Vanilla Underground Kids Range

Our neighbour has literally just gifted us a Rolling Stones themed outfit ready for when the baby arrives and Carson got a little upset with why he didn't get one, stating that he loved the lips more than the baby. Tssk, when jealousy strikes, eh?

So, when asked if I'd Carson would like to sample a tee from Vanilla Undergrounds range, I couldn't say no. The timing was immense... and would you take a look at what was sent....


Weird or what?!

Anyway... down to the review!

The Kids Rolling Stones Vintage Wash Charcoal tee, by cult music based brand Amplified, retails at £17.99 and are available in sizes 1-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-6 years and are adorably cute.


For me, the price for a tee is a little on the high side compared to what I'd normally pay but the quality is definitely there. 

An incredibly soft 100% cotton, it promises to be kind to younger skin - perfectly understandable given the young age that this is available in.


I think you need to envisage particular occasions when this item will be really worth it's money too other than just an every day tee, for example fancy dress - being a classy little vintage rocker with spiked hair and a toy guitar 'prop' is a lot more cost effective than going out and buying an 'on trend' costume, no doubt based on a character from the latest movie released, that will be worn the once or twice.

I would definitely purchase from Vanilla Underground in the future. Got my eyes on the Gorillaz tee next!

Actually, they also do some plushies and vinyl door hangers - Star Wars and, one of Carson's faves that I am certainly going to buy for his birthday, JACK SKELLINGTON!! Straight on my wishlist! 


Vanilla Underground have kindly provided a discount code for my readers. 
Simply use 'CARSONSMUMMY' for 20% off 
Valid until the end of March 2014. 


Go visit www.vanillaunderground.com and tell me... 

What's your fave item? I'd love to hear your thoughts xx


I was sent this top free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

*GIVEAWAY* Dr Brown's Breast Pumps

With Carson I wanted to breastfeed. But, after a 23 hour labour and a distressed baby being whisked off to Intensive Care & SCBU, staying there for a good 10 days, it just didn't happen.

This time round, I've had milky boobs for months already and I'm only 29 weeks pregnant now. It is sooo not exciting me for breastfeeding.
Meh, I don't know.
It's a difficult choice and I think ultimately I will wait until baby has been born and see what happens.
Yeah, I know! This attitude may come across as a bit blasé but I made so many plans with my first born that just didn't pan out that I don't want to set myself up for a fall the 2nd time round.That's all!

What I do know though, is if I breast feed, I need to invest in a breast pump to stock up on milk and give my nips a rest every now and then. I'll be looking to opt for a reputable brand, promising to be gentle on my breasts during expression.



Dr Browns Manual Breast Pump promises to minimise pinching and tugging with their super soft breast cups conforming to the shape and movement of mums breast, whilst gentle compression technology expresses milk comfortably.

With mega thanks to www.drbrowns.co.uk & www.johnlewis.com I am pleased to offer my readers the opportunity to win their very own Dr Brown's Manual Breast Pump, currently retailing at £42 each, and I have 2 to giveaway as well!

1. This is open to UK residents 
2. Winner has 48 hours to acknowledge and respond before another winner will be redrawn
3. All reasonable efforts and channels will be used to attempt contact. 
4. Competition closes at midnight 14th March 2014.
All entries are checked so, as tempting as it may be to skim through the Rafflecopter entry, you will be doing yourself out of a genuine chance to win a cracking prize. 
So enter genuinely because, as you've probably gathered, I do check guys.
GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you enjoy reading Coming from Carsonsmummy, why not vote for me in the Mad Blog Awards 2014?
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A morning sickness cure?

Ok ok ok... so all I do is moan about this pregnancy! But I genuinely believe I may have the answer to all problems. Well, all pregnancy problems. Well, *a* sickness related problem.

I suffered somewhat horrendously with morning sickness up until around 16 weeks, not necessarily with the vomiting, but the nausea. And in my opinion, that's worse...The constant swirly heavy sickly feeling, churning around and around and around.
Bleurgh!! Just writing about it is enough to make me want to vom!

You've no appetite, but you're tummy is crying out for something to eat. You need to hydrate yourself but you simply cannot be dealing with the added swishing around of fluid in your belly either.

What did I use? Ice pops!

mr freeze ice pops carsonsmummy

They're cooling, refreshing, hydrating, stave off hunger pangs, taste a bit of alright and, on a personal level, they give me a child-like sense of comfort. (I remember having Mr Freeze ice pops when I had a tummy bug or fever as a child!) I guess it's like sucking on a pacifier in a way.

