Heading South!

Heading South!

March 15th, 14:01
http://adserver.adtech.de/?adlink|3.0|311|1072359|1|16|AdId%3D6699352;BnId%3D1;link%3Dhttp://www.askamum.co.uk(They love my blog, ooo-errr how exciting!) 

Jonny and I had an absolutely terrific time away last weekend on our ‘Baby Moon/Antenatal retreat’. I’m going to write a special post about it so won’t say too much now other than the fact that it was truly amazing, special, informative, relaxing, fun… My list could go on for eternity! Florence had a marvellous time staying with our parents and was spoilt rotten, on two occasions when I called she said no when asked if she wanted to talk to me because she was far too busy having a good time doing other things! We feel so well rested now, Jonny said this morning that he feels weird and suspects it might be due to having too much sleep! Blimey, never thought I’d hear words of that ilk coming out of either one of our mouths these days! We also met some lovely people while we were there which was fun and we had some great discussions on pregnancy and all that goes with it.  One of the topics we touched on was about some advice given by a so called ‘baby expert’ on when to have sex with your husband after giving birth! I’m not going to mention any names but this woman, who has had success with a number of books it has to be said, in my opinion doesn’t know what she’s talking about regarding any of it! She’s never had a baby herself for a start and although I’m not saying you have to have had children in order to be able to give good advice, I do think it’s kind of a prerequisite when you’re saying some of the things she has! I’d just like to pop it in print that the way I see things is that if I come home from the hospital and don’t have sex with Jonny for three months I do not expect this will lead to the irreparable break down of our marriage. I also expect that he himself sees him and me as not as important as our children, I mean of course they are more important than us! When you love someone so much you would gladly jump into a burning inferno to save them if you had to, that’s just the way things are! If you’ve not had a baby you couldn’t possibly realise that sort of love I guess. Perhaps if this ‘expert’ experienced loving an actual child of her own rather than bossing around other people’s, she might appreciate things are a bit different to her black and white visions! Oh well, I look forward to disregarding her next piece of advice, whatever the topic and however qualified she is to talk about it, may be!

Jonny and me on the pier in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight!

Florence having fun on a day out with her Grandparents! Not missing us at all!

I have an amazeballs competition to launch this week, can’t quite believe it actually! My CBeebies comp has come to an end (see winner bit further down post) but I’m so lucky to be able to replace it with this one! I’m on the edge of my seat with excitement cause it’s something I’ve wanted to see for absolutely ages and now not only do I get to go see ‘Shrek The Musical’ myself but I can also offer one of my lovely readers a family ticket to go too!



Join Shrek (Dean Chisnall), our unlikely hero, and his loyal steed Donkey (Richard Blackwood) as they set off on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona (Kimberley Walsh) from her tower guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad (Neil McDermott), a gang of fairytale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the must see musical comedy – SHREK THE MUSICAL!

Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, SHREK THE MUSICAL brings the well loved characters to life, in a hilarious and spectacular production based on the story and characters from the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animation film. The world of fairytales is turned upside down in an all singing, all dancing, irresistible mix of adventure, laughter and romance.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is even more fun and family-friendly in 2012, with new family pricing! A family ticket is now available for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances (excluding school holiday periods but including summer); which means that a family of four (including at least two under 16’s) can see Shrek The Musical for the fairytale price of £99 for the Upper Circle or £150 for best available seats, making the adventure much more affordable. 

Family tickets can be booked via the website, www.ShrekTheMusical.co.uk, in 

person from the box office, or by phoning: 0844 871 8810.

To celebrate the launch of SHREK THE MUSICAL’s even more family friendly performances we are offering you the chance to win a family ticket to the show. All you have to do is send an email to [email protected] by mid night on Saturday 31st March 2012 including your name, address and including the word ‘SHREK’ in the subject line. A winner will be drawn at random shortly after the closing time and notified soon after.

Terms and conditions

A family ticket includes two adults and two children of one adult and three children (16 years and under). Tickets are valid for Mon-Fri performances until 1 June 2012 excluding 2-15 April and 7 May. Subject to availability. Exclusions apply.

