- March 2nd, 8:43
It’s been funny old weather this week hasn’t it! On the one hand we’ve had some brilliant sunshine, even meaning Florence and I had lunch al fresco for the first time this year and then on other days we’ve been really glad we had the ‘Bugaboo’ footmuff we’ve been reviewing, so cold has the nip in the air been! I just don’t know what to put on every day and poor old Florence is being layered up to the max just in case! It has flagged up the fact that I really don’t have any warmer weather clothes that fit for me and I’m going to have to go and buy some new togs! Ideally, as I’ve only 10 weeks left of being pregnant, I’d like to get some flowy things I can wear after the baby is born too rather than specific maternity wear so I’ll have to make a trip to the shops soon! It’ll have to be some cheap and cheerful things though as money is getting tighter and tighter… Eeek! Gotta earn some money fast, any ideas? Jonny’s had the week off which has been lovely but the poor thing was a bit poorly at the start of the week and had to stay in bed for two days. It’s always the way isn’t it! You work really hard and keep going then as soon as you start to rest you get ill… We made the most of it once he was better though and did some lovely London sight seeing like tourists and even had a delicious lunch out in Pizza Express courtesy of our Tesco Club card vouchers!
I know that with new cuts to the working tax credit system I’m not the only one with money on their mind at the moment. So many of my friends seem to have been affected. Obviously, I am predominantly a stay at home Mum so we’re not a joint income household and it doesn’t affect us but I know for lots of people it’s going to make a dramatic difference to their lifestyles and in some cases I would think alter them entirely! I just don’t get this government? I could never in a million years vote Tory and as for their little side kicks, well as long as Nick Clegg is at the helm they’re a complete write off as far as I’m concerned. It’s not just being a Mother and everything they are doing to ruin ‘family life’ that has encouraged my feelings, I’m a staunch left winger and Labour, old preferably but new also, is my party of choice. I just can’t believe David Cameron is ruining all the excellent things set up with Surestart by Labour and I think some voters who ‘just wanted a change’ must be kicking themselves for their bad judgment… As for the people who voted Lib Dem with the thinking that they were entirely of the left variety… Well, I’d be boiling over with anger at their allegiance! My opinions only of course but as I write this whilst shaking my head in astonishment at what is happening, I can’t imagine how any parent would disagree!
Personally I believe that if you can stay at home with your children then you should. I think it’s best for children to be looked after by their parents and not someone their parents pay to do the job for them. Why have children otherwise? I know that for a lot of people they have to go to work and financially don’t have a choice, and it’s these people who will be most badly affected! We may very well be in the position that I have to work ‘properly’ at some point and it makes my blood boil. The government should make the best option financially for one parent to be at home with the children. I believe our future society would benefit and our children (and us) could be a whole lot happier. I don’t mean to offend anyone, we can’t all have the same views I know, but that’s mine and there’s nothing that would change it! I look at my child and thank my lucky stars every day that I am fortunate enough to be the one looking after her, watching her reaching new mile stones daily and that I have not had to hand her over to someone else to have this pleasure while I go to work for someone else. What I’m doing is work, the most important work in the world surely? I’d rather do this job than any other in the whole world and I can’t see why anyone would want otherwise!? It’s a privilege and a joy to bring up children and I’m going to enjoy every last second that I can and so is my daughter!
As you know last week Florence and I attended ‘The Baby Show’ as one of their VIP Bloggers and we had an absolutely terrific time! We were also extremely lucky and got given some gorgeous presents from lots of the exhibitors; it was like Christmas opening all our bags when we got home! I’ve got so many new products to talk about so will have to bring you a little bit each week or I’d be writing for the next month non stop! One of our lovely bags came from the people at ‘Mothercare’ and it was filled to the brim with both practical and gorgeous gift so let me start with that. Now these products are for the new baby so I will be able to bring you a more hands on review after we’ve properly used them but first impressions are as follows:
Bathtime Bale in Cream and White, £19.99
This is a brilliant pack for bathing your new baby and being on my second now, I know how invaluable this would have been first time round. We hadn’t even thought of anything to dry the baby with and had presumed we’d be using our normal towels but their skin is so delicate and soft that they really do need something special. Also they’re so new that they get cold easily. Imagine having just come out of a warm womb and then suddenly you’re in the world and people are immersing you in water to wash you! Babies definitely need wrapping up warm and cosy immediately after coming out of the bath and their little heads need covering too which makes this pack perfect as it comes with two cuddle n dry hooded towels (75 x 75cm). It also includes 2 other towels (103 x 51cm) and two face cloths (25 x25cm). They’re made from 100% cotton and are super soft as well as being great neutral colors! Love this!
