Week 2: Weigh in!

Not gunna lie, I was expecting a bad number today.  This week I attended a 30th birthday that consisted of red wine, very naughty buffet foods and cake, and I also met with my sisters for lunch (involving cake again!) and then a get together at mine with the 'rents... consisting of several cans of Carling.

I seem to have turned into a beer and cake monster!!!

Fast days are still pretty "easy" in terms of managing hunger by carefully timing my LighterLife FASTpacks. I find having coffee first thing followed by breakfast after Carson has gone to school means I can get through the morning relatively quickly. I then have lunch just before Carson comes home from school which helps the urge to snack when Carson wants his tea. Have tea quite late in the evening, around 8pm and that always includes 2 FAST packs so it feela like a meal with a pudding!

Anyway, stepping on the scales I was, today, faced with this....

BOOM!! I thank you very much LighterLifeFAST!!

Start weight: 17st 5.8lb
Current weight: 16st 13.8lb
Weekly Loss: -2lb
Total Loss: 6lb

Cannot be more pleased this week because I genuinely thought my socialising would have made a dent in my progress but nope, a nice six pounds in two weeks and I am MORE than happy!

Hoping for at least a 1 pound loss this week to hit my half stone. Aside from the planned family BBQ (booze and burgers...but no cake!!) I have a non social week ahead so fingers crossed!

How've you been this week?

How I explained death to my 5 year old.

It's been a sad time this past week or so. Out of respect for my husband and his family I'm not going into any great detail other than telling you that someone has sadly passed away. Very unexpectedly at that.

Carson, being the sweetest most compassionate little boy for his years, begun to ask what medicine would make daddy's uncle better. I had to explain that there was no medicine to help someone's sleeping brain. When it's tired, it's tired. Just like it's hard for him to wake up on a school day - no matter how much I shout to get up, it takes him ages to to do so and even then it makes him grumpy.
Explanation so far, so good...

He wondered why doctors weren't helping him and asked how many had tried. Naturally, I explained there were hundreds of doctors who have tried but the only thing helping right now was a machine so he could breathe without pain for his family to be able to visit him, maybe reading him a story while he sleeps or kiss him on the head goodnight. Like I do when Carson sleeps at night, afterall if it hurt him to breathe at night, how would I be able to kiss him on the head with out really upsetting him
He totally understood this and even rolled his eyes at himself for not figuring this out himself *bless, like he should know*

I asked Carson to recall a dream he remembers he had and if it felt real. Typically he reeled off an overly dramatic nightmare which made him cry a while back.
I panicked at first, how can I turn this into a positive?
A-haa! Well, it woke him up didn't it? So if daddy's uncle is having an amazing dream while his brain is sleeping, he doesn't want to wake up from it. In the dream I think he's with his mum and remembering all his happy memories, some people say its like that in heaven - being surrounded by happy memories and loved ones. So, perhaps he wants to stay in that dream - he hasn't seen his mum for ages so they've a lot to catch up on.

Carson then got wide eyed and exclaimed that "the door to heaven is the graveyard by Asda" so to see his mum properly he should go that way through to door. So I explained that if he didn't need to be attached to any machines in the hospital then he could do just that.

The little love then said, off his own back, that we shouldn't cry then, we should be happy that he can see his mum and live in his dream.

So there you have it. Death to a 5 year old is living the dream. Such an innocently idyllic notion. The way it should be.

#BabyBabble this week...

Having, very sadly, had a death in the family (Carson's Daddy's side) on Friday I have not really had much time to put thought into a Baby Babble post this week. I felt it inappropriate to whip out the lappy and start bashing away at the keyboard, just in case any one wanted to visit or talk. Instead I was slowly drafting my posts on my mobile when waiting for a bottle to warm or when trying to sleep again after the night feed. Baby Babble, however, somehow missed the radar... say whaaaat?

So I have added an old post this week, which you can find at number 1 on the linky below.

So, just to remind you...

WHAT'S #BabyBabble 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!

> 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...

> As your host, I would expect you to visit and comment on my #BabyBabble post too (usually number 1 on the linky list)
> Giving and taking being a major drive for this linky, please comment on at least 4 other posts after commenting on 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.


Add your links below...

Simon Has The X Factor for Sudocrem!

When was the last time you saw a Daddy doing the coo'ing (and dealing with the poo'ing!) in a baby product advert?

Well, there was a time when Simon Cowell might have been a pin-up for a fashion brand but now in his new role as father to baby Eric, it seems he’s in demand by nappy cream brand Sudocrem who want him to star in a new TV advertising campaign.

The manufacturers of Sudocrem, Forest Laboratories say the idea was inspired by Ant and Dec who commented in OK magazine that Simon goes everywhere with a pot of Sudocrem.

