Would you bother with baby monitors?

Baby monitors... can be expensive gadgets really. Especially when you see the mighty impressive video baby monitors!

But, would you bother for a second baby?

We never had one for Carson - he was always with us anyway as a new born. We'd move him from room to room with us in the day time (even take him to the loo haha! yes a little bit overzealous I know!) and he shared a bedroom with us up until around 8 weeks. Then he went in his own room (adjoined to ours - no doors closed or anything, so almost like he was in the same room).

By the time we moved to our current house, he had reached the grand old age of 17 months and gained his 'own' bedroom.
I checked on him religiously very hour or so before bed then during the night, I'd leave his room door open, our room door open and begrudgingly listen to him snore all night... I shouldn't moan, I guess if he didn't snore I would have been up to check on him all the more!

I just wondered whether any of you guys felt differently about monitoring your baby - especially second/third etc. baby. What is different and why? Would you recommend a mum to use baby monitors or not to bother?

Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts... x

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY #PBLOGGERS!

Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely Mummies and Mums-to-be out there.

I would love to hear if you've been spoilt?! Lucky Duckies!!

I have told Carson and Carsonsdaddy not to bother with gifts for me this year. We've another baby to be saving for so let's not 'waste' money on flowers that will be dead in less than a week. Instead, I am hoping for brekky in bed - Jam on Toast with a Hot Cuppa and a home made card from Carson.

He's very creative dontcha know?

Afterall, this is how he see's me in his eyes... 

Like the blue nails?!

A Queen, he says!... And that's good enough for me xxxx

33 weeks - update/NHS rant.

So I had my 32 week Growth Scan when I was 33 weeks and 2 days. As usual, we were there for 2 hours - I truly believe we have the slowest ever NHS maternity department with Arrowe Park (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)

My scan took all of around 4-6 minutes then we hang around waiting to see the consultant.

Got called in (yess!) only for it to be a midwife to check my BP and urine (d'oh!). Even this was bemusing. I told her the electronic cuff wouldn't work (it NEVER works) and she had to go and find someone who could take BP manually. Honestly!

Back out in to the waiting room after that, to THEN be called by the consultant. (yesss!)

She asks why I was referred for a growth scan (they all ask, songographers, midwives, receptionists, doctors - at every single appointment), I gave my usual answer of "I don't know - no one has ever told me" and she glanced over my results. Told me all was OK and as long as I'm alright I'm, get this, "free to leave" (Even she thinks it's like prison!)

Well hang on a minute!!

What do I do about the Whooping Cough vaccination? I've just seen signs in the waiting room about how I should have it 28wks onwards?
"Oh, yes. It's actually 32wks you can have it from so no panic - Just ask your community midwife" ... Thing is, I don't see 'my' community midwife, I see these nameless people who can't even take my BP manually and dipstick my pee. I don't get their names, they don't prod my belly, they don't ask me questions. So I'm asking you, as my immediate care-giver, and you don't seem bothered one iota.
Answer: Forget it, I'll call my GP.

Why does no-one answer the phone in the rehab and physio department - how many voicemails do I have to leave to get a call back?
I am, still, YET to see anyone about the fact that I cannot move/walk/dress etc.  I requested the referral at 18 weeks so we're talking a good 3 months here. The referral came through with a number to call and book my appointment, approx 4 weeks - it's an unmanned number surely? The message says to leave name and number and someone will call back. I've left them the house number, my mobile number... what - do they want my bank account number? By the time I see anyone, I'll have given birth!
Answer: Still waiting! I was looked at blankly. Going to look on WikiWirral website for second hand crutches instead.

Is there any particular reason as to why it's taken so long this time? The only reason I ask is my next appointment in April is at 1.30pm and 45 minutes later, at 2.15pm, I have a separate appointment with the Anaesthetist and I'm wondering whether I should push it back?
"Ummm... it's never normally like this, there's a lot of sickness and we have skeleton staff at the moment. No need to change your appointment"
- My response... are you sure? Everytime I've been here for an appointment, I've never once been since in under 2 hours you see. It's not a problem, per say, given that the 'pink book' i.e. maternity notes, give a guideline of 10-20 minutes for appointments that include a scan (apart from 12 weeks booking in - that's estimated at 90 mins... was closer to 3 hours!)  I just wanted to ask so I don't waste their (the anaesthetist) time.
Well, her face was a picture. Like I'd just stumped her out in The Ashes. Devestated that I called her on the waiting times and she had no answer to give. I wouldn't even mind, honestly, it's just that feeling of being palmed off... all the time!

