Furniture Choice - Out with the old, in with the new!

Furniture Choice have a competition at the moment to win a much needed piece of furniture from their vast range of furniture solutions.

I'm writing this post as my entry, as I REEEEAAALLLLYYYYY want a dining room table and chairs!!

My dining room!

I decorated the dining room last year (papered myself and everything I was so proud!), but I did not get to upgrade my table & chairs. I simply did not have the funds to finish off my room *sobs quietly* In fact, I never will have the funds now, if I'm honest. Especially now being on maternity leave.

The current dining set I have was one that someone was throwing away due to the surface scratches and burn marks. I ALWAYS make the most of what I do have, and I currently utilise a runner and place mats to hide these marks. It kind of wobbles at one corner too because the rubber stopper on a leg is broken!


Oh, how I would LOVE to finish my room off with this....

Stockholm & Perth Dining Set (Purple)


The beautifully fitting... 

I'd only want the 4 chairs - I'm not greedy! - so this prize would be the equivalent to £499.99. So reasonable for such a great quality and rather swish looking set - It would look perfect in my room wouldn't it?
The table would be much more sturdy and safe, especially with the baby due any day now, and as for those chairs... looking very ergonomically friendly with a bit of cushion in 'em - perfect in the run up to birth, with my SPD. I haven't been able to eat at my dining table for a good few months due to the discomfort it causes me. After birth too, they would be a godsend.

I would buzz my left breast off, and most probably burst a few peoples eardums if I win this. I guess I can only live in hope and cross my fingers super super tight. I HOPE that I can bring you another post shortly with a new picture of my dining room :-)


.... And if I don't win, I am fully open to receiving donations towards just the chairs *hehehe!*

Perth Purple Leather Dining Chair
Super swish!


Win a Luxury Comfort Blankie by Love Gemsy

Further to my review of the wonderful Little Angels First Blanket I am super pleased to announce that I have been given the opportunity to provide one of my readers with a luxury Comfort Blankie.


Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, ensuring BOTH mandatory entries are completed. Once you've done these entries there are several extra entries available to you!





 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 11.59pm Tuesday 20th May 2014.
5. Winner may choose their preferred design from those available on lovegemsy.co.uk 
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

*Review* The Little Angels First Blanket by Love Gemsy

When I received an email from the lovely Gemma at Love Gemsy, asking if I'd like to take a look at The Little Angels First Blanket, I was chuffed to bits!

I have a couple of pram blankets bought in already but the thought of a lovingly handmade unique blanket most definitely whet my whistle!


gift wrapped baby gift neutral


Look what arrived!....

The most delicately packaged blanket that I've ever seen. My first thoughts were how expensive it looks, swiftly followed by the same thought I often have with cake... looks far too good to spoil - I didn't want to open it! But, just as I am with cake of course, I did - slightly less salivating.


perfect baby gift uk blanket gift wrapped


I pulled the length of the ribbon to reveal the blanket. I was unsure of what the pattern was supposed to be on first glance, but nonethless was greeted by a gender neutral taupe/grey quality natural cotton that just screamed to be touched. So before unboxing the blanket itself, I had a little feel of it's corner and to my surprise it was soft and fleecy on the inside.

Launching the box to one side, I pull the blanket up to my face and see that it's reversible. Such a soft rosebud effect fleece covers the other side. The pattern is now easily identifiable as a teddy bear print, it's title is "What a Cutie" and upon nosing at lovegemsy.co.uk there are other matching products to the First Blanket available in this series too.

What a cutie teddy bear print baby blanket handmade uk


There is the reversible cushion, (which I now need as a matter of urgency!) a comfort blankie, a fabric box framed print and even a personalised version too.

This isn't the only range/pattern, so if teddies aren't your thing or you want something a little more gender specific I would suggest you take a look at everything else there is to offer.

Oh, I did wonder how this was supposed to be cleaned, but to my relief, it's machine washable. You really wouldn't have thought so on touch!

Baby ain't here yet, so I've popped it inside the cot for now - it has finished the look of the cot off beautifully. I only have days to wait to use it... as if I'm not impatient enough as it is!!




Let's get down to price of this blanket. 

At £35 plus p&p it's on the more expensive side than I would usually browse for myself, but as a gift for someone - and knowing what they're going to be receiving, as I have experienced - this is more than suitable. In fact, I don't think you would get such a lovingly handmade, beautifully presented, quality item for any less anywhere else. 

Well... what do you think?!

Do you label your child without even realising it?

N'aaaw. Here comes another rant....

I have noticed so many people label their children when it is entirely irrelevant to what they're discussing, and I bet they don't even realise that they're doing it. Because if someone else labelled them the same way, I bet my bottom dollar that those parents would have something to say about it.

Would you label your child by a physical difference? Let's see...

> My black son?
> My ginger daughter?
> My big nosed son?

Would you label your child by a sexual preference? Again, let's see...

> My bisexual daughter?
> My cross dresser son?
> My straight son?

I'm doubting that anyone reading this would feel the need to 'label' their child in this way. So why is it becoming more and more noticeable, to me at least, that parent's are labelling their children when they have autism entirely unnecessarily in every day situations?