“We hear he’s a fan of the brand and think he’s a fantastic role model for dads who want to be hands-on and share the childcare. The idea that nappy changing is something mums do is nonsense. In the 21st century, parenting is a shared experience right from day one."
Nick Lang, Senior Brand Manager at Forest.

The 30 second ad, which is currently in the development phase, would not only promote Sudocrem Care & Protect nappy cream but also educate parents on the nappy changing principles of ‘Clean, Dry, Apply’, an approach endorsed by leading health professionals including midwife Nikki Kahn.

“An estimated 80% of babies suffer from nappy rash because people don’t know how to change a nappy properly and a sore bum is sore and distressing for a baby"
Nick Lang, Senior Brand Manager at Forest.

“The best form of treatment is prevention and this three step programme should mean your baby is far less likely to suffer from nappy rash”
Nikki Khan, Midwife.

Sudocrem’s Clean, Dry, Apply could be renamed ‘Simple Simon’s Nappy Changing Rules’ if Mr Cowell approves but first he will be required to take guidance from other celebrities by watching the video created by parenting website Up All Hours...

“We’re really excited about the prospect of working with Simon. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him to show the nation his softer side and if it all goes ahead then it could reduce the incidence of nappy rashwhich is even better news for babies bottoms." 
Nick Lang, Senior Brand Manager at Forest.

For me, this news is bordering on 'ground breaking'. As I said at the beginning of this post, when was the last time you saw a Daddy figure feature in a baby product advert? I find it incredibly refreshing to see a brand hone in on the less stereotypical vision of a nappy change. It shows that this product is for anyone and everyone to buy and use, as long as baby's bum comes first.

Sudocrem Care & Protect is a nappy rash ointment - designed specifically for babies that offers TRIPLE PROTECTION against nappy rash at every nappy change. I recently reviewed this product myself and can honestly rate it right up there for baby skin protection. You can read all about my experience and thoughts of it HERE.

Visit www.sudocrem.co.uk for more information, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

*PR Collaboration*

*Review* Funky Giraffe Bibs

I don't know about the rest of you mummy's and daddy's out there but I despise poor bibs.
When I say poor bibs, I mean the ones that soak through when baby dribbles during feeding. When you take them off it looks like you never bothered in the first place. Cue change of clothes/vest and clean baby's neck before he starts smelling cheesy (bleurgh!)
When Funky Giraffe offered me the chance to choose a couple of bibs from their range I jumped at the chance of trying out their bandana bibs. With a 100% cotton front and a fleece backing, they promise to prevent dribble from soaking through. Sounds perfect!

carsomsmummy blog review funky giraffe bibs

Available in a variety of super adorable designs there is something for every baby and toddler. I chose the Funky Fishes, Rock Guitar and Football designs (world cup and all that!)

True to the claims, they are incredibly soft and quite thick too. Finley was comfortable wearing these bibs and remained 100% dry thoughout his dribbly feeds.


They washed just brilliantly and came out as soft as ever. This, coupled with the double poppers meaning you can adjust their fit as they grow, tells me that I will get a great length of use from Funky Giraffe Bandana bibs.

Not only for feeding, their soft finish and cool bandana fashion-style mean you can polish an, otherwise plain, outfit off with them too.

If bandana style bibs aren't your thing, Funky Giraffe's website makes it easy to find a style that you're after.

Currently, these bibs are £4 each but you can purchase 10 Funky Giraffe bibs for just£20 over on their site right now - that makes a 50% saving!! Massively worth investing in, in my opinion.

Go follow Funky Giraffe on twitter or facebook for the latest news and offers and why not tell them where you heard about their range whilst you're there?

*PSSSTT... They are now offering personalised bibs - cute!! More info on their facebook page so make sure to like them.*

We love Funky Giraffe!

Week 1: Weigh-in!

I've really enjoyed this week in terms of "dieting", simply because I haven't really! That's the beauty of the 5:2 plan!

My fast days were mostly satisfying and very easy to do thanks to LighterLifeFAST (see what I have thought of some of their fastpacks so far HERE).

The other 5 days were as normal. In fact, I had a fry up for brekky/lunch on Tuesday and we had takeaway pizza for tea on Thursday when Carson had his "fiancée" round for tea. So it's actually been a bit of a naughty week, in reality.

So... how have I done?

Start weight: 17st 5.8lb
Current weight: 17st 1.8lb
Weekly Loss: -4lb
Total Loss: 4lb

Chuffed much?! Clearly, the LighterLifeFAST has a big part to play in this loss given my otherwise treat filled week.

I really hope for more of the same next week, especially as I don't plan on takeaways! I've also got a new pram which is lighter than my original means I will be walking a lot more as it won't hurt my back and pelvis as much.

Wish me strength!

My 5:2 LighterLife FAST Days: Week 1.

