Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Me and Mine - September

Yet another month has passed so quickly. I honestly don't know where the days go. his month I totally forgot a family picture so it was a last minute job. I really must remember in October!


These pictures were taken in our bedroom which is actually quite fitting as we have lived in this house for 6 months now. I can't believe it has been that long already. So much has changed since we moved in.

The pictures aren't my favourite but they are us. Paige was tired from a day out with grandad so is upside down because she didn't want to be in the picture and Parker is just starting to cry in the bottom picture because he was due a nap.

But this is my family, my run of mill average family.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx
dear beautiful

Monday, 29 September 2014

My Essential Newborn Products

Now Parker is 3 months old I wanted to share my top newborn/baby products with you. A lot of things vary for different people, but these are a few of the things that I have found particularly useful.

A car seat is a huge essential item for a newborn. It's normally the very first thing that baby goes in to bring them home from the hospital. They protect your newborn from day 1. You can also invest in ones that convert as your child grows or have ones that attach to prams to form travel systems which are also a big must have for me.

Muslin squares are a lifesaver with a newborn and baby. They are a multiuse product and really do come in handy. They can be used as burp cloths over your shoulder, blankets, swaddles, cover ups and to wipe dirty mouths. With Parker we have used muslin for just about all of the above. My favourite thing to use them for as burp cloths, because they are so big they over nearly all your clothes and protect them when you are burping baby over your shoulder or across your knees. We still use Paige's muslin cloths now and she is nearly 2 and a half.

A bouncer was something that we never had with Paige. She had a swing that she loved but Parker would never really settle in that so we got him a bouncer. He loves it and still uses it now. They last up until baby is around 6 months so you get quite a lot of use out of them. Its also really handy to have somewhere safe to place baby while you tidy up or cook tea and they can still see you which is lovely as they love to look at mummy and daddy.  They are also nice if you have older children as it keeps them safe, off the floor and out of the way of energetic toddlers running around.

Image from Babydino.com
A baby carrier or sling is something that I have found very useful this time around. I had the Baba Sling with Paige and saved it for Parker and have loved using it. He is a bit of a clingier baby than Paige was and loves to be close to me so with the Baba Sling I am able to have him close but also have my hands free to play with Paige or tidy up. We also use the sing when we go on family walks. It means we don't have to cart the pram around and I get an extra little workout because I'm carrying the extra weight.
For us a baby bath is also an essential item. With Paige we never really used one but this time we have loved ours and Parker has too. Its nice to have a safe space to bathe him and not have to worry that Paige will get a little too excited in the bath an hurt him. It is also nice that Paige can help bathe Parker and when the baby bath is placed on the floor it is very easy for her to reach him and help.

What are your top baby essentials?

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Parker at 13 Weeks

Not much has changed from his 3 month update so I thought I'd spam you with cute pictures instead of repeating myself!



Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Pressure To Potty Train

Sometimes as a parent we are made to feel pressured by other parents. You sometimes can't help but compare your child. It may be how many words they can say, colours they know or how well they sleep. The other main thing is potty training. You hear of miracle children who are potty trained at 14 months and start to panic. At least I did. 
But I trust in Paige. I trust that when she is ready she will let me know. I'm open to the signs and I am looking for them but she isn't quite there. She tries bless her and each month she gets that little bit closer. But she isn't even 2 and a half yet. The average age for potty training is 3! We still have a good 8 months left. 
With something as important as potty training you don't want to rush them. They will get there in there own time. When they are ready. If your friends little girl/boy is potty trained at 14 months/ 18 months or just before there second birthday then that is great for them. But that doesn't mean your child should be or will be the same. 

With Paige we got her a potty at around 20 months. Not because we thought she was ready but because I didn't want her to be scared of the potty when it was time. This way she had months to come around to the idea. Months to get to know the potty and she did. She played with it, put her toys in there and even wore it as a hat. But surely that's part of growing up and learning what the potty is for. Slowly we started to tell her what the potty was for. You can pretty much guarantee that she will wee in the bath so when she did she started to understand what she was doing as she would be mostly stood up when it happened. If she didn't wee in the bath we'd sit her on the potty after. Sometimes we were lucky and caught a wee and even a poo. We made a huge fuss of her and she loved it. We try where possible to make the potty a good thing, a happy thing that gets praise. 