I recently came across a competition to win a kids game and the first mandatory entry was to answer a question: "who would you give this to and why?". OK, now we all know some people just do not bother answering comp questions correctly but one entrant's answer was quite simply this... "My autistic son"

WHAT? What relevance is your son's condition to wanting to win a game?  Will it assist with his learning, is that what you mean to say? Well then answer without the label, it's easily done: "I would like to win this for my son as it will assist in his learning." See? Nowt mentioned about his autism there.

Another one was a conversation between a couple of ladies about bedroom décor for their kids. One lady exclaimed that her daughter loves fairies and another lady felt the need to say "my daughter loves fairies, and she's autistic too!"

SO?! So what?! Why has that just been plonked on to the end of a sentence willy-nilly?

Look, no offence, I am not claiming that I am disinterested in your child's wellbeing, I just wonder why you've thrust it upon the conversation where it has no place?

Before anyone feels I am looking down on autism by the way - Carson is going through the lengthy process himself. He has panic attacks, number/dates obsessions and is a freakin' genius to boot, I wouldn't feel the need to label him unless the conversation was specifically regarding behaviour. Or, of course, if someone was perturbed by something he may have said!

I fully get that just because you can't see it, it doesn't mean to say that the person who has it isn't afftected. But by mindlessly labelling your child, you are encouraging and inviting judgemental behaviour. Yes, we shouldn't be ashamed or feel pushed into hiding the subject of autism, on the contrary! But at least bring awareness in a more effective manner and in a relevant context.

I've always been pinickity about labelling anyway. Tabloids are the worst! Front page headlines that sneak in a victim's religion but then when you read the story you discover they died in a car accident or something... religion has no bearing on the story whatsoever so WHY LABEL?!! Why did we need to know they were muslim or islamic on the front page? It's like they're TRYING to invite or provoke emotions relating to something that is completely irrelevant to the story.

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is keep an ear out and see if you notice it as much as I do. What are your thoughts on this?

Ooooof I'm exhausted! Pass me a bourbon cream....

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Sterilisers for Travelling by Milton *Review*

Not being able to drive and baby's arrival imminent - I've been thinking hard about what I used to moan about when Carson was a baby. What was I always forgetting in the change bag?

Well, when Milton offered me the chance to take a look at the following products, it certainly helped jog my memory!

Introducing...

milton travel sterilisers


These help solves every parent's dilemma - what to do with a dropped dummy or even a spoon whilst feeding? 

This nifty little gadget cleans and sterilises dummies in less than 15 minutes, plus provides a safe and sterile place to store a spare dummy when you are out and about.
The Velcro strap has been designed so you can attach the Mini to the pushchair when out and about which is absolutely perfect for someone like me!

The wet sponges inside freaked me out at first, but they are supposed to be damp DO NOT WORRY that it's yackies.

Simply pop a mini sterilising tablet in the ball with water to dissolve, stack the sponges back inside - with the holey one at the top - and twist the teat of the dummy inside that hole to clean it.
Screw the lid back on leave for 15 mins and wallah! Sterilised dummy!


What's best about this, is you can use the steriliser as often as you need in any 24 hour period. As long as the dummy remains in the solution for 15 minutes each time, it will be sterilised.

Retailing at just £5.20 from John Lewis, it's a germaphobes dream at a pittance really isn't it? 

The main benefit of this product, for me, is being able to attach it to the pushchair with a dummy stored inside, entirely eliminating the need for panic stations if baby has a meltdown due to a lost or dropped soother. PHEEEW!!


The Milton Solo Travel Steriliser - this is a 2-in–1 microwave or cold water single bottle steriliser. It is ideal for sterilising when travelling or away from home.

It sterilises from 2 minutes in the microwave and in 15 minutes with cold water - if unused within those 15 minutes the contents can remain stored in the steriliser for up to 24 hours anyway.

It safely sterilises most makes and sizes of bottles and also small baby equipment such as teethers and plastic toys so call it a universal travel steriliser. Bit of a Brucie Bonus if you ask me!

I used to buy a fair few steri-bottles with Carson. You know the ones I mean? The disposable pre-sterilised bottles? But, from memory, it was setting me back approx 4 quid for every couple of bottles.

Even if the cost has changed dramatically reduced for disposable bottles these days, at just £8.20 from Amazon or John Lewis I really don't know how you cannot afford to go out and buy one of these. 

This is a MUST for my change bag and having tested it out, albeit without baby at the mo, I can see no issues that this product will bring, regardless of it being too large to stand in my microwave - as the instructions confirm that it can be laid on it's side. Just remember to always ensure the safety vent it popped down to prevent leakage!

It's perfect to pop into the change bag and the practicalities are there for all to see.

I'm so pleased that I have had the chance to review these products as without having done so I don't think I'd have thought they were up to much given their very low cost. Thank you Milton!

I am buzzing about these and 100% recommend to any travelling parent out there. 'Spesh ones that don't drive and a change bag is super important to them whilst out and about on foot.

My sister is about 17 weeks pregnant at the mo... don't tell her, but I think I know what I'm gunna be buying her for my niece's arrival!!

Disclaimer: These items were kindly gifted to me for the purposes of trying them out. I have not been paid for this post, and as always these opinions are my own.
We're going on an adventure

Very Superstitious - Is the writing, really, on the wall?

Now, anyone who knows Carson will know he has quirks in his behaviour at the best of times, never mind inheriting such 'ways' from anyone else he spends time with.

I'll explain...

