Sunday, 14 December 2014

EASY PEASY CHRISTMAS WRAPPING DIY


Gahh can you believe it's less than two weeks to Christmas?! I'd love to tell you I'm all ready for it but that would be a downright lie, and moi is hosting Christmas this year (eek!), for the first time ever (double eek!). I wonder if my family are as nervous as I am?! ;)

Sooooo, if like me you've still to buy half your presents and wrap them, I thought I'd share with you a little easy, peasy DIY. Do it yourself, you gasp. Like you haven't got enough already to do, right?! But I promise it is so super easy, cheap and a nice little personal touch to your presents.

All you need is a paper roll (mine is from Ikea, a huge roll at just £3), washi tape (also Ikea), bakers twine, and a good ole Sharpie pen.

Oh and on a side note, can I just say how amazing washi tape is when wrapping gifts, GAME CHANGER! None of the endlessly searching for the end of the sellotape and then ending up taping yourself more than the gift itself. A quick tear of washi tape and your present is wrapped before you know it. Oh washi tape, how I love thee.

Anyhoo, I'll stop rambling, if I go on it really will be Christmas.


What makes this an even easier DIY is that you can do it as you wrap your presents, so you kill two birds with one stone. Simply cut the paper to the size you'll need for your gift. 

With your sharpie pen you could create any design you wanted. I personally went for a repeat design of Christmas words and phrases.

noel  /  joy  /  ho ho ho  /  santa baby


There you have it, a simple DIY, with a personal touch. I wish I could claim the tags were my own, but that would be another downright lie, jeez who's got time to make their own gift tag?! ;) They are from Marks and Spencer :)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

FOOD FOR THOUGHT




Hi, my name is, Tired.

Or you can call me, Broken Record.

I'll let you decide, I'm too tired to ;)

Apologies if this post doesn't make much sense, and please ignore my grammar and spelling mistakes. As I clearly do :p

So yep, back to tiredness...

Hardly surprising you might think with a toddler and a baby, although they are a big part of my tiredness I'm actually to blame as well. You see, I've been running on empty recently, like literally. In my rush to make sure the boys are fed, watered and happy, I've been forgetting about myself.

Mama needs to eat too!!!

And I ain't talking about your kid's mushy, slobbery leftovers. I'm talking proper meals!!! It's only been in the last few weeks I've really let this slip, ironically as Archie has started weaning it seems I've put myself on the crappiest diet of all. It's all rushed snacks and cups of coffee. I'm on caffeine, sugar highs and then, you know it, low, low lows. Throw in cracking headaches and I knew I needed to sort myself out.

I used to always meal plan, and that is something I have definitely let go as our busy lives have got busier. So I'm going back to basics. Meal planning done, A cook off in our kitchen like the good old days happened this week. Casseroles, soups, and lots of lovely purees for Archie boy, are all currently taking up our fridge and freezer.

Food for thought. Lots and lots of food!

As a result I've had so much more energy this week and zero headaches. I'm still tired, of course I am, my big cook off does not magically make a toddler and baby sleep through the night, I wish! I do however no longer feel sick tired. My energy levels are so much better, and I don't get to midday anymore and feel completely exhausted, only mildly so ;)

This week has been about remembering that I'm important too. Yes, the boys are my top priority but that doesn't mean forgetting about my own needs also. Balance is key, and I'm on the road to figuring out this new routine of ours.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

MILESTONES - TALKING THE TALK


Milestones.

As parents we expect them. We wait for them. We talk about them. We obsess about them, and then without even realising we compare them too.

Oh my child is crawling.

My child is walking.

My child is talking.

My child........and the list goes on.

We're all guilty of it. That chance to brag about our child's achievements. Who can blame us, that pride has got to burst out of somewhere, right?!

But what about when they don't hit a particular milestone? What then?

For us with Caleb that has been speech. From the youngest age Caleb has talked in his own language, wonderful big stories, facial expressions and hand gestures galore. Everyone told us, he'll be an early talker.

