you've just been amazing so so good! Very quiet and dazed at times but you have been smiley at times too. The good news is they stopped the spasms quickly and they have kept away so far! We started to wean you yesterday on your nine month birthday so I'm hoping that will be ok as I know it can be difficult for some little ones.




I don't think your development has gone back, if it has only a little. You wanted to roll for ages and you're doing it consistently now! You also want to sit up by yourself, you're getting there. I know you'll do it, I'm so proud of you! You're still not overly keen to use you hands, although you'll bash things and try to grab them if you're in the mood. A few weekends ago you mastered blowing raspberries and couldn't stop doing it! You haven't done it as much since you started the steroids.
 You cut your first tooth just after you turned six months and the second one followed shortly after!
In April you had your first trip abroad to Disneyland Paris, you were far better behaved than your big brother! It was such a nice getaway, not in anyway relaxing but wonderful to getaway...Disney is magical!
We were chosen to be ambassadors for Turtle Tots which is very exciting! We started our swimming lessons in May but have stopped for now due to your immune system being suppressed whilst on steroids. You love being in the water and did lots of splashing around.
 I moved you up to size 4 nappies at some point but discovered today you still fit in a size 3! 
Wearing purple for world epilepsy awareness day!

Feeding
Nothing has changed about your appetite! You still love milk and of course I started weaning you at six months. I gave you different vegetables first, broccoli, potato, carrot, cauliflower, parsnip, peas, green beans. You liked most of them but broccoli made you heave he first time, you were fine after that though. You definitely prefer sweet though as you can't get enough of fruit and yogurt! You are loving eating solids!
Milk is still very much a favourite, you have three to four bottles a day 5-6oz, I mix a bit with one of your medicines in the morning and at night. I have been putting some of steroid doses in.  

Sleeping
Mostly you sleep through the night but there have been a few times you've woken up very early, to be fair you happily lay there kicking your legs and playing with your feet. Mostly you have been waking around 7am.

 
Weight
I can update your weight this time! You were weighed at the hospital a couple of weeks ago and were 8.16kg = 17lbs9oz which is lighter than I thought you were!

Clothes
You are mainly in 6-9 month clothes but also wearing some 9-12 month bits.
 
More Nicknames
The nicknames keep coming!  Here are what came out last time and below there's more!     

30. Kee Kee
31. Kee-Kai
32. Beauty
33.Beauty Weauty
34. Tutti Fruitti
35. Pumbles
36. Kee-Kai
37.Pooch
38.Poochie
39.Poochie Woochie
40.Poochie Woocha

With big bro at Hampton Court Palace
 
Your Likes
  • You still love snuggly cuddles...I do too!
  • Milk and food
  • Bath time still makes you happy and now swimming does too
  • You love being out and about
  •  Watching trees, they make you very excited for some reason
  • Big brother playing with you (when he's not being too rough!)
Your Dislikes
  • Waiting for milk or food
  • Still not a fan of being dressed or undressed, although you don't grumble as much
  • Still being disturbed
In all honesty there's not a lot you kick up a fuss about right now, you are so chilled!

    That's it my darling girl, until next time!
xxx

 
 

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.”

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Car Safety Checks


 
Next week I’m going away with my parents, we’ll be taking two cars as you’ll know if you have children, especially babies you normally end up taking everything but the kitchen sink! Add my mum into the mix and you do literally take everything, in self-catered accommodation she won’t use any of the plates, cutlery etc. provided including the kettle, so that comes along too! As you can imagine there’s not an awful lot of room!

The journey will be quite a long one, around four hours I think so this weekend I need to make sure I do some checks to ensure my car is ready for the long drive. I must admit I am a bit of a stereotypical female when it comes to cars and not always the best at doing those checks but thankfully my dad is on hand to remind me! He comments/reminds me I need to check my tyres, oil and even asks me if I have enough petrol! Petrol is one aspect I do keep on top of!