Feeling less than confident, I couldn't be bothered with any more questions/answers so promptly got out of there!
I had intended on asking about the ward tour (because it's all change from 5-6 years ago and I don't have a clue where to go should I go into labour!) I also wanted to ask about using the birthing pool - just to labour in. I know I can't use it for birthing, being high risk, but really do want to use it as a form of pain relief in the earlier stages of labour - if possible. I'm just gunna ask them on the day... or rather demand (mwahaha!)
Photo: Bump at 20wks, 25wks and 33wks!

Points I discovered @ 33wks having read my notes afterwards...

> Currently weighs approx 5lbs 1oz and his measurements are perfectly average (yay!)
> Amniotic fluid measures 'normal'
> Cephalic Presentation i.e. head down spine against belly wall

Seeing notes like these excite me. I can't believe my little man has a 'weight' to speak of! It's like he's real (if you know what I mean!)


Google and fellow pregnancy bloggers have been my saviour during this second pregnancy. *THANKS GUYS!*
I feel having a consultant-led pregnancy makes you a number/statistic rather than a person.
Maybe I'm just being irritable?
Did you find your second experience completely different from the first too? I'd love to hear of your stories xx

The element of surprise...

We have a name chosen for bump that I want to keep secret until he is born. There are a couple of people who don't quite 'get' why I would keep it a secret and think I'm being weird! (Yes, bro, I'm talking to you!).

Well, listen up...

I, personally, didn't want to know what I was cookin' in this here bump o'mine, but Carson and his daddy were really really REALLY excited and I guess the majority vote won. I'm a fair player like that you see.

Given that I plan on no more kids after this one, what's left to surprise people with now?

My brother has been on at me all evening to 'just tell me' and that it's not a surprise to me so it ain't the same as finding our what sex it is. There are others who get a little perturbed, even offended, that we won't share the baby's name with them too.

Sorry, but, tough!!

What happened to the grand introduction of a child?

I remember when Carson was born - he was gender discovered and pre-named beforehand so it was a case of 'he's here'. OK, so there is the birth time and weight to announce but, let's face it, big deal! Other than the partaking of a sweepstakes beforehand, why is this relevant 'news' to anyone?

I want to be able to introduce my second child to the world and his wife - that's the last element of surprise for everyone as far as this baby is concerned.

There are, in fact, 2 people who know.

One is my cousin, who had her baby on 1st March - and that is because Carson wrote it down, shown her, then said he wasn't naughty because we told him not to *tell* her. ( Talk about being literal son! )

The other is my youngest sister who has an idea of what we were thinking but not the final decision. And this was only because she had discovered she was pregnant and was stressing that we might have 'her name' for our bump LOL.

Not my best friend... not even my own or A's Mum knows.. and no-one else will know either. I refuse to play digital hangman with the name of my unborn child. No asking for numbers of letters and what it begins with etc - I aint spilling my beans :-) Just give us that little thing to surprise you all with eh...

Did anyone else have a similar experience?

*Review* Ozeri Green Earth non-stick Pan

Pancake day was a washout in our household.

You may have seen my tweets re Carson having a bit of a go at my pans and how I should have gone and bought a Ceracraft and how stuff is *ALWAYS* ruined in our pans.

Wow, sorry son! Hindsight and all that jazz...

In a bizarre twist, the very next day, I received an email asking if I'd like to review a non-stick frying pan from the Moderna Housewares range, in the shape of an 8" Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan. Talk about fantastic timing!

Here is what we thought of our new, green, pan.

Firstly, it's not particularly lightweight given the 20cm size. I like this in a pan, it says strength and quality to me. The textured base creates air pockets between pan and food, which enhance cooking performance.




The non-stick properties of the Greblon coating means you can use as little as half the oil you did previously. I can vouch for this! I decided to make Carsonsdaddy a fried egg sarnie to see how it performed (Uh, I so miss fried eggs with runny yolks!)