Carsonsdaddy has had rituals, of sorts, ever since I met him 7 years ago. The norm includes checking things 6 times (that doors are locked, that window handles are wiggled 'to be sure') and NEVER walking over grids - god forbid there are double grids in sight.

But if he happens to have an item of clothing on when something bad happens, it shall never be worn again for fear of it being unlucky. Vice versa also applies. Man City and Chelsea dropping points against Sunderland are thanks to him and his choice of clothing on the day - swear!

You'll know from Twitter that I am a mahoosive Liverpool fan, as is Carson and his daddy.

My birthday this year, we were playing West Brom and drew 1-1, dropping 2 points. Apparently, his shaving on the day caused us to drop points and he shouldn't have done it. He doesn't shave on match days - what on EARTH was he thinking?!

LOL, I hear you giggle. This aint a joke, I'm not pulling your chain here guys - Carsonsdaddy is deadly serious! He genuinely breaks out in cold sweats over this kind of thing.

So to make up for it, restore his version of worldly balance, he pledged not to shave until we drop points again.

FOOTBALL FANS.... You will note that we have not dropped points since!!!!

We have won 11 games on the bounce. And I have a beastly, grizzly, hairy mofo of a partner in Carsonsdaddy - it was 3 MONTHS AGO!!!

I can't say I'm a fan of the look - but I will say that I'm a fan of his dogged determination and dedication to the cause. I will also say that if he did shave before his superstition warrants, that I will go NUTS if it causes us to drop points. I appear to be converting to his way of thinking...

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place in that I want, nay - need, LFC to win the title but I'm also genuinely worried that if the weirdo beardo thing stays true, then I could end up with the hairiest git in all of Kingdom come next season. Urgh!

Seriously though. We all have superstitions - and I actually love that about people in general. It's brings light heartedness to situations that could otherwise be boring.

I also appreciate that the extreme end of the spectrum and that OCD can be debilitating for people. Carsonsdaddy is beyond frustrated with his new, erm, look. It is paining him. I can tell. What am I saying, I can HEAR it. He moans all the time about the two-toned, wirey, shelf on his face - but he has said he could never forgive himself if we dropped points and he had shaved.

Very Superstitious, or something a little more?

Do you have anything similar to this?!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

ASDA Direct Baby & Toddler Event (Feat. Moses Basket & Bouncer Review)

When ASDA approached me out of the blue with regards to their blogger campaign to coincide with their newest Baby and Toddler Event, online now or launching in-store on Easter Monday (21st April 2014) ... well, I couldn't believe my luck.
Teddy in the Park Moses Basket Review ASDA
Teddy in the Park Moses Basket


I had my beady little eye on their event anyway - my sister has recently found out she's expecting so we were planning on grabbing a few bargains, as is to be expected with ASDA in general.


For the purpose of reviewing, I was offered a variety of items to test out, if I was up for it. 
Ummm... OF COURSE I WAS! Here are my choices and what I thought of them too...


Moses Basket
Yes, I realise that 37 weeks is a little late to be leaving the moses basket until, however having said that I did have a very pretty jungle themed pre-loved one given to me to utilise for baby's arrival. 


Loving the range that ASDA have to offer, I couldn't resist the beautifully neutral Teddy in the Park Moses Basket. I have a 'thing' for neutral colours, despite being fully aware that I am expecting a boy any day now. 


The design of the baskets' blanket alongside the creams and browns that go so well with the palm basket, just made this choice a no brainer. 


The hood is functional as to YOUR needs i.e. you can adjust it accordingly by tightening the plastic screws at the side. This is not a feature that my pre-loved basket, or Carson's basket years ago, had. So I like that the hood can be angled and positioned as and when. 
The basket is strong, sturdy, and simply beautiful.


Please note that it doesn't come with a stand or rocker, but for just £25 who can whinge at that?! It's one of the most cost effective moses baskets I've seen full stop. And that's comparing it to plain baskets at that.


I cannot wait for baby to sleep soundly in this. It is a stunning addition to any room and I have no qualms about hauling the basket between bedroom and living room on a daily basis. 




Baby Bouncer from Mamas & Papas
I fell in love with the first one I saw, the Mamas & Papas Capella Cradle - Stars. How pretty is this, please? Again, in a neutral grey/white. Won't look out of place in my red living room! Ooooh it's one that plays music too! Not just music, four lullabies and a gentle vibration function too.


Upon setting up (which only took approximately 10 minutes by the way!) I realise that the colour is more taupe than grey. A browny greyish tone. Even my pictures don't show you all that well so it's certainly only a slight difference. Anyway, regardless, it's lovely and I'm not complaining - so I'll shut up!


The baby 'cushioning' can be removed once your little mite is more active than at the newborn stage, it will give him/her more room to play with the toy rail too (also detachable)


For up to 6 months use, this will only set you back a very competitive £46 in the ASDA baby and toddler event. Very much worth it for a strong, reputable branded and practical item - which, again the same as the moses basket, looks exceptionally swish and stylish in any room of your house.

Mamas & Papas Capella Cradle - Stars.

Have you picked anything up from ASDA Direct and the Baby & Toddler Event yet? There are LOADS of baby products available - what bargains have you grabbed?

I'd love to hear your opinions :-)

Love, Carsonsmummy xx

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the above 2 items free of charge for the purposes of reviewing on behalf of ASDA. All opinions are my own - open and honest as always - and I was not paid for this post.