Quite the opposite in fact.

His own personal language remains with just a handful of actual words thrown in. What has grown and developed (thankfully) is his understanding of language. That eased our initial worry massively, but as we passed the two and half year old stage I knew we wanted to seek outside help. Thanks to our lovely Health Visitor we were referred to a Speech Therapist. We were told we should expect to wait up to two months for an appointment but received an appointment pretty much straight away.

I was intrigued and nervous about the appointment. I was eager to hear if there was anything we could be doing to help Caleb, but I also had that niggling feeling of guilt. Is it down to us that Caleb's speech is delayed? Could we have been doing more?

At the appointment I was met with zero judgement, our Speech Therapist listened as I brought her up to speed, and then she sent us away with a rather simple method. She recommended that we allow Caleb to choose an activity every day and for us to play with him for about 10 minutes (anymore and they may tire of it), and whilst we do so we are to narrate the play.

At first I thought, well we do that already.

What we do, however, is make a very common mistake that most parents make that have a child with delayed speech, and that is overloading Caleb with language as we play. Instead we should only narrate the play at the level at which Caleb is speaking. So for us that is only one to two words. This is something we absolutely have not been doing, we did in the early days when Caleb was much younger, but as his understanding of language has grown, and his speech didn't in our panic we've thought we should talking more. All this is doing is overwhelming Caleb, and not giving him the chance to pick up on new words for himself.

So here we are, at the start of our journey. One that may be long and equally may not. Only time will tell, but I'm so pleased we are heading in the right direction.

Anyone else who finds themselves in our shoes, don't beat yourself up, and absolutely don't be afraid to ask for help. Every child is different and will hit their own personal milestones when they are ready, and with some of those milestones they may just need a little help.

You can totally remind me about this post when I complain that Caleb never shuts up ;)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

MY BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY


So, that is us over five months in now. They hand medals out at this stage right?!

Oh, what an incredible journey it has been for the most part, but my goodness also one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

You see, Mr Archie boy decided a couple of months ago that he no longer would take a bottle (with expressed milk, might I add :/ ). The timing could not have been worse. I was starting to hit a brick wall with the feeding and felt if Mikey was able to give him just a few bottles it would alleviate some of the pressure off me and help me continue breastfeeding for the foreseeable future, rather than me being forced to throw in the towel due to exhaustion. But Archie took the bottle card off the table and with no extra boobs about, the job was solely on my shoulders, hmmm or boobs rather ;)

It was the four month feeding stage that threw me through a loop, like seriously it even made the early feeding weeks seem like a walk in the park. At four months old Archie was big and looking for a feed every two hours!! Day AND night.

I managed to last three weeks in that routine, medaless (totally a word ;). I knew it was unsustainable though and if it continued like that something was going to have to give. As when it comes to feeding Archie, it's not just him I have to think about it's our family as a whole, and we all know an exhausted mama is good for nobody. NOBODY.

Here's the thing though, as much as I was exhausted, I wasn't ready to stop breastfeeding. Yes, the nights were gruelling, but the daytime feeds made our life quite easy and flexible. I'm a walking, talking food source. No need to plan ahead and certainly no more extra baggage on our day's out. Lord knows, I don't need to be packing and carrying anymore stuff than I already do now for a toddler and a baby. I swear my back. Soooo not friends with me as it is already. Also did I mention in the midst of my moaning that I love breastfeeding?! More than I ever thought I would. That said though I knew for the sake of us as an entire family something did need to change.

We needed a new plan. 

That still involved boobs!

Plan B

The Eviction.

That's right at 5 months old poor Archie got turfed out of our room. The decision that although felt harsh (and a little devastating, as that means he's not a baby baby anymore) I knew was needed. I had a sneaking suspicion his multiple wake ups at night were becoming habit rather than necessity. Plus little Mr was starting to cut down on his feeds in the day (turns out daytime is far more interesting than night time) and save the bulk of his feeds for the night. Alone with mama, snuggled up in the dark, with a fully stocked milk bar, of course he was going wake up every two hours, who wouldn't!