I normally use a small knob of butter to cook eggs in, but as you can see from my pictures below, it really wasn't needed as a 'lubricant' whatsoever. The eggs rolled and slid round the pan like an absolute dream, I didn't need to use a slice at all! I could 'pour' the egg out and the pan had not one iota of food left in the base when I was done. Amazing!!



I did try some bacon in this pan too and it cooked beautifully well, browning successfully, but not exactly going crispy - I would assume that the air pockets under the bacon prevent the consistent contact needed to crisp up the rind? If you prefer crispy bacon - I wouldn't recommend this pan for you.

The pan cleaned very easily, no soaking or harsh scrubbing required - another bonus!

You can buy these pans from Amazon in several different sizes, but the 20cm one that I have reviewed here retails at £24.95 with free delivery. I actually had a nose this morning and they also sell pan lids separately which could be really handy indeed - perhaps to poach a little a piece of fish or something similar?

In my opinion, my first thought was that it's a little expensive for a pan - but having said that, I've never truly 'invested' in decent pans before, and end up spending at least £30 per annum on cheap naff ones that make me fail at pancake day year-on-year anyway!

I will be recommending this item to ANYONE who is looking for non-stick pans. 

My recommendations for this pan would be for frying the likes of eggs, omlettes, pancakes etc, those fiddly pains in the you-know-what that normally stick and make a holy mess
.... if you're Carsonsmummy anyway :-) 

Truly awesome and I have no doubt that this will last much longer than one year!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent this product free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own, as always!

*Giveaway* Love Hearts Squashies!!

Further to my Love Hearts Squashies review, Swizzels Matlow have been super generous and said that my readers can have the opportunity to win some of their very own.




Not jealous at all.... honest. *hmmph!*

Anyway, if you've read my post you'll know why we love them here in our household, and I would be pretty chuffed to receive a prize like this for upcoming Mother's Day, or easter. They really are a modern twist on a childhood classic.

There is only one mandatory entry, with several other additional and optional entries available to complete if you wish. Please make sure you validate your entry by entering via the Rafflecopter form below.

1. This is open to UK residents 
2. Winner has 5 days 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 7th April 2014.
5. I will forward your address details to Swizzels Matlow who will send you your prize directly.
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

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com


Remember, if you enjoy my blog and I either make you smile/giggle, or you appreciate the nature of family within my writing... the BiB Awards 2014 nominations are open and I would be over the moon if you considered us when making your nominations. 
You don't have to, of course, but if you did... I might pee with excitement :-)

NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 LAUGH BiB2014familyNom

What are Braxton Hicks?

My first pregnancy - I didn't understand what they were. I mean, I read about them and stuff but as far as knowing when I was experiencing them goes... I was pretty clueless. When I thought I was feeling them, I could never be sure. Could have been wind for all I knew!

Commonly explained as practice contractions, these sensations are like a tightening of your tummy muscles.

Often I think it's baby doing a complex roll of some sort, until it becomes just a tad more uncomforatble than normal and lasts a good 30 seconds to 1 minute, on occasion.

Pulling strange faces are inevitable and vocal 'Ooo's' and 'Ohhh's' are likely to involuntarily escape so be prepared for strangers looking at you funnily ... or your partner panicking for a minute (there is some pleasure out of Braxton Hicks!)

You're not going in to labour. But if they approach the minute mark and continue to get tighter, they can make your eyes water a little and you are on the cusp of a 'THAT was real!' - just keep calm and breathe through it.

For me, there are 3 stages.

1. The 'Ummmmm' 
 "This is tight.. this is a bit weird.. Ummmm"
2. The 'Okaaaay' 
 "Seriously, I'm inwardly panicking - I'm making strange noises - My eyes are watering a little"
3. The 'N'uh'
"Panic over, but I feel a bit sad now. That was an effort to get through with dignity. God help me in real labour!"

Here is a handy infographic depicting the 3 stages of a Braxton Hick's contraction... enjoy!

what are braxton hicks, what do braxton hicks feel like, infographic


Anything to add? Have I missed anything?!



If this made you giggle, why not nominate me for just that reason - You'd make my day :-)


Bath time! feat. Anovia 2-in-1 Shampoo Conditioner *Review*



Carson has never been a fan of baths.


