Thursday, 8 June 2017

A fairy in the garden with Roco clothing*

A few months ago Ava was sent the most beautiful dress from Roco Clothing, she wore it to her 5th birthday party and received endless compliments, so when we were contacted again asking if Ava would like to review another dress, how could we say no?!

Ava chose her dress, the Olivia by Paisley of London, with a flower crown and shoes to match and on the day they arrived she was bouncing with excitement. The items were even better than we could have hoped for, the dress arrived in it's own special dust bag and the shoes came beautifully boxed. She eagerly tried it all on and told me that she felt like a princess.

The Olivia dress is just stunning, the first thing that caught my eye was the lace & sheer detail on the sleeves, the buttons up the back and the full skirt make it a truly breathtaking piece, the embellishment on the bodice has also been hand sewed which makes it extra special. We teamed the dress with the ivory "Tulip" shoes which have a T bar detail and sweet little bow and the pink flower crown made the look complete.

With the Summer months commonly known as "wedding season", Paisley of London have a gorgeous collection of dresses perfect for your little flower girl or for any other special occasion you may have, Ava will wear this dress to Oliver's Christening (when we finally get around to organising it!). I am once again blown away by the quality of the items from Roco Clothing and highly recommend the stunning new Serenity collection by Paisley of London, which you can see more of here.

*We were sent these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, 12 May 2017

Oliver's 2 month update

I've been trying to get Ollie's 2 month review up for over a week now, I finally had it all finished and it didn't save! Anyway, 2 months already, my gorgeous boy! You can read Ollie's 1 month update here.

Weight: I'm honestly useless with this. I always go by clothes & nappy size. Ollie is currently is age 0-3 month clothes and size 3 nappies. Although he is filling his clothes so I don't think it will be long until we move up a size. He's such a chunky boy with gorgeous arm & leg rolls and the most beautiful chubby cheeks! I love a roly poly baby!

What he looks like: His eyes have started to change and they are definitely going to be brown like mine. He's going to be a blonde baby too. It's crazy how similar he is to Ava when she was his age! There is no mistaking that he is a little boy though and I just love his chunkiness!

Feeding: We're still feeding Ollie on demand. He usually has 5oz bottles with a 6oz bottle in the evening. He feeds every 2-3 hours so we need to think about upping his bottles to 6oz and seeing how we get on. He is a hungry boy and I know he'll love his food when the time comes.

Sleeping: I can't complain about his night time sleeping routine, if we time it right with his last bottle he usually falls asleep around 9pm and will sleep until 3am. And once he's had his bottle he'll sleep until 5.30/6am. His day time naps are few and far between, he'll usually have his longest stretch in the morning and then cat nap but I would rather have it this way around!

Personality: He's honestly a little dreamboat. He's a very happy, smiley baby. He does have a fussy period in the evenings, usually when I'm trying to get Ava fed and ready for bed but he is generally a little joy. I can see him being very sociable like Ava was, and still is! We've been going to baby sensory once a week and it's lovely to watch him develop. He's started cooing, grabbing at toys and he loves being on his play mat and hitting the toys

How I've been feeling: I'm tired but happy. I've started my fitness routine again and am on track with my healthy eating, which is hard when my husband is still buying cookies and sugary cereal but I'm determined! I'm back into the routine of pampering myself be it regular eyebrow waxes or fake tanning and doing my nails. I think it's so important for us to take care of ourselves first, we're then in a better position to look after our families.

What we've been up to: As I said above Ollie and I have been enjoying baby sensory, I've just booked us on for next terms classes. He really enjoys it and it's nice to do something together. I go back to work at the end of August and I know that it's going to pull on my heartstrings, something that I didn't expect as much with him being my second baby, I wrote a blog post about it. We have Disneyland Paris coming up in a few weeks so I need to get little Mr's passport off asap! I know that he won't remember it but I'm so excited!