Teether 3 Pack, £11.99 (currently on offer with 16% off making them £9.99)
3 different teethers in one pack to take your child from birth to 12 months having been specially designed for all three stages of oral developement! Loads of people ridicule the idea that babies suffer with teething problems straight away but I’m sure they do! Florence started dribbling and needing something to chew on very early on and got her first teeth at 5 months! She loved her teethers but goodness knows where they’ve all got to now so I’m really pleased I have this new great pack for baby number 2!
White muslins – 12 pack, £19.99 (currently on a buy one get one half price offer)
I wasn’t entirely prepared when it came to muslins when I had Florence and we found ourselves rushing out to buy more after she was born. I had them firmly at the top of my ‘to buy BEFORE baby’ list for this time round. As I only had pink last time and as I might have a boy thought some white ones would be best! I am a very lucky girl then to have been given this wonderfully practical pack. 12 is about the least amount you could get away with so the current offer is fantastic as 24 would mean you’d be completely sorted. These ones are just great, 100% cotton and lovely and soft. No new Mother should be without muslins and in my experience ‘Mothercare’ ones wash really well and still look good after months of usage! As soon as this baby has been born you’ll be unlikely to see me for a good few months without one slung over my shoulder and even after the initial phase I’ll almost certainly have one about my person at all times!
Everything you need for an at home hand and foot printing session. The kit comes with 2 canvases, pink and blue pots of paint, paint brush and a stencil for lettering. We think it’s lovely and are planning on doing it when the new baby has arrived; we will use one canvas for Florence and one for the new arrival. It’ll be nice to do them both on the same day and hopefully be a little bonding exercise for Florence and her new sibling! We’ll let you know when we’ve done it and show you a picture of our handiwork. We think this is a really affordable little present for anyone having a new baby and because they can do it in their own time it’s something they can leave until they’ve got a bit more settled with their new routine. Also, it’s a really welcome change from baby clothes and even though they are great presents it good to have something a little bit different!
All above products are ‘Mothercare’ own products and can be found on their website www.mothercare.com
We love the idea of the canvas prints as mentioned above but if you prefer to keep your artwork and hand and foot prints outside the house and nowhere near your carpets then we know a lovely little place in London where you can go for just that purpose. It’s a ceramic café called ‘Art 4 Fun’ and is situated just a 2 minute walk from West Hampstead tube station on the Jubilee Line. Florence and I recently paid them a visit and had such a fun afternoon painting and printing on the ceramic piece we chose (a plate). The idea is that you turn up, each painter pays a studio fee (£5.95), chooses as many pieces of pottery as he or she likes (prices for each piece start at just £3.50) and decorates them to their hearts content with the paints, sponges, stickers and other unlimited tools on hand. You then leave said pieces for a week while they get fired and pick them up to keep forever! The staff are really friendly, helpful and on hand to assist you so you don’t need to worry if you’re not the best artist yourself! Shane, who was there the day we visited is absolutely terrific and helped us every step of the way. He advised us about colors as they come out much darker once fired and let us know which ones look good together. He also helped Florence select some stickers and made a circle big enough for her hand in the middle of the plate to be covered until after the painting was done; they were then removed and we had tiny little heart shapes and a space to do a hand print!