I can’t wait to see ‘SHREK THE MISICAL’ myself soon. Being a trained actress and musical performer I love nothing more than a good musical or to be honest, anything at the theatre is usually enjoyed by me. I like to encourage Florence to go too and I know she already really enjoys the experience! I suspect she’s a little young for ‘Shrek’ at the moment but there are lots of other things she can go to and enjoy and theatrics don’t always have to be in the theatre either. We recently headed south and visited ‘Hampton Court Palace’ where we had a wonderful day watching the live recreations of life as it was when King Henry VIII lived there. Florence thought it was great fun when the King came out to meet his audience and we thought it was a terrific way of teaching aspects of history without being really boring for children! It was great that round every corner there was an actor in costume and in character engaging with the visitors; it made a real difference to our visit, making it that little bit more child friendly. I think sometimes it’s great for us parents to be able to wander and enjoy places such as ‘Hampton Court Palace’ but at tourist attractions such as this there isn’t often a lot for children to see and do. Luckily here, there really is. We started out the day walking and touring the palace while Florence was still in a fairly good mood and we got to see the history of the building and read about it which was incredibly interesting. Details about the kitchens, the stair cases, beautiful ceilings and who and why they were decorated are available and if you have an amenable child it makes it possible to soak it all in. Because of the theatrics plus details like the way the rooms and kitchens are laid out, with food and pots and pans as if the palace really is in use with great roaring fires really burning and the like it definitely promotes happy children and that really is the key to why ‘Hampton Court Palace’ is such a great place to visit with all the family.

Once you’ve seen inside the palace there are the most spectacular gardens which you simply must take a look at. You don’t need to have even purchased a ticket to have a wander in the beautifully kept grounds but if you do it does give you FREE entry into the crazy maze which we happily got lost in for a good half hour! We found the centre pretty quickly with Florence as out guide and then proceeded to be lost for the rest of our time in the maze eventually taking the easy option and exiting at the buggy/wheelchair exit because we’d managed to find that several times. It was brilliant fun though and we enjoyed every minute.

Soon afterwards Florence fell asleep and we got to wander the grounds with her on Jonny’s back in the sling. To say they are beautiful is an understatement and so intricately detailed. It was a beautiful day when we visited and we ate on the lawn at the front of the palace but next time we go I’m going to make sure it’s a really sunny summer’s day because there can’t be many more gorgeous places to sit and have a picnic than in the grounds here. We thought it was a brilliantly interesting, relaxing and fun day out and with lots to keep Florence entertained it worked really well for all of us. If you haven’t been do pay ‘Hampton Court Palace’ a visit soon! It’s a little way out of Central London but still within zone 6 and very easy and quick to get to on the over ground using ‘pay as you go Oyster tickets’ from Waterloo. We definitely recommend taking the trip!

For more information on visiting ‘Hampton Court Palace’ and any of the other ‘Historic Royal Palaces’ in London please see the website www.hrp.org.uk. Tickets for adults cost as little as £14.40 and for children £7.20 (when booked on line) and there are family, group and concessionary rates available. ‘Hampton Court Palace’ is open between 10am and 4.30pm daily.

Somebody in for a different type of fantastic day out with children is the winner of the CBeebies Live! competition I’ve been running and I’m pleased to announce that person is:

Victoria Gibbons of Swindon

She wins a family ticket to the show where she’ll be joining the likes of Mike the Knight, Justin Fletcher MBE, Phil Gallagher, Mister Maker, Postman Pat with Jess the Cat and the ZingZillas amongst others in this all-action show that will tour nine cities around the UK in Easter 2012.

CBeebies Live! is at Wembley Arena, London on Sat 31 March to Sun 1 April, 5 performances only. For further information and to book tickets of your own please go to www.cbeebieslive.com Children’s tickets are from £12.50 and family tickets (for 4 people) are from £50 (subject to booking fee).

As some of you may know I’ve always been somewhat of a buggy snob, turning my nose up at plenty on the market and always being a fan of the higher end ranges, especially ‘Bugaboo’. I tend to just think that you get what you pay for in life and as with my justification for expensive make up (it lasts in great condition so much longer meaning you replace it less often not to mention looking better when on) I firmly believe that if you spend out on a buggy you’re less likely to be disappointed. You could end up in the future needing to buy a second or even third (as many people I know have done). What I also love about ‘Bugaboo’ is the way they look and the fact that you can customise it to suit with different fabric and colour options for the canopies and footmuffs. Even better still is the fact that this fantastic company called ‘Poplico’ make extra special canopies just for ‘Bugaboo’ buggies meaning you can really have something quite unique. They don’t make canopies for any other brand so you will still have that exclusive ‘Bugaboo’ look but with something a little bit different to even other ‘Bugaboo’ users that you know. ‘Poplico’ canopies are made to order using fabric ideally suited to the ‘Bugaboo’ strollers which wash well and fit perfectly just as with the one that comes with your original buggy. One of the best bits is that they are all reversible giving you two extra canopies when you buy just one hood! I know that I am forever popping drinks cups, half eaten chocolate bars, whatever comes to hand really in the folds of my canopy for storage when I’m on the move and inevitably this means I get marks on it often and it needs to be washed. Having a spare would be brilliant! Unfortunately for me I don’t own a ‘Bee +’ and they are not made for the older style like mine. In light of this fact I’ve had to ask a friend to take on the challenge of road testing the canopy and she has come back to me with all good reports! She tried the ‘Poplico’ canopy in ‘Blueberry’ compatible with her ‘Bugaboo Bee +’. See what she said below:

