"So, how are we?" #BabyBabble

With every midwife, health visitor, neighbour, thing with a pulse, comes the obligatory pity filled fake caring coo of "So, how are we?"

What more can I do than smile, shrug my shoulders and go "Yeah! Good thanks" When realistically both them and I already know. Oh they can tell alright! Boiled crap is on a par with how I feel and most probably how I look - if I got half a chance to check my bad self out in the mirror that is.

Sheesh, I moaned about no sleep during pregnancy... what an idiot hahaha!
When I've had all of 45 minutes of sleep, collectively, by 4.40am and I feel like tearing my hair out and contemplating shedding every last tear I can muster... I somehow manage to smile. I get a moments peace between cries for the umpteenth bottle when that calm brief gaze of eye contact between me and baby happens ... I smile. I wouldn't change my crap-like physical and mental juxtaposition for anything in the world. I'm one lucky lil lady and I'll never forget it either... despite coming close when I'm cup-handed catching fluorescent yellow poo mid nappy change.

Who cares that I stink of baby sick and have ragged back hair because I don't. And anyone who does, isn't worth knowing in my opinion. The reality is, that "Yeah, Good thanks" is just enough of an answer to cover the mega-spectrum of ups and downs that new mums go through, without me having to bore them to death with feed times and bowel movements. (Babies bowel movements that is - just to be clear!)

So, let's face it, the question is rhetorical.

They don't actually expect you to answer in any other way.

So I let my, typically British, trait of politeness commence, bear those teeth and go... "Yeah! Good Thanks!" whilst I do my inner cringe, holding back on the major, minor details!


#BabyBabble

Go ahead and link-up your #babybabble via the InLinkz widget below :-)


An InLinkz Link-up


See you all next week for some more #babybabble!

Storing Photos & Keepsakes: Review & Win with Baby B.

Although everything tends to be stored digitally these days, I am a great believer of the traditional photo album to mark and remember the special occasions in life. Given baby Finley's arrival, this was one such occasion that warranted one!

With impeccable timing, I was approached by a company called Busy B who are introducing their new baby range, aptly called Baby B. I was offered the opportunity to choose an item from this range to review on my blog so I ran off to take a peek HERE.

My immediate reaction was yay! There was a beautiful Photo Album and Keepsake Box in blue stating First Photo Album. The perfect item for me right now!




It retails at £19.99** which is probably a bit more than I would pay for a photo album myself but, OK, I would pay that if it was for a gift for someone else.
Funny how we do that isn't it? Shell out for others but not ourselves!!
**EDIT: Currently on special offer at £9.99^

The album arrived and I must admit that on first glance I thought it looked no different than one you could buy from a highstreet card shop, say Clintons or something. A glossy blue and white cardboard box with an album inside, wrapped in celophane.

However, when I opened it you could feel the difference in quality and this is where your money really shows in my opinion.



A sturdy, quality keepsake box with a matte finish. Not flimsy at all, I would trust this box to protect my album and/or hold precious dainty things like baby's first curl and hospital tag etc. extremely well.




The front cover of the album has a plastic window featuring the rabbit design from the keepsake box and the words "First Photo Album". You can insert your own photograph in here, but personally I love the design so much that I would leave it as is.



The 24 acid-free page photo album can hold up to 96 photo's of your cherub and are covered with high quality clear sheets to prevent damage to your photographed memories.

My Summary
This product makes for a lovely gift and the quality gives it it's worth. 
I would suggest just one thing though if buying as a gift for someone - remove the cellophane, pop the lid on the box and wrap the box in giftwrap or add ribbon and a bow. It's so much more impressive this way and when you open the box, you're further pleasantly surprised by the matching photo album. 
It's a big thumbs up from me!

I'll cherish this album and keepsake box, just as I continue to do with Carson's from when he was newborn. 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent this item free of charge. All opinions are my own, open and honest - as always. 
I was not paid for this post.
^Product prices mentioned in this post were correct at time of publishing.

******************************************************************************************************************************
WIN WITH BABY B & COMING FROM CARSONSMUMMY

Baby B would like to offer one of my readers a £25 e-voucher to spend on their range - How kind! 

Simply tell me what you'd spend it on via the rafflecopter widget below and if you answer the question properly, you are in to win, wahoo! 
There are additional entries available so the more you complete, the more chance you have of winning. 

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 24th June 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. 
I couldn't give you the opportunity to win without people knowing my blog reviews exist.
So... please feel free to tweet, facebook share or even maybe G+ via the buttons below, if you fancy that is!

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

How to bath Baby with ease feat. Shnuggle Bath

Bathing Carson used to scare the living hoolies out of me!! Swear to you, my heart would pound and I'd get a bit of a sweat on trying to keep a firm hold of him but scared I'd also hurt him as he wriggled and squawked the house down. Talk about stressssss!!

I was very kindly offered by Shnuggle to give their Bath a go once Finley had arrived, I had heard good things about them so very happily accepted.

Shnuggle Bath in Mint review
What makes this bath different and how would it make bath time less stressful?

It is lightweight for a start, almost weightless at 0.4kg - until you put the water in. No more lugging big plastic tubs about!