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Disney Princesses at Hallmark

To celebrate the release of Hallmarks Disney princess cards, including new Beauty and the Beast cards, Ava was sent a box of goodies for her own princess party, including a set of their gorgeous new cards.

We love a party in this house, and the fact that it's not long been Ava's 5th birthday party didn't stop us! Ava put on her best gown. grabbed her best girls and gave them a tea party in the front room. They of course were each given a card.

With Ava being in School nowadays and being invited to a few birthday parties a month, I am always on the hunt for beautiful, well made cards and I think I may have struck gold with the new Hallmark range. Not only will the card thrill any Disney Princess fan, some have the added surprise of a puzzle, colouring and even a play set with removable characters, they are more than just cards. They also have ones for parents which is adorable, I love the fact that children can choose cards for their parents based on their own favourite characters.

To celebrate the release of the new Beauty and The Beast cards, Tesco are running a competition for you little one to win the dress of their dreams, not only for themselves but for a friend too. All you need to do is purchase a Disney card from a participating Tesco store, grab a leaflet and your budding princess needs to design the princess dress of their dreams, you can find more information here.

You can find everything that you need in Tesco, to create a Princess party for you little one that they're guaranteed to remember. From princess tableware to toys, you'll have all basis covered; and now the cards to match. Ava is heading to a party this weekend and has already chosen the card that she is going to give to her friend, although it did take a lot of deliberating.

My personal favourites are the Beauty & The Beast cards with quotes on the front, they are beautiful and I'm thinking of having them framed for Ava's bedroom, there's nothing like a little princess positivity to get you through the day.

More information about Hallmark can be found on their website.

*We were sent the cards and party pack free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't expect to feel like this

On Tuesday Ollie and I had our first baby sensory class, it went really well and I got chatting to a few mums, the lady next to me had a beautiful baby girl. She was gorgeous, so bright eyed, happy and smiley. She was rolling over and holding her head up but not yet crawling, she was almost 6 months old, still very much a baby, then it hit me. Ollie will be a week off 6 months when I return to work, full time, at the end of August. I suddenly felt desperately sad, I've always said that Oliver will be our last baby, I am happy with two children but now I've realised that this is it, all of his firsts will be my lasts.

He is such a sweet, happy boy and I just know he's going to be a mama's boy. Yesterday he was lying on the bed next to me whilst I did my make up and I caught him a few times smiling at me when I wasn't looking, pure love in his eyes and my heart melted. How am I going to be able to leave this sweet boy for 40 hours a week?! I'm very fortunate that I don't work during the School holidays, and working in a private School we have a lot of holidays, but I'm worried about missing out on him.

When I was pregnant I certainly didn't expect to be feeling like this, I thought it would be easier with him being my second, I didn't expect it to be harder with him being my last. In fact I was worried that I wouldn't love him enough! How wrong and crazy I was! This little boy has completely captured my heart. I'm so besotted with him!

I know that when I go back to work it will be hard, physically and emotionally. I'll have two children and myself to get ready before 8.15am and they'll both need to be taken to different drop off points. I also won't be getting home until 6pm so it will be a case of dinner, bath and bed and I'm worried that I'm going to miss so much of Ollie's development. The silver lining is that I only ever work a maximum of 6 weeks before a holiday pops up, but I already know that those 6 weeks are going to be so tough.

So I am going to do the best I can to soak up the rest of my maternity leave, I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have both him and his big sister and it's true what they say, your heart just grows when you have another baby. He's slotted right into our family, I don't know what we ever did without him!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Animal Jam Series 2 toy review

One of Ava's favourite things to do is watch toy unboxing videos on YouTube, she would spend hours watching them if I let her and I've often thought about setting up her own channel, if only I had more time to do so!

So you can imagine her excitement when she received the new Animal Jam Series 2 toys to review. The toys are based on the online game by the same name, created by National Geographic. Ava is familiar with the Animal Jam toys and has some from Series 1, so these were right up her street. The colourful, plastic collectables come in a range of different play sets. You have the individual "Adopt a pet" character packs which are always a big hit for those who love a collectable toy, you don't know which animal you'll find inside the little hut, which adds to the excitement. These come with a list of all of the collectables and their status, letting you know if they're common or harder to come across. Ava was delighted to have a couple of "Gem" animals (these have a glitter feature).