It was relatively easy to fit the canopy, as with the one that comes with the buggy, it’s not a breeze getting it on and off but no harder than I expected and the instructions on the inside of the box were very helpful. I love the way it gives my buggy a new feel and really brightens it up. Lots of people have stopped me and asked where I got it from so other people obviously think it looks as good as I do. I also like the fact I can reverse it and have a different pattern if I feel like it and I have already washed it (just to test it not because it needed it, it did stay quite clean considering I had it on the paler side) and can report that it comes up sparkling and goes back on the buggy with no creases or signs of being washed. I feel that the quality of the material is excellent ad every bit as good as the original canopy that came with my buggy. I’m really pleased with the hood and if I fancy a change again in the future I’ll definitely be buying another Poplico canopy because at £65 it’s not much to make it look and feel like you have a whole new buggy!

Pam, Mum of one, Norwich

Poplico’ Reversible Canopies come in varying different patterns and fit the ‘Bugaboo Bee +’ (not Bee Original) and ‘Bugaboo Chameleon’ buggies. They are priced at £65, made from 91% Cotton and 9% Acrylic and are machine washable 30° Gentle cycle. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.  For more information on the reversible canopies and other products by ‘Poplico’ plus stockists please see their website www.poplico.com. (‘Poplico’ also make reversible seat liners which match the canopies and will fit most standard buggies as well as ‘Bugaboo’ buggies).

Some typical ‘Poplico’ reversible canopies compatible with varying ‘Bugaboo’ strollers


The reversible ‘Poplico’ canopy in ‘Blueberry’ shown on a ‘Bugaboo Chameleon’

Quickly before I launch into my pregnancy diary, have to mention this cause it’s such a good bargain! Have you heard about ‘Asda
and their new prices for ‘Pampers’ nappies?


Jumbo boxes of nappies are now 2 for £20, making ASDA the most affordable place on the High Street for all your baby needs

Pampers Active fit Nappies allow for a snug fit giving your baby the comfort they need. With the nappies 20% thinner than normal, your baby will have freedom of movement allowing them to get on with their busy day whilst staying dry. Pampers active fit nappies have been voted ‘Prima Baby Best Buy and Best Value’ nappies for the last 3 years in a row.

Pampers Active Fit Jumbo Box, £12 each or 2 for £20

To help protect your baby’s much needed golden sleep, Pampers have created Pampers Baby Dry Nappies with Extra Absorbent Zones. The nappies provide faster absorption, the Extra-Absorbent Zones are 14% wider than on previous Pampers Baby-Dry nappies, helping you baby keep dry and comfortable for up to 12 hours.