As I explained last week I'm ready to shift some numbers from the scales and so I'm embarking on a one month trial of the 5:2 diet with LighterLife FAST. You can read about that HERE to get the drift but basically you eat as normal (treats and all!) for 5 days and fast for 2 days. Instead of calorie counting on fast days, Lighterlife FAST do the hard work for you in that all you need to do is choose 4 nutritionally balanced fastpacks on the day and that's it! You can buy the these fastpacks exclusively from Superdrug and there's a wide variety to choose from.

Week 1, Fast day 1.
The following is what Monday consisted of...

LighterLifeFAST Strawberry Shake.
I made it with slightly less water (200ml) than recommended (220ml) as I love thick shakes. I also used a hand blender to really thicken it up further.
DIVINE!! Tastes a cross between Angel Delight and McDonalds milkshake. Kept me feeling full for hours.

LighterLifeFAST Pasta Carbonara.
With a little added black pepper this was really tasty. The portion size is about the size I'd give Carson and I was dying to add a load of fresh salad or a big helping of cauliflower to bulk it out but I stayed strong! 
8/10 - Not very filling but a tasty dish with added seasoning.

LighterLifeFAST Vegetable Soup.
Extremely delicious.  Again, I used a blender to thicken it up.

LighterLifeFAST Crispy Peanut Bar
A toss up between a Mr Toms Peanut Brittle bar and a Rice Crispie Square, this was exactly the sweet finish I needed. Very filling too as it's quite dense.

I also had plenty of coffee and tea with a tiny splash of milk in the teas. 
I found not snacking easy until the Carbonara teased my belly. All I wanted was to fill my face with the nearest morsel! I had my final meal 2.5 hours later and was genuinely satisfied for the rest of the evening then.

Week 1, fast day 2.
Here's what Friday consisted of...

LighterLifeFAST Chocolate Shake.
Made with hand blender and less water, the consistency was perfect. But this did not taste like chocolate :( 
It has a distinct smell that I couldn't put my finger on until Hubby exclaimed "Hazlenut!"... he's right as well you know. That was the taste I'd been experiencing too. 
8/10 nice but not what you expect from a chocolate shake

LighterLifeFAST Spag Bol
I am so sad about this product. It was so salty it had me gagging. I tried to counteract the salt and add white pepper. This made it edible but really not nice.
2/10 shame really as the portion size was a little bigger than the carbonara too.

LighterLifeFAST Toffee Flavour Bar.
This was another welcome sweet dense bar that fills you up nicely. 
9/10 - kind of butterscotch-y aftertaste but welcomed!

Unfortunately we had a death in the family on Friday.  I did not want to stand over the microwave making tea, I just wanted something to grab so I had another Toffee Bar later in the evening.

Weigh in day is tomorrow. Eating normally for the other 5 days of the week mean I have no idea of what my loss could be this week... I'm really excited to find out!!


6 Week Review #BabyBabble

Finley had his 6 week review yesterday. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what it was to entail so I was actually quite nervous for him (and me - I'm not good with the unknown!)

Gutted that he fell asleep en-route to the GP's surgery because a) he'd had me awake from 2.40am SOLIDLY the night before and b) it was too hot to be faffing around dressing and undressing a tired baby when I, myself, hadn't had any sleep that night. But, hey ho. It had to be done. And I did it with a smile *and sweaty palms*

Firstly the nurse saw him. She took his head circumference and body length measurements, then weighed him.

Head Circ: 56.4cm
Length: 38.2cm
Weight: 11lb 1oz. << In 6 weeks he has gained 4.5lbs!! Ahhh, my lil' Milk Monster!

He was crying and wriggling and hot and sweaty.... and then wee'd. I popped him back in the pram with just his nappy on and had to then wait for the doctor.

Doc was lovely! Really very nice and put all nerves I may have had totally at ease. She twiddled his hips (don't like this, it always looks painful to me), checked his knackers (all ok thankfully!), listened to his heart (cue screams of terror at the cold ring on his chest) and danced a pink highlighter pen above his head to trace his eye path. Finley wee'd again, this time for the doc. Charmed!


He's perfect! His measurements above place his slap bang on the 50th centile so I shouldn't feel that he's been drinking too much or that taking the decision to put him on hungrier baby formula was a bad choice.  It was clearly the right one! Felt a bit of a wally having been so nervous beforehand now so - any new mums out there - take note. Do not be afraid!

I've tried to catch Fin's smile and laugh (ok, more of a coo!) on camera but I'm failing miserably! He's been doing it for the last 2 weeks and I'm still yet to get a good'un so I've decided to stop trying so I can just enjoy when he does it instead of ruining it by reaching for the phone, panicking I'll miss it.

carsonsmummy blog, baby first smiles, 6 week review, newborn smiling

He's growing up too fast. As much as I want him to sleep through the night, I don't want to wish these days away. Is it really possible to be broody again when your new baby is only 6 weeks old...??


The Gro Company Giveaway's Winners!