At 28 months she still doesn't know before she needs a wee or poo. She tells us after every poo when she's had one and is starting to tell us after a wee but it's a slow process. I know that one day it will click. I just don't know when but I know it will happen. 
When it does i will be waiting with the potty in one hand and some carpet shampoo or a mop in the other! 
Did you feel the potty training pressure? 
Thanks for reading,
Nicola Xx 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Parker at 3 Months

My tiny newborn isn't so tiny anymore and he is defiantly not a newborn. They grow far too quickly! Before I know it he will be 6 months and it will be Christmas.

 He is now having 5oz bottles every 3-4 hours. He is wearing 3-6m clothes and weighs around 16lb. I say around because we have only weighed him on our scales. This seems about right as he is a chunky butt. Paige was always the same and was actually very close to 16lb at 3 months also. It seems we make chunky babies!

He is finally on a little schedule which is lovely. I always like to follow babies lead when it comes to routines during the day as I think they know what they need. He takes 3 naps a day at 9am, 1pm and 4pm. These times are more or less the same everyday but can vary depending on our night. Sleep has been a little up and down this week. I think he's just had a little growth spurt so was waking a couple of hours earlier than normal for an extra feed.

He doesn't always sleep in the car anymore like he used to. Sometimes he will just coo and talk to himself. You still have to work pretty hard for a smile but little things are always guaranteed to make him smile. We are trying so hard to make him giggle and he is getting so close. The only things he properly giggles so far are in his sleep. I remember Paige first giggling in her sleep and it wasn't long before she did them as a reaction to us. I can't wait!

He is more interested in toys now and loves grabbing things including my hair which is lovely, haha! His favourite toys are rattles and teethers. He has discovered Sophie the Giraffe and the Nuby teether. They are his favourite.

My big 3 month old!

Now can time please slow down a little.

Don't forget to check out my 3 month postpartum update.

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Review - Maizy Cat Litter*

This may seem like a random review but we do have a cat and she is how my blog first started. If you are a newish reader then meet Millie Sophia (yes she has a middle name).

Millie is an indoor cat which means that she has a litter box. This is a closed box with a lid and a door that swings open so she can get in and out. This helps keeps the smell locked away and means that little fingers can't get inside.

We were sent the Maizy Cat Litter to try out. This is different from many other cat litters as it is 100% natural and is made from puffed sweetcorn.

The cat litter is

  • 100% biodegradable & earth friendly
  • Ultra absorbent, fast clumping, traps odours
  • Low maintenance & cost effective
  • Flushable & compostable
  • Has no nasty additives or perfumes
    All these are definite pros in my eyes. It is very absorbent and does trap odors well. It is probably the best clumping cat litter we have ever had which makes it super easy to clean.

    You only need to completely change the litter every 2-3 weeks and when you do it is super easy. There aren't any huge dust clouds like with other litters which means you aren't breathing it all in which is great.

    The litter is available in two sizes which are 12 and 24 liters. These cost £10.99 and £19.99. This is normally more than we pay for litter but for the amount you get, the quality of the 100% natural product it is great value. Also because you only have to completely change it every 2-3 weeks the bag also lasts a really long time.

    Millie is like part of the family and defiantly deserves the best and this is the best cat litter there is!

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

    *Disclaimer- We were sent a sample of cat litter for the purpose of this review*

    Tuesday, 23 September 2014

    3 Months Postpartum

    The months are honestly flying by. I say this all the time but I just can't believe it.

