- February 25th, 8:49
This week has been one where we should have been doing lots as Jonny had some holiday from work but it turned into a bit of a disaster when he became poorly while we were in Norfolk for the weekend and the majority of our plans were cancelled… I’m usually quite unsympathetic when he’s not very well, I firmly believe that men ‘suffer’ more than us women and I try not to give too much clout to it but the poor thing really has been in bad shape. As with all the best laid ones, our plans were heaved all over the place and we ended up staying in Norwich for three extra days while he recovered from his bug and didn’t do much more than feed horses in a field close to my Mum’s house. Not that Florence was complaining as that seems to be one of her fave things at the moment and she’s gone a bit horse mad! She stayed over night with my Mum for the first time ever and as a ‘well done’ for staying without Mummy and Daddy her Gram bought her a hobby horse; so when she’s not feeding them she’s running round the living room pretending to ride one which is very sweet! She did extremely well without us for the night and more to the point so did I! I’ve always hated the idea of her not being with me but it all went smoothly and I got a nice rest too! We had a very rock ‘n’ roll evening of a burger down the pub which sounds adult enough until I tell you we had a game of cards, ate our burger and were home with a cup of tea by 7.30. I was asleep by nine and I consider that an evening without children well spent! Oh how times have changed…
With Jonny on the mend we made it back to London just in time for the event of the year so far, The Baby Show! You’d think that having been to many of them now and onto my second pregnancy that I’d be bored of this sort of thing but I actually have to say it’s one of the best days out in our calendar and we look forward to it coming round (luckily twice a year) in London. This time it’s being held at the ExCel centre which is, very handily for me, a ten minute drive away from where I live! I was kindly asked to come as a special guest blogger, so what can I bring you from opening day?
Well, too much to write about in one blog post that’s for sure so do expect lots of posts coming up about the people I met and the exciting new products I got to try out and have demonstrated but for now I’m going to concentrate on why the show is such a superb day out whether you’re pregnant or not! If you have kids under five it’s the place to be, fact, I won’t be persuaded otherwise! I’ve always loved the show right from my first time which was actually not until Florence was 10 months old. It just hadn’t been on my radar until then and I’m not sure why cause I’ve been to every one since and they just keep getting better and better. This was my fourth show and absolutely the most exciting yet! Yes I was asked as a special guest but everyone I spoke to whether they were involved with the show or merely just a visitor had the same opinion, they were having a ball of a day out! Tickets are really reasonably priced and they have some stonking good discounted ones if you book in advance so it’s totally affordable to everyone. Not mentioning that once you’re there everything on sale has a special ‘show’ price with on average 25% off the RRP. Obviously I have most of my equipment now but it’s a great place to pick up all the little extras as well as the big stuff like buggies and with everything being under one roof with every kind of comfort thought of for a Mummy or Mummy to be it’s a much nicer shopping experience than trawling round the shops believe you me. There are experts on hand at every stall and with knowledgeable pros taking to the stage to give talks about everything from breast feeding to fitting back into your skinny jeans you’ll never need to surf the internet for guidance again. Literally everything and anything baby can be demonstrated sold and browsed. You can talk to mid-wives, have a massage, get your nails done, find out information on everything from sleep to first aid, buy clothes for you and baby, kit out your nursery or simply just have a look so that you can make an informed decision later.
But why do I call this a family day out you ask? What could children possibly find fun about baby and maternity shopping? Truthfully and as I’m sure you don’t need me to point out, if that’s all the day was about then probably not a lot. It would turn into a disaster for both you and the kids which is why any normal shopping trip can be so frazzled; here at The Baby Show however, it’s a whole different ball game! The aisles are amazingly wide so as to allow multiple buggies, enabling their inhabitants and owners the chance to browse in comfort and peace without being afraid of banging someone’s ankles or getting stuck in a tight spot, there are no stairs, there is a baby feeding area where you can sit and bottle or breast feed your baby in a quiet and calm environment and no one looks at you like you’re mad for being out on a busy shopping day with your brood. You don’t have to think of anything when coming here either because they’ve thought of it all for you! They provide jarred food and snacks for slightly older babies and microwaves to heat everything up in, if you need to change your baby the changing station provides nappies, wipes and cream and offers you an immaculate and roomy space within which to do the deed and the best bit of all is the crèche! Now, I’m not saying you have to get rid of the little ones to have a nice day because of course you don’t! Florence had an absolute blast looking at all the toys, meeting Fudgy Bear (www.fudgybear.com), dancing down the aisles and being the apprentice consumer that she is, pointing out all the things she thinks are pretty and that she’d like to have, but let’s face it, if you can have 2 hours of peace and quiet while you shop, sit and have a massage even, then where else would you have the offer of diligent, trained staff looking after your offspring for 120 whole minutes for absolutely FREE?! You can even break the time up and have an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon! Superb! Florence took one look through the window (They’re all around the crèche so if you’re worried you can easily pop back and have a sneaky peak) and said ‘Can I go in there? Puuuuuurleeeeeeeease! Filled with Fisher Price toys, messy glue and sticking it’s a toddler heaven but they also have a sweet area for babies and will, if you want them to, even take your new borns!