I owe you guys some winners from the Gro-Light giveaway (HERE) and the Gro-Anywhere Blind giveaway (HERE) so...

Congratulations to Stephanie Cheung-Tsang (@pookybearcheung) 
You have been drawn as the winner of the Gro-Light!


Congratulations to Beth (@twinderelmo) 
You have been drawn the winner of the Gro-Anywhere Blind!

I'll be in touch shortly for your details to pass over to The Gro Company and have your prizes fulfilled as soon as possible.

To those who haven't won this time, keep trying! There are plenty of other competitions for you to enter at the moment including:

Ends: 21/06/2014 *3 days left*
Win an OXO Tot Bottle Drying Rack

Ends: 24/06/2014
Win £25 e-voucher for the Baby B range

Ends: 05/07/2014
Win an Elevease Shower Step complete with Beauty Hamper worth €50

A big thank you to all of you who enter and share my competitions, you help make my blog what it is today. 
So, good luck to each and every one of you! 

Love Jo xx

Starting the 5:2 plan with LighterLifeFAST #tryfast

I wrote about me feeling ready to start losing weight the other week so I hauled out the scales to weigh myself this morning.
I was pleasantly surprised to see I've already lost 13lb in the 6 weeks since I gave birth, without really trying. That said, I fully appreciate my uterus has been shrinking down during that time and I was also carrying excess water etc so it's not a true reflection of my weight or loss!

I am a big believer of not dieting, but rather a lifestyle change. Making healthy choices and trying to move a bit more in the process.  Granted, the movement part is still difficult but I will be attempting a lot more walks, even at a snails pace if I have to!

So, the 5:2 plan sounds right up my street. Eat totally normally for 5 days and a calorie controlled 'fast' on 2 other days. Any days too, so I'm not regimented in any way whatsoever. I have the freedom to swap and change my fasting days as and when appropriate, to fit around my life, and I still get have pudding 5 days a week.  Boom!

It's super important to ensure I'm getting all my nutritional needs when I'm fasting. Not only for my health's sake but also my mental well being.  With getting up several times throughout the night with Finley, I cannot afford to be sluggish and lacking any vitamins.

This is were LighterLifeFAST comes in to play. Promising to provide all nutritional needs on my fast days, I simply choose 4 fastpacks throughout the day and I don't have to worry about anything lacking - or calorie counting for that matter!

LighterLifeFAST have very kindly provided me with one month's supply of fastpacks so I can give the 5:2 plan a whirl and see how I find it. Currently, their products are entirely exclusive to Superdrug so have a nose HERE

So today, I am beginning my journey and my scales show the following...

I hope to weigh in next Monday and see a healthy loss. Given I'm able to eat as normal on the other 5 days I am unsure of the amount of weight loss to anticipate this week but as long as it comes off, not on, and I do not suffer nutritionally, I'll be pleased.

I'll be letting you know what the fastpacks taste like over the course of the next month too.

So that's it, I've shared my weight and my body profile in the 'before' picture I've made in anticipation of a result of some kind to compare it to in 1 month's time. All that's left to do now is get on with it....
Fingers crossed!!

Brotherly Love #babybabble

Being an only child for almost 6 years, the introduction of a brother for Carson was bringing all kinds of worries in the run up to Finley being born (I touched on that HERE)
He'd shown loving signs of excitement but also many signs of annoyance and, with Carson undergoing assessments this last year for Autism/Aspergers, it really was a concern that I tried hard to suppress to others.

How would he react: Would he be jealous? Would he become very demanding?
On the otherhand, would be become possessive and overly obsessed with the baby?

I am exceptionally pleased to say that, with Finley now 5 weeks old, Carson has taken to being a brother like a duck to water.
He is so very much in love with Finley. It melts my heart when I see him reach for Finley's dummy to soothe him if he's crying, of his own accord. (He calls himself the dummy master - so cute!)

He plays with Finley by talking 'Baby Babble' and coochycoochycoo-ing his cheekys with his finger. Anything he can do to help he does. He's even involved in nappy changes by carefully teasing open the nappy bag grabbing the dirty nappy with his hand in the bag and flipping it inside out ready to be tied up and binned.

You may remember that Carson had once asked how we come to love someone (it was a question I was stumped in answering! Read about that HERE). So, I asked him yesterday - How do you feel about Finley being in our family? His answer was adorable... "it's like he's been here forever and now he even smiles at me! I love my baby brother SO much"

Proudest mummy moment to this day!


Father's Day at ASDA

Badge rrp £1
Being on maternity leave this year for Father's Day, we agreed 'no presents'. Father's Day can get so expensive and I'd rather spend that money on the kids if I'm honest.

Having said that, there's no need to break the bank with ASDA's exclusive range of gifts available online at direct.asda.com or in-store now.

From pocket-money "No.1 Dad" Badges for a quid, to the PS3/X-Box FIFA World Cup game for £37 there is something for everyone's budget.