    This month I started the 30 day shred. I had tried to do it postpartum with Paige but ended up hurting my wrist so had to stop. I then kind of gave up but not this time. This time I have stuck with it and I am seeing good results. I'm not eating great all the time but I am trying to make small changes and choose healthier options. If I do have something naughty then I will have a smaller portion. I am also using the my fitness pal app to track what I'm eating. I just find that this helps me stay accountable for what I put in my mouth. I will do a full 30 day shred update when I have finished the full 30 days. I have around 10 to go.

    So how am I feeling 3 months postpartum?! The short answer is pretty good. I feel like myself. I am a little tired which is expected running after a two year old while doing 2 sometimes 3 night feeds. I fit comfortably into my pre pregnancy jeans now and I am back down to a size 8. I have lost a good few inches this month from the 30 day shred. I now have around 6lbs to lose to get to my pre pregnancy weight.

    Day before I gave birth and 3 months postpartum

    My monthly visitor is a lot more regular now which is nice. I felt like it took ages to regulate after Paige. It mans my body I nice and on track again.

    I still have my linea negra but it has faded a little. My hair is starting to fall out a little more but it isn't too bad yet. My stretch marks are starting to fade but to be honest they weren't too red anyway. My belly button is truly messed up from pregnancy but that's ok. I'm trying to drink lots of water to help my skin but it could be a lot worse.

    I still want to tone up and lose a little bit more weight but overall I am happy for where I am at the moment. I weigh the same as I do now as I did 6 months post partum with Paige. It seem like I've bounced back quicker with my second baby than I id with my first.

    I'm not sure if I will do a 4 month postpartum update but I will defiantly do a 30 day shred update and a 6 month post partum update.

    How did you feel at 3 months post partum?

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

    Monday, 22 September 2014

    Parker at 11 Weeks

    I can't believe Parker is nearly 3 months old!!

    This week sleep has been quite good. He always sleeps a block of 6 hours from 8-2am. Then he normally wakes around 5/6 am.

    When he wakes in the morning he is so happy and will smile at anything. It's so cute! He is cooing all the time and still adores Paige.

    His 0-3m clothes are getting small and I am going to sort out his 3-6m stuff soon. He's getting so big and chunky. He is now in size 3 nappies too.

    I think his teeth are moving around as he is constantly chewing on his hands and dribbling up a storm. he will also blow raspberries when we blow then to him.

    He loves standing up still and will support himself against the sofa. Paige used to do the same at around 3 and a half months. So he's a little ahead of her. He also loves trying to sit up.

    A short a sweet update this week.

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

    Thursday, 18 September 2014

    Review - Trollbeads*

    Trollbeads are bracelets that fit your style, memories and personality. They are personalised with beads of your choice to tell the story of your life through beads. Trollbeads started in Denmark in 1976!

    I love the idea of having a piece if jewellery that symbolises something or someone important in your life. For me that choice was easy.


    My family are the most important people on my life and why not have a bracelet with beads that represent each and every one of them.

    The first step is to choose your starting point. For me this was the silver bangle but you can also pick leather bracelets, the invitation bracelet or a necklace. I decided to pick the bangle as I don't currently own a bangle and I picked silver as all my other jewellery is white gold so I thought it would match perfectly and it does. The silver bangle retails at £90.

    When picking which beads you want the website breaks them down into different categories, colour/theme/designer/material and price so it makes it that little bit easier to pick. I first picked the baby girl and the baby boy bead. These are very simple but truly gorgeous beads. The baby girl bead is pink and the baby boy bead is blue. They are £35 each. The pink bead isn't quite as pink as I imagined but I love them anyway.

    Next I wanted to symbolise Mark and our marriage. We've only being married 10 months so it's still quite new to us. I choose the white diamond bead to symbolise our marriage. The white diamond bead is a white bead with 13 cubic zirconias inside. I picked this one because it looks so pure. I love that a marriage so new is pure and clean. Your journey together is just beginning and for me this bead represents that. This bead is £50.

    The last bead I choose was the fantasy flower bead. I choose this bead to represent me. It's girly and contains colours to represent Paige, Parker and Mark. Pink, blue and green. This bead was £25 and I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed with this bead. On the website the flowers look a lot clearer and more defined. In real life the colours are a lot more muted.