 I need to do to make sure my car is as safe as possible and hopefully less likely to break down, like everyone else I don’t want to be sat on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance especially with two children on board! So these are the checks I’ll be doing…

1.       Check the oil level and top up if I need to

2.       Check the engine coolant level

3.       Top up with water or screen wash to ensure I don’t run out

4.        Check my wiper blades are working correctly. In the snowstorm a couple of weeks ago they were smearing Ice across the windscreen making it almost impossible to see and I had to pull over on the hard shoulder of the M1 to sort them out, which was not a pleasant experience!

5.       Last but not least I will be checking my tyres, checking that the pressures are correct. I replaced two of my tyres a couple of weeks ago so I know the tread is ok. I did have to stand around in the cold and rain whilst they were fitted, I didn’t know about Jet Wheel Tyres where I could have saved some time and ordered online!

 

Have a missed anything out? Are there any other safety checks you carry out on your car before journeys?
 
*This post is in collaboration with Jet Wheel Tyres

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

GUEST POST-Workplace Issues That Will Keep You Busy In 2018 And How To Manage Them


The business and corporate world have been seeing massive changes over the years. However, the year of 2018 is coming to be known to have many workplace issues and changes. These workplace issues are going to keep you busy and have your bringing about many changes in the overall functioning of your office. We have put together a list of the changes that you are likely to see and what you can do to manage them. Here’s everything you need to know and be prepared for in the year of 2018.

Striking A Balance Between In-house And Freelance Employees
A lot of companies and corporate organizations are now hiring freelance employees for odd jobs like social media management, blogging, product photography and other jobs rather than employing full-time in-house employees for the same. While being able to hire freelance employees to get certain jobs done can prove to be a real boon, not being able to strike a balance between the in-house employees and freelance ones can be an absolute nightmare for the management.
 The overall office environment needs to be set up in such a way that external and internal collaboration become easy and hassle-free. You need to make sure that your office has a document depository space where both in-house and freelance employees are able to access documents as per their requirements. Further, in-house employees need to be trained in such a manner that they are absolutely secure with their job and can coordinate with freelance employees as opposed to getting hostile with them due to job insecurities.
Being More Digitally Efficient
Let’s be honest, the whole world is gradually moving on to digital interactions. Whether it’s billing processes or HR forms or reports, most organizations are opting for the digital methods in keeping such documentation ready and handy. Nobody in today’s day and age likes to get paperwork done in the ancient and bureaucratic way that is ridiculously time-consuming and very exhausting. Additionally, having piles of forms, reports and other paperwork can turn out to be a painful storage issue. You will require cabinets, storage spaces and files to keep the papers in order. Employees who have been in the organization for years on end but aren’t comfortable with changing technologies should be offered basic training courses in digital management of paperwork. Further, new employees who are used to being digitally efficient and lack the skills of handling bureaucratic paperwork may begin to lose job satisfaction if your organization isn’t working towards making the switch. Hence, it is absolutely essential that you and your organization keep up with changing times and become more digitally practical and efficient.
Changing Corporate Culture
In earlier times an office space typically meant a 9 to 5 desk job, dull and drab surroundings and limited interaction with other employees of the organization. Over the years this old school corporate culture has seen a massive change. Offices today are more lively, vibrant, have far more flexible hours and are a lot more inspiringly and creatively designed. The walls are painted in bright and vibrant colors, the office is given a more motivating feel with the installation of faux trees, flowers, and plants. Installation of these lush green trees and plants in and around the office area helps employees work better and in a more relaxed manner. You can get some beautiful faux landscaping products like bonsai trees, flower arrangements, ficus plants, bougainvillea plants, hanging baskets, sunflowers, hedges, bushes and lots more to decorate your office and make the surroundings more energetic to work in. The employees of today like to work in office setups that have character and charm.
More Focus On Employee Mental Health
We live in stressful times where money problems are on the rise, mental illnesses are as common as a tooth cavity and having high blood pressure is extremely common amongst employees. A lot of employees have pending student loans, home loans and piling credit card bills that keep on getting bigger due to the accumulating interest. This further results in high-stress levels and high blood pressure in the employees. A large number of individuals today are even facing and battling mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and others. A lot of employers offer free in-house therapy sessions to their employees. The HR manager is trained to handle psychological and mental issues. Bosses today are even helping their employees pay off their student loans to reduce the stress levels of their employees. If your office isn’t prepared to battle the high-stress levels and the growing psychological issues of employees, it is about time you took some action and brought about some changes in your office to be able to handle such situations tactfully.