Which is great because Carson is insistent on spending his own piggy bank pennies on his Daddy... a grand total of £4.26 thus far! He really is such a thoughtful little boy.

Is the Dad in your life a Star Wars fan? (Hang on, what Dad doesn't like Star Wars?) You can grab goodies like these at a very good price indeed.

carsonsmummy, blog review, star wars, lightsaber pens, passport holder luggage tag gift set

Passport Holder & Luggage Tag Gift Set is £7 so if Dad is looking to go away this Summer, you can kill 2 birds with one stone by getting these in his fave design. The Darth Vadar Keyring doubles up as a torch when you press his mouth and at £3 - a steal! The Lighstaber Pens (£4) wouldn't look out of place anywhere because, let's face it, can we get much cooler than a lightsaber pen?!

Passport Holder & Luggage Tag Gift Set rrp £7, Torch Keyring rrp £3, NotePad, Lighsaber Pens rrp £4

Don't worry if Star Wars isn't Dad's thang, there's plenty other gifts to choose from: 

Working Daddy? Spice up his lunch by turning his sandwich into a 'manwich' with the HP Butty Box for a mere fiver.

HP Sandwich Box rrp £5
Check out the retro iphone 5 cassette cases for a trip down memory lane. Oof, talk about reliving your youth! I'd love one of these myself!
iPhone 5 Cassette Case rrp £5

If Dad isn't easy to buy for, why not opt for a gift card instead? ASDA stock gift cards from iTunes to Boots, from George to Pizza Express. There's a dedicated gift section online or you can browse the aisles in-store. I'm sure you'll find what you need.

Remember - Father's Day is Sunday 15th June in UK so be quick!

What are you doing for the Dad in your life this Father's Day?

*I was not paid for this post, however I did receive the Star Wars samples FOC.

May's Nonabox Review

I've been been participating in some Nonabox reviews of late and after my total glee at April's box contents (read about that HERE) I was very excited to receive May's box.

As previously, I was greeted with the ever beautiful presentation box (which I now use as an open topped storage box on a shelf in my bedroom - they look fab!)

At first I was 'ooh-ing' and 'aahh-ing' checking each and every item out carefully, but in actual fact my heart sank a little when it was over in all of about 90 seconds as there wasn't all that much to ogle at.

I unravelled the ribbon and opened it up to find the following...

carsonsmummy, blog review, nonabox, may nonabox contents

MaByLand wipe case RRP £3
OK, I get why some people would want a wipe case and would find this great value for money in keeping things neat in their change bags. But, for me, £3 couple buy another 2 packets of actual wipes so I would never spend my money on this!

Berry White Drink RRP £1.69
An organic flavoured water, basically. It tasted lovely but, again, I'm afraid I wouldn't pay the price they retail at considering you get the same amount as a can of coke in each bottle (330ml)

carsonsmummy, blog review, box upon a time hat and bib set, may nonabox contents
Box Upon a Time Bib & Hat Set - Unavailable to purchase.
This was my favourite item this month, it's absolutely adorable and of great quality too. Finley doesn't cry when I pop this hat on his head. I do like the fact that you can't buy this set anywhere as it is because it makes my lil' monkey a bit unique.

Having said that, I would have purchased some others if I could but on closer inspection I find that Box Upon a Time is actually a subscription service - similar to that of Nonabox.

Although I do LOVE this set and am thankful I received it this month, I also feel that it's little more than a promotion for another company - so I'm not quite sure why Nonabox would feel it's within the monetary value that service users pay them for their boxes.

Shea Mooti Mama's Everything Body Balm RRP £16.99
This is nice! This is really nice!
It smells lovely and feels like satin on your skin. I had a quick nosey online to read more into this product and found that you can use it on yourself, babies, even on your lips.
Quite the balm for me - the less tubes and pots I have in my house the better, far too much clutter around since Finley was born!

Aquaint Spray RRP £2.49
This is anti-bacterial in that it contains natural acid found in the human body to kill bacteria so it's completely safe to spray on dummies and teats as well as body parts too.

I keep this in the living room next to Fin's 'changing station' so I can freshen up his face, or spritz his bum with after doing his nappy.

*** ADDITIONALLY, There was also a packet of name tag sticker samples in there - although they were rendered useless as they all said "My Baby". Again, a promotional inclusion I feel. ***

My honest opinion?
Sadly this doesn't live up to April's box. The value of this months box equates to there or thereabouts of your £25 fee so you're no worse off but it's not got items that I would spend that money on.

Had I been a long standing paying customer, I'd have been sad.
Had it have been my first box as a customer, I'd have been rather annoyed.

That said, I have discovered 2 new products that I would buy again in Aquaint and Shea Mooti. And my Finley's hat and bib has gotten a few cute compliments too.