Showers, well, I can count on one hand the number of showers he's successfully had.

Actually... there was one time after the baths on a Haven holiday, I must have looked like the most evil woman! I had to restrain him and force him under the water to rinse the shampoo out. There was more snot and tears than water in that shower. Gross!

Anyway, I try my best to distract him when he's in the bath and I've even resorted to hinting that bump will be more brave than he is when it comes to baths - he didn't like this one bit and I've seen a positive change in his attitude of late.

Buying child specific toiletries appear to work, to a certain extent, i.e. the build up to shampooing is less strained, but then actually coming to use it is a big fat fail!

When Anovia offered to send their cute little bottle of Anovia Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo to review, I told Carson that he had the chance to internet famous... but it meant no tears, honest opinions and (get this...) WASHING YOUR OWN HAIR!!

Big ask, I know... but he knows how much I love my blogging and often asks if he's receiving a parcel himself so I thought this was the perfect opportunity.


anovia kids 2-in-1 shampoo
NO TEARS!!


Here are Carson's thoughts...

"Because the bottle has a face on, it's like your friend at bath time" 
"It has the No Tears badge on it so the magic ingredient means I can't cry!" 
"It smells like pear drops, I want to eat it."  




Do NOT worry! He know's not to eat it, he is just trying to tell you how beautiful it smells!


And boy, is he right!

The apple & Pear fragrance is very intense. Carson's pillow smells beautiful this morning after having slept on it last night after bath time.

The product promises to be gentle with a de-tangling formula.

I can vouch for this as, not only was Carson's hair soft and easy to comb afterwards, I also nabbed a bit and used it myself. The comb does not struggle to get through long hair at all.

Our verdict? 

Very cost effective at around £1.29, this not only does what it says on the bottle, it made bath time fun time - priceless.
We love it!!


A bit more about the range: The Anovia range includes more than 20 product lines including Fruit Burst shower gel, BB Cream, Anovia Kids, Head Candy shampoo and conditioner and suncare range, Tropical Sun.

Anovia is available to purchase at Tesco, Home Bargains, Poundland, Savers, Boyes, Factory Shop and B&M stores nationwide.

You can join Anovia on Facebook for more info on their range and where to buy etc. Anovia are also on Twitter @Anovia_Bodycare

Why don't you go check them out and tell them how you found them - Carson would be chuffed ha! 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent this product for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are our own, as always!

*Review* Swizzels Matlow LoveHearts Squashies

sheer joy of sweets to a child
Can you tell he loves Love Hearts?!
be mine love hearts

Love Hearts. 


Tasty tubes of fizzy fun and a lil bit meaningful too.


C'mon, we all did it... kept *that* message for *that* special someone!

Heck, one packet lasts Carson ages because he plays with each and every message, deciding on who deserves it the most!
I'm always around when he has Love Hearts, solely for this reason! (One for Carson, 2 for Mum... etc)

A childhood fave of my mums, a childhood fave of mine, and a childhood fave of Carson's.

In fact, would you believe they've been around for 60 whole years?

I certainly didn't realise until I saw the competition they have running at the moment, celebrating 60 years of love.

You can WIN a mega prize that both children and adults will be excited to receive:

- Design your own Love Hearts message, and visit the Love Hearts Factory to see your very own sweets being made.

You can find out more here if you'd like to win this dream prize! Ohhhh, imagine the fizzy fun to be had!



Sixty years is a long time to stay cool. But Love Hearts have become a timeless classic with regards to their appeal and fun nature. They've made a new addition recently so Carson and I have been munching all morning for the purposes of helping you out and doing this review....

Introducing Love Hearts Squashies...



A squidgy, squashy, chewy version of Love Hearts. 

They're much bigger than traditional Love Hearts and if I'm totally honest, they don't much taste like Love Hearts in both Carson's and my opinion. Apart from the clear ones - they have a definite fizz to them. 


Love Hearts Squashies Love You


But they are VERY tasty in a fruity kind of way, and very enjoyable as a separate entity. 

The concept of passing messages on remains - here are two that Carson kindly gave to me... you can clearly see what he's trying to say. N'aww!!