You can mix and match the accessories and they also come with a scratch off code that lets you access exclusive content on the Animal Jam game website.

Ava was also sent the Igloo 5 pack which comes with a mystery animal, which she was very excited about, and the Pet Hut Wash which includes two pets and some accessories. 

Ava had a huge amount of fun playing with her new pets and she has already thoroughly inspected the list of pets and has told me exactly which ones she would like next.

 The Animal Jam Series 2 toys are available from all major toy retailers and you can find more information on their website.

*We were sent the toys free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Our dream kitchen

We've now been living in our home for almost 2 years, it seems like it was only yesterday that we were going through the stress of mortgages, decoration and a house move. Although we have made big changes to the house and have recently had our bathroom completely redone and Ollie's bedroom decorated, our bedroom and the kitchen still remain untouched.

We're lucky to have a big kitchen/dining area and it's room that I am itching to redecorate but I also know that this is a huge, expensive undertaking! So for now I shall continue to browse Pinterest for the ultimate dream kitchen and will continue to fill up my imaginary basket of wish list items. I've listed some of my wish list items below and I think I could be seeing a couple of these in my kitchen very soon!

Morphy Richards soup maker- My Nan has one of these and they are amazing. You just chuck all of the ingredients in, and in 20 minutes you have gorgeous, smooth soup. I think this would be a life saver when I go back to work after my maternity leave. I'm planning to take soup for my lunch and use the gym during my lunch break, it would save me so much time!

Panasonic combination microwave- Isn't this the daddy of all microwaves?! We bought ours in the sale and it was very much a needs must, impulse purchase. It has a mirrored front which is a nightmare to clean and Ollie's steriliser  barely fits inside it, but these are amazing, they cook your food in half of the time of a conventional oven whilst still keep all of the food's nutrients intact. Some even steam and grill your food, they are the future!

Kitchen aid- I mean, is a dream kitchen really a dream kitchen without a Kitchen Aid?! In a pastel colour of course!

Smeg toaster & kettle- I would say a Smeg fridge but we have a big American fridge/freezer that we love. The toaster & kettle on the other hand are definitely winning me over. They are so stylish and would look so great in a modern kitchen!

Oven and extractor fan- Our oven is currently broken so a new one is definitely on the cards. I'd like a shiny new extractor fan to go with it too!

In addition to my new gadgets I'd of course buy some kitchen ware from Next and other little quirky things, like one of those little banana hooks, for my new kitchen. I just hope that our dream kitchen isn't too far in the distance!

*This is a collaborative post


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Oliver's 1 month update

I'm sure I'll be saying this every month but how is he one month old already? It seems that it was only yesterday that he was born, I still remember our first night in the hospital together. I think I was still high on adrenaline because I barely slept, not just because the little man was awake every hour, but also because I could hardly believe he was here. A little boy! How lucky are we?! Here is Oliver's first update:

Weight- I honestly don't know how much he weighs exactly but I suspect it to be almost 10lbs! He was 8lbs6 at birth and although he took a few days to put his birth weight back on, he did, and then some! He's beginning to get little arm and leg rolls that I just love! I adore chunky babies! He's currently still wearing his newborn baby grows but I think he'll soon be out of those. We have our 6 week check up soon and I'm looking forward to having him weighed.

What he looks like- Oliver is definitely going to be fair, just like his big sister. His hair is still slightly dark in places but his eyebrows and eyelashes are light. As for his eyes, I'm not sure what colour they will end up being. Ava has beautiful blue eyes, whereas mine are dark brown and Nathan's are green/grey so I really don't know about Oliver. As for who he looks like, at the moment there is no doubting that Oliver & Ava are related! Their baby pictures are near on identical, it's crazy. Oliver also looks alot like Nathan, especially when he was a baby and he also bares resemblances to both of my brothers.