But I'm hoping my final installment of the review period, in June's box, will blow me away like April did. Not just 'satisfied'.

What did you think of May's Nonabox?

Winner Announcement plus My #BetterwithBRITA Recipe

Last month, I blogged about the Better with BRITA Campaign (if you missed it, read it HERE first) where budding kitchen maestro's can win the chance to 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.

But first, you have to enter your recipe with the hope of being short-listed to go to London and cook for the judges first (eeep exciting!)

I'm not a great cook, but I endeavour to provide healthy meals for my family as best as I can. Here is my recipe for a Chunky Chicken and Veg Soup - this is perfect to make using Sunday Dinner leftovers and it is so simple to make... yet unbelievably tasty, particularly now I've made it with BRITA Filtered water. It seems to enhance the flavours in a massive way, giving a clearer taste. It's no surprise though, no longer does my base ingredient have chlorine and metals etc in thanks to BRITA!

carsonsmummy, better with BRITA, blog recipes

Leftover Chicken (here I used Breast)
Veg of choice (here I used frozen brocolli, green beans, carrots and cabbage)
Tin Butter beans
2 Stock cubes
Salt & Pepper
1litre BRITA Filtered Water

> Bring the BRITA Filtered Water to the boil in your pan
> Add the 2 stock cubes and diced potatoes
> Leave to boil rapidly for 5 minutes to soften the spuds
> Add the beans and veg with a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper
> Pop lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes

Most of the veg will have fallen apart, along with the potatoes too. The smell is invigorating - just like a roast dinner! Serve with buttered crusty cob for a real mouth-wateringly good hearty meal.

Optional: Stuffing flakes added half way through simmering will add another dimension to your soup.
Optional: Keep it chunky or blend for a smoother soup but with all the taste.

So there you have it, my water based recipe that packs a punch!

If you have a recipe that you would like to enter in to the #BetterWithBRITA competition then you can do so HERE but remember, you only have until 30th June to get those entries in ... so, QUICK! ... and GOOD LUCK!!

Do leave the links to your water based recipe entries below, 
I would LOVE to take a look. 

In my last BRITA Post, I also held a giveaway to win a Marella BRITA Water Jug, in order to create such water based dishes of your own. 
I am pleased to announce the winner was CHRISTY BECKETT - Congratulations!

Elevease Shower Step *Review and Giveaway*

Being pregnant creates all kinds of havoc with the shaving of your legs or painting your toenails doesn't it! I remember being in the throws of labour, feet in stirrups, looking at my legs thinking "the shame!". In the harsh strip lighting of the hospital, my legs looked like a newborn animal - fuzzy, downy... just monstrously hairy!! I guess out of sight, out of mind. But the moment I realised how much they needed doing, is the moment I wished I'd tried harder to manoeuvre around that bump.

Elevease shower step is a handy item designed to help women, not only in my predicament, but for anyone who struggles to bend or reach down to their legs and feet whilst in the shower. Basically, It does what it says on the box.

carsonsmummy, elevease shower step review, shave legs pregnant

I was kindly sent one to give you all my thoughts, so here goes...

Firstly, the packaging.  Very 1990's. If I had the decision on whether to buy one as a gift for someone based purely on packaging alone - it doesn't stand out from the crowd unfortunately.

That said, the concept is so viable that you should look past the packaging.

Contents are the step itself (you can choose from white and chrome, I opted for white to match my tiles!) and a tube of adhesive.

Application is surprisingly simple. Apply the adhesive to the step and hold in desired place for 3 minutes. Then allow it to dry securely for a further 24hours, just to create a strong bond. You can't allow anyone in the home to take a shower or steamy bath in this period of time else it could compromise it's staying power.

I was nervous to put my weight on the step at first but had nothing to worry about! It made shaving my legs super easy even though my bump is no longer there. I'm still overcomig SPD so bending and twisting is very much a problem for me.

It just goes to show that anyone can make use of this product, male or female, pregnant or not. Perhaps you've had a c-section or any other operation recently, maybe you have a bad back or have pulled your shoulder and can't stretch. Or perhaps your shower cubicle is short on space which makes bending difficult.

It's not just for leg shaving either, leg and foot care in general. With summer coming too, painted toenails or a bit of fake tan on your pins are a simple task with Elevease Shower Step.

Because I can't snap myself whilst in position (trust me, I tried!) Checkout Elevease's YouTube video:

Priced at just €16.99 for the white or €23.99 for the chrome I think it's uses provide real value for money. It also looks seamless in your bathroom, which is just as important!

Elevease.com have kindly offered  20% discount using coupon code CARSON so why not grab one whilst you can?

There is also the chance for one of my readers to win an Elevease Shower Step of your very own plus a beauty hamper worth €50 and this is for my readers worldwide! Just complete the rafflecopter widget below and you're in to win!