Now morning sickness has jogged on - I'm plagued with heartburn. (I know - more moaning!) I'll tell you what though... they continue to be a staple freezer item in this household. For the exact same reasons as the above. The only downside is having to tell Carson that they're not his and he can't have one *everytime* I have one.

I just wanted to point out that this is a 100% honest post and I have not been paid to write about the topic. However, for sharing my experiences of ice pops during pregnancy, Mr Freeze have offered to send me some goodies by way of thanks. Obviously I've accepted - I'd be mad not to given how many I've gone through these past 6 months! Plus Mr Freeze is the bees knees of ice pops.

It's well worth you checking Mr Freeze out on Twitter or Facebook actually - their #FreebieFriday comps are a morning sickness-riddled pregnant woman's dream!

Have you used them during pregnancy?
Where they for 'medicinal purposes' like me or thanks to a general craving for them?

(PSSST... Just for your info, ice pops cure hangovers too! Is there anything ice pops can't cure?!)

The MAD Blog Awards 2014

Ok, so I promised I wouldn't write a post about this so I'll make it super short and to the point.
I just wanted to say a whopping great thank you very much to those who nominated me in to 5 categories of the MAD Blog awards.

Never has my blog been nominated for anything like this before so I'm genuinely touched by the time taken by you guys to actually remember me and nominate. I feel some serious blog love :-)

MAD Blog Awards
Click here to vote
If you are still considering your selections, the following are what I'm nominated in so any additional votes in these categories would be just amazing.

  • MAD Blog of the Year
  • Most Entertaining
  • Best Writer
  • Most Innovative
  • Best Pregnancy

This isn't intended to be an advert as to why you should vote for me (I've seen some that come across that way and cringed, so PLEASE tell me if this even comes close!!)

This is just a simple, but sincerely heartfelt, thank you.


Bat Balloon!

Remember being a kid on a rainy day and stuck in your room for one reason or another?

No tv/dvds, No mobile phone, No internet - heck - no computers!! We played 'den' or 'snakes and ladders' or something simple like that didn't we?

Oh my, how things change! But some things never will - or at least in my home, that's for sure.

Introducing our choice of 'Indoor Family Time' ... without getting glittery or sticky or ruining the pyramid of empty toilet roll tubes that have collected themselves in the bathroom**

BAT BALLOON!

We played it as kids and we'll play it with our grand-kids in years to come. The rules are simple and any number of people can play:

1. Blow up a balloon
2. Take up position in a 'corner' of a room
3. Bat the balloon in the general direction of another player
4. Ensure you 'keepy uppy' the balloon using only your hand *Allow 'one bounce' for younger children
5. Each successful bat from one player to the next is counted aloud and together "1, 2... etc."
6. When it drops or a player misses, start again.
7. The objective is to beat the previous score!


Benefits:
1. It encourages physical activity (if played properly you really will get a bit of a sweat on!)
2. Balloons do not cause damage to furniture etc.
3. Encourages hand-eye coordination
4. Helps with counting
5. Independently competitive - you will always want to beat yourself - encourages determination.
6. No fear of the kids arguing, it's a positively charged game which encourages team playing and praise
7. As you become more of a pro - you'll notice your flexibility increasing to reach for a 'near drop' (and it's much more fun than yoga, let me tell you!)

This is guaranteed to absorb your time like nothing else, ever! Before you know it you'll have been playing for an hour and you notice that all you've done is laugh. There's lots of high fives and praise over great 'bats'. 


It was hard to take pics whilst playing - but you can see by the look on Carson's face just how much fun he's having! Our record was 108 today. 



Balloons are pretty much free. they literally give them away in shopping centres or you can buy a bag of 100 for £1 - so 1p is the maximum cost of our Indoor Family Time choice.

I'd take Bat Balloon over a games console any day of the week :-) Give it a shot and see for yourself xx

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 February challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Sherwood Forest.

**If you're still thinking about that pyramid of empty toilet roll tubes collated in the bathroom (because, somehow, I am now that I've mentioned it!) You can take a leaf out of Lisa Brown's book at Center Parcs. As Games Guru she suggests screwing some old newspaper into a ball, taping it in to place and decorating it, then using those tubes as pins. Wallah! Ten pin bowling!

Tradition flash back!

Just a quick post, well, more a question really.

Picking chicken off the bone ready for tonight's tea, I come across the wish bone. Talk about a blast from the past!

Did anyone else used to argue with their siblings as kids regarding who's turn it was to pull the wish bone after it had dried out?