The final stretch! Contains #TMI

Urgh.

Uh Urgh.

Bleeeuuurrrgggghhhh.

That pretty much sums it up right now @ 37 weeks and 2 days.

I've been losing my plug for the last week, and only just discovered that it regenerates (what?!) so is unlikely to stop globbin' out now until birth - or at least until it comes out in its' entirity, very near birth.

Yup... Classy, as ever.

Had my final growth scan yesterday, baby currently weighs around 7lb and is lying very low down (sonographer advised that this is a good sign - yiss!) and asked if I was feeling the difference in pressure.

Yes.
YES I AM!
It feels like something's trying to escape, on a daily basis, using hammers and electrodes, thanks very much!

It was pointed out that baby has hair - It looked like a little fuzz ball, honestly, like wire wool.

Defo made it feel real. Not that the pain and jabbing and dripping and general grossness hasn't already made it feel real. You know what I mean.

Had a small trace of protein in my urine - which we all know is a classic sign of pre-eclampsia, but luckily, my swelling hasn't been too bad and my vision along with BP is fine. So the Doc advised me to 'maybe get my BP checked again in a few days' - clearly no great worry going on here.

Which is good!

With Carson, I was under house arrest towards the end with a possible pre-eclampsia scare - had a midwife coming to check my BP and wee every 4 hours over a period of 2 days before she was satisfied that I should just rest to keep edema and high BP to a minimum. Cannot be doing with that again, not with a 5yo still on Easter hols for another week!

I'm allowed a sweep at 39 weeks, the doc said. So fingers crossed I won't be going over this time round!

A sweep was very beneficial for me last time actually. Had it at 11am when I was 2 days over and my contractions started at 4.37am the next morning. I know that time is specific, given that it was nearly 6 years ago. But the difference between a Braxton Hicks and an ACTUAL contraction was a mega shock. Woke me up and I knew straight away... THIS is it!

Sadly, it went on for 23 bloomin' hours.

Urgh.

Uh Urgghhhh.

Bleeeeuuurrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh.

Oh... and if you're unsure of what pre-eclampsia is... please do visit www.preeclampsia.org - it's super important that all mums-to-be know what this is!!

Nuuurrrgggghhhhhhhhhh pleeeuuurrrrhhhhhhh bleurgh nurh *hmph*

*Review* April's Nonabox

First and foremost... What is Nonabox?

Nonabox is a NEW subscription service which delivers direct to your door a beautiful box of luxury, personalised products for mother and baby, suitable for pregnancy and the first two years of a baby’s life. 
Filled with hand-selected products from some of the UK’s best brands, each Nonabox is tailored to different stages of a baby’s development. Whether you are in the late stages of pregnancy and worrying about breastfeeding, stretchmarks and newborn essentials or have an active one year old which needs entertaining and feeding, Nonabox has it all planned out.

I was lucky enough to win a 3 month subscription in a competition at the beginning of the year - receiving my first in January and last in March.

I wanted to write about my experience and thoughts based on these boxes but due to the subscription being a prize, it was treated slightly differently to a usual subscription. I know this because I asked if my experience was usual prior to jotting any thoughts.

In the interest of fairness in reviewing Nonabox' services, they kindly offered to sign me up to a usual subscription free of charge for the purposes of experiencing its entirity, rather than going off of my different 'prizewinners' experience.

A 3 month subscription comes at a cost of £25 per month and you are guaranteed to receive a box full of goodies with a greater value than that you pay.

Gladly accepting, my first one - the April box - arrived last week here's what I got..

First Impressions were "n'aaawwww how cute is this?!"

I can see why this would be a good choice of gift for someone, the box is so lovely - and most definitely reusable too.

Nonabox Arrival.


Opening the box, I am greeted with another package inside the box, delicately wrapped in tissue - dying to be ripped open!
... So I do, before taking a picture - whoopsie, sorry!!


Here's a brief overview of the products I received...


nonabox contents for april 2014
April's Nonabox Contents.


IMPORTANT REALISATION: The value of this box is immense compared to the £25 price tag per month!!


As a blogger, I will receive the more general box of what Nonabox have to offer, rather than a personalised box - which is the service they do aspire to provide. So I shouldn't judge the contents as far as personal relevancy goes.
Having said that, if this had have been a personalised box, the only item totally irrelevant to me would have been item number 3. (Plum Mighty 4 Yoghurt.) This is because it goes out of date before my bump will be able to use. This doesn't mean to say I'll be binning it - I have friends who could happily try this out instead.


Number 4 (Mega Bloks First Builders Block Buddy) is suitable for children aged 1-5yrs. I showed it to Carson, who you'll all know is nearly 6 now, and he advised he will wrap this up for brother-bump's first Christmas. Essentially meaning he ain't interested in it - but it's not even 5% of the boxes value so, again, I'm not too disappointed with this.


My 2 fave items in April's Nonabox are number 5) Soother Company Dummy, and number 6) Arbonne Intelligence Rejuvenating Cream. This is because, the dummy is perfect for any gender of child and the cream is a fabulously indulgent treat for mum/mum to be, regardless of the stage of pregnancy or parenting the recipient is at.


Number 5: The Soother Company I LOVE MUMMY DUMMY (rrp £5.06)


Number 6: Arbonne Intelligence Rejuvenating Cream (rrp £29)

First Month's Final Thoughts?