Shane let us practice on the paper table cloth first and encouraged us to take as long as we liked making us feel at ease and capable! I’m not the world’s best artist it has to be said but my daughter obviously doesn’t share my lack of talent as she was firing on all cylinders and made the most beautiful plate for us to keep forever while having the biggest whale of a time ever! It’s not often I let her have paints (cream carpets are not a painters best friend) and when I do there’s rigid rules. At ‘Art 4 Fun’ she could really let her creativity flow as there are no such barriers put on the artists here. With carte blanche to paint on the table and to go wild with the paint pots, even squeezing the paint out herself, I think Florence felt really liberated and absolutely loved it! She painted the front, the back and then did her lovely hand print at the end. I had a delicious herbal tea and watched her having all the fun which was great!
The setting is really informal and feels like you’re in an artist’s studio. If paint goes on the floor they don’t mind but it is at the same time very clean and comfortable. The paint is all non toxic and water based so washes out of clothes and even I, with my inept ability at removing stains, didn’t have a problem with getting the paint out. It wasn’t particularly busy on the mid weekday afternoon that we visited but busier than you would expect so I can imagine on weekends and at peak times it would be mental with customers trying to get in and I would suggest you book to avoid disappointment if you can. It’s certainly not just for children let it be said! They have late night openings and I can imagine going back with some girlfriends for a hen do or a birthday would be just as much fun for us oldies as it clearly is for the little ones. They offer parties for all ages and groups as well as having live music occasionally in the evenings so you could really make an event of it if you wished. They serve a variety of soft drinks, teas and coffees but don’t mind at all if you’d like to bring your own bottle of vino with you! Now, I’ve been on staggeringly expensive hen dos in the past and something like this would be the perfect alternative and save an absolute fortune too! My best friend is getting married this year and I’m definitely going to be suggesting this idea to her! We loved it and left, as did all the other customers, with great big smiles on our faces and just check out the finished article below, what a wonderful present it would make for Grandparents (except I won’t be able to part with it and it’s sitting pride of place on display in my living room)! Thanks ‘Art 4 Fun’ and thanks to Shane for inviting us to experience your lovely café!
Art 4 Fun, 172 West End Lane London NW6 1SD Tel: (020) 7794-0800 West Hampstead Tube Station, Follow them on Facebook.com/art4funcafe and Twitter.com/art4funcafe
Normal Opening Hours
Mondays 10 AM to 6 PM
Tuesdays 10 AM to 8 PM – LATE NIGHT
Wednesdays 10 AM to 6 PM
Thurdays 10 AM to 6 PM
Fridays 10 AM to 10 PM – LATE NIGHT!!
Saturdays 10 AM to 6 PM
Sundays 10 AM to 6 PM
I talked at the beginning of the post about how changeable the weather seems at the moment. One minute the sun is shining and it’s positively spring like, while the next it’s bitter and cold and leaving you feeling like you’re in the depths of winter. I keep seeing children in buggies done up to the nines with scarves, hats and gloves, red little noses poking out, but for some reason loads of people don’t seem to bother with a blanket or a footmuff and I just don’t know why? Sitting down, they must be getting frightfully cold and I really do think it’s still the season to have their little knees covered up. Thankfully we’ve been trialing the ‘Bugaboo’ Footmuff for our ‘Bugaboo Bee’ and Florence has been kept nice and toasty while out and about this winter. I have to say, I’m really, as I usually am with ‘Bugaboo’ products, impressed with this accessory. Not only is it compatible with all the buggies in the ‘Bugaboo’ range but it’s washable, easy to keep clean as the surface wipes brilliantly and it’s not only great at keeping Florence warm when it’s cold, but because it’s made from a breathable fabric, on the days when it’s sunny she doesn’t overheat either! It also makes a seat liner for when the weather really hots up as the cover completely detaches from the back with a zip and you can just leave the back part in while storing the cover until next winter. Brilliant! Obviously it fits perfectly onto my ‘Bugaboo’ buggy attaching under the hood with buttons and I love the fact that it doesn’t fall off like a blanket could but I also use it on my light weight umbrella fold holiday buggy and it fits perfectly fine on that too despite it being an entirely different make. Aesthetically it does look good it has to be said! Coming in a variety of different colours means you can really jazz up your buggy matching or contrasting with your hood colour and if you fancy a change next winter it’s easy enough to swap with a new colour and make it feel as if you have a whole new stroller. All in all I’d say the ‘Bugaboo’ universal footmuff is outstanding quality and worth (as are the buggies) every penny. I know some people don’t like to spend very much on their strollers but I also know a whole load of people who’ve bought cheaper models and ended up buying two or three cause they’ve not done their job properly. In my experience this is not a problem my fellow ‘Bugaboo’ users have encountered! Love ‘Bugaboo’, LOVE the footmuff!