    I think my beads all work well together along with the two silver stoppers to help them stay on. The silver stoppers are £15 each.

    Overall my bracelet cost £240! I think that if you are purchasing the bracelet and beads in one go it is a lot of money but the good thing about these bracelets is that you can add beads as and when you like. You can build them up as your life changes and grows. If me and Mark were to have another child there is nothing stopping me from adding another baby girl or baby boy bead. I love that!

    The quality of the bangle and beads are really good. They look great on my wrist and I'd be very happy to receive them as a present or give them as a present to someone I knew.

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

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

    Wednesday, 17 September 2014

    28 Months Old

    Each month Paige's speech is coming on so well. It is lovely because as each week passes our convosations just get better. This month she has started to repeat everything we say. She will have a go at saying 99% of words that we ask her to say. She also loves to count things out and is starting to learn her colours. Her favourites are blue and pink so far. She also always misses out number 7 when she is counting.

    She loves Peppa Pig, Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse. She is always asking to watch one of them! She is still loving colouring, her doll, painting and puzzles. She can now do a 24 piece puzzle by herself.

    This month has seen a big change in Paige showing affectation. Before she would always kiss or cuddle us if we asked, now she does it randomally. It is so lovely.

    She has been a bit grumpy this month as her last molar is coming. It's about a third of the way through so far and I'm hoping the rest comes soon. She will burst into tears at random times and has had trouble eating some foods because it hurts.

    She seems to be progressing in the way of potty training. She still isn't ready but we are defiantly getting there. She tells me when she has a poo and sometimes when she has had a wee although she calls that poo too. We are working on it. I have noticed that she gets really shy and embarrassed when she has a poo so we are trying not to make a big deal of it and teach her that it's a very normal thing to do. Along with this she wants Bear to wear a nappy and use the potty too. She also loves changing Parker nappies with me.

    She is still loving having a little brother and tries so hard to play with him. She gives him his toys and shares hers with him. She shares Bear with him too. I can't wait until he can interact with her more and they can play together.

    So that's my big girl this month, as you can see from the pictures she wasn't as willing to take pictures this month haha.

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola xx

    Ps. Who else wants her gorgeous hair? I certainly do!

    Tuesday, 16 September 2014

    Review - Aden & Anais Swaddles*

    If you have seen our review of the serenity star you will know that we already love Aden & Anais. When you first mention this brand to most people the automatically think of swaddle blankets. This is because in the mummy world swaddle blankets are a big deal, especially Aden & Anais swaddles.
    We were kindly sent some of these saddles to review. We were sent the Night Sky classic version. These are four gorgeous designs which include hot air balloons, owls, stars and spots. The colours are greys and blues which I love. There are loads of different designs so I'm sure there would be something to suit everyone's taste.
    The swaddles are 100% natural cotton muslin and are a must have because of their breathability, generous size and multiple uses. The cool thing about theses swaddles is that the more you wash them, the softer they get. And as we all know babies tend to spit up and get things dirty very easily. They are extremely soft to start with but do get softer each and every time you wash them. They also wash really, really well and will last a long time.
    The swaddles are very large... 47" x 47" (120cm x 120cm). This is great as they can be used for many different uses due to there amazing size. You can use them as tummy time blankets, changing mat covers, nursing covers, burp cloth, mattress sheet and many more. They are very breathable and help reduce the risk of overheating. 
    When Paige was a newborn she loved to be swaddled but Parker has never really liked it. With the multiple uses of these swaddles I didn't need to worry that they would go to waste just because he didn't like to be swaddled. 
    We have used these swaddles for many things and I always keep a spare one in my changing bag because they are so handy. We have mainly used them as blankets, sheets and burp cloths. They work amazingly well at all of the above.
    I honestly think that every new mum needs to have them and they are definitely a must have item. 
    They retail at £44.95 which is a lot of money but for the quality and the amount of times they get used it is amazing value. 