Eviction notice it was then, with guaranteed VIP access to the milk bar when needed, obvs ;), and surprise, surprise we had a sleeping baby. Now I want to give Archie a medal for that!

Another element that has helped with the relentless feeding has been baby rice, and boy was Archie happy about the introduction of that, which makes me look forward to introducing other foods in the not so distant future. 

In the thick fog of the four month feeding frenzy, I really couldn't understand how women continued to feed past this stage, some for years to come, but now that I'm in the light at the end of the tunnel I realise how much easier it becomes. Archie's feeds are now much more spread out and completely manageable with our busy lifestyle. Soon he'll be eating food and only looking for a morning and evening feed from me. It's a day I don't want to come around too quickly. As although I've said it's one of the hardest thing I've ever done, the good outweighs the bad a million times over, and I know as many mothers have told me, I will miss it badly one day. Those moments in the dead of night, when it feels like it's just him and me in the whole wide world, snuggled warmly against each other. I know I'll go on to treasure these moments forever, and I'll even miss the moments when I was so tired I thought I would cry. Who am I kidding, the moments I actually did cry.

I love this journey we're on together, Archie.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

RETAIL THERAPY FOR A MAMA OF TWO



I've shopped online for years, it used to be when I couldn't get an item in store I would then search in hope on the net. Now however, online shopping is my MAIN way of shopping. Yep, turns out toddlers ain't the biggest fans of retail therapy, throw a baby into the mix and forget about it ;)

So most of my shopping happens from the comfort of my own couch, coffee in hand, debit card in the other, oh and Archie attached to my boob. You know how it goes ;)

In actual fact, online shopping has spurred the bargain hunter in me once more (I was an avid thrifter in my pre-kids days) as it's now so easy to find the products you love at the best possible prices. Although, I am still an old fashioned shopper at heart and do get weary of purchasing from sites I'm not familiar with when it comes to the big purchases. Therefore, I like to stick with the well established companies, especially those that offer a price match, one such site is, Babydino.com. It has everything from pushchairs, to nursery furniture, toys, bedding, and the list goes on. All your baby needs under one roof and the knowledge that they will match the most competitive prices out there. As a customer I really like that. We are flooded nowadays with so many online shops and retailers it gets overwhelming. Give me a site where I feel like a valued customer and where I know I'm getting the best price possible and I'll keep coming back.

I mentioned above they sold prams too. Boy, oh boy, do I wish I knew about this site back when we pram shopped for Caleb. We didn't plan to have two babies so close together so didn't give any of the strollers that could be converted into a double a second glance, it seemed nonsensical to us. Who's laughing now :/

At Babydino, if you purchase your stroller with them and your circumstances change or you no longer need your pram anymore they offer a buy back service. How good is that?! You can read more about that here. I think this is a cracking idea and is something we absolutely would have used. Team that with the price match promise and I really think this is the go to site for your pushchair. They've got all the big brands not to mention the new Babyzen Yoyo pushchair. Have you heard of Babyzen?


Okay, I'm a little excited by this brand and keep talking to my mama friends about it. I've got my eye on it for when Caleb well and truly ditches the pram and it's just Archie to push around. It's a pushchair, that wait for it, can be folded down, has a strap and can be carried on your shoulder!!!

A pram bag, now that is the stuff of pram dreams right there.

I can just see it making city life and travelling near and far so much easier, it's also small enough to be stored in most overhead cabin compartments on flights. No waiting to get your stroller at baggage control. Can you tell I'm all for baby products that make life so much easier?! ;) Oh and it looks good to, yep, you know me, I like a nice looking stroller ;)

If you're purchasing this stroller for a newborn than Babyzen Yoyo 0+ is suitable from birth and includes a newborn nest for your little one to snuggle in. I find this particularly amazing that such a lightweight and compact pram can offer the comfort and support for a newborn, it really does make it the ultimate city pram. Once you're baby is 6 months plus you can purchase the seat base and colour pack separately to convert it into a pram to see your baby through to the toddler years. If you're baby is 6 months upwards already then the Babyzen Yoyo is the one you want and you can read more here about that particular model.