The polypropylene foam material is soft against baby's skin and keeps water warmer for longer.

It also promises to be 1000% stronger than other foams like polystyrene so regardless of it's lighter than light weight, you really can trust it's durability.

The main feature of the Shnuggle Bath is the 'bum bump'. Sounds bizarre, I know, but the ridge on the inside base of the bath literally creates a seat-like area.


Shnuggle Bath Bum Bump Base


How did I get on?

I filled the bath and popped a little baby bath bubbles in to the water. Testing the temperature with the age-old elbow dip test, I was slightly apprehensive as Finley already began to get niggly before I'd even put him in!

The second Finley touched the water, he calmed - Phew! The ergonomic design of the bath acts as a kind of cocoon for him, the high back supporting him and the curving round his shoulders must have made him feel securely held - he didn't make a sound!




Positioning him on the bum-bump, he quite happily 'sat up' in the bath on his own - leaving both my hands free to wash him (and take photo's to embarrass his future girlfriends... obviously!).

This was fantastic. I called Carson and asked if he's like to get involved in bathing his brother, which he jumped at the chance to do - he loves helping out where Finley is concerned, bless him.



As you can see by the pictures, Carson enjoyed being involved and Finley didn't have a care in the world. 




You can purchase the Shnuggle Bath in 5 colours Ocean, Mint, Pearl, Buttercup & Rose. The sample I received was mint, a beautifully gender neutral shade. It retails at £30 from the Shnuggle Online Store and it massively worth that price as Baby can use this product right up until the age of around 6 months.


We truly made bath time - fun time. 
Gone are the dreaded, stress-filled bath days. 
We were all relaxed and calm afterwards, some achievement in my opinion!!

How do you feel about baby bathing - Did it scare the bejeezus out of you too at first?!

DISCLAIMER: This PR Sample was received free of charge. All opinions are my own - open and honest, as always. 
I was not paid for this post.

Photo-Gift Idea... Personalised Blankets!

All Personalised Blankets contacted me a couple of weeks ago. They are a Spanish company, looking at introducing their photo-gift products into the UK market, and asked me if I would like to try them out and share my review with you guys. 

Personalised blankets... with pictures as well as text... wow.

I didn't even know that this was possible. I mean I've heard of personalised clothing, but blankets? This was new to me and I was keen to get cracking in creating my design!

Their range includes slankets, towels, tapestry, throws, cushions - I could go on forever! I was being offered one of their most popular products, the Polar blanket 95cm x 140cm and these retail at 49 € . 

Quite a large size, my thoughts were running along the lines of using it on a child's bed or as a picnic blanket. So, I run through the designs on offer and spotted a beautiful bright blue blanket featuring cartoon animals and a rainbow along with a peg-line and spaces to pop your own photo's on. There is also a text space in the centre to personalise too. 


Designing my personalised blanket gift


Perfect for Finley to lay on, and eventually sit on, whilst playing I thought. The design was called 'Alfombra Actividades' which, funnily enough, translates to Carpet Activities!! You can view the entire design's range HERE.
Although the website has aspects of Spanish language, it's still pretty easy and straight forward to use. I chose 6 photo's of Finley that included Carson, myself and his Daddy and proceeded to upload them and I finalised my order.

I placed the order on the 16th May and it arrived by the 24th May. Incredible turnaround time in my opinion.

I squealed when I opened the blanket!


photo gift quality personalised blankets



I am SO impressed with the quality of the photo images embedded in the fleece of the blanket. I've never
seen anything like it before, it really is impressive. All of the personalised aspect was just perfect. The blanket itself was soft to the touch and of a great quality, not scratchy or thin or cheap looking. 

The cartoon animals were adorable with exquisite detail...


nursery personalised blanket

I half expected Carson to be fumingly jealous when he saw it but even he went "WOAH WOW!" when he saw his pictures where on there. I am mega pleased with this. It's definitely something I would think of when needing to purchase something a bit special for someone. Perhaps a Christening gift, or an engagement gift.


All personalised blankets uk


Currently they have an offer online for 20% off your order in June so if you have an occasion to buy for I would certainly suggest that you take a look this month. You'll be AMAZED at the range on offer!!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS BLANKET!! 

Thank you All Personalised Blankets for enlightening me, I'll treasure this for years and years to come

Have you ever had anything like this before - gifted or purchased?

DISCLAIMER: PR Sample received free of charge, all opinions are my own - open and honest as usual. 
I was not paid for this post.


Family Fever

Supporting Your Breasts During Pregnancy and Nursing *REVIEW*

I have blogged countlessly about my ever changing boobs during pregnancy and, of course, now after birth they remain different. It's difficult to feel truly supported without an underwire, well... for a bigger busted woman like me anyway.

Then Carriwell got in touch and asked what my thoughts on their bra's would be and whether I would like to review one. The first bra that stood out to me was the Seamless GelWire Nursing Bra ...I craved an underwire again. Something to lift and shape my breasts again, providing the comfort I needed whilst accommodating my fluctuating size. 

The bra arrived in a clear sleeve, the packaging displaying their vast array of products that you may also wish to purchase - nice touch, especially had this not have been purchased by the wearer as they can be enlightened as to what else Carriwell offer.