Embracing Diversity Is The Need Of The Hour
Organisations today are a lot more welcoming to women employees, employees from different races and cultures and so on. Racism is pretty much no longer acceptable globally in the corporate world. Gender pay gaps are also not accepted by employees any more. Men and women from different cultures and races are now paid more or less the same salary for the same job. Unlike olden times, where men were given a higher salary than women for the same job or designation, now the pay scales are more or less equal. Further, organizations are now employing people from different cultures and backgrounds without any hassles or apprehensions. If your organization is not yet prepared to handle cultural differences and embrace diversity, it is about time that you make some changes in the organization, or be ready for a civil suit being filed against you and the organization.
In order to keep up with changing times, you also need to bring about some drastic changes in your workplace. Employees today are a lot more aware of their rights, the laws and so on. You need to manage workplace issues in a practical and efficient way if you want your organization to grow and rake in more profits.
 Handle workplace issues in a more practical, efficient and sensible manner by making small tweaks and changes in the basic functioning of the office.







Friday, 9 March 2018

Mothers Day Plans

As I've become older, wiser and grumpier I've grown less fond of  the likes of Mothers Day etc. Although it is a nice way to show our love and appreciation for our mothers, I think to some extent the overall sentiment has been lost. A part of me can't help thinking it's a big commercial money making scam but the other half enjoys making the time to spend with my mum and now my own children.
 
Many of the Mothers Day themed gifts in the shops are not my cup of tea and I wonder what an earth anyone will do with them once Mothers Day is over. I know some mums will love the mothers day themed gift and others won't be so keen. It's a personal preference.
 

This Mothers Day will be my first as a mama of two little ones, which I'm very excited about. The best Mother's Day present for me is that Nola is currently doing really well and has been seen seizure free since 18th January. That is all I could ever ask for, for my baby to be as healthy as she can possibly be! And this Mothers Day as it our first mothers day she will be wearing this very special personalised romper from Teether Baby Wear who have a range of baby and childrens wear, from personilised items to parent and baby sets. I feel that this Mothers Day is extra special not only because I have two children to spend it with but also because Nola has been through a lot and as mentioned above she is currently doing well.
So what are our plans for Mothers Day? Not a lot really, what I would like is to have a lay in and a nice little breakfast with the kiddos. Later on we will head over to my mums to spend some time with her and go out for lunch or dinner. I'm not sure where yet as the chain restaurants obviously get very busy. Last year we ended up in McDonalds because Eliot was adamant we were going there after there was no space in Pizza Express. It saved another melt down!
I still haven't bought my mum anything yet, all organised with cards as I bought them a few weeks ago. I find my mum one of the hardest people to buy things for, so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Today is Rare Disease Day!



When Nolas' seizure activity had just begun (November 2017)


Until January this year I'd not heard of  Rare Disease Day. I say I'd not heard of it but what I'm sure I mean is that it has probably cropped up on one of my social media feeds at some point but I'd not really taken much notice because it didn't affect me. As selfish as it sounds that is likely to be the honest truth.
 
However this year it does affect me, it affects us as a family. Nola has a rare condition, something that will be with her for life, something that we're still getting our heads round.
 At this point in time we have no idea to the extent she will be affected. She could have a poorer quality of life or she could lead a near to normal life, only time will tell with her rare condition.
What we do know is that she'll probably be on medication for life to help control seizures that are caused by multiple growths in and on her brain. These will need monitoring and possibly in the future two will need some sort of intervention. That is just one of the aspects of the rare condition, that I haven't named yet because we are still waiting for genetic blood tests to confirm it.
 
Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February every year. Did you know that 1 in 17 people in the UK have a rare disease? Not as rare as you may think but there are thousands of rare diseases, most are not curable. So the aim of the day is to raise awareness of rare diseases to make the public more aware of the challenges some people face and encourage more research.
 
I will always remember Rare Disease Day now. Nola is my 1 in 17.
 
 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Cuddledry Towel REVIEW


Back in January we were kindly sent an original cuddledry towel in oatmeal and white. Little Miss Nola has loved bath time pretty much since her first one, she would scream getting undressed for her bath and then stop as soon as she was placed in the water!
Nola in one of her early baths
However, when it was time to come out she would again scream the place down, whilst I was in a frantic rush to get her on to the towel, all wrapped up and cosy. It would usually take her a little while to calm down too.

This is where the cuddledry towel has been a total game changer at bath times. Its' genius, hands free, multi award winning design enables me to place Nola directly on my chest and wrap her in the towel quickly. This means she's kept cosy and warm which is something I particularly worried about in the early days. It also means I don't get wet!

First bath with big bro!
Apart from the first time we used it, I can honestly say there have been no tears at all after bath time. Nola loves cuddles and now I'm able to cuddle her straight after a bath without getting soaked! I'm certain she feels secure being cuddled as soon as she comes out which has made bath time a much more relaxing experience for everyone.
The towel is made from 'natural bamboo fibre' and 'unbleached cotton' which is super soft and very absorbent, meaning I can 'cuddle-dry' her.
The original cuddledry is available in a range of different colours and there is also a range of other fantastic products on the website including toddler towels and the new 'Baby & Me Wash Bag'.
I highly recommend the cuddledry for stress free bath times with your new baby or if your looking to buy a baby gift this is a great one! You can buy it from the cuddledry website as well as other retailers such as Boots and John Lewis.
 
I'm linking this post up with Jenny's Bumps & Babies linky!
 
 
*I was sent the item to review but all opinions are my own

Thursday, 15 February 2018

5 Month Update


General/milestones
I said it with your big brother, and I'm sure I'll continue to say it but I just don't know where the time goes, I can't believe you are 5 months already!!!
At present your seizures are under control (high five!!!), since the last update you've had one ambulance ride to hospital, your third lot of immunisations and an eye clinic appointment!
I'm convinced your seizure activity changed each time you had a round of immunisations, a week or so after the first set you experienced seizures for just over a week and then they stopped. A couple of days after the second set you began to have the infantile spasms, followed a few days later with another type of seizure. Then the day after your third set you stopped having any spasms. Coincidence I'd just increased the dose again? I'm not certain nor am I convinced but fantastic news  that the spasms are currently at bay! But before that last set you were a bit poorly.
 After the first and third set of jabs parents are currently advised to give their babies three doses of paracetamol to help prevent a temperature. Having the combined jabs, including the one for meningitis means you were more likely to get a temperature. I gave you two doses but because you'd been sick in the evening and I was already loading you with your anti epileptic medicine I didn't want to go over board you and give you paracetamol whilst your temperature was normal. That was a mistake!! I woke up about 4am to hear you chomping on your hand, which was unusual for you as after going several hours through the night without a bottle, you'd normally be screaming! I felt your head and you seemed to be on the warm side but still took a bottle and drank it all. I then checked you with the thermometer and your temperature was on the high side. So I gave you  some paracetamol which you vomited back straight away so I didn't finish the dose. You then had a long, nasty set of spasms so I rang 111 for some advice as I was worried. They dispatched an ambulance based on the information I gave them.
This pramsuit makes me laugh because it makes you look huge!!!
When they arrived the paramedics checked you over, as your temperature was still high and your heart rate was out of the normal range they took us to hospital. By the time you were checked in A&E and again on the children's ward everything was back to normal, thankfully. After a couple of hours we were sent home, with the overall medical consensus that you had a reaction to the immunisations.
  Apart from that little drama you had your eyes checked and we found out you have growths behind your left eye. At the moment they don't seem to be causing you any problems, time will tell but fingers crossed they won't affect your vision.
Development wise, you can see that having the seizures under control is making a change to your progression. You are more awake, I guess because there are no seizures to make you tired and your body has got used to the medicine. Being awake for longer means more time to interact, you are smiling more and you have giggled a couple of times which is the best sound, it melts my heart! You babble a lot and over the last couple of weeks you began a high pitched shriek/cry/shout and use it when you're both happy and upset. You still only give eye contact on your terms, when you're being held you usually avoid eye contact but will look at people when you are lying down.
This month you had your first bath with your big brother, you thoroughly enjoyed it but I didn't as I was worried you were going to slip out of my grip! You are still in size 3 nappies. Overall you seem to be on the whole just a lot more chilled out, you really like your oball and have started to grip hold of it. You absolutely love chomping on your hands and fingers and will stare at them for ages!
Enjoying your oball
Feeding
You appetite still hasn't changed, you would drink milk continuously if you could!. You were still having 5oz bottles, five times a day, sometimes alternated with a 6oz bottle but now you are on five 6oz bottles. If you do wake during the night I will give you less to help you go back to sleep.
Absolutely love looking/chomping/sucking your hands and fingers
Sleeping
You are continuing to sleep through most nights from anything between 9pm-11pm usually through until 7:30am-8.30am. You have slept through more this month but there are still times you have woken up.
 
