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 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

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
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
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.
I haven't had you weighed since the last update.

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!
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

Monday, 22 January 2018

Asda Little Angels Video Tips

If you follow me on Instagram you may remember towards the end of last year Little Miss Nola took part in some filming for Asda Little Angels which was rather exciting! We travelled down to Dulwich for filming with some of the lovely Myraid PR team, some other mummy's and their beautiful bubbas. Nola and I were filmed for a 'nappy changing tips' video and I must say she was very well behaved for a seven week old!
A couple of weeks later I was invited along to the launch of the new videos at London's Ivy restaurant with some other fellow mummy bloggers, Dr Hilary Jones and Vanessa and Kayley from Myriad PR. What a treat to have an afternoon off 'mum duties' with great company and amazing food!

 Asda Little Angels created the videos with Dr Hilary Jones to give advice and tips on four particular areas of baby care, clickable links below!

 I was super excited to see the finished videos, naturally extra excited to see the one Nola and I filmed! I really recommend giving them a watch for some great tips! If you're wondering why your baby's nappy is leaking, why they might have nappy rash,  how often you should bath your newborn or when your baby is ready for weaning, these videos will give you a heads up with plenty of other advice!

For more info and advice from Asda Little Angels check out their Baby & Toddler club.

* I was invited along to the launch of the videos at The Ivy, I received no payment for this post

Monday, 15 January 2018

Nola You're 4 Months Old


Little Nola your turned four months old just over a week ago. This is the second update I have written about you and boy have things changed since I wrote the last one.
Right now I'm not sure if you will ever be able to read these.
In hospital
I think the biggest change is finding out you are very likely to have a rare genetic condition. You began having seizures just before you turned 12 weeks, although when they started I did not realise that's what they were. I will explain in more detail in a separate post but you were admitted to hospital for three days at the beginning of December where lots of tests began to try and find out what was causing you to have seizures. You had an attempted MRI scan which couldn't be done because you were awake, an EEG test and different bloods taken. There were some abnormal results from the EEG tests so an urgent request for an MRI was made to try and get a good look at your brain. You didn't have any seizures whilst we were in hospital which is typical and didn't experience any more for a couple of weeks. You then had a MRI under general anaesthetic where some growths on your brain were discovered. The discharge letter I received said the findings were 'highly suspicious' of  a specific rare condition, something until that day (19/12/17) I was oblivious to. It's a condition that affects people differently with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, so right now we don't know how affected you will be. 
The day before you had the MRI you began having these odd spasm type movements which I know now are another type of seizure. On Christmas Eve night I ended up taking you to the children's ward because you were having these spasms following a different type of seizure. We were admitted so you spent your very first Christmas morning in hospital which was so sad. You did get discharged as you hadn't had anymore seizure episodes but within a couple of hours you went back via an ambulance as we were advised to call 999 if you had a seizure that got to three minutes long. So we spent the next two nights there until we saw the paediatric consultant who specialises in epilepsy. You were prescribed medicine to control the seizures but the spasms went on and you were put on another medication aiming to stop them after the results of a second EEG were worse than the first. Last week you had a heart scan which also revealed you have two growths on your heart, you then had an ECG which fortunately revealed your heart is working as normal at present. We also saw a specialist at Addenbrookes hospital who agrees it's highly likely you have the rare genetic condition but no one will confirm it until we have the genetic blood tests back. You have an appointment at the end of the month to have your eyes checked for any growths. It's all been hard to take in as it would be for any mummy, I still don't think I've fully got my head round it but I will be with you every step of the way, I'm so sorry this has happened to you, you are so brave!
Apart from all of the drama that you've had, what else has gone on since my last update?
You had your first holiday at Bluestone in Wales, unfortunately this was when the seizures really kicked in so we didn't make the best memories.
In December you were chosen as one of the new brand reps for Petal & Grace, a beautiful hairband company on Instagram. Their bows make you look even cuter than you already do!
You still enjoy cuddles and can be very snuggly, sometimes you won't calm down if you're upset until you are being cuddled, sucking your dummy and having your face stroked!
One of the most upsetting aspects of the seizures is that they can affect development unless they're under control. This has happened with you, before this all started you began to giggle, even though we only heard it once or twice, it was starting to happen. Since around Christmas day you barely smile, if we're lucky we see maybe one smile a day. I'm told once the seizures are under control you are more likely to reach the general baby milestones.
I've had to move you up to size 3 nappies, as you are growing into a right little chunk!
You've had your second round of routine immunisations and due the next batch soon. 

One positive is that your appetite hasn't changed, you still love your milk and guzzle it down. You are still having 5oz bottles, usually five a day, sometimes more as there have been several nights you have woken during the night and needed a bottle to settle you. If you've had a very long stretch sleeping overnight I give you a 6oz bottle and have tried 6oz bottles before bed to see if that helped with sleeping few but it hasn't always worked!

Most nights you have slept through but there have been several where you have woken up once and at worse, twice. You're actually sleeping more than you're awake at the moment. I've been told it's probably down to a combination of medicine and seizure activity.
Your second EEG test
You were weighed last week when we saw the specialist and you're now a whopping 14.7lbs thanks to all the milk you've been knocking back!

Clothes wise you still fit in some 0-3 month clothes but some are too small. You are also wearing lots of 3-6 month clothes too and most need some growing in to.

More Nicknames
I wrote a post about your name and the nicknames I had come with so far. I still can't help the random names that pop into my head. Roly is still the one I'm using the most! Here are the ones I added last month and below there's a few more!                    
23. Rooka Took
24. Rooky
25. Angel cake

Cuddles with big brother at Bluestone!
Your Likes
  • You still love cuddles
  • You still  love your bottles
  • You still love having a bath, if you're crying beforehand you immediately stop
  • You really enjoy being out and about
  •  You like watching and listening to Eliot
  • You still enjoy being sung to
  • You like your dummy a lot now! It's very soothing for you when you want it!
Your Dislikes
  • Still...Sudden loud noises
  • Still...Being taken out of the bath
  • Having clothes put on/taken off
  • Still...Being disturbed when you are comfy
  • Occasionally still...Being put in the car seat
I'm sorry it's not been a more positive update Nola  I hope next month there is more good news to write!
I've linked this post up with Jenny's 'Bumps & Babies' linky!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate comments and read all of them!