Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Surviving the last month of pregnancy

I wrote this post a little while ago - over 18 months ago in fact when I was myself attempting to survive the last month of pregnancy.  I was reminded of it during a conversation with a friend earlier this week who was overdue and fed up (you'll be pleased to know she has since given birth to a beautiful baby boy so all is well with the world).

It was originally written as a guest post for Oh So Amelia but I wanted to share it again with you on my own blog as it's still so very important, if you yourself or you know someone who is coming into those last weeks of their pregnancy and are find it hard please do share it with them.  Remind them how lucky they are. 

By the time you read this I shall, all being well, be snuggled up on my sofa at home with a squishy little newborn living in a haze of breast milk and nappies . . . 
However as I write, I am in the final weeks of what I know will be my last pregnancy - knowing I will never do this again I am determined to enjoy it and not wish away a single second of it.  That said I'm not right comfortable!  So here are my tips for surviving the final month of pregnancy: 
Get Organised
This is a somewhat hypocritical statement as anyone who reads my blog knows that at 36 weeks pregnant I have yet to pack my hospital bag . . . so in a true case of "Do as I say, not as I do" I shall say "Get sorted!" 
* Pack your hospital bag
* Sort your childcare arrangements and pets if necessary
* Get the car seat ready (you won't be leaving hospital without it)
* Make sure you've got enough nappies and so forth to get started (nobody needs a mad dash to the supermarket because they've realised there's likely to be a nappy emergency in the middle of the night)
* Take some time to stock your cupboards and freezer with easy food that just needs reheating and can be eaten with one hand (if you don't understand that now you soon will) 
Make the Most of the Final "Pre-Baby" Days 

Before my eldest was born we had a lovely little "Baby-moon" to Edinburgh and enjoyed cheeky evenings out knowing that we needed to make the most of our freedom so to speak, in fact the night I went into labour we had been for a lovely meal out to celebrate our anniversary.  Even if, like me, you've already got one or more children this is still a time to make the most of your current situation. 
* Take advantage of babysitters to go for an evening out with your partner - go to the cinema or for a nice meal before you have a small baby attached to you 24/7
* Spend time with your friends - even if it's just a wander round the shops and a coffee or to the cinema.  Try to get some "grown up" time in while you've still got chance.
* Make the most of getting out and about with any children you already have and spend some quality time with them (we've planned quite a few adventures for this last month as we know we're going to be housebound for a while!)
* Get your hair done, have a facial, get your brows done - all those bits of "grooming" which help you feel more fabulous / human! 
* Think ahead - in this instance I'm planning Christmas now - I need to get as much done as possible before baby arrives so that I can relax and concentrate on my newborn, not worry about trying to buy presents. 
Do what you can to get comfortable

This is possibly the most ridiculous statement ever as anyone in their final weeks of pregnancy knows getting comfortable is pretty much impossible. 
* If you're suffering from heartburn then stay upright as much as possible, extra pillows in bed etc, don't bend over to pick things up (someone else will do it!) I find milk, yoghurt and Love Hearts all help to ease my heartburn, as does eating small regular meals and avoiding thigns like orange juice and chocolate (cruel right?)  If it gets really bad your GP can prescribe medication. 
* Fill your bed with pillows - one between the knees, another to support your back, one to support your bump.  Some people like a big maternity pillow, just try what you can and see what suits you. 
* Heat!  I use one of those heated bead bag things on my lower back or hips and it really does relieve the aches.
* Have a warm bath - but please don't do it when you're in the house on your own!  People aren't joking when they tell you they get stuck in the bath - I speak from experience! 
* Don't do too much!  (My husband would be looking pointedly at me now if he was read this)  Sit down and rest when you can.  Too much walking is always going to end up in pain! 
Dealing with other people

Be prepared to be fully stalked by your friends and faimly desperate for news - my little sister once caused almighty panic in my first pregnancy as I hadn't updated my Facebook status or answered my phone . . . I was in the shower!!
And those well meaning but irritating strangers who ask nosy questions?  You know the ones, Do you know what you're having?  How long have you've got left?  or simply wanting to tell you how big you are!  Just smile sweetly, give them a standard answer of "not long" and walk away.  They don't realise you've already had this conversation 17 times this morning on the school run and much as you might want to unleash a raft of tired pregnancy hormones in their direction it really won't make you feel any better! 
And finally?