Feeding- Oliver is formula fed and has Aptimil formula in Dr Brown's bottles. He has been feeding every 2 hours, usually around 4oz but I think he is having a growth spurt as he has just had almost 5oz. We feed him on demand so it can be tricky to track when he is feeding, which to be honest I think I need to start noting down so that we can track it.

Sleeping-As he's feeding roughly every 2 hours sleep isn't great. The longest stretch he has done is 5 hours, 9pm to 2.30am which was amazing although I have no doubt that it was a fluke and that it won't happen again for a long time!

Personality- His little personality is beginning to come through, he's starting to try and smile which is really lovely. I can't wait until he starts to beam at us. He is such an alert baby and is starting to enjoy spending time on his play mat looking at his toys and kicking his legs. We start baby sensory class in a couple of weeks which I'm really looking forward to.

How I've been feeling- In a word, tired! Nath and I have a pretty good routine going between us, I head up to bed first to get a few hours sleep whilst Nath stays downstairs with Ollie sleeping in his pram top in the front room, he'll then bring him up when he wakes so I can carry on with the rest of the night's feeds. This does mean that Nath and I don't get to spend much time together in the evenings but I do feel slightly more human for it! You may have seen this post where I talk about my feelings with a newborn, I'm happy to say that my baby blues have vanished and I'm feeling so much more positive and happy.
This week Nath and I have started eating healthily and I'm actually looking forward to doing some exercise after my 6 week postpartum check. I'm thinking about doing a diary to keep you updated on how I get on.

What we've been up to- Ollie has been busy in his first few weeks in the world, he's been on a couple of shopping trip, a few lunches and many coffee dates! As Nath works on the post he is out of the house before we get up in the morning so that leaves me to fly solo in the morning, getting Ava up and ready for school on my own. It's pretty stressful but Ava's a little gem and helps me so much and doing this has given me a lot more confidence about getting out and being on my own with the children. We have the Easter holidays coming up next week and I'm already planning trips out with both of them, I must be mad!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Fisher Price Jonathan Adler range review*

When I was pregnant I would often sit and imagine my two children playing together. Ava was so excited when Oliver was born and straight away asked if he could play with her. Oliver is a month old now and he is such an alert baby so when we were asked if we would like to review the new Jonathan Adler range of toys for Fisher Price, I knew that it would be the perfect time for them both to start playing together.

Jonathan Adler has brought his signature, high contrast, colour patterns to Fisher Price and has created a range of toys that is a real treat for the eyes. Oliver was sent four of the toys from the range: Monkey Mirror, Activity Alligator, Activity Elephant and the Alligator teether. All of the toys are suitable from birth, apart from the teether which is from 3 months. The plush toys are made from beautifully soft fabric, combining different elements to capture baby's different senses, such as sight, touch and sound. The toys are incredibly cute but stylish too, thanks to their beautiful, bold and contemporary patterns.

The Mirror Monkey, which retails at £19.99, is a fun, interactive toy which is perfect for tummy time as it stands upright. It opens like a book with an easy, velcro fastening making it easy to store away. It features fun, colourful animals on the one side and a big mirror on the other, ideal for self-discovery. The Mirror Monkey also crinkles, squeaks and jingles as well as being lovely and soft to the touch.

Both the Activity Alligator and Activity Elephant are bright and bold. They also both dangle, making them perfect for hanging from a pushchair or car seat when you're out and about. They both have different textures such as crinkle, corduroy and plush and retail at £12.99 each.

As a parent I absolutely love the designs, they are unlike anything I've ever seen before and they really brighten up Oliver's nursery. We've had many comments about how beautiful they are too.

Oliver is really starting to focus and follow object now and was completely captivated by his new toys, even trying to touch them. They would be a lovely addition to your newborn's toy box, I know Oliver has got months of fun ahead of him with these toys. I can't wait to see him develop and interact with them even more. You can find selected products in Argos.

