Saturday, 31 January 2015

Me and Mine - January

It's that time again. I normally leave our family pictures to the last minute, I need to be more organised but this month I had a plan. Well, I had half a plan. Marks birthday is January 24th so I thought that would be the perfect day to capture our family on his 30th birthday.

It was all going well until we all got caught up in the moment which is lovely when you are the ones caught up but no so lovely when you forget to do something. Luckily my phone was right there so I grabbed it and took a few pictures right as Mark was blowing his candles out.

Because my arms aren't long enough, even though I do have strangely long arms, I managed to cut off my head quite a lot but oh well. If you look behind us Millie is also sat at the window. A very happy accident!

A true family moment captured at just the right time.

Nicola Xx
dear beautiful

Friday, 30 January 2015

5 Bedtime Tips

As a regular reader you might know that Parker isn't the best of sleepers, he is slowly getting better but more of that in another post soon. We do try to do certain things each and every night to ensure that he has the best possible chance of a good nights sleep. These tips also help Paige who is a great sleep. We also use some of these for naptime too.

*Routine is key - Babies and children love routines. Make sure the same thing happens each and every night before bed. It can be a mixture of a bath, quiet time, milk and bed. Do what works best for your child. Some hate bath time so it wouldn't be the right time to wind them down for bed after a baht. We've also started a little routine before nap time for Parker to help him drift off peacefully. You can introduce an flexible routine as early as 6 weeks.

*Make sure the room isn't too hot or too cold. Having the perfect temperature ensures that your baby will be safe and comfortable. We use the thermometer on the
Serenity Star by Aden and Anais. Also make sure to use the correct bedding. We love the Grobags.

*A dark room -  during the day we leave the blinds open but at night time I make sure the room is as dark as possible. I do this so that they know the difference between night time sleep and nap time. In winter this isn't difficult as it gets dark super early but come summer we use blinds from

*White noise - I find that this helps them settle off to sleep. It blocks out other noises (especially great for nap time) I also incorporate this into our routines. For example I have the white noise playing when I'm singing Parkers song to him for naptime.  Paige doesn't know use her white noise anymore but for Parker we use the
Cloud B Sleep Sheep.

*No talking - If the baby/child wakes during the night we keep the lights off or very dim and don't talk. You don't want to fully wake them up.

I'd love to hear your tips!

Nicola Xx

Monday, 26 January 2015

Parker at 7 Months

These months are just flying by. I can barely keep track. Between 7 - 8 months was a big time for Paige and it seems that 6-7 months was a big one for Parker.

We tried and failed at the picture wearing daddys tie
This picture cracks me up!
He has learnt so much since turning 6 months. The first being crawling. He started getting on all fours and rocking but then figured out a army/worm crawl. He is so fast at that now. He still gets on al fours multiple times a day. He is able to move his legs and one arm... he just needs to figure out that other arm and he will off. But he doesn't seem bothered and is happy to get around army crawling. Its so much fun seeing him chase after Paige. He can also get from sitting up to laying down so is very much mobile. He is so close to getting to a sitting position from laying down.

He has developed the pincher grasp and loves feeding himself but still doesn't mind spoon feeding. Weaning is going well. He has 2 meals a day and drink around five 7oz bottles, sometimes six. I'm hoping to get him onto 8oz bottles soon but we will see how it goes.

He is going into 9-12 months clothes. Still in size 4 nappies and weighs around 20lbs.

He is also teething again. He continues to wear his amber teething necklace but I'm still undecided about it, I'll do a review when I make my mind up. Teething gel helps him and the granules actually make him sick so we avoid them now. His favourite teething toys are Sophie La Giraffe and his socks. Silly boy.

Sleep is up and down. We started sleep training a couple of days ago so I will do a bit of an update in a week or two :)

He loves playing with Paige still and loves toys. It lovely that he can really play well with them now. He also loves his ball pit and him and Paige will sit and play for ages in there.

I think that's about it.