My usual size would have made me a size L, but still milking and a little engorged so soon after pregnancy I decided to opt for the XL. The design of this bra ensures that it can cover a range of cup sizes, whilst the complimentary bra extender can assist in any varying back size during pregnancy and nursing too (no unsightly back fat when wearing this!) As my size returns back to normal, the bra will continue to fit with ease. It's so comfortable!

The straps are much wider than a normal bra strap, ensuring less strain on your shoulders and aiding good posture. The clasp can be opened and closed one handed, exposing the entire breast whilst still having a holster-like inner to continue supporting the breast - perfect for nursing.

I have previously reviewed the Cantaloop nursing bra HERE and gave it a good review due to its comfort and additional strap supports that you could detach and attach as and when. 
BUT, Ladies (and Gents if you're reading up on this kinda thing!)... The Carriwell Seamless GelWire Nursing Bra provides that extra full-cup support with the remarkable patent-pending GelWire. It really feels like an underwired bra when you're wearing it, I didn't feel the need to keep, ahem, adjusting myself. The band underneath the GelWire also provides a decent, additional, lift and support.




The bra is, indeed, seamless - as the description states. However, I will say that I personally felt that I couldn't wear a thin top with the bra. Nothing to do with it's design... but the outline of my breast pads were visible through the top. A personal gripe. But a gripe that made me a little self conscious! Having said that, all non-padded bra's are at risk of exposing a non-seamless breast pad anyway. I easily fixed this by wearing a vest over the top of the bra, just to add a bit more direct coverage. 

I was going to write my review immediately after wearing but decided to hold off at first. I wanted to run the bra through the wash to check the GelWire's reaction to being tumbled around the machine. Not one change in it's shape or support at all you'll be very pleased to hear!

SUMMARY.
Ultimately, I would have no problem in recommending this to any new mums or expectant mums - especially those with a larger bust needing that little extra cup support as well as wider straps for shoulder and back support. It will last throughout pregnancy and nursing thanks to it's cup sizing scale alongside the bra extender - you really won't need to worry about 'out-growing' this bra.
For these reasons, I will say that the £32 price tag (from More4Mums) is a good investment. 

Bottom line here is... Invest in those breasts!!

What bra did you opt for during pregnancy/nursing? 
Have you ever tried the Carriwell Seamless GelWire bra and, if so, what were your thoughts?

Drying My Baby's Bottles *REVIEW and WIN with OXO Tot*

Drying bottles. Impossible to do in a hygienic way if you had have asked me right up until the beginning of last week.

Oh, I despaired over the 'germs' on the draining board and not only that - I had no bloomin' space to dry my actual dishes. I came up with the idea of sitting them on folded kitchen towel, a decent one like Plenty, that would suck up all the excess water. This was costing a fortune but I was also paranoid that the cleaned bottles were then sitting in stagnant water (once the kitchen towel had soaked it all up).

It was making a big task out of bottle washing, simply for germ fears and space issues. I took to washing each bottle, rinsing and shaking, placing straight into the steriliser. Problem was, I had to then wait to wash any other bottles until the steriliser was free - so I was constantly looking at a row of used bottles every time I entered the kitchen. Depressing.

When OXO Tot got in touch with me asking if I'd like to review one of their products, I had a good look at their site www.oxouk.com and stumbled across the bottle drying rack.




This was it's description...

Keep bottles elevated, secure and upright with the OXO Tot Bottle Drying Rack. The Drying Rack accommodates at least eight bottles and corresponding parts. Raised ribs on the bottom of the tray ensure items don’t sit in a pool of water, keeping them clean, sanitary and dry. Additional space at the front of the Rack is useful for small parts. A removable cup can be attached to multiple areas of the tray and is ideal for kids’ utensils, straws and medicine droppers. The corners of the tray are optimally shaped to easily pour out excess water, and elevated non-skid feet at the bottom of the tray make it easy to lift.

The timing was impeccable so I grabbed their kind offer with both hands, so hopeful that this could resolve my annoying predicament. On arrival, I tore open the box as fast as I could! And was, probably for the first time ever, got excited to wash bottles!!




For the purposes of reviewing the claims, I washed 3 varying bottle sizes first, just to get an idea of whether or not it could truly hold 8 with all corresponding parts.
Ok, fair enough, I have large bottles - but they're also very commonly used bottles so I would have to disagree and say approximately 4-5 bottles can be comfortably stored on here unless you are using slimline bottles and are all the same type/brand.




I certainly wouldn't let that detract from the practicalities of the product though. The bottles and teats are securely held and the removal of excess water really is easily done. The removable cup is a great feature too, perfect for dummys, bottle seals or Carson's drink straws!

Overall, it has answered my space problems, and hygienic drying problems too. It also looks great in my kitchen!
My cousin has an 11 weeks old little girl, she visited me on Friday and, as you do, you head straight to the kettle when a visitor arrives. Her first words...
"I LOVE this Jo, where did you get it from? I NEED one!"  ... not just me then!
You can buy these at the moment for a very reasonable £15.32 over on OXO Tots's website www.oxouk.com or click the link HERE to go directly to the product's page.