Not only do you receive a beautifully presented giftbox with contents value much higher than that you pay, you also get to sample some items that you wouldn't necessarily actively look for, or dare spend your money on anyhow.
An example of this would be Number 7 (Green People Organic Babies Lavender Baby Shampoo and Wash rrp £7.25), I wouldn't dream of actively looking for and purchasing such a high value item, in my opinion of course, without ever having sampled it first. This is the perfect opportunity for me to do that, without worrying that I've well overspent!

I am seriously impressed. I hope that the quality of contents are consistently high, just like April's, and I'll be sure to feedback my future findings to you all.

In the meantime,  click here to see the options that Nonabox have to offer and let me know what you think - which option would you go for?

Have you had experience of Nonabox? What were your thoughts? If you have a review yourself, please leave me your links in the comments box and I'd love to check it out!

Love, Carsonsmummy xx

DISCLAIMER: I was sent a Nonanbox free of charge in return for an open and honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to write this post.

*Review and Giveaway* Dr Browns Microwave Steam Sterliser

The importance of sterilising baby bottles thoroughly is immense. Germs are something that I think I may have a slight fear of at the best of times (normal, right?) never mind when it involves a helpless new born.

*Shivers*

My previous steriliser, way back when Carson was a tot, was a Tommee Tippee microwave one - very roomy/deep with lots of bits and pieces to stack up.

At the time, I knew no different and was extremely happy with it, but by the time Carson was 6 months old, I must admit I resorted to using the deep container as a cold water steriliser instead - I was simply fed up of the jigsaw puzzle every time I needed do do a sterilising run.

I have never had experience of an electric steriliser and for the extra cost associated with them, I'm unlikely to nip out and buy one just to say I've had a go!

I was very kindly sent a Dr Browns Microwave Steam Steriliser to give a whirl (geddit?!) and review for you guys to get an idea of what to expect with them.


Here are my thoughts...

Contents are interesting as aside from the steriliser itself and tongs, it comes complete with 2x wide neck 240ml baby bottles. I have heard great things about their natural flow feeding system, particularly in the prevention of colic, so I'm really chuffed that you get a couple of bottles to start you off. It also comes with a reservoir tube cleaner for the bottles too - bonus!


Incredibly light! This is not a big, bulky, kitchen-worktop-living item (as I imagine electric steriliser to be). In fact, on the contrary, it's small, compact and neat enough to go in the cupboard along with the casserole dishes. It will fit 4 wide neck or standard neck bottles so size and weight can be deceiving. Especially when you pop it in the microwave - it literally only just fit in. Having said that, my microwave is a pretty small one so I can't see this being a problem for many at all.



Usage instructions are very simple to follow although I personally found the imagery on the back of the box easier to understand than the written instructions.

Once your bottles have been popped into place, simply pour in 180ml of water, pop the lid on and boom! You're ready to go.

Ensure the wattage of your microwave is taken in to account when you're deciding as to how long to sterilise for. Mine is only 700w (like I say, it's a small microwave!) so needed the longest time of 8 minutes to sterilise, followed by the additional 10 minutes to cool.
18 minutes can seem a long time but that is a) my piddly microwave's fault and b) ensuring that the steriliser's content have sufficiently cooled so as not to cause harm to you. You can't really argue with that, in fairness.




I mention the cooling period of 10 minutes as well, particularly as the lid DOES NOT LOCK. So there is a danger of scalding etc if you do not have your wits about you, even after the cooling stage.
There are, however, 4 quite deep ridges to use as the handles which gives for decent, sturdy handling.
This would be my ONLY negative about the steriliser. Having said that, the fact that it comes with 2 of the natural flow feeding system bottles and still only retails at £24.95, I would be more than happy to recommend this item to any new mum or mum-to-be. You can purchase the Dr Brown's Microwave Steam Steriliser for £24.95 from John Lewis.

With massive thanks to Dr Brown's and John Lewis, I have a Microwave Steam Steriliser up for grabs, simply fill in the rafflecopter below and keep your fingers crossed.

Pop on over to their Facebook page and let them know you're entering this competition, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to hear from you! 

 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 5th May 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

... Remember, sharing is caring so go ahead and feel free to use the g+ or other share buttons below :-) 


DISCAIMER: I was sent this item free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I have not bee paid for this post.
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Persil’s Cook With the Kids Promise!

 "Persil washing up liquid reveals that 88% of parents avoid cooking with their children because they worry about mess."  

.... I am one of those parents... and, I cringe as I tell you all that too.

It's so sad that I would rather have a clean kitchen than have fun with Carson isn't it? I quietly seek solace in that at least I'm not alone. *hmmph*

Having revealed that 88% of parents avoid cooking due to the mess they might make, Persil Washing Up Liquid has launched a 'Cook with the Kids' promise, aimed at getting 100,000 parents to sign up to spend time baking and making that mess with the kids!

So I did just that by signing up here. (Feeling a bit better about myself, and the messy kitchen now!)

This morning, Carson and I got baking superhero cookies and I let him revel in the downpour of sieved flour and smashed smarties.... Check out his face!!


Persil Cook with the Kids Promise

Best bit? 
He insisted on doing the washing up with me afterwards! 

Persil's new formula, available now, will clean 12% (circa 1,400) more dirty plates than before so who cares if there's a bit more washing up to do than normal?

