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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Panda Kids Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow review*


For the past couple of weeks Ava has been trialling the Panda Kids Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow, I'd started to notice that she was shunning her regular pillow in favour of a decorative cushion or simply the mattress itself. As someone who has constantly suffered with neck problems I'm all too aware of the pain a bad night's sleep can cause, so when we were asked if Ava would like to give the Bamboo Memory Foam pillow a go I was eager to find out if this was something that could work for Ava.



This special memory foam pillow has been completely designed with children in mind, down to the smallest detail. The pillow dips in the middle and moulds to the shape of your child's head, guaranteeing them a comfortable nights sleep. It also helps to align the neck and shoulders and has been proven to reduce flat head syndrome.



The bamboo fibre cover, which is removable and washing machine friendly, is a breathable fabric which will keep your child cool in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. It's also naturally antibacterial which is fantastic for children who suffer from skin complaints or allergies. It is environmentally friendly and is proven to have been made without the use of any harmful substances.

I was curious to see how Ava would get on with it as it is so much thinner than her regular pillow. However, from the moment that we took the pillow out of it's packaging she has loved it. Her regular pillow still gets shunned but now it's for the Panda pillow instead. I always check on Ava a few times before I go to bed and have expected to find her Panda pillow-less and with her head on the mattress but no, she has stayed on the Panda pillow all night. A brilliant testament to it's comfort rating!


If you are searching for the perfect, child-friendly pillow I highly recommend Panda Kids which can be found here. If you are looking to move your little on from a cot to a bed I would definitely get your hands on one of these!

*We were sent the Panda Kids pillow free of charge in exchange for a review.


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Friday, 17 February 2017

My thoughts on the Natal Hypnotherapy course*


At 38 weeks pregnant I have just completed the Natal Hypnotherapy course online, you can read about why I decided to take on this course here.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have learnt so much, not only about hypnotherapy itself but about labour, the history of fear and even hormones. It has been wonderfully interesting.

You begin the course with an introduction by Maggie Howell herself, the founder of Natal Hypnotherapy and the voice of the relaxation tracks that will guide you through your labour preparation. The following two modules are about hypnosis and how it works, each module contains a multimedia video focusing on the subject, these are often interactive and are voiced by Maggie. The video is then followed by a quiz to test what you have learnt and you are given homework to complete at the end of each module.

Throughout the course you are also given an insight to hypnotherapy being used during labour. You are able to watch home birth videos from women who put everything that you are being taught into practice, I must admit that this was completely fascinating/ a little terrifying. I mean I have given birth and have watched "One Born Every Minute" but it's very different when you are seeing it from "the other side", if you know what I mean. These women were incredible though and I was completely in awe of them.



One of my favourite modules was the module discussing fear during childbirth, Maggie goes into the history of childbirth which, as a history enthusiast, I found so interesting. It really helped me compartmentalise the fear in my brain and really ask myself what I was afraid of. Another interesting concept that Maggie discusses during this module is the way in which mammals give birth and that us as humans still look towards those animalistic tendencies when giving birth.

Throughout the course you are given a number of relaxation methods and tracks to help you before, during and even after the birth. I found the tips on breathing particularly helpful and have been practising since. You can download the tracks provided on to your phone making it more accessible when the time comes. There are also a number of modules and techniques for your birth partner. Maggie explains that the birth partner can often feel like a spare part during labour but she gives specific instructions, tips and techniques so that the birth partner is on hand throughout and helping the mother as much as possible. I had not heard of any of these techniques before, Nath and I watched a few of the modules together and he made notes of the different techniques he could do once I am in labour.



I also found the "Understanding Hormones" module hugely interesting, finding out about how oxytocin and adrenaline affect you differently during labour and what you can do to discourage adrenaline during childbirth was also a great topic and again, something that I didn't know.

Having had a baby once before and having been through the labour process, I honestly thought I knew it all. I went into this course with an open mind and not sure what to expect. Although I have given birth before I was still quite afraid, as we know, no two births are the same and having had retained placenta with Ava, it's something that has been at the back of my mind and worrying me since the beginning. However I can honestly say that this course has changed my views on childbirth. The wealth of information that Maggie provides you with is second to none. I feel like I am heading into this birth as a completely different person, I am no longer scared but excited. I feel like I can conquer whatever this labour throws at me and I shall do my best to put all of the hypnotherapy techniques into practice.

If you are pregnant, be it your first or fifth baby, I cannot recommend this course enough. It has completely changed my outlook on childbirth and it is now something that I am looking forward to rather than dreading.

The online course costs £97. You can find out more about the Natal Hypnotherapy courses here.

*I was offered the Natal Hypnotherapy course free of charge in exchange for an honest review

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Thursday, 9 February 2017

37 week pregnancy update




Feelings:

At just over 37 weeks pregnant I feel exhausted! Most days I've been dropping Ava in School and have been coming home and napping for a couple of hours. It's making me feel so lazy though and I still have so much to get ready for the baby.

Indigestion has come back with a vengeance and I'm finding that contrary to what the books and websites are telling me, I seem to have less room than ever in my stomach and I'm only managing to graze every day. If I have a big meal I end up being terribly sick.