*We were sent these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Orla Kiely Gro Snug review*

I have always been a big fan of The Gro Company, having used many of their products with Ava. My favourite being their popular Grobag, although they are far too big for Oliver at the moment. Thank fully the brilliant people at The Gro Company have come up with a solution, the Gro Snug. The perfect transition until their ready for a Grobag.

The Gro Snug has been specially designed for newborns and combines the classic Gro bag with a swaddle, using poppers on the arm holes to enable your little ones arms to be in or out. They come in two different weights, cosy or light, depending on different room temperatures and it had a handy zip which opens at the bottom, making night time nappy changes a doddle. These will fit your newborn from 5lbs to 12lbs and are made from beautiful, soft cotton which is lovely against your baby's skin. It also promotes safe sleep, which as a parent, I find hugely reassuring. More information about the GroSnug can be found on The Gro Company's website.

Oliver was sent a Gro Snug from the new Orla Kiely range, from the Irish contemporary designer, famous for her unique retro prints and designs. These come in a range of different patterns, Oliver was sent the cat design which is adorned with pink cats and is so cute!

The Grosnug is without a doubt one of my must have products for newborns, we love it that much we bought him another so that we always have one on the go. I honestly cannot recommend it enough.

The GroSnug can be bought from the Mothercare website.

*The Orla Kiely GroSnug was sent to us free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Life with a newborn- How I'm really feeling...

Oliver is now 26 days old and I can confirm that the fog has well and truly descended. By fog I mean the newborn fog. The permanent exhaustion that turns your brain to complete mush and makes you feel like a zombie. Having been used to a child who has been sleeping through the night for the last 3 years at least, making up bottles and winding a newborn at 4am has been a shock to the system. I'm not the greatest person when it comes to lack of sleep at the best of times, so I've been feeling quite tearful and cranky lately and then end up feeling guilty for snapping- it's a strange cycle. It's odd having a newborn again, Oliver and I are still getting to know each other and I'm slowly discovering his little quirks, cues and personality. It can be difficult and I often find myself in limbo between burping, feeding and trying to stick his dummy in several times before I find out what he actually wants. He's also a super cuddly baby and loves being cuddled to sleep, I do love this but it's also a nightmare to get anything done as he'll usually wake as soon as I put him down.

In myself I feel slightly strange, I find myself looking back on old photos of Ava and getting upset, which sounds daft. I guess I'm just feeling nostalgic and long for things to be as easy as they used to be. I also feel guilty that it's not just the three of us anymore and I can't give her the attention that I used to. When I think back to how it was before Oliver it's a different life which makes me feel quite sad. It doesn't help that I badly need to give myself some self-care. I'd love to get my hair done and give myself a pamper but I've barely got a chance to grab any breakfast at the moment, let alone anything else. My skin still looks terrible due to the pregnancy acne I suffered with when carrying Oliver and my stomach looks like a deflated balloon.

I'm hoping to take Oliver to some local baby groups to get us out of the house and so that I don't fall into the trap of lonely and bored new mum. I'd forgotten just how hard the newborn days are, with the exhaustion and change in hormones going on too it's such a crazy time which has left me feeling a bit low, I'll be honest. Having Ava as my first baby was a huge shock and I thought that having a second would be a walk in the park. So feeling like I do has completely thrown me.

So many people have commented on how well I'm doing but in truth I sometimes feel like a swan, looking like I don't have a care in the world when underneath I'm furiously paddling, trying to keep everything afloat. Although I know this won't last, he's only a newborn for such a short period of time. It's true what they say, "the days are long but the years are short" and I'm desperately reminding myself of this when I feel like things get a little too overwhelming. I'm looking forward to the weather warming up and getting a little nicer too. It's just so cold out there I don't want to go out of the house with him too much, especially as we're all suffering with colds.