Persil Cook with the Kids
Also available in Pink Blush, Orange Crush, Fresh Mint and Spring Blossom.
RRP £1.00 per 500ml.

We used the Apple Fizz variety when washing up and I must say, the cookie dough came away from the bowls very easily, making the dishes 'squeaky clean' in super fast time - especially given that a 5 year old was in charge! Hoorah!!

I am definitely going to keep cooking with Carson.

We had the best fun - and it was only cookies. Imagine how much fun we could have if we made a meal together?

Well, I've embedded a video from YouTube that you might find helpful, giving a little more of an insight as to the Cook with the Kids Promise, feel free to give it a watch and do let me know how you feel towards baking with the kids.


Are you like me - need a bit of persuading to make a mess? 
Or is it something you relish in on a regular basis?

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post and I was not paid. 
However I did receive the 2 pictured bottles of product free of charge, as part of the press pack behind this campaign.

Bake your own House Husband!! *Cookie Cutter Review*

You can never have too many men around the house, especially sweet ones eh?!


Well, upon being offered the chance to review a House Husband Cookie Cutter, I certainly couldn't say no!



Carson had a right old laugh at me wanting to cook some hubby's up, judgemental chap that he is, until I pointed out that the cookie cutter also looks like a superhero. Suddenly, I'm not allowed this one item to myself anymore!


So today, Easter Saturday, Carson and I decided to whizz up a storm in the kitchen for some mighty fulfillingly tasty super treats!


What you need:
> 150g Butter
> 100g Sugar
> 300g Plain Four
> 1 egg
> Pinch salt
> Vanilla Extract
> We smashed some smarties up to pop in the cookies too! You could choose fruit, nuts, whatever you want your hunk to be full of!
> Bake your own House Husband cookie cutter, available at just £3.60 from Amazon here!


Smashed smarties and choc egg was our cookie flavour of choice!


The packaging comes complete with cookie recipe on the back so if you know me at all by now, you'll know that I don't bake all that often but really want to get in to it more during maternity leave. Oh to be a homely home bird!





I won't give the full recipe away on here as it's half the fun of the product, but I can tell you that it was simple to follow and gives enough quantity to make approx 10 Hubby's. Perfect for hen nights perhaps!

Niion is the company behind this product. They aspire to have fun with their products, keeping them a little different to everything else that's already out there. I would say this product does just that.

I would actually make one suggestion, in that they could offer this product in a variety of different packaging styles. For example aimed at kids, like Carson, Bake your own Superhero's.

I know that the product is exactly the same but packaged this way as an alternative means that they can be purchased for even more occasions.


What do you think?

Why not connect with Niion on Facebook or Twitter and let them know your thoughts? 
They've love to hear, I'm sure!

*Review & Giveaway* Cantaloop Nursing Bra

As I'm coming closer to birth, I'm thinking more and more about my boobs.

Weird I know!

But their size have fluctuated so much and I'm still undecided as to whether breastfeeding will be right for me so I need to be prepared for all eventualities.

Further to reviewing the Cantaloop Nursing Tank Top a couple of weeks back, I was kind sent a Cantaloop Nursing Bra to test out, in anticipation of my hospital bag packing!


Here are my thoughts....

First and foremost, I have to say that my favourite aspect of the Cantaloop range is the way they have size brackets as opposed to individual bra/cup sizes. So, the fact you can generalise your size to cover a more broad range is a mega bonus for me.

As I say, the fluctuation of a pregnant woman's chest is unreal and just after giving birth to Carson, 6 years ago, I remember my breasts going rock hard and super round - I hadn't planned for that at all so having had poor fitting bra's in those first few days was just painfully uncomfortable.

I won't be making the same mistake again let me tell you - the sizing brackets will be perfect in helping me out with this!

Brasize _chart
I personally feel that the cups alone offer little in the way of actual support so the shoulders bear the brunt of the breasts weight.

Being size 18/20 with a large chest to begin with, my size luckily comes complete with shoulder support straps too.

You can see by the pictures that they certainly make a difference in terms of any 'cutting in' goes.


Essentially this bra is exactly what the nursing tank top offers, but without the bump covering! The drop cup, no seams, the simple one handed release. 

It's super comfortable and comes in 4 different colours - white, beige, light rose and black. I have reviewed the black and can safely say that there are no irritating fluffy bits at the end of the day as it is a fast drying and breathable bra. 

This bra was recently awarded the bronze award by Prima Baby & Pregnancy so I'm not alone in thinking that this is something worth having, and at circa £24 per bra from Boots (See here to buy online!), or Central Medical Supplies Ltd (See here to view entire range) they're not overly expensive compared to their competitors either. 

I would recommend this bra whether for maternity wear, due to the convenient sizing scale, or for nursing due to its comfort and easy, one handed, access for practical breast feeding.

Courtesy of Cantaloop, I have one of these lovely bra's to offer to one of my readers, thank you Cantaloop!

 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 29th 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

... Remember, sharing is caring so go ahead and feel free to use the g+ or other share buttons below :-) 


DISCAIMER: I was sent this item free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I have not bee paid for this post.
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Interview with a 5yr Old!

I commented on Nicola's post over at Barefoot Mahala and adored her Interview with her 3 year old. I asked her specifically to do this myself without ripping her idea off LOL!

So Carson, age 5... Insists on being called Sir for this post by the way...