That's the wondrous thing about online, you get to hear about all the new products that are out or due to come out, and for me that's thanks to blogging and my babies no longer allowing me to shop on the high street ;)

If like myself you've always got your eyes peeled for the next big thing in baby products you can like Babydino's facebook page here to keep you updated.

I mean when there is a pram bag out there, what is next?! ;)


Thanks to a little distraction known as Caleb and Archie my online shopping never gets out of hand ;)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A BLOG BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF SORTS!


Well bliggity blog, that's our blog over a year and a half old now. What started as a way to keep my side of the family updated on Caleb has became so much more for me. It has become my creative outlet, my place to vent, to figure out this amazing and tricky journey that is motherhood, not to mention put me in touch with some amazing people. I don't think when I pressed publish on my very first post that I realised just what a good thing this would be for me.

So a year and a half in, our family is now a four, and my love of documenting our journey is still going strong. There was a moment back there just after Archie was born were I thought about bidding this little space farewell. I just didn't have the time nor the head space to sit down and write, so I didn't, and guess what? I missed it. Turns out a little brain exercise that does not include drool, spit up and nappies is rather good for my soul ;)

For now we're here to stay in the land of blog, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read my ramblings ;). Alongside my usual baby brain ramblings  I've got exciting plans for this little space of ours too. As this blog has grown, so have I, and although the direction of our blog will always, always be about us as a family and how we tackle life as a four, we will also be collaborating with some handpicked (by us) companies and brands. Rest assure we will not become a blog all about product reviews, but from time to time there will be posts that we think are a great fit for our family and lifestyle. Trust everything you read here will always be our honest opinion, whether that be good or bad.

With that said, I feel truly thankful I have this little corner of the internet, I swear it has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Here's to lots more sanity saving in the future, and I hope you will all continue to join us on this crazy journey called, a life as a family of four ;)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

CHICCO URBAN TRAVEL SYSTEM REVIEW


When the lovely people over at Chicco got in touch with me to see if we'd like to test their Urban stroller we jumped at the chance. Two years ago I knew zero about strollers and was completely baffled as to why so many were on the market. As a soon to be new parent I expected to walk into a pram shop and be greeted by, 'the one', you know, the pram that does pretty much everything short of bringing up your child ;)

Instead we walked into the shop and we were completely overwhelmed by the choice. So I turned to the internet and looked up reviews for several strollers. Reviews that were specifically written by mum's themselves, because for me there is no better tester of a pram than a mother. Now here I am two and half years on with two children (I'm still getting used to saying that!) and a chance to share my tuppence ;)

So first off, the Urban is a beauty. Chicco have well and truly upped their game when it comes to the aesthetic of this pram. It's sleek, stylish and has a stand out design. For some, the look of a stroller may not be important, but for me, it is. Call me superficial, but I've ditched a lot of my past life indulgences when it comes to having little ones. So please, oh please, at least let me have a nice looking stroller to push down the street. I have however learnt not to choose style over substance. Now I want both ;) 

With that in mind we put the Urban to the test over the last couple of months.


Upon taking the stroller out the box I was pleasantly surprised to not have a thousand pieces come crashing out. The main body of the stroller was already together. It was just a simple case of popping on the wheels (literally) and attaching the seat.

The seat itself is particularly clever as not only can it face forward or towards you, it also teams up as a carrycot for those early baby months. With just a few minor adjustments (which are clips underneath the seat) and a padded insert, voila, it's a carrycot.