1. This is open WORLDWIDE!
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 5th July 2014.
5. Winners details will be passed to Elevease for dispatch of your prize.
6. Please allow 28 days for delivery.
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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Alleviating Pain with Deep Freeze Patches *review*

I gave birth 5 weeks ago, as you're all aware. I'm still sore and continue to struggle on a daily basis - not only with SPD but particularly with my back as I attempt to regain my posture and shift my centre of gravity back to where it belongs!

For me, my usual solution is to sit on my bum with a hot water bottle tucked under my top and into my jeans. The problem is that it's not practical! I can't do this outside, and I can't sit around on my jaxsy all the day long when there's a 5 year old school boy and a 5 week old baby in the vicinity, not to mention the housework and ironing that needs doing. Hmmf.

I was sent a couple of Deep Freeze Cold Patch samples to try out. Now these are the complete opposite to a hot water bottle so I was a little nervous as to how cold therapy (cryotherapy) would help my lower back and pelvis.

The patch is like a large jelly like plaster. You can wear it for 3 hours of relief anywhere on the body and it COMPLETELY safe to use whilst pregnant and/or breastfeeding too. Much more preferable than oral painkillers for most women, me included.

carsonsmummy, pain relief, cryotherapy, deep freeze cold patch review

The patch sticks very well, but did roll a little with my jeggings - this was due to the position of pain though and after I had fixed it twice, I forgot all about it's presence thereafter (so much so that I jumped out my skin when undressing that night, wondering what the hell it was that was stuck to my back!!)

It tingles. And it tingles beautifully! The way I would describe the intense cold is similar to having extra strong mints in your mouth, but on your skin. The intense minty cool feeling literally overrides any deep pain you have.

You can purchase these from any good pharmacies plus ASDA, Boots, Morrisons, Superdrug, Sainsburys & Tesco and priced at £1.55 each, or a pack of 4 for £5.10 I would recommend these. Definitely.
Not just to expectant mummies either, anyone who suffers from muscular aches and pains or swollen ankles etc. They don't need to be stores anywhere special so you can whack one in your bag for handy pain relief on the go. You won't be disappointed using these patches and I would, quite happily, guarantee that too.

Have you used anything like this before? 
Would you in the future?

Making up bottles... #BabyBabble

So many different guidlines to follow, a lot of them can be rather contradicting in my opinion too and, having made the decision to formula feed Finley, it is stressing me out!

The basics:
  • Wash bottles thoroughly in hot soapy water with a bottle and teat brush.
  • Sterilise the bottles.
  • Boil fresh water in the kettle and leave to cool (not any longer than 30 minutes to ensure it is hot enough 'sterilise' the formula - 70C)
  • Use 30ml of water per level scoop of formula.

Back when Carson was a baby I was told by the health visitor that it was acceptable to make up the day's worth of bottles and store them in the back of fridge, warming as required throughout the day.
  • To warm the bottle, place in a jug of boiling water and test the milk on your inner wrist. 
  • If it feels OK to you, it will be perfect for baby. 
  • Once the bottle has been touched by baby - any left after 2 hours must be discarded. This worked perfectly for me. 
  • Any feed remaining in the fridge after 24 hours MUST be discarded.

Now I'm told to make 'on demand'. Never pre-make a batch of bottles for baby. URGH!!

Aside from being inconvenient when out and about, this is making my entire day revolve around his feeds. When a newborn requires a feed every 2-3 hours, I'm not kidding you. Your entire day is consumed. Not to mention the dreaded night feeds. No more whipping one out of the fridge and warming to room temp in the trusty old jug of boiling water. Nope!

You can't even sterilise your bottles in batches either because, if using a microwave steriliser, once you've opened it up to retrieve one bottle - the rest will only be sterile for approx 4 hours. So sterilising 2 bottles at a time is even pushing it.
Luckily for me, I use the solo steriliser from Milton (that I reviewed HERE) with cold water and sterilising tablets. This way, when I take one bottle out I can place a pre-washed bottle back in ready for next time.
But that still leaves the mega-drama of waiting for the boiled kettle to cool enough to make up the formula, and then placing in a cold jug of water to cool further for baby's delicate little mouth - all whilst baby is screaming half of the street down "I WANT MY BOTTLE WAAAAAAAAA!!" Talk about pure stress!
OK, so there are ready feeds that you can buy, but at Finley's age - he ain't gunna be drinking the full 200ml that they come as and I have to discard any that hasn't been used. So, at 60-odd pence a bottle it gets quite expensive to say the least, never mind wasteful.

So I researched online and came across a handy PDF from the World Health Organisation (I found it HERE) .... and guess what? I can ignore my Health Visitor! 

It is perfectly safe to pre-make a batch of bottles and store in the fridge (no warmer than 5C)

Just make sure that once you've made them up they are cooled quickly and stored at the back of the fridge, and for no longer than 24hours.