DISCLAIMER: PR Sample provided free of charge but all opinions are my own: open and honest, as always. I was not paid for this post.

*********************************************************************************
Do you want one? Well OXO have been super kind enough to offer one up to one of my blog followers. All you need to do is confirm you follow my blog via Bloglovin' or NetworkedBlogs. Please make sure you do this via the rafflecopter widget else your entry won't count. You can also gain optional additional entries once you've followed, you'll have a better chance of winning then!

 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 21st June 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


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Preventing Nappy Rash feat. Sudocrem Care and Protect

Just before Finley was due to be born, I was kindly offered a sample of Sudocrem Care & Protect.

Sudocrem is a household favourite with us anyway, it's so versatile I find it's the answer to most rashes or itchy spots - even works wonders on a bit of sunburn!
Sudocrem Care & Protect is different though - specifically designed to protect your baby's bottom from the causes of nappy rash. It's triple action formula creates a protective barrier, conditions the skin and Guards against infection to prevent nappy rash. It is hypoallergenic and contains vitamin E and provitamin B5 which help condition the skin.

I've been using my sample for the past week when Finely started with a red bum, poor little mite. It's not surprising our precious babes get some sort of sore rash given just how often they feed and need a change. I don't know about other parents but I find it quite upsetting. Especially when you see the discomfort in their little screwed up faces as you clean them up. Ahhh :-( *cue heart melt*

preventing nappy rash, treating nappy rash, nappy rash

A little about the actual product...
> An easy flip top cap means you can access your ointment without having to let go of baby.
> Tube is easily squeezable for release of the cream - no straining required as with some creams I've used in the past!
> The Care & Protect is an entirely different texture and appearance to that of Sudocrem Original. It is soft and much more pliable with a satin-like feel. This aids in the application to the skin as it doesn't drag, just glides right on.
> The scent is not as strong/harsh as Sudocrem Original.

Sudocrem Care & Protect is gentle enough to use as an ongoing prevention ointment.Wish I'd have twigged before the initial rash appeared, but I guess with a newborn you're trying to be as 'organic' as possible at first, what with health visitors and midwives telling you to only use water or olive oil on their skin until they're 6 weeks old. Pah! I feel bad for not using a preventative measure from the start. Especially having seen the major improvement in Finley's bum from first application of Sudocrem Care & Protect.

The sore rash eased almost completely by the end of the first 24hrs (using Sudocrem Original) and I now continue to use Sudocrem Care & Protect at every nappy change to prevent it coming back.

For obvious reasons, I can't go posting pics of the difference on here, but if you try it yourself you will see exactly what I'm talking about.

Oh... my fingers also feel softer too!!

What do you use to prevent or treat nappy rash? Have you tried Care & Protect yourself?

Family Fever

Introducing the #BabyBabble linky!

I've participated in lots of linky's and the majority truly are amazeballs. I love the variety of posts that are added, the interaction is fantastic and I find a lot of really interesting blogs that I end up following.

Some, however, just don't cut the mustard. So sorry to say it too because, in essence, linky's should be key in the blogging community. Honestly, I once spent over an hour and a half reading and commenting on every single persons linked-up post, only to receive just one view & comment back from it.

Okaaay, so I know that it's impossible for everyone to comment on every single post that's been added, but blogging is not only about taking, you simply HAVE to give too - else we'd get nowhere fast.

With Finley now here, I decided to create a linky of my own. Mainly because I don't want to bore everyone with baby mush all the time - a lot of my readers aren't parents yet and I don't want to turn 'em off by solely talking 'baby'. I know us parents find fluorescent yellow nappies simply fascinating but not everyone does, and I appreciate that!

So... With this new #BabyBabble linky, I can contain any gooey or TMI stories to just the one a week!


WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
>Anything remotely baby related, that's not a review - simples! (age 0 - 4yrs )
>Expectant mums are free to join in too... I know most pregnant ladies live eat and breathe Baby Babble in the run up to B-Day!
>It doesn't have to be a new post specifically for this linky - the choice of post is yours.
>#BabyBabble will open every Thursday - so add it to your blogging diary!


MY PROMISE:
> I will comment on each and every post submitted to the linky. It's no chore, trust me. I love discovering new blogs, I just hope there are posts for me to comment on!!
> If you tweet me (@carsonsmummy) your post that you've linked to #BabyBabble with I will RT
> If you tag me on G+ +Jo Smith when sharing your post linked to #BabyBabble, I will +1 your post
> If you add your #BabyBabble post to my Facebook page, I will share it

I can't say fairer than all that, can I?! BUT... In return I would like you to...


THE RULES:
> As your host, I would expect you to visit and comment on my #BabyBabble post too.
> Giving and taking being a major drive for this linky, please comment on at least 4 other posts after mine. (That's a minimum of 5 please guys)
> Please link back to Coming from Carsonsmummy or grab and display the badge below, whichever you prefer.



#BabyBabble



Click the Mister Linky button below: 


Where it asks for your name pop the name of your blog or post title and add the URL.
After you've added, visit the listed 'Coming from Carsonsmummy' post and at least 4 others.