Ha! Made me chuckle!

Carson wanted to know what was so funny about having dirty hands, so I told him all about our tradition as kids and he was super excited to pop it on the windowsill to dry out. On Wednesday, we have a date - and apparently he'll win.

Daamn! It's hard to 'fix' the breaking of a wish bone. I don't want him to be upset when I win, so I'll wish for him not to *mwahahaha!!* [Insert evil laugh, here]

So come on.... let me in on some of your traditions :-)

*REVIEW & GIVEAWAY* Wall art with CanvasDesigns

There's a lot of places to get canvas pictures these days, but how do you know which one to use? Do you go one price, recommendation, most 'in the news'?

Having the opportunity to review a canvas of choice from www.canvasdesign.co.uk helps!

I had one picture in mind. One picture that has one too many people on it for my liking! Long story short, he 'gegged in' on the photo and ruined something totally amazing for Carson and CarsonsDaddy. It is a picture of the 2 of them with Luis Suarez.

As humongous Liverpool fans, this is mega. Like, amazingly cool.

Every time I'd attempted to have a canvas done in the past, I'd cropped the picture first, but of course you lost resolution and image quality so it's not recommended to go ahead and place your order.

I had a mooch on CanvasDesign's website and quickly, simply, realised I could simply move my image around the capture area so no cropping was necessary. I got excited - ha! Not kidding though... I actually did squeal! I emailed the lovely Loren, who'd initially been in touch re the review opportunity, as I wanted to doubly confirm that this was the case and she gave me the nod.

Couple of days later, whadaya know... my canvas print arrived - without a warped pixel in sight. I cannot believe the quality of the image and the thick canvas it's printed upon. Handily, they send a hanging kit too (no balancing on a nail for me!)



You would never believe that there had been one extra person to the left (Suarez's right).

This canvas will be treasured for years and years to come, by both father and son. And the cost for something similar? My print is 12x16 and worth £16.49. You really can't get more reasonable than this.

Carson's reaction was something else! He screamed with joy and this canvas now takes pride of place on his very own bedroom wall. He told his daddy "I'm with my heroes on my wall" - wow, just.. wow.


CanvasDesign offer canvas prints from as low as £7.99. 
FREE 48 HOUR Shipping and Discount Code: BLOG15 for all my readers to get 15% off your next order too, I really couldn't recommend these guys enough to get your precious captured moments printed on to canvas.

Want to win one?

CanvasDesign.co.uk have very kindly offered to provide a canvas of choice to one of my readers, yay!

1. This is open to UK residents 
2. Winner has 48 hours to acknowledge and respond.
3. All reasonable efforts and channels will be used to attempt contact. 
4. Competition closes at midnight 7th March 2014.
All entries are checked so, as tempting as it may be to skim through the Rafflecopter entry, you will be doing yourself out of a genuine chance to win a cracking prize. 
So enter genuinely because, as you've probably gathered, I do check guys.
GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

28 weeks pregnant - scan!

Still a boy ... and still not letting us have a decent piccy. Oh he's gunna be a handful, I can tell :-)



At least it's better than just the fist we could capture at 20 weeks!

Second Time Mummy Worries

I'm on my lunch break at work and I can't help but think up ridiculous scenarios that could occur by the time this baby arrives. Ooosh. There are a lot of what-if's absorbing my brain power at the moment. I can only assume that this is normal for a mum in preparation for their second... because, well, I'm not THAT odd. I can't be the only one who does it... surely? C'mon, tell me I'm right. No? QUICK!!
"What If..."
Honestly though, I'm thinking what if I don't love the second as much as Carson. Nothing compares to my love for Carson, I'm struggling to see how anything/anyone can rival this. It scares me.

Then again, what if I end up neglecting Carson, perhaps I'll be too tired to be bothered with his book one night, then another night, then what if I don't want to do arts & crafts because "why don't you put a dvd on instead and I'll snooze" - it'll hurt him, it'll hurt me - if I even realise I'm doing it....
"Don't even tell me it's something to do with the baby"
I mean, I'm trying to keep him excited and involved in everything, he's even helped choose Kung Fu Foetus' name (it's a secret... do NOT press me on this one!) but recently feel that maybe I'm involving him too much as he rolls his eyes whenever I even mention the baby now.

The other day I called him to feel The Wriggler at his best, oh my days he was pounding away in-utero, I thought Carson would LOVE to see/feel this. Well, he came into the room and before I could open my mouth he quips: "Don't even tell me it's something to do with the baby"

I was gutted. Something that I feel would be awesome for him to experience, and he did not want to know.