Hope I helped someone out there... this has massively reduced my stress-load anyway.


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Carson's Version of Weekday Names!

This made me laugh the other day
(even his very good poor impression of me on "moan-day" complete with waddle and grimace!)

My week... by Carson, 5.
Showing the week who's boss, 
dictated by Carson, age 5.

Moan-day.....   "Oh, Look at me, I'm mum... I have a sore back"
MUM: *cheeky little....* Nah, fair cop! Every day is a moan-day these days.

Choose-day.....   "I get what I want 'cuz I choose it - heee!"

Wins-day.....   "The lottery is on wins-day"

Thirst-day.....   "You must drink plenty of drink"
MUM: ho ho ho! fine by me son, fine by me! *Reaches for the Rioja* :-)

Fry-day.....   "No salad for me on a Friday!"
MUM: Go on then, bacon butties all round!

Sat-on-day.....   "This means I get to sit on things"
MUM: What ...like my arse? Yes please!

Sun-day.....   "It should be sunny on a Sunday"
MUM: Yeah, well - welcome to UK!

He's pretty much nailed the perfect week BUT If I had my way, I'd make 3 changes:

Mum-day ............. For obvious reasons
Free-day ............. Money doesn't grow on trees
Sitter-day ............ Oh for a night out once a month - never mind once a week!

What's weekday names would you go for?

....... Now pass the rioja - it's Thirst-day in this household ;-)

Losing baby weight...

Watching the news recently I've seen some rather condescending reports about most new mums feeling pressure to lose their baby weight. Particularly down to celebs' quick turnaround times and the fact that every glossy mag going will feature their amazing transformation.

Am I the only person, new mum specifically, that thinks this is utter tosh? My life is non-comparable to that of a multi-millionaire with personal trainers, in-house chefs and nannies galore. So why would I feel the need to be like them with regards to my weight loss.

Yes, I have a saggy belly and droopy boobs. Christ! I have a second chin that practically flaps about the place when I walk against the wind! But I only want to lose weight for me. So I can feel good about myself. Just like sweeping your lashes with mazzy can make you feel better about yourself, or shaving your legs.

In no way, shape or form do I feel pressured by celebs and the media. I have just fired out a human being from my woo for God's sake. If people think I'm sh*t because I can't lose it all on the cabbage soup diet by the time my baby is 2 weeks old, well sod 'em. Why do they even care? Have they nothing better to do with their lives than gossip about the fatty who just had a kid?

All that said though, I am ready to get losing my excess. But I'll be doing so because I have made the decision to take control back. I was almost housebound by the time Finley was born, what with my SPD, but I am slowly gaining back mobility and I want to get myself healthy for the sake of my kids.

I've a lot of weight to lose but there's a lot more health benefits to gain so watch this space for the return of #WeighInWednesdays - it won't be long before I share more hideous pictures, brace yourselves!!

Mums - What if your baby wasn't your baby?

I read a heartbreaking news article today, about two mums finding out that their 4 year old girls weren't their's but, in fact, each others.

Apparently they had been accidentally swapped shortly after birth at a hospital in South Africa. The truth only outed after a doubt from one of the father's over paternity.

As I was reading this story I felt a huge sadness deep inside my belly. As if this wasn't difficult enough, the story gets worse. One mum wants her biological daughter back and the other mum wants to keep the daughter she's raised.

It's an unthinkable dilemma.  I was absolutely stuck for an opinion because it's an impossible decision for any woman to have to go through making.

On the one hand, as a mother you grew your baby for 9 months. Your baby is a physical piece of you. You went through all of the emotions of pregnancy and, of course, the birth. That baby is the closest thing in the world to actually being you.

On the flip side, you attach yourself so strongly to your little one when they're here. Finley is less than 4 weeks old and I already get his personality! You know their cries, what comforts them, what they dislike.
You do all you can for that helpless little person.  Then, as they grow, you provide their entire little world.
They have your accent or tone, they have independence in what they do or how they think because *you* made it possible. At 4 years of age, you've created a mini maestro; their own opinions forming and their individual talents shining through. You've conversed for hours, teaching them the principles of life, from non - discrimination of others to stranger danger.

My heart aches for these mums, and the children themselves.

As there is dispute over 'who gets who', a court will decide the girls' fate. I would hate to be that judge. Can you imagine?

I think if I had to think of the fairest resolution, I would suggest the girls remain where they are but introduce gradual contact with the biological mum, increasing as they grow older when they can begin to understand this situation. I think, at 4yrs old, it would be pretty easy to introduce a new person in their lives. The problem with this scenario is how it will affect the mums given they both want different outcomes.

I thank my lucky stars that I am not faced with this with my children. I simply cannot comprehend the enormity of this sad, sad, happening so can't comment on what I'd do. But I wondered if anyone else can envisage a 'happy ending' and how they would come that?

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