But, most of all.... ENJOY!!



My Labour Story... My Birth Story

Continued from How My Labour Started...

Established Labour...

Having not given birth in the taxi, as I had genuinely feared I would at one point, I arrived at the hospital and was taken into an examination room to see how far into labour I was.

I am not gunna lie... I felt like an utter fool when she said I was 4cm and only just in established labour.

Are you for real?? This is a joke... it has to be!! It was now 3.50am.

Moved into a delivery suite with my own loo and shower, I was pleasantly surprised when the head of midwives came in and declared that she was happy to reduce me from high risk so I didn't have to be on the bed hooked up to monitors. BOOM! This is exactly what I needed as my contractions were stronger and closer together when standing. I didn't want to drag this labour out. Anything that I could do to speed it up... the better.


Pain relief...

Gas and air was my saviour at this point. Hocking hard on that mouth piece was almost therapeutic, it gives you something to concentrate on. Just a warning though - don't lose your breathing rhythm because the faster you go the more light headed you get and I lost count of the amount of times I reached for the sick bowl. Was never actually sick though! Oh, and breathing the gas and air too hard burnt my throat a little - plus made me sound like a man (briefly!) if you talk too quickly after inhaling. You know when you get a bubble at the back of your throat and it makes your voice go weird? It's like the opposite to helium hahaha!

I opted for the epidural. I couldn't shake this back/bum pain. They were trying to tell me it was pressure of the baby coming down, but I was adamant it wasn't. It was like grinding against my spine/tail bone, not at all how I remembered the first time. Oh it was horrendous.

I had an epidural, but just like last time - it didn't work. They tried to re-site it and it managed to numb my right side, but the left was untouched. With hindsight, I wish I never had the epidural - I think it made it worse as the incredible back pain was now channelled into one small section of my body making it more intense psychologically. I dunno, it could just have been than the contractions where stronger?

With every contraction I was trying my best to lift my body weight up off of my left side. I can't explain in words how strong this pain was. If I was to say that it felt like baby was about to burst out of my bum cheek... it wouldn't do it any justice!

The anaesthetist came back in and gave me something else. To this day, I don't know what it was other than "stronger stuff" and to be honest, I don't care. It didn't numb the pain but it made me kind of zone out, almost doze/sleep between contractions. I don't even know how it was administered!

I remember looking at the clock at 10.40am adamant that NOW I was feeling the pressure that they said I was feeling earlier (which, I knew I wasn't!)

I was examined and told I was ready to push... I was also told my baby was bald!


The birth... 

The fact that the midwife said I was to have a bald baby, scared me a little. Only one week prior had I seen on the scan that he has lots of hair. Weird.

Anyway, I pushed with all my might, bursting lots of facial blood vessels in the process - I wanted this baby out of me! Established labour had only been 7 hours so far - a far cry from the 23 hours with Carson just five and a half years' previous.
The pain in my arse was, sincerely, incredible. The midwife was telling me it was normal - it most definitely was not. It was excruciating. Made me push all the more so maybe it was a good thing.

Anyway, it was 11.10am and the midwife was getting her disposable pinny and gloves on - oh my lordy, it was going to happen in minutes!

Being a One Born Every Minute fan, I had said throughout this pregnancy that I would feel the head if I had the option to, as I never had the option to do with Carson. When asked if I would like to when the time came though, I was horrified! Good God No! That was my response. Isn't it strange that we can change our minds so easily, quickly and defiantly at any given moment in life!! Carson's Daddy was given the option of looking if he liked, he politely declined at this point.

But then we heard a gasp. "He's facing the wrong way!"

My heart nearly exploded, I was completely over whelmed with fear. What?? Breech??

Nooo... Direct OP (Occiput Posterior), also known as back to back. Babies spine against my spine. Facing the sky when he emerges.

Immediately, Carson's Daddy looked. Why, I'll never know!! It's the nosey side of us I reckon. He said it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. The first thing Finley ever saw was Daddy - whilst he was still half inside of me. Surreal!! This is also why midwife thought he was bald, she had been feeling his forehead not crown. It also explains that back pain I had been feeling, and why labour was quicker/more intense when standing.

Finley was born without any help at all and I didn't require stitches. I came away with just 2 slight "grazes". The midwife said it was a huge achievement and had it been my first I would have needed a forceps delivery as my pushing would not have been as focused/strong.

I am so pleased with the birth. Despite the epidural not working and that awful back pain. It lasted 7.5 hours in total and I can, hand on heart, say that I actually enjoyed the experience. I remember that intense area of back pain like it happened two minutes ago, but I got through it. And I would so do it again!!

If any 1st time mums reading have any questions by the way... I'm happy to answer as best as I can.


#BabyBabble

How my labour started...

The build up...

I hadn't been out of the house for a whole week - from the Friday to Friday - and I was getting some serious cabin fever. My problem was the SPD pain levels, I could barely stand up never mind walk. But, I'd been super lucky enough to win £100 of B&M Stores vouchers the Friday before, and they'd arrived in the post already, so I decided to go out and stock up on tinned food, washing powder and fabric softener and baby wipes - just in case baby was to arrive any day, you can't have empty cupboards when you get home from hospital! My sister accompanied me on my trip and, luckily, our local B&M have trolleys so I was able to use that as support walking around.