Q1: What is your favourite food? 
A1: Spaghetti Cheese 'cuz it's so tasty and mum is the best cook in the world.
Mum comment: Well, you know...! *blush*

Q2: Where do carrots come from? 
A2: Shops.
Mum comment: Fod Slap! More educating required!

Q3: Who is in your family? 
A3: My mum, my dad, my brother-bump, Angela & Blake my Goldfish and Shubunkin!
Mum Comment: He loves those fish!

Q4: What is your favourite colour? 
A4: Purple, because it's like dark pink but not so girly.

Q5: What is your favourite song? 
A5: Starships by Nicki Minaj, oh yeah! *Breaks out in song*

Q6: What makes you happy? 
Q6: Going to the Monkey House. Really! 
Mum Comment: A soft play area that we don't often visit :-/

Q7: What makes you sad? 
A7: Nothing. But what makes me worried is spiders because they're a little bit scary. I don't like their webs, also. Because they catch flies. And then the spider eat the flies you know. Eeewww, it's horrible.

Q8: What’s your favourite animal? 
A8: Giraffe. Because I like their spots

Q9: What is your favourite toy? 
A9: My teddy Patrick from Spongebob
Mum Comment: He made this himself at Build-a-bear last August. It has a strawberry heart and Carson's own voice inside of him. Best £20 spent ever!

Q9's Answer!
Q10: What is the best thing in the world? 
A10: My mum. You cook things lovely and you're the best mum I could ever have.
Mum Comment: *no payment was made for this answer!*

Q11: What do you like to do? 
A11: Paint, colour in, I like to also draw pictures too.

Q12: Who runs the country? 
A12: Errrrrr..... Ohhh this is hard. Is it God?
Mum Comment: we're not religious in this house... nor very political, clearly.

Q13: What does Mummy do for work? 
A13: Get loads of money by doing work.
Mum Comment: Ha! I wish

Q14: What does Daddy do? 
A14: The same as mum. 
Mum Comment: Oh dear!



I love how kids are so innocent in what they say... don't you!

Thanks for reading! xx

Open Letter: Dear Dog Owners...

Let me set the scene... it's a sunny Thursday morning, the day before the kids break up for Easter and we're off to school at 8.40am.

Me: "Carson, mind the poo"
Carson: "Why do you always say that?"

Great point, son. Why the hell do I? I shouldn't have to! I live a 3-5 minute walk away from the school yet we dodge sh*t more than we blink.

*****************************************************************************************************************************
Dear Dog Owners,

The majority of you are entirely responsible for your actions, care for your dog in the right manner and are a credit to pet owners in general. Hoorah! However, I must direct this toward the non-responsible owners....

It is utterly horrendous how some of you think it's perfectly OK to leave your animals faeces, steaming away, on the pavement. And I don't just mean near a school, I mean anywhere. 

dog shit, dog fouling sign, dog owners be responsibleI note that blind corners are right up their in the hilarity of it all. You know the ones, you've already turned and stepped before you saw what was coming. Oh you scamps! You got us! 

You also succeed in smearing your tag animal's crap over a larger area, even further down the road, as children or prams etc try to walk/wheel it off, leaving a smushy trail behind them for others to enjoy.

If your animal walked on broken glass, you'd be fuming at the irresponsible creatures that had left the glass there - guaranteed! 

I witnessed a toddler walking in reigns with his Nan the other day, missed his footing and clambered forward to the ground in typical toddler fashion. His hands landed about half a foot away from a dollop of shit. 

If the poor mite had have landed in it, toddlers don't know any better than to lick their hands or play with the gooey fascination they've just discovered. 
You, however, Mr & Mrs Irresponsible... well you do know better. CLEAR IT UP.

When this baby is born, I will constantly have nappy bags on me and I cannot wait!! 

When I catch one of you minger's letting your dog defecate on the pavement and go to walk off without a care in the world, I will make a holy show of you. 

I will personally ensure that everyone around knows exactly what you're up to and, being the generous soul I am, I will supply you with a bag to pick it up yourself. Can't say fairer than that.

You knock me sick...

Sincerely. 

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Things will never change and councils cannot afford to have an army of shit searchers on patrol (oh we dream ha!) But I needed to get this rant off my chest. I am FUMING this morning lol!

#HormonalMuch?



Appreciating where you're from

It's so easy to take your home town for granted isn't it?

I want to really drum it in to Carson and bump that, yes we moan about the area at times, but we're actually super lucky to live here in the lovely seaside town of New Brighton.

Once the UK's most popular holidaying resort - we even had a tower (like Blackpool) and its' ballroom that hosted The Beatles gigs many years ago - I never appreciated what we had on our own doorstep until I see 'city folk' wishing they were near a beach for just one day.

I guess you absorb your surroundings in as 'normal' as opposed to being special - until you have the time to just stop. Watch. Open your eyes and ears and FEEL what is around you. Well, that's what I did today. I even took a few photos of the view - something I have never done! And I was, honestly, hit with 'wow' moment.

This post is just to show my pictures really, but also as a little nudge to all of you guys to appreciate where you're from. Enjoy....



Do you have anything special round your way? Do you even realise it?! I'd love to hear your stories. xx


Bread & Butter Pudding Recipe (without needing weighing scales!)

On maternity leave, all I want to do is bake.