I'll be honest and say that I've had enough of being pregnant now, I just want to meet my baby. Every day feels like Groundhog Day, I am tired, uncomfortable and so, so grumpy!



Cravings:

I'm mostly feeling like eating fruit at the moment and cereal, as like I said above I can't eat much due to indigestion and heartburn. .My sweet tooth is still going strong though and there is always room for dessert!!

Wearing:

It's all about comfort at the moment so my PJs are firmly on! I can't wait to buy myself a few new bits after the baby arrives though, having a limited, maternity wardrobe sucks!



Baby:

We had growth scan on Thursday as it didn't look like baby had grown at my last antenatal appointment. I wasn't worried though as I was always going for growth scans with Ava as they said that she would be small and she weighed 7lbs9 when she was born. All went very well at the growth scan, the midwife had no concerns and said that if the baby was born now it would weigh 6lbs odd and if I make it to 40 weeks it should weigh around the same as Ava. It's still very active and due to baby running out of room the pokes and prods are getting a little more painful now. I've always got a little foot poking out if my left hand side!

The nursery has now been stripped of it's old wallpaper thanks to my Father-in-Law and we now need to buy some lining paper before we paint it and add some carpet! The bathroom is finally finished and Ava's bedroom is sorted, so we're slowly getting there!

I've packed and re-packed my hospital bag and am pretty sure I have everything I need. I've almost finished my hypnobirthing course and shall be writing a post on my thoughts soon.

You can catch up on my previous updates here:

My 34 week pregnancy update
A bump update and the Christmas break so far
It's not you it's my hormones
My 20 week pregnancy update
Being a guilty (pregnant) full-time working mum
It's not going to be just the three of us anymore
My first trimester update
Baby number two and back to blogging



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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Is my heart ready to love another child?



Back in the Summer I wrote a post to Ava, about how it wasn't just going to be the three of us anymore. At the time there were a lot of changes going on, I was still in the early stages of pregnancy and preparing myself to go back to work after the long Summer holidays off with Ava, she was about to start School and I had crazy pregnancy hormones swirling around. It was a hard time but since then things have settled, Ava is loving School, my return to work was wonderful and my hormones seemingly settled.

However, with just over 3 weeks until my due date, those feelings have crept up on me again. I feel unprepared, emotionally and physically. Although my hospital bags have been packed for weeks and we have everything that we need for baby, the nursery is nowhere near completion and I'm having those same feelings of guilt over Ava. I've always said that I'm glad we left quite a big age gap between our children, Ava will be 5 next month, but at the same time I wonder if I would feel this way if the age gap were smaller, would I feel this guilty feeling if the age gap had only been a couple of years? If Ava hadn't have had all of those years of us to herself?

I worry that she'll feel pushed out and not as loved anymore, will she come to resent the baby and resent me? I know that she's my daughter but Ava is such a lovely child, she's a joy to be around (most days) and is so loving. She has been nothing but excited since the day we told her she was going to be a big sister and is always telling me how much she loves the baby. I think when you're a mother to one child, and your heart is already so full, you wonder how you could possibly find the room to love another. At the moment, although I of course love this baby already, I don't know it.. I don't even know if it will be a boy or a girl. And I know from speaking to other parents that you of course love your other babies but at the moment I can't picture us as a family of four.

This new little person coming into our lives seems almost alien, exciting but alien. It's going to change everything and part of me worries that I'm not quite ready. I know this is my hormones talking, it's a new chapter of our lives and I know that's bound to make me feel a little nervous and it will take some adjusting to.

I just hope that I can still be a good mummy to both of my babies.

Have any of you with a big gap between your children felt like this?
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Monday, 30 January 2017

My baby shower

Love them or hate them it's safe to say that the American baby shower celebration has firmly infiltrated the UK. When I was pregnant with Ava baby showers were still very new, I had my own version with a handful of friends, in the small cottage we used to call home.



On Saturday it was my baby shower, I debated whether to have one but as this baby is more than likely going to be my last I wanted to do something special. Friends and family were invited and it was held in the events room in a beautiful restaurant in my hometown. A couple of my friends kindly decorated the venue and we settled down for afternoon tea and a few baby themed games. I decided to take Ava along too, she's at a lovely age now and is so excited about her new baby brother or sister arriving. I found this gorgeous t shirt from Rose and Guy on Instagram and my mum kindly bought it for her to wear on the day. I wore my Isabella Oliver dress as it's unbelievably comfortable, and with me reaching the 36 week pregnancy mark on Saturday, it's safe to say that comfort definitely comes first at the moment.



The afternoon tea was amazing and we were all surprised at how full we all were afterwards. We played some great games that I bought from Amazon. We played Baby Bingo, "Who knows mummy best?", "Pin the dummy on the baby" and we had a sweepstake with these gorgeous prediction cards. I'd definitely recommend Amazon for baby shower games, everything was so cheap and arrived so quickly!