We were out of the house for around 2 hours but, boy, did I pay for this outing later that night. I was in agony - my lower back throbbing, pelvic pain pulsating deep within the core of my bones, so much so that a hot water bottle just couldn't ease my discomfort. It normally gave some kind of relief.

Hey, Ho, Hum.


I wake up on Saturday back to normal (normal being in pain - but a hot water bottle provided some kind of relief!). I cracked on in applying Carson's wall sticker <read about that here - it's amazeballs!>, made some lunch and, well, plonked my bum on the couch - in true preggar's fashion!


Braxton Hicks...

After a while I realised my, by now usual, occurrence of Braxton Hicks were rather more frequent than normal and becoming more on the painful side than the uncomfortable so I started to time them ... wishfully hoping that "IT" was starting!

They were bang on every 10 minutes, and lasting a good 45 seconds to 1 minute each and this went on for hours! The first timed one was at 4.29pm, by 00.30am they were STILL 10 minutes apart. I had tried going to bed, bouncing on the edge of the bed, kneeling on the couch leaning on the back rest but the pain was really quite intense by now and nothing I did could stifle my vocal signs of pain.
I was still attempting to tell myself to chill out ... they weren't getting any closer together so why was I panicking?!

I called the labour ward, cringing at the fact that I was bound to be wrong and just being melodramatic because I was on my own.
Surprise, surprise... I was told to take 2 paracetamol and get a bath to relax. As I had already told myself, if they're not getting any closer, neither is the birth.

I text Carson's Daddy and asked him to come and be with me. I was still certain that I needed someone to tell me I was going to be OK and to breathe - not panic. Not least because Carson was fast asleep in bed and I sooo didn't want him to worry about me. He is such a caring little boy - I had no doubt that he would 'look after' me if I really needed but he's 5 and does not need to see this kind of struggle anyone's face, never mind his mother's!

With Mr on his way round, I popped 2 paracetamol and jumped in the bath.


Progress...

I lasted around 45 minutes in that tub - I couldn't lie down any longer. The pain was all in my back - entirely different to how it was just a few hours earlier. I got out and within minutes I was hit by the strongest contraction yet. Just as I was getting over it, another came. Then again.

Pardon my French but, SHIT! They were suddenly every 3-5 minutes. How did that happen??

I had to wake Carson, get him dressed, walk him round to his Nin's house, get home, call a taxi to the hospital - and it was bank holiday weekend, at 2.30am on the Sat night/Sun morn. Uh Oh!!

Luckily Carson's Daddy had arrived and was on the ball, doing all of the above. The taxi was difficult though. Of all the firms available only one said they could send one and it was because I was crying explaining I was in labour... it didn't arrive until an hour later, at which point I couldn't sit, I couldn't lie, I couldn't do anything but kinda squat leaning forwards with my hands on the stairs, or pace up and down the hallway with the front door wide open for a cool breeze. Actually I'm really surprised that the neighbours weren't curtain twitching... with hindsight, I was really whinging at this point!!

My taxi pulls up and I was immediately calmed by the fact that he claimed to be an ex-paramedic... phew!!

Read what happened next HERE in My Labour Story...

Review of the Gro Anywhere Blind incl. *Giveaway*

gro anywhere blind review
Having shared with you my review of the Gro-Light last week, (check it out and win one here), it's easy to see why the Gro Company really are the home of safe sleep.



I've said it before and I'll say it again, their innovative products aim to make life easier for parents, aspiring to provide us with that little extra sleep us hard-working parents very much deserve, and safely at that.

The Gro Anywhere Blind - RRP £24.99. Not only does this item offer a complete black-out, it comes in a handy travel bag meaning no matter where you go, what you do, and whether it's during the lighter months or not, you can create an environment perfect for little ones to sleep in.

At 130cm x 198cm it's dimensions mean this should fit most large household windows and their latest version includes velco fastenings on the inside edge making it easy to fold and secure each section between the suction cups to fit in smaller windows too. Even though the blind blocks out most light from the room by covering the window in a stickable sheet-like fashion, it remains an aesthetically pleasing piece with it's moon & star design. No reason for munchkins to be scared - it's just a night sky in the window, to them.


vertical, horizontal, gro anywhere blind fit

Whether you've a baby or a school-age child, we all know how difficult it is to set night time routines - especially at this time of year due to the lighter nights and impending summer holidays.

Carson is often still awake 1 hour after being tucked up in bed, simply because he doesn't see that it's night time when there is still glorious sunshine beaming outside (when we're lucky!).

There are so many places and reasons to need a Gro Anywhere Blind.

Firstly, I have every intention of taking this blind to my parents house when Carson stays over as their spare room is without curtains at the moment due to stripping back all décor whilst their house is on the market.

Well, now there's no reason for Nan & Grandad's sleep to be affected in any way!

Last time we went on holiday, albeit over 2 years ago now, we went to a caravan park and Carson was 3 years old. The new environment coupled with lighter nights meant we had a terrible night's sleep and very early rises. The Gro-Anywhere Blind would have been an absolute godsend and I anticipate it featuring in many holidays to come whilst Finley is growing up too.