Bugaboo ‘Footmuff’ can be purchased (among other retailers) at John Lewis for £94.95, www.johnlewis.com and for more information on stockists, the ‘footmuff’ or any ‘Bugaboo’ product please see the ‘Bugaboo’ website www.bugaboo.com. It’s also worth noting that ‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product to help you on your way, something else good happens as well – as ‘Bugaboo’ contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. This means more women and children living with HIV in Africa will get the medicine they need to lead a more normal, active and hopeful life.’
While we’re on the topic of ‘Bugaboo’ let me tell you about their great new spring collection coming to bring a big splash of color to all their strollers! A gorgeous way to really liven up your buggy, make it like new and to say goodbye to the cold winter days and hello to more sunshine!
Bugaboo Special Colour Collection
What better way to welcome the arrival of Spring than with Bugaboo’s bright new Colour Collection 2012. Give your favorite stroller a colour injection with the new tailored fabric, suitable for the entire Bugaboo family – Bugaboo Donkey, Bugaboo Cameleon, and Bugaboo Bee.The special edition features exciting colours such as Electric Blue, Jade Green and Coral Red. The energetic colour palette compliments Bugaboo’s base fabric colours, and is designed to suit your personal style. Whether you are a Bugaboo Donkey user, a Bugaboo Bee lover, or can’t go without your Bugaboo Cameleon, the Colour Collection will energize every stroller moment.
The Bugaboo Special Colour Collection 2012 are all-weather protected, just like every other Bugaboo accessory. For the Bugaboo Donkey and the Bugaboo Cameleon the tailored fabric set includes a sun canopy and apron, which are both available for £84.95. The Bugaboo Bee Colour Collection includes a sun canopy of £49.95. The sun canopy of the Bugaboo Donkey can be purchased separately for £54.95. The Colour Collection is available in the UK from March 2012 for six months only. Please visit www.bugaboo.com/retaillocator for a retailer near you.
Don’t forget! There’s still plenty of time to enter my fantastic competition for one family to WIN themselves a ticket to the CBeebies Live! Reach for the Stars tour! 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 31
I saw my midwife this week for my 28 week check even though I’m 31 weeks now… The poor thing came out to me after she’d been at a home birth all night so I gave her some breakfast and a cup of tea and then she gave me all my checks. Everything is fine and dandy as far as she can tell and I’ll go and have some more blood tests in a couple of weeks before the next appointment just to see if the iron and Vitamin D tablets are doing their job. I asked her about donating my umbilical cord for stem cell treatment but she thinks I can’t do it at my hospital and will have to arrange this privately. How annoying! It’s needed but they’re not collecting it for some reason at the moment? I’m well annoyed about that and totally on the case! I’ve emailed a few day time television programmes in the hope that they might be able to point me in the right direction so watch this space… Florence has been really sweet and talking to the baby every day, asking me if she can feel the baby moving and telling it that as her baby sister she can play with her toys when she comes out of my tummy. I don’t know what she’ll think if she turns out to be a he? I have mentioned this to her but she just looks at me and says ‘no, it’s my baby sister’ so we shall see…
I’ve been a bit uncomfortable to be honest, getting back twinges and waking up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep. When I was pregnant with Florence I had a V shaped pillow which was wonderful and helped with the back pain and sleeping loads so I was a bit reluctant not to use that and instead try out a different one for my blog. I was worried about absolutely nothing cause this new pillow is like ten times better than my old V shaped one and I can’t believe I ever managed without it! It’s therefore got to be named my ‘Pregnancy Product of the Week’! This pillow really does have to be tried to be believed, it came in a zipped up bag which made it quite small (it easily goes back inside it for storage), was all curled up and really didn’t look anything out of the ordinary at all. But… Once it pops out of the bag like a toy snake from a little box and you wrap it around your body you won’t ever look back. It literally cuddles me to sleep at night and when