Just enjoy it.  I know it's hard work and you're tired and uncomfortable but I promise it will be worth it.  Appreciate these final moments of feeling your little baby wriggling around inside you because you will miss that bump when it's gone!  Every time you wish your pregnancy was over already just think of those ladies who would kill to be in your position and appreciate what you've got.  Your body is doing the most incredible thing ever - give it credit for that and relish it.  

Let's Talk Mommy
Super Busy Mum

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dreambaby Bathroom Safety Products - Giveaway

It's only when you have children of your own that you start to realise how dangerous the world is - and I don't mean the big bad world, I just mean actually inside our own homes.  From plug sockets tempting little ones to stick their fingers in to stairs begging to be climbed and coffee table corners just at the right height for bumping toddler heads. 

Dreambaby are an Australian company recently branching out into UK sales selling safety gear for all over the house from stair gates to locks and latches.  

The bathroom is a prime hot spot for dangers with wet floors, hot taps and toilets to fall down!  With this in mind I've teamed up with Dreambaby to offer you a fabulous package of goodies for your bathroom!  The winner will receive the following bundle of Dreambaby products: 

1. Dreambaby Premium Nail Clippers with Magnifier (£4.49)

2. Dreambaby Anti-Slip Mat (£14.99)

3. Dreambaby Easy-Clean Potty Seat (£11.99)

4. Dreambaby Bath Tub Spout Cover (£3.49) 

As ever please complete as many of the Rafflecopter options as you would like, of course the more you do the greater you chance of winning!  Take care to complete your entries carefully to avoid disqualification.  Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer - I have recevied no form of compensation for this post*

Is there more to Oxford than a university?

*This is a sponsored post* 

Mention Oxford and the first thing I think of is university and super clever bods studying literature . . .  but in reality there's far more to Oxford than its prestigious university (despite it being the first thing that pops up in a google search of "Oxford"!)

Photo Credit: KJGarbutt via Compfight cc

Situated the South East of England, Oxford is awash with stunning historical architecture and areas of beauty.  The Visit Oxfordshire website gives a comprehensive list of 20 things to see and do in the area which has certainly made me considering booking a few nights at Holiday Inn Oxford with the kids and seeing how many things we could tick off the list. 

I think my top of my list would be trying to find some film locations - particularly Harry Potter ones, it would be great fun to try and spot different bits from the films I'm sure.  Knowing me I just wouldn't be observant enough to recognise them without being told!

The covered market sounds like an absolute delight, I do love exploring new markets and being tempted by all the sights and smells - that said it isn't quite so much of a pleasure with three little ones in tow so maybe we'd save that one for a time we were visiting on our own! 

Bicester Village would be calling my name, it looks like a really lovely outlet and every weekend away needs a little shopping trip doesn't it?  

And there's no way our stay would be complete without taking a boat trip down the River Thames!  Maybe we'd even have a go at punting if we were feeling brave enough! Has anyone got a straw boater handy? 

Photo Credit: ledgr via Compfight cc

Have you visited Oxford before?  Would love to know if you have any favourites to suggest!

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Another Tried & Tested Tuesday rolls around already! Thanks to you to all of you for joining in, sharing your posts and using the hashtag every week – you make #TriedTested the success it is! Keep up the good work!  We were chuffed to bits last week to get more than 100 link ups - thank you for supporting us, and for sharing the linky love!

 Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working –

* The linky is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day 

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you 

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* We will continue to feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have introduced a brand new “featured blogger” badge which we’re very excited about! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

 So if this is your first time here then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

  #TriedTested featured blogger

Silver Cross Pioneer review from Belle Du Brighton - we are both big fans of the Silver Cross brand, and this set of wheels looks a really good option for anyone looking for an all round pushchair.

  #TriedTested featured blogger

Top family friendly beaches in Cornwall by Life Unexpected - there are so many beautiful beaches in the South West, and it's lovely to see a tried and tested list of the best.

If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up as well as a couple of others if you can – we know that people really, really appreciate the feedback! We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness).

We do our best to visit each post and leave a comment but we can’t promise to get round everyone every week - especially as one of us has a baby due any time! We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too so other people know where to find the linky.
We're going on an adventure

Monday, 25 May 2015

Geronimo Festival, Tatton Park - Review

As official blog ambassadors for Geronimo Festival we were invited to attend this weekend as VIPs.  We chose to visit on the Saturday and my goodness did we strike it lucky with the weather!  I've decided to write this post a little differently to my usual write ups after an adventure so I'd love to know what you think!  Hopefully you'll get a good feel for our day out without having to read a "diary of our day" if you see what I mean.