Weight
I haven't had you weighed since the last update.

Clothes
Clothes wise you are mostly wearing 3-6 month clothes with some exception here and there. Such as a newborn size cardigan!

More Nicknames
I'm still coming out with random nicknames.  Here are last months and below there's a few more!     
26. Baboo
27. Baboose
28. Baboosey
29. RoRo Beans
 
    
Your Likes
  • You still love cuddles especially if you're tired
  • You still  love your bottles
  • Bath time continues to be a favourite
  • You still enjoy getting out
  •  You still like watching and listening to Eliot
  • The dummy is still soothing, mainly when you're tired.
Your Dislikes
  • Eliot being 'too cuddly' or on the rough side
  • Still having clothes put on/taken off if you are not in the mood
  • Still...Being disturbed when you are comfy
It's been a more positive update Nola,  I hope next month there are more positives to write about!
xxx
 
I've linked this post up with Jenny's 'Bumps & Babies' linky!
 
 

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The Red Lion, A Sizzling Pub & Grill-REVIEW

 A few weeks ago I received an email asking me if I'd like to review the recently refurbished Red Lion, part of  'The Sizzling Pubs' group, in Bedford. As one of my favourite things to do is to eat out, I of course said yes!
We were booked in for 5pm one Friday evening and in the meantime I browsed the online menus. I was impressed at the selection of foods and the amount of offers that were available, such as kids eat for £1 and skillet and a drink for £5.99.
Eliot had already chosen exactly what he was going to eat when I looked at the menus online and I had an idea of what I might order but wanted to have another good look at the menu when we were there.
 


On arrival we were shown to our table, which had a nice view of the sparkly lights in the garden. With the 'Sizzling Pubs' you usually order at the bar once you have decided what you are eating, don't forget your table number!
We went for an offer of  mix and matching three starters to share,  choosing cheese and bacon crispy potato skins, the new chicken madras pakora bites and new garlic prawns.
I said 'to share' but Eliot and I don't eat prawns so the other half had them to himself and we shared the rest. I really enjoyed both the other starters and was pleasantly surprised with the chicken madras pakora bites. I love Indian food but usually find if I buy an Indian dish from the supermarket or order one in a non Indian restaurant, they just don't taste authentic and have a certain flavour. But I didn't find that with these pakora bites and loved the mint sour cream they were served with. It was a generous serving too, if you weren't too hungry and after something light this would be a good option!
The potato skins were nice, crispy and full of flavour. The other half enjoyed his garlic prawns too.
 For his main Eliot chose the 'Mini Mixed Grill' from the over 5's section of the menu. They also have dishes recommended for under 5's. Eliot chose this because he's a bit of an egg lover but it also came with half a chicken breast, sausage and a burger. He then chose garlic bread from the 'side' options and corn on the cob from the 'veg' section. There is a good selection of kids meals, sides and veg which should meet the needs of most fussy eaters. The kids menu is great value too with the main, dessert an drink for £4.99. Even better, if you visit between 3-7pm Monday-Friday, kids eat for £1 when an adult has a main meal!
 The other half went for the rump steak platter which was two steaks served with onions, mushrooms, onion rings, mushroom and chips were chosen as a side. This was a big portion of steak but the other half enjoyed it. The steak was served as requested, medium rare.
 I opted for one of the newer options from the menu, 'The Tennessee' loaded steak which consisted of a 8oz sirloin steak covered in a bourbon glaze, streaky bacon and melted cheese. It was served with onions, a grilled mushroom and tomato, onion rings and chips. I'm one of those people that asks for my steak 'well done' which it mostly was, there were a few pinky parts but not enough for me to ask for it to be cooked a bit more. I'm not a fan of bourbon as a tipple but I really like it as a glaze it's so tasty! I would definitely have this dish again!
 