I love The Baby Show so much that I keep going back and every time I take more and more friends with me who then in turn return themselves. You even still have time to get to the Excel before the weekend is over (I’m such a fan I’m even going back on Sunday)! The proof is in the pudding as they say and the fact it’s so popular with so many people (including the yummy mummy’s from celebsville) speaks for itself. Like I said, I came away with a wealth of new toys to talk about and some vital information on other items I’m thinking about, and I will of course bring you news of these in posts to come but for now I leave you with the 15 (couldn’t narrow it to 10 I’m afraid) best consumer highlights of my visit (naturally there were hundreds but here’s my special pick).
Mama’s and Papa’s – Everything you need to know about the new ‘Mylo’ pushchair (as well as a competition to win one every two hours), blankets, maternity wear, toys, cots, you name it, they’ll have it! Stand L50, www.mamasandpapas.com
Mothercare – The classic store where Mother’s have been shopping for decades with expert advice from all brands can be trusted and counted on. Some fabulous maternity wear and baby essentials amongst other things at great discounted prices. Stand B4, www.mothercare.com
Morrck – Simply fabulous invention of the baby hoodie to keep baby warm and safe while in the car seat. Stand H16, www.morrck.co.uk
Skibz – Funky dribble bibs and a whole host of other great products including bouncy Betsy Cow! Stand C33, www.skibz.co.uk
Superdrug – Brilliant information here and as well as having your nails done (The manicurist made an excellent job on my rather non existent ones) or your eyebrows threaded, you can pick up your family Bounty pack and stock up on bathroom essentials at a discounted price. Stand L2, www.superdrug.com
Poplico – Customise your buggy with a new hood or liner; choose from lots of different material for something really different! Stand M26, www.poplico.com
Lansinoh – Everybody planning to breast feed needs to invest in a tube. Enough said! Stand K30, www.lansinoh.co.uk
Jackson Reece – Wet wipes at their best. See my review below! Stand K8, www.jacksonreece.com
Mia Tui – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these are some truly unique baby bags with a difference! They are classy and not JUST for baby. See them for yourself and have a look at the beautiful linings! Stand K26, www.miatui.com
Buggy Accessories – Two of my favourite products ever are housed here, the ever so simple but necessary ‘Buggy Tug’ and the ever so necessary and not simple (muslins don’t work as a black out people) ‘Snoozeshade’ as well as ‘Bundlebean’ and ‘Hampster Bags’ Stand D34, www.buggyaccessories.com
Britax – Travel products are my fave thing and yes they do buggies, rather clever ones too but I was most impressed by the car seat knowledge and they’re launching some fab new products too! Stand B30, www.britax.eu
Baby Boom Boom – Nursery rhymes on a CD in both English and another language. We bought the French/English one some time ago and can proudly say we have a nice little repertoire of songs in both languages. Great idea! Stand C26, www.babyboomboom.com
Hippychick – From practical aids to make life with children easier (thank you hip seat) to beautiful wooden toys. A stand not to be missed! Stand G22, www.hippychick.com
Trunki – I’m a big fan of the cases and wouldn’t travel without one, if only they made them in adult sizes! Loads of brilliant accessories too! Stand E40, www.trunki.com
The Gro Company – We’ve all seen the adorable little sleeping bags to keep our babies from getting unravelled from their covers. These might be the best… (They look pretty good too)! Stand K24, www.gro.co.uk
Check it out… Or you’ll have to wait till October for the next one in the Capital and that’ll never do, not when there’s still time to catch this one!