Value for money? Priceless. It's versatility along with thick decent quality, means you're going to get years of use out of this item with the desired result each time and every time.



DISCLAIMER: I was sent this PR Sample free of charge, but all opinions are my own - open and honest - as always!

WIN YOUR VERY OWN GRO ANYWHERE BLIND...

Gro Company (www.gro.co.uk) have been awesome and offered to provide a Gro Anywhere Blind for one of my readers, so enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and keep those fingers crossed for a longer & sounder night's sleep this coming summer :-)

 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 16th June 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

Like this giveaway? 
There's loads more HERE, why not try your luck?!


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Review & Giveaway: Gro-Light


The Gro Company, www.Gro.co.uk,  are the home of safe sleep! Their innovative products aim to make life easier for parents, aspiring to provide us with that little extra sleep we soooo deserve, and safely.

One of these products are the Gro-light – RRP £17.99

"The Gro-light: From night light to bright light at the flick of a switch"

The Gro-light sounded like a slightly 'odd' product. I've seen nightlights that plug into wall sockets or are battery operated - but to attach to the ceiling light or bedside lamp directly? - certainly not something I've seen or heard of before from any other brand. 

When I received it, I must admit I had to actually read the instructions as to what I was to do with it (very unlike me!) Alas I was blighted by baby-brain as, in reality, it was unbelievably simple to install. Simply pop it in to the light fixture (be it a bedside lamp or ceiling light) and then pop the bulb into the Gro-light instead of the fixture. Think of it as an extender to the original lamp.

Literally - flick the switch once for the night light and twice for the normal light. 

Now, I hate having light when I sleep and usually have my bedroom door closed with just the bathroom light on for Carson in case he needs the loo in the night. Since Finley arrived, I'm obviously a lot more paranoid in that I need to see him at any given moment throughout the night, not least to get up and do the feed. I had been keeping the bedroom door open and the landing light on. Irritating, but was an absolute must for this new mummy!

Well... the night light consists of small blue-like bulbs around the outer casing and the brightness is adjustable by a small wheel.

I've removed the lampshade so you can see the difference in low to high.

Thanks to this little bonus, I opted to use my Gro-light in a bedside lamp. I kept the night light low when sleeping and when Finley awoke or I needed to pop to the loo or I just wanted to check on his edible 'lil cheeks, I could just wizz the wheel and have a full night light. It gives great visibility, enough to prevent the main light needing to be switched on but if you did want it on, you just flick your light switch twice for the main light.

For me, this is brilliant.

When Finley makes the transition from mummy's room to his own nursery, I would love to use the Gro-light in the main ceiling fixture. I can't do that in my room at the moment as I wouldn't be able to make use of the adjustable brightness (I can't reach that high up!) But as an all night light, I would keep it on the middle setting. Dark enough for Finley to sleep soundly and light enough for me to see him when I go into his room at night for whatever reason. 


Thanks to www.gro.co.uk I have one of these to give away to one of you lovely lot! What a great prize. I mean, it's really not just for nurseries but also for landings, dark houses, the elderly and as a standard (money-saving) light or lamp. So, anyone can enter this competition not just you mummy and daddy readers.

As usual, t&c's apply. 
Please ensure you read and comply as so many people do not and I constantly have to remove their entries before drawing the winner

 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 10th June 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 ITEM FREE OF CHARGE BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE HONEST, OPEN AND MY OWN.

Remember, Sharing is caring so feel free to share via twitter, facebook or g+ via the buttons below :-)
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Sibling Likeness - lookalikees!


I look at Finley, now just 9 days old, and I cannot get my head around the fact that he is an entirely different person to Carson.

Sounds utterly ridiculous but the likeness between the two as babies is so extraordinary that I get a pang of deja vu every time I look at his pinchable lil cheeks and his blue, but dark, eyes.

Just look at these and tell me you don't think they're the absolute spitting image of each other!!.....


Photo: Wow!! Uncanny!!

Uncanny or what?!

Photo: Can't get over the likeness between Carson and Finley...
Carson's photo on left, Finley on right!

It's kinda nice in a way because I literally feel my heart pound with the love I have for them both. They're just a special and precious as each other.


Did any of you other second time mum/dad/aunty/uncle find this?


Would love to hear your thoughts on sibling likeness - whether it's as emotion provoking for you as it appears to be for me (could very well still be hormones with me though lol!)


*Giveaway* Win a Gro to Bed Jolly Jungle Cotbed Set RRP £49.99

I have a good few Gro Company reviews to carry out over the next couple of days, all of which will involve a giveaway - wahooo!


To celebrate my collaboration I have a Gro to Bed Jolly Jungle Cotbed Set worth £49.99 to giveaway.


It contains a beautifully jungle themed fitted sheet and pillowcase with a duvet cover. The unique zip system attaches the sheet to the duvet so it helps prevent your little one's kicking the sheet off in the night and becoming cold, tangled or slipping out of bed, as Carson so often used to do when he made the transition from Cot to Bed. The pillow case is also held into place by an elastic holder.


