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.


Friday, 17 March 2017

The Little Green Sheep- Wild Cotton Bedding set review*

Spring is definitely on it's way, my favourite time of year. With a newborn baby in our household I'm looking forward to a lot of walks in the fresh air.

We were recently sent some items from the new Wild Cotton range by The Little Green Sheep and I have to say that they are the perfect Spring time walk accessories.
We received the Organic Bedding Set for Moses basket or pram, the 3 piece pack contains two fitted sheets and a jersey blanket, in a gorgeous mint green colour, this set retails at £42.95. They are adorned with sweet little rabbits and acorns, ideal for Spring and are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

As soon as I opened the pack I fell in love with the gorgeous illustrations and the beautiful soft cotton, at the time I was stuck on a colour theme for Oliver's nursery but the mint green completely inspired me and Oliver now has a mint green feature wall in his bedroom (which still isn't finished but we're getting there)! The Wild Cotton range also comes in a soft grey colour, covered in bear illustrations which is equally as stunning. There are many different items that you can buy from the Wild Cotton range, sleeping bags, sleepsuits, crib bedding & knitted blankets. I actually took the blanket into hospital with me and I had so many compliments over Oliver's "bunny blanket", these really are fantastic, quality items that would also make the perfect gift for a new baby.

We've found that Oliver loves being in his pram and have added the fitted sheet to the pram mattress, as he's quite a windy baby he's sometimes a little sick, and with the Wild Cotton sheets being washing machine and tumble dryer safe, these are ideal to prevent the pram mattress from getting too messy. The blanket is the perfect size for taking out and about, with it being made from breathable cotton it is going to be a must have when the weather starts to get warmer. I have struggled to find the perfect blanket for Oliver with them either being too large, too small, too thin or too thick but this one is just right!

So if you're looking for something unique and beautifully made, for your baby or a friend's, you can find the Wild Cotton range here.

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


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The siblings project- March

Ever since finding out that we were expecting another child I've been so excited to take part in The Siblings Project. I think it's a lovely way of documenting your children's growing bond and of course, it's the chance to take some gorgeous photographs!

Oliver is two weeks old today but Ava is already completely in love with him, I'm still getting my head around the fact that I have two children! During my pregnancy I felt a lot of mum guilt, I suppose with a 5 year age gap I was worried that Ava would feel that her nose had been pushed out with a new baby around, having been the only one for so long. Although she was always very excited about the baby during my pregnancy I was quite anxious to see how she would be when the baby was actually here.

The moment my two children met for the first time is something that I'll remember forever. Oliver in his little fish tank crib next to my bed, Ava creeping in and whispering "he's so cute and little, I love him." She's been a great help to me, fetching things for me when I've been stuck underneath a feeding baby and showering him with kisses and cuddles. This does however have a slight downside as Ava has a cold and she's now passed her germs onto Oliver who is now quite snuffly! I would never discourage her to kiss or cuddle her baby brother though as I wouldn't want her to feel that it was wrong or pushed out. I have found it a bit of a juggling act since we've been home, trying to meet both of their needs. With Ava's birthday now twelve days after Oliver's we've had a lot of parcels to open and I've tried my best to also be there for her, playing with her new toys, making time to put her to bed in the evenings and reading her School books with her. I think it's so important for me to keep the special bond that I have with my big girl. As Oliver grows I'll look forward to girly dates with her, just the two of us.

I can already tell that Oliver is going to be obsessed with her, as he grows and becomes more alert. Ava is already trying to play with him and has been giving him many renditions of "Wheels on the bus" with all of the actions, he'll love it! I'm so excited to watch the bond between them grow. I'm hoping that this is the start of a beautiful friendship, I'm so happy that they have each other.

The Me and Mine Project

Monday, 13 March 2017

Introducing Oliver & his positive birth story

On Wednesday 1st March at 8.23am we welcomed Oliver Lloyd into the world. I was in established labour for 1 hour 23 minutes and if I could have written down my perfect labour story, that would have been it! After suffering with complications following Ava's birth, namely retained placenta, I was desperate to have a positive birthing experience. During my pregnancy I completed an online hypnobirthing course, which you can read about here, and I strongly believe that it gave me the confidence and the positive mindset that I needed to achieve the experience that I had. I've never thought that I'd say this about child birth but it was amazing!

 At 4 days overdue I was starting to fret that Oliver was going to be like his sister and leave us waiting for 8 days but on Tuesday night I started to have mild contractions in the bottom of my back, I tried not to get my hopes , I'd had a few false starts in the days leading up to Oliver's birth and had been left disappointed when nothing was starting. As my contractions got stronger I started to time them and by 2am, having cleaned the kitchen and prepared all of Ava's School uniform for the following day, the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting for approximately 30 seconds. As I was under consultant care, due to the complications following Ava's birth, I was booked into a hospital 40 minutes away, this did worry me as I'd heard that second baby's had a tendency to come quickly! I was told by the hospital to come in when my contractions were "taking my breath away", as my contractions were still quite mild I decided to try and get some kind of rest and took myself off to bed. I dozed on & off until 5am when my contractions became too strong to ignore any longer. I woke Nath up and as I lay in bed my waters went, it was the strangest sensation and something that I wasn't expecting, having had my waters broken in hospital with Ava. After triple checking all of the bags we rung Nath's mum to come over and have Ava and arrived at the hospital at 6.50am, I have to say the journey there was pretty awful, going over pot holes whilst having contractions is not an experience I'd like to repeat! Once we arrived things really kicked up a notch, I was already 6cm dilated and at 8am Nath asked if he could get the bags from the car, he was told not to, the midwife predicted that the baby would be here by 8.30am and she was right! The hypnobirthing course definitely helped with my breathing techniques, I felt so much more relaxed and confident.We didn't find out the gender of our baby which I believe also helped me, I felt so excited to meet our new addition and when he was passed to me and I saw that we had a little boy I felt absolutely elated. As opposed to Ava's birth when I was exhausted and out of it, with Oliver I felt on cloud 9. It was the most incredible feeling, I honestly felt like super woman. Nath rung the family whilst I enjoyed cuddles with our baby boy. We then celebrated with tea and toast and I was wheeled down to the midwife led unit. Ava came to meet her baby brother that evening and I've never seen her so excited, I have honestly never felt as happy as I did when the four of us were together for the first time.

The following day I moved to the midwife led unit 10 minutes away from our house, I stayed there for a few nights and was able to spend some time bonding with Oliver and relaxing. And now we're home, a new family of four, I still can't believe that I now have a son as well as a daughter. I feel so incredibly lucky and happy but am still adjusting to having a newborn again. I'll be writing a post about that soon. Having a 5 year gap between both children means that I'd forgotten all about sterilising rules, feeding cues and the brain fog that comes with the tiredness, but I'm happy and that's all that matters. I'm still in my newborn bubble and ajusting to being able to do things whilst Oliver sleeps so my blog may be a little slow! You can keep up to date with us on Instagram though which I tend to update daily.

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