I have a real 'homely' need to be cracking on with a cake or a casserole and recently I have been going nuts craving Yorkshire Tea Loaf.

The one downside is that I don't own weighing scales.

Shock, horror! I can hear the gasps already... "a mum without kitchen scales, what, what??" LOL Working full time, I just never had to need to have scales 'tis all.

Anyway, after my divine date on Friday night and the to-die-for pannetone pudding, I had a right old hankering for bread and butter pudding this weekend and thought 'sod it - I'm guna try it!' and I did, all without scales or a jug - I just played it by ear.


What you need:
> A dish!
> Bread
> Butter
> Sultanas
> Sugar
> Milk
> Eggs

What to do:
> Butter the bread and line the dish.
> Sprinkle with sugar and sultanas.
> Repeat!
> Mix milk (I did about half a litre -ish) with eggs (I did 2 medium) and pour over the bread and fruit
> Whack it in the oven on Gas Mark 6 for approx 45 mins (or until the custard is cooked/set/not runny!)

I served it with ice cream and bloody loved it! Carson didn't, he hated it. But that's no reflection on my cooking - I hope - he doesn't like sultanas in food, only on their own. He says they 'explode juice' in his mouth. *Clings to hope that my cooking is not that bad*

If you have any recipes or links to recipes you'd like to share, that do not include needing scales, I'd love to read them please.... or you may simply send scales to PO Box... lol :-)


Maternity Wear from Tiffany Rose

I have already written about the lack of maternity wear freely available to us larger ladies (size 18... now pushing a 20 thanks to baby weight).

Nothing feels quite right, you find that you're not wearing 'maternity' wear per say, just stretchy shiz instead, which I have coped with, marginally, up until now that is - especially with the weather changing now.

I am 35 weeks and 1 day today, I cannot move never mind feel womanly or beautiful in any way shape or form, so let me tell you that when Tiffany Rose offered for me to review one of their dresses from the SS14 range, I was a little excited to say the least.

I'm gunna go there and admit... I squealed like a lil piggy when I checked out what I could choose from - click here to flick through their virtual catalogue
I was so pleased to see that a maternity wear specialist actually tailored for the size 18 pregnant woman too. The majority of their dresses to go to a size 6, which is 18-20.


Tiffany Rose Maternity Wear Presentation Box Delivered
Stunningly presented!

I opted for the stunning (seriously beautiful!) Eden Gown in Arabian Nights, the short length. I was umming and ahhing over the full length maxi version but, at 5 foot 4 and a half (yes... the half inch counts!), I didn't want to have to chance needing it to be taken up - especially given that it features a lace overlay.

bump in dress
Sash accentuates bump!
The Eden Gown is also available in Chocolate, Ivory Dream and Caspian Blue but, for me, the Arabian Nights - as a stunning Navy - is just perfect for my skin tone.

It arrived in a sturdy pinky purple presentation box and a further layering of delicate tissue upon opening making this THE perfect gift for someone special. (Gents, take note and spoil your Mrs')

The dress features Tiffany Rose's signature stretch lace which allows for a flattering flowing skirt after the under bust elastic, and comes with a satin sash to accentuate your bump, which is unusual as I find most brands try to hide bumps or streamline your figure.

The sash makes you feel like a true bloomin' mum-to-be... and not in a bad way.

The model on their site has it tied on the side so it skims over and hangs down bump, but I chose to tie it at the back so as not to get in my way.

I'm a fiddler you see!

If you wanted to update or revitalise your dress, you can order separate sashes if you like too - great idea.


This dress is luxurious to the touch. A seriously high class gown. 

Weighty enough to not be flimsy and ensure your dignity is maintained at all times, but breathable enough to accomodate any hot flushes! 

It moves with your body thanks to the stretchy Acetate/Elastane lining so I wasn't having to 'adjust' myself at all through out the entire night.

Speaking of the night! As I was feeling all super duper glam in my gown, I decided to get my face on to boot and I went on a dinner date with A in New Brighton. 

The view across the Mersey whilst we sat at our table was to die for and I was feeling pretty awesome - I am certain this dress put me in this mood. 

I moan all the time, heck you should know by reading my blog, but I felt a bajillion dollars wearing this.

I don't care that I've put weight on, or that my shape has gone to pot... I love how this dress makes me feel.

So when I disclosed how much this dress retails at (rrp £149) to A,  he didn't choke on his Pollo Carbonara (as I fully imagined him to do!) he agreed that seeing how comfortable and beautiful I was *blush moment* it was worth every penny. 

He even suggested that the cut would allow for me to wear this after baby is born too and dya know what, he's right.

35 weeks bump in dress, occasion wear, maternity wear
So don't go thinking that once it's been worn once for your special occasion that it's destined to await another pregnancy - I will put it out there that I reckon ladies without bumps can wear these dresses with no problem at all.

Tiffany Rose are on Facebook and Twitter, why not go and say hi? Be sure to let them know you found them from here :-)

I 100% recommend Tiffany Rose for all your maternity occasion wear.
Go and take a look at Tiffany Rose www.tiffanyrose.com and let me know what you'd choose. I already have my eye on a few more beauties and I only have 5 weeks left to go haha!


What do you think of my dress then?
Go on... be honest ;-)


DISCLAIMER: I was sent this dress free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are honest and my own, I was not paid to write this post. I freakin' love this dress off of my own back!!

Family Fever

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