Nicola Xx

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

NYK1 - Gel Nail Kit Review

Not many people know but I trained as a beautician and massage therapist at the age of 18. During the end of the course and about 6 weeks before my final exams I broke my wrist. This meant I couldn't take my exams. I loved everything about the course. Sadly my wrist will never be strong enough to re take the course and do the exam. 
I've thought about just doing a nail technician course but just haven't got round to it. Maybe one day. I love the idea of gel and acrylic nails. They look so pretty and can protect your underneath nail. 
Over the past few weeks I've being trying out the NKY1 gel nail set. 
The set contains everything you need to get started.
Although I've had training I've never done gel nails before and defiantly not on myself. Using the set is really easy and it does come with instructions which are a breeze to follow. 
To get started you just need to pop the bulbs into the lamp. This only needs to be done the first time you use the lamp. The next steps are what you need to follow each time you do your nails.
1) Dry manicure - Cut and file nails. Push cuticles back.
2) Wipe nails with the Prep & Shine included.
3) Repeat step 2
4) Apply a thin Gel base coat leaving a small gap around the edge of the nail. Cure under lamp for 2 minutes
5) Apply thin colour layer. Cure under lamp for 2 minutes
6) Repeat step 5
7) Apply top coat and cure for 2 minutes
8) Wipe nails with the Prep & Shine to reveal a glossy finish
9) Wash hands and apply a few drops of CND Solar Oil into cuticles

The steps are really easy to get the hang of. When applying the gel thin coats are the way to go. On my first go I found that a applied them a little too thick and while it still worked ok the finished result wasn't as nice as when I did thinner coats. Applying the gel is really easy as it's just like painting your nails with regular nail varnish.
My first attempt took me around 40 minutes to do both hands. I didn't mind spending that time as it can last up to 14 days. Mine lasted a week before it started chipping. It then took a good hour to remove the gel. I loved that it lasted a week and I'm sure the more I practiced the longer it would last as I would get better at applying it but as a busy mum of two I don't have the time to spend that long on my nails every week. I did love that it was instantly dry when I had finished. It was lovely to not have to wait for the nail varnish to dry but I did spend a lot longer applying it than I would normal nail varnish. I also found the 2 minute wait between each coat a long time, especially as you have to do each hand separately.

I think the kits are great for special occasions or holidays when you need your nails to last but for me they are a bit too much effort for everyday.

Have you tried gel nails?

Nicola xx

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

Monday, 19 January 2015

32 Months Old

Paige is now 32 months old. 4 short months until she is three. I can't believe it. In the blink of an eye I will have a 3 year old.
Her speech improves so much each week. She is constantly talking and a favourite thing is singing. She loves to sing! 
Her imagination is exploding. She especially loves making her animals talk. They even have different voices. It's so cute. 
She still isn't potty trained but we aren't rushing it. We are slowing trying but not pushing her. She will get there when she is ready.
She knows her colours, shapes and can count up to 13. She still loves drawing, colouring and puzzles. She loves doll houses and any toys. She's such an easy going child.
She still loves nursery and we've just applied for a new one. If she gets in she will start in September and be going every morning to get her ready for school the following year. Fingers crossed she gets a place! 

She's not napping but needs to. She gets so tired in the afternoon but refuses to nap. Her night time sleep is getting effected too so we try our best to get her to nap but it doesn't always happen.

She recently discovered Frozen and getting her nails painted.

She's just turning into such a little girl and is less like a toddler every day. She still adores Parker and is so loving towards him. She is such a sweet, caring little girl.

8 months vs 32 months
Nicola Xx

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Siblings - January 2015

If it was possible to freeze time I would do so on a daily basis. Simply because of Paige and Parker. They honestly make even the dullest of days brighter.

I love both there ages so much. Paige is 2 and a half and Parker is 6 and a half months. I love both ages for completely different reasons but I love them both together even more.

Paige loves Parker so much. When he is napping she asks for him and how long he will be. She can't wait to play with him even though he steals her toys and pulls her hair. She is so affectionate towards him, always kissing and hugging him. She makes him laugh in whatever way she can. She looks in his direction just to see if he is watching her.

Parker loves Paige even more. Even if both me and Mark can't settle Parker for whatever reason you can bet that Paige will make him smile. He loves it when she sings to him. He loves to play with her. They don't even need any toys and they are perfectly happy together. He also loves when she shares Bear with him.

In the past month they have both changed so much. Parker is very much on the move, just starting to crawl and is so interested in toys. They spend all day just playing together and both couldn't be happier.
I am so lucky to watch their relationship grow every single day.
Nicola Xx

dear beautiful

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Weaning - 6 And A Half Months

Parker is 6 and a half months old now so we have now started our weaning journey. We wanted to wait until 6 months before we started and nearly managed that. Parker started showing signs around 5 to 5 and a half months old that he was ready to start weaning. The first thing he did was start to really focus on us eating. The next step was him grabbing my banana and chewing on it.