Pampers Baby Dry Jumbo Box,

£12 each or 2 for £20

Offer also includes Pampers Easy up Jumbo Packs. Prices apply from 13th March



As I said earlier, we’ve been on a pregnancy retreat weekend which was brilliant and we talked about loads of things which were wonderfully helpful. I’ll go into more detail in my special post about the whole weekend package but one of the things I have on my mind is the unsavoury topic of haemorrhoids which I brought up and was advised to speak to my midwife about. I’m seeing her next week which is a good thing because I had a sudden panic about giving birth for the first time this pregnancy and even though I’ve done it before I’ve got a whole load of questions I need to ask her. I don’t know what it is all of a sudden that has made me panic so, but something just struck me while I was out walking the other day and the thought of giving birth simply took my breath away. Most of my fears have been alleviated but this one topic needs ‘touching on’ unfortunately! I had a great birth experience with Florence, coming  away feeling empowered and as if I could do it all again tomorrow, a feeling which has stayed with me, but it suddenly hit home that I actually WILL be doing it again in a tomorrow not that far away and I still have issues… down there… The pain of labour is like nothing you’ve ever felt before and where as with a first baby, (no matter what anyone tells you) you go in blind (there’s no way you could know until you know because it’s like nothing else you will have ever experienced before), second time you know what you’re in for. Any other time when you would have been in that much pain and you probably wouldn’t have survived to do it again but labour and child birth is something else. I’m not saying all this to worry anyone, I mean women have been doing it since time began and will continue to do so as long as humanity exists, it’s not the end of the world but it don’t half hurt and feel like it at the time! Before I’d given birth I used to think women made a big fuss about nothing; I thought it couldn’t possibly be that bad. I obviously changed my opinion pretty swiftly afterwards, no matter how empowered I was feeling! And I was left with that lovely little present of… piles. I know it’s a horrid topic but there, I said it, I have piles. I have them from giving birth to Florence (the lovely bits no one warns you about eh) and they’ve never really gone. Well if they’re painful today when I’m not giving birth what will they be like during and after the pushing stages of labour… Oh Lordy, best I stop thinking this week I think or I’ll drive myself into a planned C Section with an epidural… (I won’t really but blimey, it’s worrying)!
With my bump getting bigger and the weather getting better it’s becoming more appropriate for me to be in leggings than in black winter tights all the time and my ‘Pregnancy Product of the Week’ this week is my new fabulous pair from ‘Boob’. I’ve been wearing them all the time as they are so comfortable and my bump feels really secure in them too because they are over the bump ones – just up my street! Not only does that ensure you feeling really well held but it makes a nice smooth line for your top or tunic to go over without any bulges where the top of the leggings might be digging into your skin – I can’t stand that! They feel, to touch, a little like tights but are really thick as well so just right for the sort of weather we’ve been having at the moment. It’s still chilly at times so you need to be warm but sometimes it’s just a little too muggy for black tights; the leggings from ‘Boob’ are a good compromise for the sort of ‘in the middle’ type temperatures we’ve been having lately. They are the perfect staple to any pregnancy wardrobe and go with everything. You don’t have to opt for black either as they come in a variety of colours so you could put them together with some more colourful tops and tunics and they’d look great! I’m super glad I’ve got them as I literally live in leggings these days and my non maternity ones just weren’t cutting the mustard anymore! It’s also good to know that they are recommended for after pregnancy as well making them a great buy! ‘Boob’ advise to simply turn them back to front once your bump is a baby in your arms and they continue to be the perfect pair of leggings!

Maternity Leggings by ‘Boob’ are priced at £29.00, come in UK sizes of 4/6 – 14/16, five different colours and are made from 83% cotton, 10% polyamide and 7% elastane. They are machine washable, 40° C. For more information on the entire ‘Boob’ range please see http://shop.boobdesign.com/

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m starting to think about the things I’m going to need when the baby is born and one of those things is very definitely some decent breastfeeding bras. I can’t tell you how invaluable they are and know only too well the false economy of buying something cheap. You really do get what you pay for and you certainly do need a decent bra (or five actually). I’ve recently heard about a company called ‘Mammae’ and their bras sound just the ticket. What do you think?


The new revolutionary stylish and discreet breastfeeding bra

Launching new to the UK is the stunning award-winning range of unique maternity bras from European lingerie brand Mammae. Available in 12 countries and now here in the UK, these stylish, elegant and innovative nursing bras offers mum the ultimate in discreet breastfeeding thanks to a never-seen-before patent-pending ‘eye’ opening feature.  Not just practical, the underwired and lightly padded bras are available in a variety of beautiful colours and sizes, ranging from a B – H cup.  They start from an RRP of £75.00 and are available from selected stockists.  Log on to  www.mammae.co.uk for details.

The two-part under-wired inner cup opens like an eye, with a lower section which is ‘powernet’ lined to give additional breast support even whilst feeding.  Mum can opt for a minimal opening to discreetly feed or widen for maximum contact with baby.

Additional benefits include:

No visible nipples and breastpads through the pre-formed padded outer cup.

Reduced sore nipples by keeping the breast in the correct feeding position.

Elegant shoulder straps coupled with ‘normal’ shaped cups the Mammae bra can be worn under strappy styled tops and dresses.

The ‘powernet’ lining offers additional support and helps keep heavier breasts in place whilst feeding (free-ing up an extra hand which is often needed to support larger breasts whilst feeding).

Mum of baby Eve, aged four months, says; “I was quite nervous about breastfeeding in public but the Mammae bra has meant that I can do it very easily and discretely. I also love that the bra is pretty and feminine, unlike many of the other unflattering ones on the market.”

There are two product ranges, the Mammae Classic and the Mammae Plus.  The Classic range of designs and colours includes:

Purple Promise

Black Balance

White Wish

The Mammae Plus comes in Taupe Treasure (only).

The Mammae bra was designed by a nursing mum and offers true innovation in maternity lingerie.   The bra gives the wearer a great bust shape and body contour as well as all round support.


So for another week I leave you. On Monday you can read about more of my Southerly adventures when I will post news of our wonderful weekend at the West Bay Club on the Isle of Wight with the superb midwife Nikki Khan! For now, enjoy your Mother’s Day (fantastic day I don’t have to do too much planning for myself for once). Until the next then…

(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)