Love Hearts Squashies WOW


Squashies also come in Double Lollies flavour, Refreshers flavour, and Drumstick Lollies flavour. Oh, how I drool at the thought of the drumstick ones!!

Final Verdict: Love Hearts will continue to be a big fave in our household, whether we go for a fizzy roll, or a squashie bag, both the fun and flavour are there. 

We give Love Hearts Squashies a big thumbs up!!


DISCLAIMER: I was sent Love Hearts and Squashies for the purpose of review, I was not paid to write this post and all of the comment made are unbiased, honest and open personal opinions!



*Review* Ambiance Volumizing Dry Shampoo (for red hair!)

Over the past week, I've held off from doing the roots in order to review Ambiance Volumizing Dry Shampoo.

You might wonder why that means I shouldn't touch up the greys... and you'd be right to wonder, if I was talking about any run-of-the-mill dry shampoo. Ambiance, however, is not.

Ambiance is a little bit spesh in that it:
a) comes in your shade,
b) is not a spray
c) comes in a compact refillable bottle with attached retractable soft bristle brush.

So, at £11.99, it costs more than the high street dry shampoos and, as I said, I've been testing it out to see if it's up to much.

Application.

Not a spray, it's somewhat... different... to apply.


You need to read the instructions carefully as it really does warn you about what could, essentially, 'go wrong'. I was nervous to say the least but, let's face it, there's nowt wrong with erring on the side of caution every once in a while is there?! After the 1st application, you realise that it's super easy!

The trick is not to tip the bottle quickly, or prematurely. Hold the bottle above where you need to apply the dry shampoo and tip slowly once in position.

It does warn for you to treat this item as you would make-up, in that it transfers easily. It said not to run fingers through hair, but I did (big red 'do not push' button syndrome!) and you can clearly see from the pic below that my fingers (and under my nails!) are dirtied with the red, shimmery powder!

STEP 1.
Decide where you want to apply the product. I would say the root, it's going to cover your re-growth alongside volumizing as needed so go for it!

STEP 2.
Slowly tip the applicator and gently brush the product into the area

STEP 3.
Blend in using the brush or your finger tips (I preferred finger tips as found the brush made more product come out!)


As you can see, the roots of my part are much less obvious, with plenty of volume to boot. The hair no longer 'hangs' from the part, but lifts up - giving an appearance of fuller, bouncy, cleaner hair.

I found that I could use this to stretch my hair washing from every day (It's what pregnancy has done to me!) to every 3 days. Second and third day application worked wonderfully, fourth day - was pushing it as, although it continued to volumise successfully, the product is colour tinted in that my scalp appeared 'dirty' with the build up of product.

Retailing at £11.99 for this applicator, I am going to get a LOT of use out of this product. You really don't use a lot per application so - as far as getting your money's worth goes - I can tick that box! It's small enough to pop into your handbag to handily revitalise your barnet at a second's notice and comes in 5 shades so should be suitable for pretty much anyone.

Me, personally? I would recommend this product to my friends. For sure. It's gunna come in handy once baby is here and I'm attempting to function on 2 hours kip whilst taking Carson to school!!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent this item free of charge for the purpose of reviewing. All opinions are true, unbiased, and in my own words. 

Packing your Hospital Bag...

Hospital bags.... what to pack, and when to pack it!

I genuinely don't remember what I packed when I was going to have Carson - but I definitely DO remember what I forgot so that's what I'm going to base my choice around.
To be fair, I stayed in hospital for a good week after having Carson so I might be being a little OTT on supplies but, given that I didn't plan for any eventualities last time, I will do this time! I've also decided to make 2 lists - one for baby and one for mummy.

MUMMY’S ESSENTIALS

x3 Pairs of DARK Cotton PJ’s

DARK: Visitors don’t want to see your leakage.
COTTON: You don’t want to be too hot.

x2 Nighties

To give birth in.
If long labour, you WILL want to freshen up mid-way through.

Old Vest/Bikini Top

In case you have the pleasure of experiencing a Birthing Pool during labour

Dressing Gown

Extra layer if needed, easily removable if not!

Slippers

Just in case you need to walk to another ward/dept etc.

Socks

For labour and afterwards when in bed.

Lots of knickers & Maternity pads

Seriously, lots. You will need to change often.
(If giving birth vaginally then bear in mind the possibility of stitches etc.)