We really wanted to try baby led weaning. With Paige we did a mixture of baby led and purees and we have ended up doing that with Parker. At first he wasn't really taking to baby led weaning so we did more puree then after a couple of weeks he was really into the baby led. So now we do a mixture, just like with Paige.

With regards to puree feeding he needed a whole set of plates, bowls and spoons for himself. We still had Paige's from when she weaned as she still uses many of her bowls and plates but we felt like Parker needed his own. He was a very lucky boy at Christmas and Santa got him a lot of things what he needed for Christmas.

He seems to be doing better than Paige did with weaning. She didn't really care for food that much but Parker loves it. He will have a couple of spoons at lunch and tea time.

In terms of spoons for puree feeding we have being trying out Spuni. The Spuni comes with a reusable carry case which is nice for out and about use. They have a unique tulip design which promotes latching and reduces mess. I do like the design of these spoons. When we first started Parker did tend to latch on and suck the food off them and they worked well. I found them to be quite messy as not a lot of food fits onto the spoon and it tends to fall off the side. They seem to be one of Parkers favorites for now but he doesn't suck the food off anymore, he just eats like anyone would off a normal spoon.

They feel nice to hold and Parker likes to hold them himself. They can go in the dishwasher which makes cleaning them super easy. I have noticed that the clear edging has stained with baby food.

The Spuni spoons come in a pack of two, with a range of colour combos, and are priced at £14. I personally think £14 is a bit steep for spoons but they are well made and do the job.

Parker is started to lean towards baby led weaning and that is fine by us but it's always nice to have the option of puree.

Baby led weaning is great in my eyes. The baby gets to eat, learn and try new real foods. With Parker w also offer him whatever we are having for tea. His favorites so far are banana, toast, tuna pasta bake and sunday dinner. We give him finger sized pieces and he just bites off bits, chews and eats. Simple! Some people are a bit nervous when it comes to baby led weaning. They can gag on food but gagging on food is completely different to choking on food. Their gag reflex is really quite strong to stop them from choking. Its also good for them to gag on the food, it helps them understand how to chew and eat it properly.  

Did you prefer puree or baby led weaning?

Nicola Xx
*Disclaimer - We were sent the above item to review but all views and opinions are our own*

Monday, 12 January 2015

6 Months Postpartum

My last update on me was at 4 months postpartum. Mostly because not a lot has changed. I've felt normal for months now.
If you are interested you can read my 6 months postpartum update with Paige. I always got told that weight loss is harder the second time around but for me that was rubbish. I still had a good half a stone to lose at 6 months postpartum with Paige.

The hair loss has slowed right down and I would say that its back to normal. I have noticed that my nails are quite weak. I am hoping this is a phase as normally my nails are really strong.

I am still 1-2lbs away from my target but lets be honest.. I haven't done a single thing to lose it. I'm actually surprised that I haven't put on weight as I've eaten so much, especially over Christmas. The extra 1-2lbs doesn't bother me. I'm well within a healthy weight for my height. I'd still like to tone up but that isn't at the front of my mind right now. Parker is still quite a bad sleeper so I'm tired most of the time. Totally worth it but also very hard work when you have a baby and a toddler to look after. I'm planning on watching what I eat more. I need less chocolate and tea and more fruit, veg and water! In the next couple of weeks I will start working out on good days. There's no way I'll kill myself and force myself to work out 5-6 times a week, I just don't have the energy.

I still fit into my pre pregnancy clothes and generally feel really good about my body. My stretch marks have faded but are visible and don't bother me at all. My belly button will never be the same again but who cares.
For now I will sleep instead of exercising, eat that chocolate bar if I feel the need and just enjoy my babies.

How did you feel at 6 months postpartum?

Nicola X

Friday, 9 January 2015

Review - Minnie Mouse Polka Dot House*

Although Paige loves playing with cars and dinosaurs she is very much a typical 2 and a half year old girl. She loves everything pink, girly and with a character. Her favourite and most loved has to be Minnie and Mickey Mouse. As you can imagine she was very easy to buy for at Christmas.

She loves playing with figures and dolls. She is getting to that age where her imagination is so big and its amazing to watch. Before Christmas we were kindly sent the Minnie Mouse Polka Dot House to review. Paige loved it as soon as she saw it and is yet to stop playing with it.