I remember being 4 and sitting on the loo seat in the bathroom talking to my mum who was having a bubble bath. I remember seeing her belly jolt and I was in stupendous awe. WOW!

Incidently... That 'jolt' is now known as @npritchard66 over on twitter, she's the youngest of the 4 of us - I was the eldest (we're all close in both age and emotion!)

That brief bathroom bonding moment is the first of only 2 memories I have of my youngest sister being a baby. There are 3 years and 2 months between her and I so I feel that Carson, as being 5 and a half  yrs old now, should remember and take something from this experience.

So... Question time!

How much do I involve a 5 and a half year old only child in the pregnancy stage?
What worries did/do you have as a second time mum/dad?
Did you ever feel the same as me? WHAT'S THE REALITY LIKE???

Thanks, Jo xxx

Wow.... most in-depth lunch time thinking sesh, ever....!!

Nursery Inspiration: Wall stickers

I know this is a somewhat boring post, but seriously - there are so few reviews of wall stickers out there that I'm inclined to believe they're nothing to write home about.

Has anyone had experience of applying wall stickers before? Particularly the more intricate ones, swirly font quotes for example.

I'm thinking of nursery ideas and would absolutely LOVE to go a little different and opt for a quote wall sticker, as opposed to a full or border wallpaper. 

There are a lot of small reviews either testimonials hosted on the retailer/manufacturers site itself, or one liners from Amazon which can be hit and miss sometimes as far as being accurate goes! Why are there no independent reviews?

Och... I'm scared!!

It's not even like they're cheap (in comparison to wallpaper/paint), and what if I make a boo-boo in application, ruining the whole thing?

I'm thinking bluey grey and orange for a colour scheme with, preferably, white furniture to give the illusion of more open space (as the baby will be lumbered with the box room!) See my board on Pinterest to get an idea of what I'm thinking of.

I have asked a couple of suppliers if they have any reviews to point me in the direction of themselves and I'm not getting very far. Not exactly filling me with confidence, to say the least. 

I never really did the whole nursery design with Carson, because we knew we were moving out pretty much as soon as he was born, but I've been cemented in my current home for 4 years and have no plans to move any time soon so it's a real opportunity to get creative!

If you have any ideas or inspiration of your own, comment with a link to your Pinterest boards etc and I'd love to check them out!

All comments/thoughts are welcome!
MAD Blog Awards

*Review and Giveaway* MagicBed Travel Cot

I've kindly been sent a MagicBed - revolutionary cot-in-a-bag/pop up cot - to review and these are my findings, happy reading!

MagicBed carrier bag, complete with zipped storage pouch up front.

CONCEPT

Is it as simple as opening the bag and wallah! I must admit I had my doubts to begin with, "too good to be true" sprung to mind.
Magicbed also claims to be 4x lighter than the average travel cot.

Well GOOD! To both of the above points!

Let me tell you, a 'travel cot' brings back memories of a 2 person setup and 3 person put away. Heavy, clunky and  impossible to get back in its carrier. So yeah, up to now, MagicBed's concept is appealing.

MagicBed all set up!

PRODUCT USE

Well, would you believe it... you open the bag and the cot pops out fully formed,  Bravo!!

It's light,  it's slick and it's a damn sight better looking than the travel cots of old. Beautifully gender neutral, in choclate, this isn't a clunky item, but it's certainty sturdy enough to be fit for purpose. In fact, MagicBed has been tested and certified for folding children's beds until 3 years of age so think play pen / nap time etc for when baby grows older too. 

There are two pockets at each end, only large enough for perhaps one folded nappy. Maybe better used for dummies or muslin cloths, or how about a baby monitor or a musical toy to aid with your babies napping?

Complete with folded mattress that you simply need to pop in to the hidden insert beneath base, it really is all you need in one simple bag.



Popping it back in the bag proved a tad difficult for me - but ONLY because my bump and boobs where so totally in the way! After watching their handy video's on the MagicBed website (www.magic-bed.com), I quickly realised that I don't need to see over my lumpy bits, it's as easy as twist, clip and bag. Panic over!!


MagicBed's RANGE

They also offer items such a sun canopy to make use of this outside - definitely worthwhile thinking about come the summer in my opinion. But my favourite idea from their range is the Mini MagicBed - a pop up/folding crib (similar to a moses basket/carry cot). This would be an immense help for the first few months once baby has arrived!


