Thursday, 31 July 2014

Me and Mine - July


We are very much settled as a family of four now and things couldn't be better. Sure there are hard times. The sleepless nights and toddler tantrums don't help but we are happier than ever.

 
 
With the lovely weather this month we have spent a lot of time in our garden so it seemed very fitting to take this months pictures there.

One of the best things we have done this month is just spend time together. It didn't have to be doing anything special and while taking these pictures we actually had so much fun. Mark was running backwards and forwards chasing after Paige and she loved it. She isn't one to sit and pose, is any toddler?!

I honestly can't wait for the next few months to see how we develop and change. We are very much bonded but still have so much to learn about each other.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

dear beautiful

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

New ISA (NISA)*


Before having children me and Mark didn't really care about saving money. It wasn't something that we thought was important. But having children changes your views on things. We started to worry about our savings and how our children would be effected in the future if anything were to happen.

The result of this was us opening up a savings account for both Paige and Parker. Money can be placed into the account and then when they are 18 years old it can be withdrawn for them to spend on whatever it is they want... Hopefully driving lessons, university fees or a mortgage. Something that will help them later in life. I actually had the same as a child that my god mother set up for me. Paige also has a little moneybox to help her learn to save on her own while she is so young, hopefully this will teach her the importance of savings.

Paige's moneybox

We also have an ISA account. In this account money is saved each month and it was actually opened with some wedding gift money that we were given.

On July 1st new ISA rules came into play that allow you to save up to £15,000 in a new ISA (NISA). Some people are unaware that instead of having all their money in a new cash ISA it can infact be split between a new cash ISA, new stocks and shares ISA. We had no idea and thought that cash was the better option but it may not be for everyone.

Scottish Friendly are warning people of being automatically drawn into using just a new cash ISA, like we were, and instead wanting people to consider the other ISA investments that are available.

Neil Lovatt, Scottish Friendly’s Director of Financial Products, said: “For every one investment ISA taken out, three cash ISAs are opened.

“Cash is easier to understand as it offers security and access to the savings without penalty that investment ISAs do not. People are being put off by what they think is pure equity investments and instead are opting for accounts that offer poor returns on their cash”.


Surely if you put your money into an ISA you want the best possible return but that may not happen in the form of a cash ISA because of the low rates of interest. In some cases savings providers are actually reducing their rates for fear of overly high inflows.

The good news is that if you already have an ISA account it will automatically be turned into a NISA allowing you all the extra benefits that the new rules bring. This makes for a much flexible account.

* Annual limits increased to £15000
* Contributions can be split in any proportion between a New Cash ISA and New Stocks and Shares ISA
* You can transfer a Cash ISA into another Cash ISA or move it to a Stocks and Shares ISA.
* You can also transfer money from a New Stocks and Shares ISA to a New Cash ISA


For more detailed information why not check out the Scottish Friendly guide to the New ISA's or their Twitter. There is also a handy video which explains everything in a simple form that I personally have found very useful.

Do you save money for your children's future?

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - Sponsored post*

Parker at 3 Weeks Old


This week Parker has started to get himself into a little routine during the evening. He will wake around 5pm for some milk then sleep until 7pm. He will then stay awake until around 9pm then go down for the night. He will sometimes then sleep for 3 hours. He will then normally wake every two hours and have 2/3oz of milk each time he wakes. He is also still having that fussy period between 4am - 7am. He won't really settle during this time. During the hours where he is awake he is so alert and constantly looking around. He will also do little giggles in his sleep which is the sweetest thing ever. I remember Paige doing the same.

He is also so strong. His legs especially. If he is laid on his belly on you he will kick his legs and push off you to wiggle his way closer to your face. He will also stand on his legs if you support his weight.

He was a little constipated this week so we gave him half an ounce cooled boiled water which helped a lot. I tend to do this a couple times a day, especially as it's so hot.


He's such a little dude. Still fitting size 1 nappies and newborn clothes. His newborn pants are getting too short but 0-3m are defiantly too big around the waist.

His hair has started growing. He isn't really getting any new hair but the hair he has is growing especially on the top of his head.