With the Easter holidays approaching I want to make sure I spend time with Ava too, just the two of us. I'm missing our one on one time, although I do try and set aside some time for us to play together. It will get easier I know, when you're in the thick of it all you think it'll never end, and I can't remember Ava as a newborn now. It does all go so fast!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Cuddledry Snuggle Bunny towel review*

Ava has always been a water baby, she loves nothing more than a soak in the tub surrounded by bath bombs and would spend hours in the water if I let her. On Fridays she goes to swimming lessons and has been doing so well, she's recently moved up a class and we're so proud of her.

I'm the mum that warms towels & PJs on the radiator before she gets out of the bath but our towels really lack the snuggle factor so it's really no wonder that's she's always so reluctant to get out of the bath! This all changed when Ava was asked to review the Snuggle Bunny towel from Cuddledry. Especially created for 3-6 year olds it's the perfect length for my little bunny and ensures that she's kept cosy when she hops out of the bath. It's also incredibly soft and as it's made from microfibres it's fast drying and gentle on sensitive skin.

It's also fantastic to take along to her swimming lessons, it's incredibly lightweight and the hood keeps her warm from head to toe, I love that it's long enough to completely cover her up and that there is enough material to keep her nice and snug. It's also something that we'll be taking along for family trips to the beach during the Summer, and with the bunny ears it's also amazingly cute!

It is also very easy to clean, even at low temperatures, and with it being so quick to dry, no matter where you have used your Snuggle Bunny towel, you'll be able to quickly use it again.

It's so gorgeously snugly in fact, that Ava's newborn brother Oliver has been using it, it's beautifully soft on his baby skin and he absolutely loves it, just don't tell Ava.

The Snuggle Bunny towel retails at £32.99 and can be bought here. There are also many other fantastic products in their range so do check them out.

*We were sent the Cuddledry Snuggle Bunny towel free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ava's 5th birthday-Party Bags and Supplies review*

From now on March is going to be a whirlwind of birthdays, with our baby boy born on the 1st March and Ava's on the 13th, we definitely timed it close. Oliver's due date was actually the 25th February but he kept us waiting for 4 days. I was starting to become terribly anxious that I would have to be induced and that I would still be in hospital for Ava's party, but I needn't have worried, it all worked out well in the end.

We are lucky that my Mother-in-law runs a café which is the perfect location for children's parties, she kindly provided the food, my mum made Ava's gorgeous unicorn cake and the entertainment was provided by Exotic Zoo, if you are in Shropshire, be sure to check them out. They provided the entertainment at Ava's 3rd birthday party and were fantastic, not cheap, but definitely worth it.

Ava wanted a My Little Pony themed party and the tableware, including filled My Little Pony party bags, were kindly provided by Party Bags and Supplies. The tableware pack, for 8 children, includes a table cover, cups, napkins and plates. Ava was particularly impressed with the My Little Pony party bags and these went down a treat with the children. As a parent I love that you can choose party bags that are ready filled and in keeping with your party theme. It saves so much hassle as I never know what to include in party bags! These came filled with unicorn stickers, a My Little Pony notepad, pencil, rubber and pencil sharper. We added a bag of iced biscuits, small pack of Haribo, a lollipop and a slice of cake. Ava even asked if she could have one, but I think that the big stack of gifts she had from her friends made up for her lack of party bag.

Everything that we received from Party Bags & Supplies was of fantastic quality and really made the party extra special. Party Bag and Supplies do not just supply party ware for birthdays, you can get all of your bits and pieces for all sorts of parties, from baby showers to Halloween, and everything is very reasonably priced.

The help of Party Bags and Supplies really helped to take the pressure off me, especially as I was in hospital. I love that I could get everything I needed from one place, I highly recommend checking out their website if you have an event coming up.

Ava had a fantastic day, she held a tarantula and cuddled a meerkat and was beyond spoilt with all of her gifts. I'm so glad that I was there to witness her having such a fantastic time and that we could really make her feel special.

A big thank you to Party Bags and Supplies for helping to make Ava's day.

*We were sent the items from Party Bags and Supplies free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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