OVERALL OPINION

I really am impressed with the ease of use coupled with the charming design.  Aesthetically pleasing, compact, light, no-fuss, and a very reasonable cost of just £109 - I can potentially get up to 3 years of use out of this convenient cot. It's a must for expectant parents in my opinion and I am very grateful to have received this item to review for myself. I can't wait to get some use out of it now!!



WIN A MAGICBED COT OF YOUR OWN!!
Yup, these guys have been lovely enough to offer one of my readers with the same beautiful item as me: MagicBed in Chocolate, worth £109. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget and good luck!!!

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*GIVEAWAY* The Snoozle

Introducing The Snoozle ...


Beautifully presented in a giftbox worthy enough to shadow all other mum-to-be gifts, the maternity slide-sheet to aid turning in bed. Especially handy for those with SPD - just like me!


Great quality cotton sheet, you don't expect it to be slippery enough to haul your entire body with the smallest of twists. The secret is that the sheet is a tube - the insides do the work whilst the outside looks elegantly lush on your bedsheets!


Being unable to turn in bed without my thigh bone crunching, pelvis pounding and my whimpering waking half the street, this product not only brings a more rested sleep but it truly cuts pain massively. I 100% recommend this item to anyone who finds moving in bed difficult. This doesn't just cover the pregnant, but also those who've sciatica,arthritis or general aches and pain. 


Available in white trim, pink trim and blue trim, you have the opportunity to win your very own Snoozle, currently retailing at £24 each, by filling in the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent this product free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
MAD Blog Awards

*REVIEW & GIVEAWAY* Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow

As I've blogged about recently, SPD and pelvic pain is a condition that affects every aspect of your daily life, and sleeping is definitely the most upsetting as far as I'm concerned.

This made the opportunity to review the Theraline Original Maternity and Nursing Pillow all the more welcome as I'd heard good things, especially as it had also won the Mother & Baby Gold Award for the category of Maternity Product for 2014.

First impressions: IT'S HUGE! 

On arrival of the Pillow I was, firstly, warmed by the design "Flower Field Orange"... cute little ladybugs, butterflies and flowers daintily dotted around. There is nothing remotely industrial-like with this product. For me, this is important. I already feel hindered with the condition of SPD, I don't want to have something ugly to help me through it.
spd relief
 'Flower Field Orange' Design. 
I have to admit that on feeling the pillow with my hands, before using it, I thought it had too little micro-bead filling. There was more length/material than filling, like half a tube of toothpaste... it's not what I was expecting. However, the last thing you want and/or need is a big bulging pillow...
Stretched out - It's nearly as long as the bed!!
The first night I snuggled into the Theraline Maternity Pillow, I was thinking about how to describe it, in type, for this review... I fell asleep before I could and I did not wake for over 5 hours. The most sleep I'd had in any one night, collectively, in the week prior to sleeping with support was 3 hours. So this was like an actual miracle!
To use it I place the bottom curve of the pillow between my legs. It really helps those with SPD because a) it makes rolling over easier but b) gravity doesn't pull you down and in to the mattress, you have support holding your legs in place thus steadying your pelvis.
Pillow between thighs and bump is supported
It's kind of weightless, the pillow moulds to your body so well that you cannot feel it. You only feel the support you're receiving.

I've been using this for 4 nights now, and I'm consistently getting approx 5 hours of undisturbed kip per night. I'm only waking up to go for the obligatory pee, rather than because I'm trying to get to get comfortable. Getting out of bed in any hurry could be a tad difficult because the pillow becomes one with your body, staying firmly in place so you have to remember that it's wedged between your legs before trying to move!


Retailing at £44.95 at John Lewis you don't just get use out of this during your pregnancy, it is perfect for nursing/feeding baby once they've arrived (see stock photo supplied). Additionally, the cover is removable, washable and replaceable as spare covers can be purchased.

Without sleep, you are no one. You can't function. So, my summary...

This is a versatile product with many uses providing ultimate comfort at a time in a woman's life where, sometimes, it feels impossible.

Without shadow of doubt I will be recommending this to all of my expecting friends from this day forth. 
This product has been, and no doubt will continue to be, an absolute godsend. 

DISCLAIMER: THIS ITEM WAS SENT TO ME FREE OF CHARGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. 

With huge thanks to www.johnlewis.co.uk and www.theraline.co.uk it gives me great pleasure to offer one of the Theraline Original Maternity and Nursing Pillow's to one of my readers.

Simply enter via the Rafflecopter app below (without cheating because I do check!) and good luck all xxx

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MAD Blog Awards

Welcome!

Welcome!