Baby & I were so spoilt too which was so lovely and unexpected! Ava also received some gifts so she definitely thought it was the best day ever! It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with my friends and family before the baby arrives and newborn chaos ensues! I can't believe that my due date is only 4 weeks away. Today was my first, official day of maternity leave and I started it in style, at the spa. I had the mother-to-be treatment which was amazing, the perfect way to begin maternity leave, especially as people think that this baby is going to arrive early. I've finally stripped the wallpaper in the soon-to-be nursery and I can't wait to share the makeover on my blog.

Have you ever had a baby shower?

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

KidloLand app review*


Ava is at the age where she loves a bit of quiet time, with her being in School full time once I get home from work in the evening she is very much ready for dinner, bath and bed but not without some wind down time first. I have found it difficult to find age appropriate, educational apps for her. I wanted something that she could learn from but it needed to be fun and engaging too, and KidloLand fits the bill perfectly.

Designed specifically with under 5's in mind, this award winning app combines fun animations and recognisable nursery rhymes with over 100 educational activities in exciting, bold colours. The app is said to build your child's hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills. Another positive is that there are no adverts so your child can learn and play without being interrupted.



As a parent I was blown away by the amount of choice within the app itself. She can choose from activities such as phonics, numbers, letter tracing, animals and a whole lot more. Ava's favourite is the "create and play" activity, all about different occupations. She's often asking me what a Barista or a Carpenter is and I know that she's taking it all in. When I asked her what she thought she said that  the app was "really good". We often have long car journeys on the way to my mums so I know that this app is going to be a lifesaver, you can also download the nursery rhymes and listen to them at any time without having to go into the app itself.



The app is often updated with new content which is guaranteed to keep your child even more engaged, you can choose to access the app for free which will allow you to use a certain number of activities or you can unlock the whole app by paying for monthly or annual subscriptions. I was surprised with how impressed I was with the app, although the yearly subscription of £29.99 may seem expensive initially, if you have a child who you know will use the app a lot, it actually works out cheaper than paying for a different pack at a time. KidloLand can be downloaded onto all iOS devices and also from Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore and it is an app that I would highly recommend to other parents.

*We were given a free, yearly subscription to KidloLand in exchange for an honest review.
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

34 week pregnancy update



Feelings:

I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant and I seem to be getting bigger by the day! I'm at work until next Friday when I shall finally be on maternity leave, I absolutely love my job but oh my goodness it's getting hard! Waking up at 5.45am every morning and not getting home until 5.45 at night is a killer. My boss has kindly agreed to reduce my hours next week so I'm looking forward to finishing a little earlier.

Something else that I've been struggling with is feeling like public property, don't get me wrong, it's lovely when people take an interest in your pregnancy but I struggle to understand those who are desperate to tell you of their miscarriages and stillborns, their struggles with pregnancy and "pearls of wisdom." I sometimes feel like a piece of fruit that someone is groping in the supermarket with the amount of times my bump has been prodded and poked.



Suddenly everyone seems to turn into a midwife and will tell you exactly when they think your baby is going to arrive and what gender it will be. I'm very much ready to go into hiding with my bump now and not emerge until my baby is born.

Cravings:

I wouldn't say I've particularly craved anything but my sweet tooth does seem to be loving ALL of the chocolate. I'm not ashamed to say that I ate two chocolate bars one after the other yesterday. Saying that though I have also really been enjoying a big bowl of fruit salad at work. I'll definitely miss that once I'm on my maternity leave and will have to make my own!

Wearing:



I've not bought any more maternity clothes, as I only have a few weeks left there isn't much point. I'm still obsessed with my Topshop maternity PJs and B.D.A Belly Bandit leggings. I did however finally wear my bardot style maternity top, that I'd bought a while ago, for my friend's birthday meal last week. I teamed it with my super comfy leather look trousers from Next.

Baby:

Baby is still super active, especially at night when I'm trying to fall asleep! I'm still thinking that this baby will be a boy!

I have my 34 week midwife appointment today and I'm very much looking forward to finding out whether she thinks my bump has dropped, I'm seriously hoping not as I have so much I want to do! I had my work baby shower this week which was completely unexpected and so lovely. They all got together to buy baby a PurFlo nest which I've read such fantastic things about and a gorgeous baby Gap cardigan with little bear ears! I have my friends and family baby shower next Saturday which I'm looking forward to and a spa treatment booked for the following Monday. So please don't arrive early little one!


The house is currently in a complete state. We're having our bathroom done, which I'm so excited for. but I'm desperate for it to be finished so that I can lounge in a Lush bath! Ava's new bed is finally being delivered this Sunday so we can start to sort out the nursery. I'm hoping that it will help me feel a little less stressed about everything. I'm looking forward to finally being at home and getting everywhere clean and tidy ready for the baby.


How was your second pregnancy different to your first? Did your second baby arrive early? I'd love to know.

Catch up on my previous updates:

-A bump update and the Christmas break so far
-It's not you it's my hormones
-My 20 week pregnancy update
-Being a guilty (pregnant) full-time working mum
-It's not going to be just the three of us anymore
-My first trimester update
-Baby number two and back to blogging
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