Sounds like making the bed in the morning will be a right old breeze with this too!


As usual, t&c's apply. 
Please ensure you read and comply as so many people do not and I constantly have to remove their entries before drawing the winner


 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 June 2014.
5. I will be sending the prize myself and ask that you allow up to 28 days for delivery thanks to the newborn!
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 feel free to share via twitter, facebook, or g+ via the buttons below :-)

Wall Art Stickers UK Review *Giveaway*

You may remember I wrote about wall stickers as an alternative to wallpaper/painting etc in a post about Nursery Inspiration prior to Finley being born. If not - you should read that first HERE.

Well, when Wall Art Stickers UK offered to provide a sticker of choice for me to apply and see what I thought, I jumped straight to their website (www.wallartstickersuk.com) and looked for nursery wall stickers.
... But when I got there I spotted THIS and thought: what a treat this would be to get Carson excited for Finley's arrival?!

Carson has his bed in the alcove next to a chimney breast in his room. The wall is painted blue and he has masses of spongebob stuff in his room so the theme, if you like, is blue and yellow. This sticker couldn't have been more perfect for both the timing AND his room decor. You can opt to have this sticker in a colour different to the yellow and their colour chart is easily accessible by shuffling through the product photo's.

Superhero-Brother-wall-sticker-decal-vinyl-art
Colour options available for the Wall Stickers

So the sticker arrived and I told Carson I would have his surprise ready for him when he came home from school. One little spanner in the works, in the form throbbing back pain, meant I would wait until the Saturday morning instead as I was truly unsure of how long I would have to stand for in applying the sticker.

Well Saturday morning comes along and I jump to it, and this is how we did...




I opt to cut my sticker down in smaller sections so it can fit in the alcove without being squished. Really simple to do as each letter is individual with no 'surround' fixing the design.



Stick tape down the centre of the section (vertically) - kind of creating a hinge.
Peel backing off and, using the tool provided - reminds me of a wallpaper brush without bristles, fan outwards and ensure there are no air bubbles whilst firmly pushing the sticker in to place.
Gently peel the cover off of the top and BOOM!

The final result? ...


 Completed in just 11 MINUTES from beginning to end!! (And started labour too, I'll have you all know!)

For just £9.99 as well, it has completely transformed an entire room. I couldn't be more thrilled with this and in future, I won't be buying expensive wallpapers - even for just a feature wall. There's no need. Wall stickers are seamless, fast and very cost effective.

Wall Art Stickers UK have kindly offered to provide one of you lovely lot with a wall sticker of your own via the rafflecopter widget below. Thanks guys!!


So t&c's apply, as usual, please ensure you read and comply as so many people do not and I constantly have to remove their entries before drawing the winner


 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 June 2014.
5. Winners details will be forwarded on to Wall Art Stickers UK in order for the prize to be ordered and dispatched.
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 WALL STICKER FREE OF CHARGE BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE HONEST, OPEN AND MY OWN.

Remember, Sharing is caring so feel free to share via twitter, facebook or g+ via the buttons below :-)

Welcome to the World *Announcement*

Just a very quick post to announce the very healthy and happy arrival of baby Finley Jake weighing in at 6lb 8.5oz @ 38 weeks 6 days gestation on Sunday morning!

I'll be blogging about the labour and birth in the next week or so, when my brain half works again. Until then... enjoy some smushy baby pics

Love Carsonsmummy xx


Launching the Better with BRITA Campaign & Win a Marella Water Jug

Better with BRITA Carsonsmummy WIN, Marella Jug
Better with BRITA

BRITA products reduce the unwanted substances found in tap water (like chlorine and heavy metals) that can often affect the flavour of ingredients meaning food and drinks taste the way they're ought to!

BRITA is as passionate about great tasting food and drink as I am! They believe that no one should compromise when it comes to making recipes that use water as a key ingredient.

Teaming up with food magazine Delicious, the Better with BRITA Campaign has been launched to celebrate people that do just that - create great tasting food, just as it ought to be.

The aim is to find people who are making amazing food and drink in their homes using both filtered water and quality, locally sourced ingredients in order to create the best flavours possible.


Sell your own produce at this year's Big Feastival.

An expert judging panel will decide on a shortlist of people who'll be given the chance to go to London to make their produce for the judges to taste for themselves.

Then... three lucky winners will attend the UK's most popular food festival The Big Feastival (29th August – 1st September 2014) for an experience of a lifetime, selling their creations and gaining recognition.

Whether your Granita is to die for, or your soup is the talk of the town BRITA wants to hear from you! 
Get making and baking and submit your recipe here for a chance to win.



WIN A BRITA WATER FILTER JUG OF YOUR OWN.

To celebrate the launch of this campaign, BRITA have kindly offered up a Marella Water Jug (RRP £21) for one of my readers to win.

So, once you've checked out the recipes submitted, or indeed submitted your own, go ahead and enter to win via the Rafflecopter Widget 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 30th May 2014.
5. Winner will be announced on the blog during w/c 1st June 2014 within another Better with BRITA post.

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

 Let's Get Social...     


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

Welcome!

Welcome!