We got him a new play mat this week which he loves. He loves doing tummy time and is really calmed by laying on his tummy.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx





Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review - Baby's Only from Babydino.com*

 
Keeping a baby comfy and cozy is my number one goal when it comes to picking baby clothes. Of course you want the cute factor too but the important thing is the baby and their comfort.
 
Babydino.com sell a lovely range of luxury baby clothes from the Danish brand Baby's Only.
Parker was kindly sent two items to try out. He was sent the gorgeous grey trousers and matching grey jacket.

 
 
Both items are 100% organic cotton and very soft to the touch. The trousers are light weight and with an elasticated waist they provide your baby with comfort. They also have the added details of knee patches and a little pocket. Although I'm not really sure why a baby would need a pocket I do love the added detail. The jacket is perfect for a cool summer evening. It is warm and again very soft like the trousers. It fastens with a zip and has draw strings to help keep the hood on babies head. The hood is very cute and along with the pockets this jacket looks gorgeous.
 

Both items are available in sizes 0-2 months, 2-4 months and 4- 6 months. While this is different to most UK brand sizing it does mean that the fit is better but it also means that the items don't last the baby as long and will be outgrown quicker than a 0-3 month sized items for example. We were sent size 0-2 months and they fit Parker pretty well. I would say that the jacket seems a little bigger than the trousers and will last a few weeks longer.


Cheeky boy

The trousers retail at £24.50 and the jackets retails at £45. Although these items are pretty expensive in my view they are amazing quality. These items woulld also last well for multiple babies because of the amazing quality. They wash well and do look super cute. I also love the light grey colour as they can be mixed and matched with most other colours.
 
Don't forget to check out the Babydino website and facebook.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Nicola Xx
 
*Disclaimer - We were sent these items for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are our own*

Monday, 28 July 2014

26 Months Old

Paige is now 26 months. I still can't believe it.

She has come such a long way this month and seems so very grown up. A huge change this month for Paige was that she became a big sister, Parker arrived on June 23rd. She has taken to him so much. At first she wasn't too sure. I think that she thought he was a doll as she seemed very shocked when he moved. Now she asks to hold, feed him and is always giving him kisses. She really is such a good big sister.


She is defiantly in the toddler tantrum stage. So far they aren't that bad but I fear they will probably get worse. They don't last for long and she doesn't kick up too much of a fuss, normally her tantrums are silent but she is defiantly finding her voice.

Speaking of her finding her voice she is talking a lot more now. She regularly puts words together herself and will now repeat most words we ask her to say, even if she doesn't get them right. We are trying to encourage her speech as much as we can and it seems to be helping. She also said love you for the first time this month.

She loves puzzles so much. She can now do 6, 9 and 12 piece puzzles by herself. She will sit there for a good half an hour on her own just playing and doing them over and over. It's so amazing to watch her working them out. She also loves bubbles and stickers.

 
She is still eating really well and we don't normally have any trouble with that.

She isn't ready to potty train yet and I feel like everyone else around her age is starting to potty train. I'm not pushing her. She will be ready in her own time and quite frankly I'm quite glad she isn't ready yet. Having a newborn and potty training doesn't sound much fun.

Her napping is still hit and miss. Sometimes she naps for an hour and a half and sometimes she doesn't. She is fine getting through the day without a nap but you can notice a difference when she doesn't nap.

 
She is still very attached to her teddy and takes him everywhere, even in her paddling pool. She loves making animal noises and telling people what to do eg. Stop.

She jumps so high now, both feet are defiantly off the floor. She is also running a lot faster than before and loves to climb. Speaking of feet she can put her own socks and shoes on and loves going outside! She puts her shoes on basically as soon as she gets up in the morning.
 
 

She is even more of a toddler now and is starting to test the boundaries. Fun but hard work at times.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Friday, 25 July 2014

Summer Days

We've lived in our new house for almost 4 months now and we love it even more now than we did when we first moved in. There's something about the sun shining and having a big garden to play in which is wonderful.
 
The weather has been gorgeous lately and we have taken fully advantage of this by getting out in the garden. For Paige's birthday she got a couple of garden toys... a slide and a water and sand table. She loves them both so much! And both provide her with entertainment.
 