Lots of (nursing) bra’s & Breast Pads

I would also suggest a larger bra size than normal too. Mine went like cannonballs after birthing Carson! Pads a'plenty are essential. Nipple cream might come in handy too.

Washbag

Toothbrush/paste, shampoo & conditioner, unperfumed/sensitive soap   flannel, wipes. Oh, anti-bacterial hand gel too.
INCLUDE BATH TOWELS!!!

Hair accessories

Brush, bobbles, clips/grips, headbands etc – giving birth does not involve a fashion parade, you don’t need your rollers or straighteners!

Mp3 player

For during labour or if you have to stay over night

Drinks & Snacks


I would steer clear of small juice cartons/bottles and take a big bottle of concentrated squash to really last. And when I say snacks, I mean things like fruit bags & cereal bars – not a full blown picnic.


Travel Chess or Scrabble


Ok, Ok this is a bit weird. But you’ll only end up on you mobile phone on Blogger, or Twitter, or Netflix etc. Use any ‘slow/quiet’ time during labour to connect with your partner using old school methods!


Going Home Clothes

Baby may be out but your bump ain’t going anywhere, trust me! Pack maternity clothes for your return journey home.

Remember your birthing partners needs too. They are going to get tired and hungry and will most likely need to freshen up themselves at some point so ensure they're as prepared as you are. No one is going to go nuts if your partner takes their jeans off and pops on some lounge pants, trust me. The comfier they are - the better for you.

Their jobs will include things like popping a bit of cash in the tv before they leave - they need coinage! They should also remember a phone charger and a list of numbers to call. Our hospital didn't provide Carsonsdaddy with any refreshments i.e. tea/coffee or even toast in the early hours - and my labour was 23 hours long last time - so I can't stress how important coins are (again!)

Now for baby stuff....

BABY’S ESSENTIALS

Nappies & Cotton wool

At least one pack of new-born nappies and plenty of cotton wool for each change.

Dummies


I personally didn’t want Carson to have dummies, but SCBU went ahead and gave him one anyway when he was moved from ICU to HDU. Luckily, we managed to ‘wean’ him off by about 8wks old.
If you want your baby to have a certain type of dummy (or none at all) then be certain to have this in your birth plan and have your choice to hand.


Vests & Grow’s


I would say a minimum of 5 vests & 3 grows Choose grows with the attached turn down scratch mitts so you don’t need to bother with mitts as a separate. Also, buy grow’s with feet to save buying booties/socks too.


Hat!

New-borns lose their heat through their heads. They can’t self-regulate temperature either so hats are essential for new-born’s.

Formula & Bottles

These were freely available last time I gave birth almost 6 years ago. I believe it’s very different now in our local hospital, so be prepared!

Bibs & Muslin cloths

For obvious reasons!

Going home outfit

Choose layers for baby, as you can’t advance-predict the weather on the day you’ll be coming home.


I feel my quantities of items marked may well be 'off' - do you have any thoughts/advice? And I have that sunken feeling that I've forgotten stuff - again. But thankfully I'm only 33 weeks tomorrow so should have plenty of time to use your comments wisely and change my lists.

I love the concept of pre-packed maternity bags, but don't know whether they are worth it. I mean, I actually don't own a standard weekend bag so will have to buy one of those anyway - so would you say the pre-packed options are a good option?

I'm sure this will change in the coming weeks, but for now - this is what I have :-)

Please leave links of any posts you've done relating to this yourself xx




A down day

I woke up this morning, bright and early. The sun was gleaming through a tiny splice in the curtains and I was looking forward to be seeing Carsonsdaddy in a little while, who was due to come round about half an hour after I awoke.
Hearing Carson happily playing, I lay back and browsed on my phone on twitter, which led me to Beebies Baby Store's maternity range and I was happily making a mental note of everything I want come payday next week.

Getting out of bed though and catching sight of myself in the mirror just appalled me.

Yup, for once, my gripe is not with SPD pain or bump shape or even heartburn. It's with my general appearance. What's funny is, if you ask anyone who knows me well, I am far from vain and often even scold my own friends/family for being judgemental of others sometimes - yeah... I'm nice like that!