    Have you used the Aden & Anais swaddles?

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

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

    Monday, 15 September 2014

    Parker at 10 Weeks

    This week Parker was a lot happier and smiling so much. He was also cooing a lot more and it is so nice to watch him progressing each week.

    He loves to sit and stand up. He always cries if you lay him down apart from when he has a bottle in his mouth. He can actually sit on his own for a few seconds. He can also bear his own weight on his legs. He is so strong in that respect, just like Paige was. I think he could crawl and walk faster than she did. We will see!

    His favourite toy this week was Page's rain maker. I think he loves the sound... for bedtime he has a sheep that plays white noise. One of the noises is rain and it is defiantly his favourite so maybe that's why he loves the rain maker so much.

    Apart from that nothing has really changed this week. His sleep is pretty much the same and he normally wakes up around 1:30am and 5am for a feed.

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx

    Friday, 12 September 2014

    Make Your Children's Rooms Grow With Them

    Having a new baby to deal with, one of the biggest struggles that any mother faces is a financial one. Whether it's nappies, baby clothes or even decorating a child's room, the bills soon begin to mount up. There are ways that you can cut back on your spending however, and one of these is the latter – your child's bedroom. 

    As we all know, a child's taste can change and develop throughout the years. One minute they might be into cowboys, the next hard rock bands. This is fine if you've got a budget to be redecorating every three years, but few of us are so blessed. If you want a room that adapts with your growing baby, here are a few tricks and tips to help you along the way.

    Choose your color wisely

    It might sound drastic, but a black painted wall gives you oodles of choices with which to experiment. Use black as a canvas for brighter, colour pop options, from shelving to wall hangings. If you use chalk paint, this can easily be adapted for those later years, and what was once number and alphabet blocks can soon become band posters.

    Take inspiration from nature

    Whether we're young or old, animals will always be around us, and that's why they're a great theme for a bedroom to grow up with your child. You can be as subtle or as bold as you like, from horse themed borders to full blown drawings of jungle animals across the walls. Trees and flowers make an aesthetically pleasing theme too – a flowery girl's room can be adapted into house plants, making it the perfect haven for homework.

    Build furniture that will grow with your baby

    Every child loves a bunk bed, and thankfully, there are many options out there to grow with your child's developing imagination. Bedstar have a great range of cabin beds or play beds, which can be transformed into a fairy tale castle or a study area with built in desks for those later stages in life. 

    Adapt what you already have

    Budgeting can be very difficult, especially for those with more than one child, so it's important to also look at the resources you already have and make sure you have a good clear out every so often. For example, is your child really going to play with the same toys he or she enjoyed as a baby? Turn this into book storage for school. Take the changing table away and replace it with a study desk – your growing child will more than appreciate it. 

    *Collaborative Post*

    DITL - Parker at 2 Months and Paige at 27 Months

    I've wanted to do a day in the life kind of post since Parker was born but I just haven't got around to it. I'd love to do a video version one day but right now I'm not that confident plus my editing sucks.

    So this was a not so typical day in the life for us. Parker at 2 months and Paige at 2 years. I say not so typical because Parker doesn't normally wake that many times during the night and we don't normally have a Sunday dinner on a Monday.

    I've tried to break the day down into time sections just to make it a little easier to read.

    Parker woke and had 4oz and a nappy change.

    Me and Parker went back to sleep. He's normally up around 30-40 minutes for his first feed.

    Parker had 2oz

    We went back to sleep again

    No idea why he woke up again so soon, he doesn't normally. He had 1oz

    Went back to sleep again

    Yes he woke up again and had 1oz

    We went back to sleep again

    Parker woke up again. Mark took him downstairs so I could sleep a little.