We have all loved lazy days at home, playing in the garden and just relaxing. Parker asleep or playing in his bouncer in the shade. Paige playing with her toys or in her paddling pool and me relaxing in the sun.
 
If only daddy could be at home to enjoy it with us.
 


 





What do you love about summer?

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review - Shnuggle Cosy Baby Bath*

A lot of parents to be like to buy baby baths for their babies. It's nice to have a one, a special place to bathe your baby while they are so small. Bath time can be a special time for a baby, a relaxing part of a bed time routine.

 

Both Paige and Parker have always loved the water so have always loved bath times. The Shnuggle  bath adds to this as Parker has somewhere comfortable to bathe and Paige can help mummy and daddy wash him. I love that she can help and feel included.

The Shnuggle bath has many different features that a lot of other baths don't have. First up is the material. Made from a soft and tactile baby safe foam. Both warm and soft to touch, the Shnuggle Bath is kinder to baby's skin with great insulation that keeps the water warmer for longer. The material is a super-strong polypropylene foam, which makes it extremely lightweight and very durable. This amazing polypropylene foam is about a 1000 times stronger than other foams like polystyrene. The bath also has special grips on the inside and the outside to help grip the baby and to help you grip the bath. There is also a handy max fill line on the inside of the bath as to not overfill it. Even with water up to this line the bath is still really light weight and easy to carry. Next is the bum-bump. The bum-bump is a specially designed bump in the bottom of the bath. This helps stop the baby from slipping and supports there bum. This is by far my favourite feature, I love it. I love that it keeps baby up right and safe. 

 
Overall this is our favourite baby bath that we have tried. I love all the design features that make it different from normal baby baths. Parker loves it too. He was happily sat in it for a good while and because of this special bath the water did stay nice and warm for him so there was no rush for my water baby to get out.
 
Parker outgrew the bath at 4 months. He is a pretty big baby at the 95th percentile for his age range. He also started to pull himself up to a sitting position while in the bath. We loved the bath while we used it and would recommend it to anyone!
 

The Shnuggle bath retails at £30 and is available in 5 pastel colours. It is designed for babies aged 0-6 months. Want to save 10%? Add code save10!

Don't forget to check out Shnuggle on Twitter and Facebook.

 

He isn't bored of the bath I promise - hehe!
Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

2 Weeks Postpartum

This week I've lost another 2lbs. I do feel like weight loss will slow down a lot now until I actively try and lose weight. I need to stop eating like I'm pregnant! I have around a stone to go until I reach my pre pregnancy weight.


My mum came to stay with us for a couple of days this week. She lives around 100 miles away so it was lovely to just spend time with her while Mark went back to work. I'm loving having two children. It feels so natural and strangely i'm even more organised with two than I was with just Paige. I'm looking forward to Parker getting more into a routine which I know will happen in time.

I'm still leaking milk, not loads but it's defiantly still there. My boobs aren't sore anymore though which is good.

That's about it really. I feel like my belly is going down nicely. I do feel like second time around it's going down a little quicker than the first time but I'm not sure if I'm remembering it wrong. I'm a littler nervous about losing the weight but I hope that running after two babies it won't be too hard. Toning my belly maybe a lot harder!

Overall I'm feeling pretty good. I'm not really sore unless I do too much. I feel pretty normal just a little tired.

How did you feel at 2 weeks postpartum?

Don't forget to check out week 1.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Parker at 2 Weeks Old

My little boy is two weeks old. The days are flying by so quickly, I'm scared to blink incase I miss something.
 
 
This week Parker met his nana and grandad (marks mum and dad). He also met his auntie (marks sister). We made the 440 miles round trip to go see them all. Paige didn't meet them until she was 12 weeks old and only met marks sister the same time Parker met her at 2 years old! Crazy! We didn't used to have a car so travelling all that way was a lot on the train, especially with a baby/toddler. They both did do well with the trip though.

He is defiantly awake during the day a lot more now and this has resulted in slightly better nights. He goes to sleep pretty much straight away after a feed during the night. When he is awake he is so alert and loves looking around.


 
 
He is still feeding well and eats anywhere from 1-3oz at a time. He is getting better at eating more in one go. He is also really good at getting his wind up.