But gawping back at me is a black-ring eyed, round faced, tired-assed, ming bag. I have raging red boils and yellow heads galore, overgrown eyebrows, open pores, dull eyes, sweaty skin and no jaw-line left. My hair is dry and brittle at the ends, but an oil-fest up top (I only washed it last night, wtf?)

Trying to keep positive, I jump (...I mean roll/drag/whimper my way) out of bed and set about freshening up and shaking this feeling off.

Noooo, my normally simple make-up routine goes wrong somehow - my skin's all cakey and my top lid's eyeliner is wonky. I look dreadful, what the hell is happening to me.
I scrub it all off and start again - OMG, it's the same again only now my skin is more irritated thanks to the constant touching.

I can tell today is going to be one of those days and the first, burning hot, tear rolls through the delicately applied but horrendously looking makeup. Then comes the second, and third, 'til you can't count them any more - just one stream per eyeball.

Curling myself up in a ball, telling myself to stop being entirely ridiculous, I run over the mental anguish I'm feeling. Let's face it, it's not just my appearance. It's me. I am always tired, always physically sore.

Work has been a major stress these past few weeks and I've really worked my ass off to make sure things will transition perfectly well once I'm gone but to top it off when I finished yesterday for maternity leave, I didn't even get a card of good luck! There was one thing that made me feel appreciated, a client turned up to the office, on her day off, with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates for me to wish me good luck. How lovely is that? But, strangely, it's on my mind and is adding to the upset. People I've worked with for a long long time didn't make that effort, but a client of one year did.

I think the stress has gotten to me and now that work is over for 9 months, my body (and mind) has just gone "thank feck" and broken down. Bit like the poor Blues-Mobile at the end of Blues Brothers!
I just feel over-worked, over-tired, under-appreciated. I'm not myself physically, I'm not myself mentally, I'm a burden on others when it comes to housework and/or shopping as it depends on how I'm feeling SPD-wise as to what I can and cannot do. I don't often get visitors (apart from good friends Cheryl and Tracey, when our schedules are in sync!) as I seem to be the one that does the visiting (you don't realise it, 'til you can't any more!) If only I could drive, I wouldn't be trapped at home.

Other than the issues I've mentioned, I really can't put a further finger on what my problem is. Typing it out, well, things don't seem so bad. I guess a problem shared is a problem halved.

Tell you what though, I feel sorry for anyone who has depression. I now understand what Carsonsdaddy meant when he once described it as a black fog, clouding your judgement, stopping the most simple of thought processes dead in it's track.

Wow.

Snapping myself out of this pathetic snivelling episode, I thank my lucky stars that this is just a down day.

Onwards and upwards....

*Review & Giveaway* Cantaloop Pregnancy/Nursing Tank Top

Cute Packaging!
When Cantaloop offered to send me this top for the purpose of review, I was at a stage of becoming increasingly peed off with my (lack of) wardrobe. Great timing to say the least so I jumped at the chance! This is my experience over the past two weeks...

For the past 14 weeks or so, I have become accustomed to wearing a scarf plus a vest top under my tee/jumper every single day. I guess it gives me some kind of security in that my bump is ‘super’ covered and protected. (Am I strange?)

Anyhoo... the vests I had been wearing were the regular Primark & New Look vests @ a couple of quid each. Which are totally fine – until you reach for something or, well, generally move at all.

Then? Then it rides up. 

Brain farts of ‘go for a bigger size, wally’ vaguely sailed through my mind – this doesn't work either though, as the shoulder straps slip and the underarm forever needs adjusting as the bigger top twists round and, again, ride up. 

Honestly, I’m a moan bag I know, but for all you ladies out there who are awaiting their beautiful bump to appear, just don’t put yourself through the torment of constantly adjusting yourself. Oh, and if you have leaky boobs – like I've had for the majority of my pregnancy thus far – it’s even more annoying because you need to work around the layers to change your breast pads.



The Cantaloop Pregnancy/Nursing Tank Top, usually retailing at around £30, features...
> An integrated inner bra, meaning those layers can reduce straight away - bonus! 
> The wide adjustable straps are awesome for additional confidence in your breast support too. 
> The clasp, to enable nursing (or in my case, changing breast pads during pregnancy!), is so simple to open & close one handed. Just lift up, making a right angle with the clasp, and it's open. 
> The 'rouching' below the bust allows bump to grow (and shrink - after birth!) without causing any stretching or misshaping of the vest itself.
> Seamless, so you can wear it under clothes if you're anything like me who dons a vest on a daily basis regardless of wardrobe choice!