I’m sitting on the sofa watching TV it just holds me perfectly. It’s long and windy and this means you can wrap it round you in a circle (That’ll be great for feeding later on), lengthen it out over the whole body and wrap your legs around it or a combination of both. It supports your bump, back and knees simultaneously, how good is that?! WHEN I manage to wrestle it off Jonny who has also decided he ‘needs’ a pregnancy pillow, it’s the most comfortable pillow I have ever used! Fact! It comes with a removable pillow case made of breathable fabric which regulates the heat of your body so you won’t ever feel too hot with it or too cold, perfect for pregnancy! It is fairly expensive but like I always say, you get what you pay for and that is certainly true in this case also! My last pillow, while good and an absolute saviour at the time just pales into insignificance compared to it and although it was less than half the price of this one, I’d still say this is the one you should go for! It’s made by ‘By Carla’ and is called the ‘Heat Regulating Cuddle Me Pregnancy Pillow’. It really is as good as it sounds, if you don’t believe me, just ask my husband!
‘By Carla’ Heat Regulating Cuddle Me Pregnancy Pillow, RRP £49.99, please see the website for a list of stockists www.bycarla.co.uk
Now that I’m well into my third trimester and only have 9 weeks to go, I guess I won’t be bringing you many more ‘Pregnancy Products of the Week’ (Well let’s hope at least 9 more eh)! But I will be, after that, writing my ‘newborn diary’ and a ‘Newborn Product of the Week’ instead! One of the things I’m thinking about testing for very tiny newborns is slings. I’m a massive fan of baby wearing and carried Florence everywhere until she was about 18 months. My husband still has her in our back sling (I would if I wasn’t pregnant) and she loves it but when she was much littler we had a wrap around where she went on our front which I loved. I was always a bit afraid of it when she was just born though and think a cradle sling made with still soft but slightly more sturdy material might be a good idea. Have a look at this one, theBabaSling, it looks fab!
Embrace Life with theBabaSling®
The versatile baby carrier that keeps baby close and safe
Care for your baby in complete comfort and style with the UK’s leading baby wearing company, BabaSlings Ltd. Their award-winning slings are easy to wear, tested to the highest safety standard and epitomise versatility with five different carrying positions, including two for breastfeeding. Recommended by midwives, healthcare professional and osteopaths, theBabaSling® has been carefully designed to support your newborn’s developing spine through to two years (15kg). It also features an extra safety buckle for added security. The unique buckling system also allows parents to simply unclip the carrier without disturbing their sleeping baby. theBabaSling® retails from £39.99 and is available in a choice of 15 stylish colours. For more information visit www.thebabasling.com.
theBabaSling® is an ideal companion for all parents. It makes going out easy by reducing the dependency on a stroller, it offers a discrete space for feeding in public, and can be adjusted to any member of the family in seconds. What’s more, theBabaSling® features adjustable straps, is made from 100% cotton, is machine washable, and comes with a lifetime quality guarantee!
theBabaSling® features two different designs:
Original: The Original design is stylish, versatile and high in quality. With a choice of 11 colours to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Print: A new addition to theBabaSling® family. The Print range consists of three floral theme patterns, which range from classical to fantastical – now available to the fashion-loving parent.
Faye Maguire, mum to baby Arthur aged 4 months, states: “theBabaSling is absolutely fantastic. It takes the strain off my back, is so versatile to use and I know Arthur is so comfortable in it. I especially like the ease of the buckle, which allows me to take Arthur out without waking him up.”
BabaSlings Ltd truly believes that held babies are happy babies and are proud to bring parents award-winning baby carriers that both look great and are easy to use.
So I’m starting to get really excited about using all the lovely newborn stuff, especially testing out products like theBabaSling and also getting my figure back (which I’m sure baby wearing can only help with) soon but for now I’ll waddle off and see you again 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.)