I mentioned above about ‘Jackson Reece’ wet wipes. They have a stand at the show and in my opinion, if you’re going, well worth a visit because I’ve been trialling them recently and they’re great! They’re just a little bit different to other wet wipes and while a little more expensive, you do, as always get what you pay for. My husband doesn’t usually pass comment on any sort of products like this, but honest as the day is long, he opened a packet without me knowing (I hadn’t planned on trialling them for a while longer) and came straight to me and said ‘those new wet wipes you bought are brilliant)! And he’s right. I struggle with wet wipe packets in general, they either don’t come out of the packet well or break as they do, are either too wet or not moist enough, they dry out… I have an annoyance with most wet wipes it’s true but these ones get an 8 out of 10 from me and that’s pretty high! They lose a couple of points on the packaging. I far prefer wipes to have a sturdy lid rather than the sticker that opens and closes them. These have the latter and as one would expect the sticky inevitably fails before the end of the pack and or the packet tears after a pair of toddler paws have their way with them but the actual product is great. They do their job, have just the right amount of moisture, come out of the packet easily, smell good and are alcohol and chemical free meaning they are totally safe for your little one’s derriere. They contain Aloe Vera, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Essential Oil and Purified Water making them absolutely perfect for children with skin conditions such as eczema. We particularly liked the flushable wipes which degrade in water after 8 days, very handy!
Natural uncented and natural herbal wipes £2.39 for 72. Sold at many supermarkets, independent chemists health food shops and online. For more information visit www.jacksonreece.com
So before the excitement of the baby show and before our ‘sick’ days in Norwich we had a rather lovely day out in London. My Mum had come down for a couple of days before she was going to take Florence back on the train with her and we decided to go and visit Kew Royal Botanic Gardens for a change of pace and a bit of a difference in the Capital! It was a long old journey on the District Line over from East London to Kew but one we’re very pleased we decided to make. Kew, if you’ve not yet had the pleasure of its delights, is truly wonderful. It felt a little bit like stepping into the children’s book ‘The Secret Garden’ for although vast (300 acres) there are so many special places and interesting yet unexpected treasures that it really is quite magical. Apart from the planes flying into Heathrow every 75 seconds during peak times, it’s a peaceful and tranquil place to sit and contemplate life as well as soak up and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The planes were very noticeable, (we had fun spotting the aeroplane logos) which was a shame but actually after a while even the roar of engines coming into land could be forgotten because the gardens are just that lovely. You might not think it the place to take children, there are no fanfares, gizmos or rides but in actual fact it was perfect. Florence could run and shout and tear all over the place and with my eye firmly on her was completely safe to do so (you do need to be aware of the water features and occasional maintenance vehicles moving about).We especially enjoyed the step back in time to pre-historic times and little boys in particular would absolutely LOVE that particular exhibition! We also thought the current ‘Tropical Extravaganza’ (on until 4th March) in the Princess of Wales Conservatory was beautiful and extremely interesting and with the bright colours it captured Florence’s attention too. We just ambled around and had a nosy at everything, the swans, the plants, the conservatories… I loved the Japanese garden and all the different types of trees standing side by side, which for me was the reason it felt so different, so out of the ordinary. You can however, take a guided tour, either a free trip on foot guided by volunteers or a couple of different options in vehicles for a small charge. Kew is beautiful in the winter and the aroma of petals in the air is stunning even from half way down the road as you walk towards it. I can only imagine that in summer it shines beautifully with colour, smell and atmosphere. It was a shame the tree top walk way wasn’t open when we visited as I suspect we would have loved that – there’s only one thing for it, we’ll have to go back! Next time in warmer weather I think it’ll be the perfect picnic venue!
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is open daily from 9.30am every day except 24th and 25th December. Adults admissions are £13.90 (Concessions £11.90) and children under 17 years go FREE. www.kew.org
Don’t forget I’m running a fantastic competition for one family to WIN themselves a ticket to the show! If you would like to be in with a chance of being the lucky kin then don’t delay, get entering today! (and if you’re not lucky this time, don’t worry because there’s still time to book your tickets to see the show – details of how under the competition!)
Win Family Fun at CBeebies Live! this Easter
CBeebies fans will not want to miss this! We’ve got 1 family ticket for you to see CBeebies Live! brand new arena spectacular, Reach to the Stars, at Wembley Arena, London on Sunday 1 April at 11 am! A family ticket is for 4 people, minimum 1 adult.
A host of the biggest stars from Britain’s most popular children’s channel CBeebies are coming out to play in this new arena tour. Robbie Rotten is determined to show that he is the biggest star on CBeebies! His dastardly plan involves the capture of the other CBeebies characters and it’s up to the audience to work with PC Plum and the rest of the Stars of CBeebies to find out what has happened and set them free.