Dessert was something Eliot didn't stop mentioning throughout our dinner! Again as we'd looked at the dessert menu prior to coming, Eliot had decided he was having the 'Build Your Own Sundae'. I think it is a super choice for a kids menu, it makes pudding even more fun and has one of their five a day included. Eliot certainly enjoyed building his sundae with the strawberries, chocolate buttons (and they were Cadbury buttons, hurrah!) chocolate pieces and chocolate sauce.
 I am probably more of a 'dessert' person than a 'starter person' so found it difficult to make a choice! I was torn between the treacle sponge and the new black forest sundae. In the end went for the sundae, which included vanilla ice cream, black cherry compote, brownie pieces and cream. It was so good!
 The OH went with the Mint Aero Sundae, which came with vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, mint aero bubbles and cream. As you can see this looked pretty good too!
 
Our thoughts overall...
 
The food
There is good range of food options available that cater for different tastes and needs, including one or two vegan options which I know is growing. Prices are reasonable and extremely good if you take advantage of one of the offers which are super value! You can even get a fiver off your bill if you sign up.
I was impressed with the options on the kids menu, plenty to choose from and as most of us parents know, children can be fussy! What I liked most was you choose your main then get to choose your two sides which again is helpful to those of with fussy eaters! I also liked the fact there were options for under and over 5's. 
All of the food ordered was a good standard and we enjoyed everything we ordered.
 
The service
As mentioned above, you decide what your eating then order at the bar with your table number. We were served our meal by a very friendly and pleasant waiter who was also good with Eliot. I'm sure you know what I mean if you're a parent out dining with the family and there's that waiter/waitress that make your outing more relaxed and enjoyable. They take time, even if it's only a few seconds to interact with children and make the experience even better. That's what we had with out waiter!
 
 
The Atmosphere
The Red Lion has recently been refurbished but I can't compare its current look to what it was like before as this was my first visit. However you could see lots of things were new. I loved the different colours of paint on our table which had a quirky effect!
As it was a Friday evening, there was lots of hubbub in the bar with people having after work drinks. Where we were seated there was lots of other families too which made me feel more comfortable and at ease. There was a warm, cozy feel to the environment which was welcoming
In the bar area I noticed sign which said children were welcome to eat in the bar area until 5pm and elsewhere there was a sign stating children were welcome in the restaurant area until 9pm. I'm 50/50 on this one as there have been times we've needed to eat late, perhaps if  we've travelled away on a break. If it was the only option around that could be a bit of a problem!
 On the other hand 9pm is late for little ones and I know there are many people who do not want children around them when they're out for dinner, regardless of the time. I've never been one of those people even before having children so if it is an establishment offering a kids menu I'm not sure there should be a limit on what time they can be in the restaurant until.
 
Would we go back?
Yes I would certainly go back to The Red Lion and would try other 'Sizzling Pub' branches too. The food is good value for what you get and there are plenty of offers to help you ensure you don't break your budget!
 
*We received a complimentary meal in exchange for a review, all thoughts & opinions are my own


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