Parker's skin also started peeling this week... Poor thing looks like a snake. Which has resulted in the nickname snake boy, I'm sorry baby boy! Haha.

He is still in size 1 nappies and wearing newborn clothes.

At 10 days old we were discharged from the midwives and Parker was weighed. He now weighs 7lb 1oz. I can't believe that at two weeks old he is still smaller than Paige was at birth.
 
 

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

How I Predicted My Sons Birth

Some of you may remember this tweet...



As you can see it was sent on June 7th. Parker was born June 23rd at 3:43am. Pretty cool right?!

So how was I so sure about when he would arrive?

I'll be honest, I wasn't. It was a guess but as far as I'm concerned it was, in some ways, an educated guess.

Paige was born 5 days overdue according to my scans and 1 day overdue according to my dates. Either way she was overdue.

For both labours they started naturally. My body knew it was time for my babies to be born and this helped a lot.

Around the time I sent the tweet I was bored and wondering when Parker would make his appearance. I went to Google to pass some time... As you do! I started searching for theories about when babies were born naturally. I found one that relates to the moon. It basically says that if a woman gives birth naturally all her babies will be born under the same phase of the moon. I thought this was quite interesting. I didn't quite believe it but what's the harm in having a bit of fun and testing it out. I looked up the phases of the moon for when me and my brother were born... surprisingly they were exactly the same. Down to the day! I then tried mark and his brother and sister. It didn't work for them but I don't know if all there births happened naturally and we never got around to asking his mum.

I then went on to look at the phases of the moon for when Paige was born. Then I worked out what phase the moon would be in around my due date and found the phase that matched Paige's. The date was June 23rd. According to this theory If I went into natural labour Parker would be born on June 23rd.

I think that apart of me must have known.  I had such a strong urge to wash my hair as I was due to wash it the next morning. I also packed away all the last minute things for my hospital bag after I had used them that evening, like my hair brush and toothbrush. I had a little list already wrote for Mark so that he could pack away the last few things when I was in labour but I did it myself hours before my waters went.

I'm not by any means saying that this theory is definite and that you should get your hopes up if you try it out. It's just a bit of fun that happened to work for me.

But I think it's pretty cool.

Did you have a feeling when your little one would be born?

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Review - Nonabox June*

Another month has passed and we received another Nonabox to review.

In this months box we got..



Ella's Kitchen Smoothie £0.79
Ella's Kitchen Baby Rice £0.79
Weleda Nursing Oil £7.95
Weleda Shampoo and Body Wash £6.95
Weleda Calendula Oil £9.50
Waterwipes Facewipes £2.99
Small Print Magic Inkless Pad £12

Overall the box value is £40.97 which is great considering the £25 monthly cost.

I always try to be honest in my reviews and this month I'm not really sure what I make of the box. Yes the value is good but I'm not sure of the actual products.

The Ella's kitchen products are nice and useful but not really a new thing to a lot of people. They will come in handy though. When you subscribe to the service your box will be personalised to the age of your child so you may get different products depending on the age of your child.


Love the Waterwipes Facewipes... I've tried the normal Waterwipes and love them. I never knew they made make up wipes so it's lovely to discover a new product.

I'm not too sold on the Weleda products. I think one would of being nice but for me three products from the same brand is a little much and I'll be perfectly honest... There is no way I'd pay £6.95 for a shampoo and body wash or £9.50 for the Calendula Oil.

I like the idea of the Small print Magic Inkless pad. Lovely little product that could be very useful and mess free.

I think I would of liked to see more of a variety of products. I do sill love the concept of Nonabox but I think some boxes need a little work still. Defiantly a work in progress and a company to keep an eye on!

Don't forget to check our May review.
Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - I was sent this Nonabox for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own*

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

When Big Sister Met Little Brother

I had dreamt of this moment for so long. I couldn't even imagine how Paige would react to having a little brother. Yes, she had been around younger babies before and seen me holding them and wasn't too bothered. But us actually bringing a baby home was a whole different story.