Mike the Knight, Justin Fletcher MBE, Phil Gallagher, Mister Maker, Postman Pat with Jess the Cat and the ZingZillas will be joined by CBeebies presenters Andy Day, Katy Ashworth and Andrew Agnew in this all-action show that will tour nine cities around the UK in Easter 2012. Combining big screen video footage and live performance, a host of CBeebies favourites including Mr Tumble, Squiglet and the stars of LazyTown will join in the fun, interacting with the audience for an incredible live experience.
CBeebies Live! is at Wembley Arena, London on Sat 31 March to Sun 1 April, 5 performances only. For further information please go to www.cbeebieslive.com No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel are provided in this competition. The tickets are non-transferable.
Q: Who plans to capture the CBeebies Live! characters?
To enter just send you answer, name and address to [email protected] with ‘CBeebies’ in the subject line by midnight on March 14th. Entries will be put into a hat and drawn at random on 15th March.
And as I said above there’s still plenty of time to buy your tickets for the CBeebies Live! Reach to the Stars tour and ensure that you don’t miss out on the extravaganza! Tickets are now on sale (for more information about the show visit the website www.CBeebiesLive.com) With Children’s tickets from £12.50 and family tickets (for 4 people) from £50 (subject to booking fee) it’s a really affordable treat for the whole family!
MY PREGNANCY DIARY WEEK 30
Am waiting to have my 28 week check as my midwife has been off so I’m having it next week instead. I think not having my appointments on time would have really disgruntled me last time as every day seemed to take forever and I wanted those mile stones but with time marching on ever so quickly second time round I’ve barely noticed that the appointment was missed. In fact if I didn’t have everything stored on my BlackBerry it probably would have been another few weeks before it had dawned on me! Mind you, when I was pregnant with Florence she barely moved (she makes up for it now) and I was at the hospital on more than two or three occasions worried and asking to be monitored. This time it’s completely different as the baby literally doesn’t stop kicking so I guess I’m just not that worried cause I know he or she is there! Jonny felt my tummy the other day and was truly shocked by how hard the kicks have started to become (He ought to try having it coming from inside)! We still can’t decide on a boy’s name and have been through such an extensive list I’m not sure we’ll ever come up with one? (How about Barney McGrew, Cuthbert or Dibble? No, perhaps not)! People have suddenly started to comment on how big my bump is and it’s true I’ve grown all of a sudden again. It’s funny how these growth spurts happen all of a sudden then you stay the same for a while. I’m also feeling puffy and a bit ungainly… I don’t mind being pregnant but it can be quite uncomfortable at times. I don’t want to moan cause I know lots of people have a much harder time of it than me but sometimes a bit of a moan is all that helps…
So with comfort now being the order of the day I am firmly in my flat shoes (my feet are in a right state after an hour in heels and it’s simply not worth it) and I’ve sought this comfort in the arms of my Dr Marten’s boots! They are, although perhaps not an immediate choice for a pregnancy product, this weeks ‘Pregnancy Product of the Week’. I used to wear Dr Marten’s at school with tiny short skirts, black tights and black cherry lipstick. I may have been making a different statement to my one of comfort these days but thankfully for both looks I think they work very well! Why should a boot be stereotypically for one section of the community and only acceptable in teenage circles? Since rediscovering this fashion item from my youth now that I am an adult and wearing them for comfort in my pregnancy I have been given loads of compliments on my choice of foot wear and indeed know at least two other people who have followed suit and couldn’t resist a pair!
The style I’ve been wearing recently are from the ‘worn in’ collection and made with ‘milled smooth’ leather. These were perfect for me because they came ready to wear in comfort and I didn’t have to go through the agonising first few walks with blisters on my feet. I remember my very first pair back in the day being taken on a school walking holiday to Austria for their debut outing and they ripped my feet to shreds. While they became one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have ever owned (and still do own, they last and last believe me) they were not the most practical boot to ‘wear in’ on a four mile hike! Remembering this pain and agony rather well despite it being nearly 20 years ago, I was a little cautious this time round but I really needn’t have worried. They fitted like a glove and belonged to my tired, puffy, pregnant tootsies within about 20 minutes. I love em. I walk everywhere in em. I think they should re market them ‘pregnancy boots’ (although that might not send the right message to the army of teenage fans they have I suppose)! They are for me though, my pregnancy boots and I’m glad I’ve found them!
Dr Marten’s, broken in range with milled smooth leather, £105, http://store.drmartens.co.uk/
My boots! And see how they’re made below!
So until next week…
(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.)