You have to put the house together but the instructions are very clear and it took less than 5 minutes, even for me! You even get stickers to give the house a bit of decoration.

Paige loves the little Minnie the best. She makes her sit on the chairs, walk up and down the stairs and even jump off the top floor and fly. Along with the Minnie you get her little Cat, Figaro, plus loads of furniture. There are 4 floors all together and 5 rooms. Paige never keeps the right furniture in the right room but it's all about having fun and learning. She loves putting Minnie and Figaro to bed before she goes to sleep.

The house is plastic so can be wiped down. We haven't had anything break and Parker even manages to get his hands on things too. He especially likes the fridge, the little chunky!

We love Fisher Price and I personally think they make really good toys and this one doesn't disappoint!

Do you have a Minnie Mouse fan in your house?

Nicola Xx

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

Monday, 5 January 2015

Parker at 6 Months

Half a year old. How is my baby half a year old already? In all honestly Parker is almost 6 and a half months old, with Christmas I'm a little late with this update.

He has changed so much since 5 months. He got his first two teeth at 5 and a half months and began properly sitting unsupported then too. They happened on the same weekend! He is getting so big and so strong. I'm not sure how much he weighs but he is outgrowing some 6-9 months trousers.

His sleep is rubbish. These past two weeks he hasn't been well so his sleep was defiantly affected. On average he wakes at midnight at 5am which isn't great but isn't terrible either. 

He is really loving playing with toys. He loves his jumperoo too. He will sit and play with Paige for ages. It's so nice watching them both play together. I can't wait until he starts moving around so he can chase her. Speaking of moving around. He isn't yet crawling but he gets up on his hands and knees. He spins around on his belly and is still rolling everywhere so he is very much mobile just like last month. I don't think it will be long before he figures out crawling but so far he really doesn't know what to do once he gets on his hands and knees. I know I'm comparing them again but Paige crawled just as she turned 7 months so we will see what Parker does. He loves to stand still and will support himself if he is holding onto something.

He is such a happy boy and will laugh and smile at everyone. He still adores Paige and I don't think that will change. He still has his adorable little dimples too.

His hair is growing and seems to be staying brown. His eyes are still dark green but they seem to be changing brown... we will see.

He's eating a couple of meals a day and loves finger foods. He seems to be going off his milk a little. I'm hoping its just because he isn't too well and that he will be back on form soon.

Nicola xx

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015

Its resolution time again!

1) I want to learn how to use my camera better. Yes this one is from last year but it's something I really want to do.

2) I want to read again. Mark got me the Divergent book series for Christmas and I want to read them. I always make excuses but this year I will start reading again.

3) I want to get healthier. To be honest weight doesn't really bother me. I've fit into my pre pregnancy for a good few months now but I want to tone up and get healthier this year. I'd really like to get into running again but we will see. Sleep defiantly has to improve for that to happen. I love a good bargain when it comes to sportswear and workout clothes. I hate the thought of paying loads for items that will ultimately only get sweaty. Only Sports Gear have some lovely items at great prices.

4) Get more organised around the house and in general. I want to stay organised and de clutter the house. I tend to hold onto so many things that we just don't need anymore.

5) Start driving lessons. I don't care if I don't pass this year but I want to at least start my lessons. 

6) Be more confident. Try new things. Take a chance sometimes!

7) Grow my hair. A bit of a silly one but I miss my longer hair. 

What are your resolutions if you make any?

Nicola xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A Crazy Year

Happy New Years Day! 

The past year has flown by. I honestly can't believe it's 2015! 

So much has happened. 

We moved house in March.

Paige turned 2 in May.

We got a car early June. 

Parker was born in June. 

We've lost so many hours of sleep since June.. Totally worth it but so hard at the same time. 

We celebrated our first year of marriage in November and Paige's 3rd and Parkers 1st Christmas in December.

At the start of last year I couldn't of imagined the year we've had. Our life truly changed last year. 

We have so much to look forward to this year. Mark turns 30 soon, then paige is 3 and parker will be 1 the month after. I'm also hoping we can go on our first family holiday this year. I'm hoping for a little more sleep this year but I'm not getting my hopes up. I hope we are all happy and healthy in 2015. I hope we are strong as a family. I hope we have the best year!

I still can't believe 2014 is over. The year I became a mummy of two and one of the fastest years of my life. 

Keep a look out for my resolutions post! 

Nicola xx 

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