While I was in labour my dad came over to watch Paige. It was midnight so all he had to do was sleep next to the monitor and listen out for her waking. Mark came home around 5:15am as my dad had to leave at 6am for work. Mark accidentally woke Paige up when he walked through the front door. We then decided that they would come visit in hospital around 7am after some breakfast and Paige's normal morning routine.

I laid in bed trying to sleep at the birth centre. Staring at our new baby boy and wondering what his big sister would think and how she would react. He was in the cot when she burst through the door. I still don't think that she properly understood why mummy wasn't at home or that she was about to meet her little brother. I saw her head pop around the curtain, that big smile came across her face as soon as she saw me, holding her Bear so tightly.

She didn't really notice Parker at first and we didn't push it either. We wanted it to be as natural as possible. For her to go to him in her own time, it didn't take long. Off she went to peer into the cot. She then sat next to me on the bed. I got Parker out of the cot and started telling Paige who he was. We had started using his name around her as soon as we decided on it with the hopes of it helping her to understand. Mark sat on the bed too and helped Paige hold Parker for the first time. This amazing look came over her face... Pride.


She was fascinated with him and still is. Each day she loves him more and more you can just tell. She asks to hold him, feed him and looks for him when she can't see him. She still mostly calls him baby but we will get there.

They shared there first bath together the other night... Paige loves bath time and it seems that Parker is the same. Both true water babies who were born in the water and are so happy there. He was wide awake the whole time and so alert, she was so happy and pointing out his features.

A truly heart warming moment.

In the end we never got around to getting a present for Paige from Parker. The day he was born Paige and Mark did go to Asda and she picked him out a little outfit, Mark said she wouldn't let it go. I don't think she would of understood that the present was from Parker anyway.

All we did was let her take her own time, we didn't try to push him onto her and just took her lead. A new sibling is such a big change but she is doing so well. We are so proud of our big girl.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review - Natures Purest Bear Cuddle Robe and Mitt*

 
Bath time is one of my favourite times. I love everything about it, especially the splashing. Paige has always loved bath time even as a tiny newborn and it seems that Parker is following in her footsteps. I've no idea if me having a water birth has had some effect on this but either way they both are true water babies.

I love the little hooded towels and Natures Purest do some adorable sets of towels and wash mitts. We were sent this adorable
bear cuddle robe and mitt set for Parker.



Hooded towels are so practical for babies. You can wash them, then wrap them up snuggly inside the towel with the hood over their hair.

Both the towel and wash mitt are super soft and made from 100% natural coloured cotton. They are both lovely quality and wash really well. The hooded towel is 74 x 74cm and the mitt is 14 x 22cm. The towel is a good size and easily wraps Parker as a newborn. I bet it would last for the full first year but Paige is defiantly too big for it as a big 2 year old.

 
 
 
The set retails at £25 and would make a lovely gift for a new arrival or as part of your bath time essentials if you are pregnant.
 
Does your little one enjoy bath time?
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer- we were sent the set for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own*

Monday, 14 July 2014

My Labour in Tweets

While in labour with Paige I tweeted through most of it. Mostly because it was so long (30+hours) but also because I was on my own for most of it. Mark went to work for the day before Paige arrived. I didn't think I was in labour so off mark went to work. This resulted in me spending the day at home on my own while having contractions.

I found it so useful to be able to tweet and take my mind off the contractions. It was lovely to have contact with loads of women who had gone through labour and delivered a baby. Having the support and friendly words was amazing.

I knew this time that I wanted to do the same if I could. I knew that second labours could be a lot quicker so I had to wait to see how things planned out second time around.

If you follow me on twitter you may remember seeing my tweets during my labour with Parker. You may have not realised I was in labour... I had no clue!

I didn't even tweet about my waters going because I was so sure that they hadn't. I also didn't tweet about going to hospital to get checked because I thought they would turn me away. It's so funny to look back on the tweets as I never saved them with Paige.



 
 
 
After the birth...
 
 
 

 
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that made my tweets a favourite, replied back to me or left supportive comments on Instagram. I wish I had tweeted more during labour but it was so quick and my contractions really stepped up as soon as we left for the hospital that I didn't really have enough time between contractions to tweet.
 
Would you tweet through labour?
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Nicola Xx
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