Without further ado here's 20 things we love about Geronimo Festival

1. Plenty of parking and no traffic to worry about - I had expected to perhaps queue off the road to get into Tatton Park or perhaps on the grounds themselves but everything flowed really nicely and we were directed into a parking space on the grass relatively close to the main event.  It always galls me when events charge you a further £5 for parking on top of the entrance fee however this is a standard fee for parking at Tatton Park all year round so I imagine the Geronimo Festival organisers actually had very little to do with it.  We also had no issues as we came to leave - the car park emptied out steadily with no big queues - at the end of a long day, this was a big win in my eyes! 

2. Meet & Greets - As VIPs we had a special timetable for VIP meet & greet sessions in the VIP area but there were also timetabled meet and greets out in the public arena for a number of the performers.  (It's worth noting that not all of the performers were doing meet and greets and some were VIP only eg Cook & Line, which was a little disappointing for our friends who were with us.)  We missed meeting Katy and Mr Bloom as we were on the other side of the site in a queue however, we loved meeting Alex Winters and Cook & Line - they were fabulous with the kids who were just so excited to see them in real life.  Alex particularly was so lovely with the kids, making a special effort with Amy who was in her pushchair so that she wouldn't be nervous of him.  He just spoke to them all as though they already knew him (which of course they felt they did!)

3. No sneaky added extras - Once you're inside the event all the activities are included within your ticket price, there's no sneaky added extras tempting your kids and causing you to fork out again and again.  This is a big win for me as I hate being made to feel the bad guy when I'm saying "No, I'm not spending any more on that".  It was great to know that we could just say yes to pretty much anything they wanted to do!  (Of course there were plenty of stalls you could spend your money on if you felt so inclined however they were situated in such a way as to be able to avoid them easily if you wanted to.)

4. Amazing burgers - We could have taken a picnic with us but we decided it was only right that we sample what was on offer from the different food vendors (and because I couldn't be bothered to organise and carry one).  There was plenty of choice to suit everyone though you must be prepared to pay through the nose, these are festival prices after all.  Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed our chicken, spiced beef and grilled halloumi burgers from "V Fresh Street Food" (£6.50 each)

5. Ice-cream - Of course it would have been rude not to enjoy an ice cream on such a beautifully sunny day!  Again these are not the cheapest ice creams you'll ever buy at around £3 a pop but boy were they worth it.

6. Donkey rides - Who says donkey rides are just for the seaside!  The queue for the donkey rides moved relatively quickly as there was a group of donkeys taking around 8 children at a time for a couple of laps around their enclosure.  (Ben was particularly amused that his donkey was called Finn just like his best friend!)

7. Alex Winters & Mr Yipadee - I know I already mentioned Alex when I talked about the meet and greet but I feel he needs a mention all of his own!  He was great fun to watch on stage with Mr Yipadee and the kids thought he was hilarious.  They really interacted with the crowd, leaving the stage to involve everyone in an enormous Conga was a particular highlight.

8. Time with friends - We were really lucky to spend the day with some of our best friends which of course just added to our enjoyment of the day!

9. Zip wire - Ben is a tried and tested thrill seeker so we knew the Zip Wire was a must.  The queue for the climbing activity and zip wire was a really test of patience for our 5 year old boys (I think they queued for around an hour while the girls played on the bouncy castles!) so it certainly wasn't an activity you'd do more than once but safe to say they all loved it. 

10. Helter-skelter - Ben and Chloe spotted the Helter-Skelter the moment we got out of the car and were very excited by it!  The queue seemed to be pretty steady throughout the day but moved quite quickly.  Ben was off like a shot when it was his turn whereas Chloe chose to ride down with me.  She panicked initially but once she realised I had tight hold of her she loved it! 

11. Mountain bike display - Dave and Ben really enjoyed the lads performing tricks and stunts on their bikes.  I just hope Ben didn't get any ideas!! 

12. Circus skills - This kept our little gang entertained for quite some time with a wide range of equipment laid out ready for them to test out their circus abilities.  I think we might have our very own little circus troupe within another few years with a bit of practice!  