     My alarm went off so I woke up and showered

    Me having a shower normally wakes Paige up. I got dressed and we both went down stairs

    Paige had some milk, I made a cuppa, Mark went to get ready for work, I cleaned kitchen a little

    Parker woke up, Paige watching TV/playing while I drink. Normally get on twitter/instagram that sort of thing

    Mark leaves for work

    Then until 8:15am
    I put washing on, make beds, open curtains, pick clothes out for babies, try tidy kitchen some more

    Change nappies, get them both dressed. Paige asked for breakfast (cereal)

    Parker milk

    Fed and burped Parker. Now for my breakfast

    Parker is grumpy so we do puzzles with Paige

    Parker falls asleep in my arms, transfer him to swing. Sometimes works. This time it didn't. But managed to do rest of kitchen and sweep up. Paige still doing puzzles at table

    Parker is awake. Hold him again. Me and Paige brush teeth

    Parker crying - hungry and tired. Made bottle. Unloaded washer. Toddler meltdown number 1 - Paige crying because she wants something from kitchen. Distract her with shape sorter. Talk about shapes and colour while Parker eats. Hoping he sleeps after his milk

    Burping Parker. Try and get him to sleep

    Change Parkers nappy. Paige helps. Change Paige's nappy. Finish washing bottles up. Attempt to put washing to dry. Get half way. Paige wanted a banana - toddler meltdown number 2

    All sit on sofa, Paige wants to tickle

    Parker is finally asleep but on me. Need to move him so I can make marks lunch

    Mark home. Paige helped make his lunch. Wanted to bake some buns

    11:25 Parker wakes up. Arrrrrrrhhhhhhh

    Another bottle for Parker. Tried to put him to sleep upstairs. Paige playing in her room

    Parker asleep. Me and Paige finished buns

    Lunch time

    Buns are cooked. Lunch and baking things washed up

    Literally sat down for 2 mins and Parker woke up.

    Parker eating again. Playing on iPad with Paige

    Parker asleep on me. Me and Paige decorat buns

    Parker awake

    I  hoover up, me and Paige played. Feeding Parker asleep

    Mark came home on break, changed nappies and played with bubbles

    Paige playing outside. Parker tummy time then we went outside too

    Back inside, snack - grapes. Playing, tummy time. I start tea.

    Parker milk, sleep. Last nap of day

    More prepping for tea (potatoes and Yorkshire puddings) Toddler meltdown number three- probably over food... they always are

    Mark is home, I have some computer time. Check emails

    Put yorkshires in. Tidy kitchen a little. Prep veg

    Parker is awake having daddy time. Paige is hungry and grumpy so watching peppa

    Finish tea. I comment on blogs

    Tea ready

    Finished tea (Sunday dinner)

    Parker has another bottle

    I clean kitchen, do washing up, clean bottles. Family play time

    Take Paige upstairs. Get her dressed and ready for bed

    I come down stairs with Parker. Mark always tucks Paige in and reads story

    I worked out. Then did 20 mins workout holding Parker who was fussy

    Mark went to asda

    Mark came back. Me and Parker finished workout. I got changed and washed

    Watched Eastenders

    Watched Breaking Bad

    Falling asleep on the sofa so I go to bed


    Thanks for reading,
    Nicola Xx

    Wednesday, 10 September 2014

    Siblings - September

    I love doing these posts. I don't really take pictures of Paige and Parker together everyday, normally because Paige hates posing although she is getting better. Parker is now 10 weeks old and changing everyday. I love already how different each months pictures are.

    Paige and Parkers relationship is growing daily and just gets cuter. As he grows bigger, is smiling more and cooing he becomes more interactive with Paige. She absolutely loves it. She is forever bringing him toys to play with and still loves to cuddle him.

    These pictures are some of my favourite of these two together so far. I was actually just playing around taking pictures of Parker and Paige asked to be in the pictures too, I obviously wasn't going to say no.

    I love each of these pictures for different reasons. The first I just think is gorgeous. In the second I love the way that Parker is smiling and the fact that Paige has her eyes closed. The third just screams crazy children to me. They are both smiling.. Paige's smile is a little crazy but that is her all over.

    I still find it strange that I am lucky enough to be a mum to these two gorgeous babies who look so very similar.

    Thanks for reading,

    Nicola Xx
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