I received mine in white - perfect for spring/summer IMO, especially under a floaty top perhaps, but they also come in black. 

Thanks to cantaloop.com and Amazon.co.uk (who are currently selling these for a cracking £10.26 by the way!) I can offer one of my lovely readers the chance to win one of their very own... AWESOMES!!

There is only one mandatory entry, with several other additional and optional entries available to complete if you wish. Please make sure you validate your entry by entering via the Rafflecopter form below.

1. This is open to UK residents 
2. Winner has 5 days 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 1st April 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 love this competition, click on the Comps tab for more exciting giveaways! Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

#ThursdayThought

Why is it that 'Bump' stops wriggling and jiggling, rockin' and rollin', the very minute you point it out to someone else.

Talk about making me look a total liar!!

#thursdaythought

*Giveaway* Mr Big Tops - 5 winners!


Further to my wonderfully pleasurable experience of Mr Big Tops which I reviewed for you all here last week - go take a look - I am pleased to offer 5, yes FIVE, of you lovely readers the opportunity of winning one for yourselves.



Remember, you can purchase these for just £3.95 with FREE DELIVERY included, so if you simply cannot wait - just pop on over to Mr Big Tops and let him know what you like (and what you don't!)


Entry is super easy with one mandatory entry and then further additional and optional entries...
MANDATORY:  Visit Mr Big Tops and answer a question 
Competition closes on Saturday 22nd March at Midnight.


1. This is open to UK residents 
2. Winner has 5 days 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 21st 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 enjoyed this competition, why not enter the others that are running right now? 
Click HERE to go to the giveaway page.
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Letterbox Love!! *Review* Mr Big Tops

You're looking for something sweet and cheerful for that someone who lives a little distance away from you, but you cannot be bothered with the buying, wrapping, Post Office queues (or prices for that matter) etc. It also must be cost effective! What do you do?

Put some real thought into a gift by knowing your recipients favourite retro sweeties! Yup. That's right, you can do that!

And you can do it as a one off for just £3.95 per box with FREE DELIVERY, or via a subscription service if you're loved one deserves a treat on a regular basis.


Mr Big Tops - The Fantastical Travelling Sweet Box Invention.


Mr Big Tops (www.mrbigtops.com) kindly sent me one of their boxes in order to review my experience. 

The boxes arrive via your letter box, bulging with 6 varieties of sweets. With over 60 sweets from memory lane to choose from, there are bound to be faves amongst them: black jacks, aniseed balls, coconut mushrooms, white mice - the list goes on.You can choose your own contents or give Mr Big Tops a whole host of 'thumbs up' on their range, and then leave the selection process to them - meaning you've got an extra surprise to look forward to! 


Easy to open, like an advent calendar!

Ours arrived, and the box was crammed. No shaking around to guess what was in there, it was far too full. This, in itself, is a bonus. When the postie dropped it through the letter box, we jumped out of our skin with the thud it made. But on opening, not a single sweet was damaged as they're safely tucked under the windowed area.




My sweets received were the following:
White Mice (larger sized ones) 
Red Liquorice Laces 
Flying Saucers
Drumstick Lollipops
Cola Bottles
Large Jelly Snake 
Oh... and a packet of popping candy Fizz Wizz for good measure!




Whether this be for your young niece or nephew that you hardly ever see but send a fiver in a card for their birthday every year, (Come on! We all had one of those relatives!!) or be it for your mum this Mother's Day, giving her a trip down memory lane...

The contents, the packaging, the delivery, the thought behind choosing the box as a gift itself, it all quite simply surpasses it's £3.95 price tag in my opinion. 10/10 - big hit here!!

Mr Big Tops welcomes ideas as they're always looking to add new faves to their range, you can email them at: favourites@mrbigtops.com

My personal fave as a child - Mojos! Mmmm, do you remember them?  
Is there a retro sweet that you've not seen for years? 

Welcome!

Welcome!