13. Princess walk about - Chloe was enthralled with the princesses and whilst I wasn't particularly impressed with Elsa, I thought Cinderella was lovely.  Chloe thought they were all wonderful though and kept spotting them during the day and running off to wave at them all.  For a princess mad little girl this was heaven seeing princesses wandering around the festival! 

14. Sofa area - although we didn't actually sit down here we loved the idea of having loads of old sofas and standard lamps set out like a great big cosy living room in the middle of the site!  It made for the perfect area to relax and chill out (particularly if you had a little one to feed.)

15. Samba workshop & parade - The samba parade and workshop was a really lovely end to the day.  Chloe loved watching the dancers and having a go herself.  Both Ben and Chlo really enjoyed having a go with the instruments and the samba parade itself meant that the whole day ended on a real high as it guided people towards the gates.

16. Bouncy castles - With at least 4 bouncy castles and no time limits this was just kid heaven!  It kept our girls occupied whilst the boys stood in a rather long queue for the zip wire and climbing area.

17. Beautiful surroundings - if you haven't been to Tatton Park before you really should add it to your list of places to visit.  There's so much beautiful park land to explore for your £5 car parking fee and our kids adore the adventure playground.  We can easily while away a day there with a picnic (and plan to do so more than once this summer!)

18. It was clean underfoot - Despite the fact the weather had been pretty wet in the run up to the event the ground was impressively dry and yielded no need for the wellies we had chosen to wear (though I shouldn't think that was the case for the rest of the weekend)

19. Hammocks - Who doesn't love a hammock?! These made a beautiful bright centrepiece to the site and I can't say I didn't want to get in there myself!

20. The sunshine - cheers to whoever ordered that one!  I'd been frantically checking the weather all week and was thrilled with the steady forecast of warm but cloudy.  As it turned out we really struck it lucky and got the most perfect bank holiday weather of bright blue skies and sunshine.  It was a real joy to feel the sun on our faces for a change and was most definitely the icing on the cake of an already fabulous day.

There are so many things we didn't even get chance to visit - the petting zoo, the under 3 foot area, the craft tents to name but a few!  The festival really did provide something for everyone and we'll definitely be looking to go back next year!

I'll leave you with this video of some of our highlights:

Tried and Tested

*Disclaimer - We were invited to attend Geronimo Festival free of charge as blogger ambassadors for the purposes of writing this review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Friday, 22 May 2015

The unexpected costs of building work

Of course when you start to think about having building work done - be it a bathroom renovation or a full scale house extension - money is going to be top of the list of things to think about. 

Having a Dad who is a builder / project manager by trade is a great bonus - we have had little to do with the day to day budgeting of the build.  He told us what it would cost and that was that really. 

But aside from the obvious costs like planning permission, skips, bricks and labour there are some hidden, unexpected costs . . . 

Tea bags / coffee
I have never made so many brews in all my life!  Anyone who knows me well knows I'm not very good at remembering to offer people a hot drink as I don't drink them myself however this has all changed now!  My top job during the build has been keeping anyone working on the build practically drowning in tea or coffee with the occasional biscuit.

Photo Credit: zarrion101 via Compfight cc
If I'd known how many mugs were going to get broken over the last year or so I'd most certainly have invested in a whole lot of cheap mugs.  We now have just enough mismatched mugs left to make a round of brews for a house full but only by the skin of our teeth!  The majority of the mugs we got as part of our wedding dinner service have fallen by the wayside and unfortunately are no longer available so I'm on the look out for a new set!

Washing up liquid 
On any given day of the week my washing up liquid was rarely by the sink anymore - it was usually to be found somewhere in the extension or on the garden wall!  Apparently the brickies use it in the mortar to make it more pliable (who knew!?) and Dad uses it for fitting plastic pipe work to lubricate the joints.  It's clearly magical stuff!

Photo Credit: Paul Bratcher Photography via Compfight cc
Yes beer.  Last summer when the main part of the building work took place I would say Dave was probably our drinking more regularly than he has ever managed since we became parents!  A few beers in the pub round the corner or a full on session in town - drinking with your Father in Law can be an expensive business! (Especially when your Father in Law can drink like my Dad!)

As it stands our extension is almost finished and the pressure on my washing up liquid has abated!  Now all the money is going on paint!

You Baby Me Mummy

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