We personally didn't get much use out of it styled as a carrycot, with most babies you'll find out rather quickly whether they're a fan of a pram like that or not. In Archie's case, he is not. Neither was Caleb. It appears we make rather nosey babies who would much prefer to see what is going on in the world. For this very fact alone is what I loved most about this stroller as the seat is suitable from birth. So, if like myself you have babies who enjoy a little people or mama watching this stroller caters for that, plus you don't have the worry of storing a separate (rather unused) carrycot as you just convert it back into the seat. As the seat, the straps can be adjusted to their size and the foot rest can be positioned up the way to keep your little one safe and cosy. You can see this in the below pictured.


Another feature I like on this stroller is the extendable handle bar. This is a must if you're tall like myself, or small like Caleb ;). I've used many a stroller without this feature and I've really felt it in my back at the end of the day. It's also nice to not resemble a hunchback whilst pushing your pram ;)

Also, I love how because of the lightweight nature of the pram and it's swivel front wheels (can also be locked into position when needed) I could easily manoeuvre with one hand leaving my other hand free to keep a hold of that independent toddler of mine ;)


The hood on a stroller is key for me too, this one is great. It comes nice and far forward for when the sun is glaring in your poor babies face. The shopping bag underneath is a really good size too, which makes daily life soooo much easier. I fitted my change bag and a day's shopping underneath there no problem.


When I first unpacked the stroller I was struck by how firm the wheels were and instantly was not a fan. However, what I didn't realise until using the stroller was the great suspension it had therefore the firmness of the wheels wasn't a problem at all, more of an added bonus as punctures will never be an issue. Let me tell you, a pram with a puncture is NOT fun. Thanks to Edinburgh's cobbled streets the suspension was certainly given a thorough testing! 


When you start to shop for a stroller, very quickly you'll hear the phrase, 'travel system', bandied about. Fancy huh?!

You ain't shopping for a mere pram anymore, you're shopping for a 'travel system', dont cha know ;). 

Also what I like to refer to as our generation's lifesaver. With an adaptor added to the stroller you can clip a carseat onto it and away you go. I cannot recommend this feature enough if you are a driver or your partner is as it really does make life a thousand times easier, not to mention keeps a sleeping baby sleeping when you transfer them from the car to the stroller and vica versa. That alone is worth it's weight in gold!! We were sent the Chicco Autofix Fast babyseat with our stroller, which was lovely and padded and has a removeable insert to give extra cushioning to a tiny newborn, which I feel is essential for their comfort not to mention essential for our peace of mind and confidence when it comes to driving a newborn baby around ;).

While we're on the subject of cars, we found when collapsed the stroller fitting nicely into our boot, which I would say is medium sized. Always, always make sure before you purchase any stroller that you can get it into your boot. A no brainer you would think, but unfortunately I've been there, done that, AND got the t-shirt :/

Collapsing the stroller is straight forward to, just a push and a slide of clips and it's down. Same putting it back up. It's not rocket science, thank god, because some strollers out there you need a degree in Mechanics just to get the damn thing down.


Other features, are the rain cover. Can't go forgetting the rain cover, this being Scotland and all. It's easy to pop on and a great fit. I was caught in many a downpour and had no issues.

The brake, centre of the bar at your feet, and does the job nicely. You'd be surprised how many prams have shocking brakes and a toddler can easily move them when they're locked. Caleb tried with this stroller and failed. Much to my delight, and not his :)

Another lovely feature of this pram is the colour inserts, we chose emerald. There is various other colours to choose from and you can also buy them separately too if you fancy a change.


All in all the Chicco Urban gets a big thumbs up from us. Not only does it look the part but it also puts some of the £1000 travel systems on the market to shame, you're looking at under half that price here. Chicco are certainly making travel systems more affordable but not at the cost of style.

So the answer here is yes, it has style AND substance.

Oh, I should also tell you this pram was tested by both Grandmas and they too gave it the big thumbs up. Now that really is a seal of approval!

Below you'll find the Urban in action.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...