Saturday, 28 February 2015

Me and Mine - February

February was quite a busy month for us. We spent the weekends doing quite a bit of travelling. Around 600 miles. Its lovely to visit family but I always love coming home.

This month me and Mark had two dates. Two! We went out for a meal and for a walk and lunch. We've only left both children three times and the first was in January. We rarely get time together to just be Mark and Nicola so it was lovely. We are trying to do it at least once a month this whole year.

Paige and Parker have both blossomed this month. Paige's speech is coming on leaps and bounds and we had her first ever parents evening at nursery during the week. Parker has just turned 8 months old and is pulling up, cruising and crawling so quickly. Paige took her first steps at 9 months, I really hope Parker doesn't follow suit but he is so eager to chase after Paige so it wouldn't surprise me.

As always I left it until the last minute to get this months pictures and as we currently aren't at home everything is a little messed up. Schedule's are messed up, everyone is a little more tired than usual and we just generally don't feel 100% comfortable, if that makes sense.  

 
So the pictures were taken in the room that we are all sharing, on my iPhone and selfie style again. Yes, four of us in a room with Parker waking twice a night is fun... not! Also sharing a bed with a 2 year old isn't fun either.

But this is us right now. Paige was grumpy because she was tired, I'm trying to make her smile, Parker is pulling Marks ears hence Marks face and Parkers cheeky grin.

 

Nicola Xx
dear beautiful

Friday, 27 February 2015

A Little Wood Walk

Me and Paige have time together every day during Parkers nap time but it's quite rare that we actually get out the house together. We normally stay inside playing, baking or doing something else Paige's request since Parker is normally asleep in his cot.
 
 
 
But Paige loves being outside. She loves running around and looking at everything. With roads and cars it's hard for her to do this on a normal day so we decided to take a trip to the woods. We are actually really lucky that it isn't too far from our house. It isn't huge but her legs are only small so it's a lovely little walk.
 
We spent time together just walking around and looking at the animals and plants. There are also some big ponds and a little waterfall too. Her speech is really coming a long now so she was chatting non stop telling all the things she could see. She also kept telling it to rain as she wanted to use her umbrella. It did eventually rain a little.



 

Once the weather starts to warm up a little more I want to go on more little adventures with my big girl. Just little adventures that we can do together, something special to remember.
 
I am starting to crave warmer weather now and I know Paige is too. We love spring and summer time in the garden. This year Parker be starting to walk and join Paige playing all sorts of games.
 



Are you looking forward to the warmer weather?

Nicola Xx





My Lack Of Mummy Style

I love buying clothes for Paige and Parker. It's lovely dressing them in little outfits and lets face it kids clothes are so much cuter than adult clothes.

When it comes to buying clothes for myself I come up with every excuse in the book to avoid doing so. I have clothes that I wore when I was 15/16. That's 10 years ago. I also find that after having children i'm even worse at clothes shopping. Maybe it's because I don't feel 100% confident in my body, not that I ever have. Maybe it's because I can think of better things to spend the money on.

The one time I let myself go clothes shopping for me is special occasions, Christmas or birthday's are a favourite. Although Mark did let me have a shopping spree for our first wedding anniversary which was lovely. Even when I do go shopping for me I have to shop the sales. I can never justify paying full price. Is anyone else the same? I love to sit at home, in comfy pj's because I wear those 90% of the time, and have a quick look online to get an idea of things I might like. You can also get some great discounts online from shops like ASOS. It does make shopping online all that more tempting.

Saying that, I do prefer online shopping for clothes as I can then try them on at home without rushing. I hate going into changing room in the shops and trying clothes on. The curtains are always too small to cover the opening or the queues are miles long. Most of the time I have the children with me too so always have to rush.


I love Primark purely for the value. They also have some amazing stuff and are great for basic items. I live in there t shirts. They have a wide choice of colours and styles too. I love River Island for jeans. I always find that they last a really long time and are great quality. They also aren't too expensive which is the main thing I go for. My most recent purchase was a gorgeous Parka coat from Boohoo. I justified this purchase because I didn't want to freeze through the winter.

When shopping for new clothes I don't head towards the latest trends. I wear what I feel comfortable in and what I think suits me. There's no point in wearing the latest trends if it doesn't suit your body shape.

I'm trying to be a little more daring when it comes to outfits but I just find jeans and a top far too practical and comfortable.

What do you feel most comfortable in?

Nicola Xx




Thursday, 26 February 2015

8 Months Old

 

How is it possible for Parker to be yet another month old?! He is starting to turn into such a toddler and is less baby like each day.

Just after he turned 7 months he started pulling up and then started cruising. Right around the same time that Paige did. He also finally mastered sitting up from a laying down position after a few weeks of trying. He has also started to test his balance and will pull up on the sofa then let go with his hands and try to balance.

At around 7 and a half months he started preferring traditional crawling over his little army crawl. I also don't think I mentioned it before but his first word was Dada. It isn't specify to Mark yet but he does love to say it. Paige's was Mama so it's only fair Mark got a look in this time, hehe.

He started clapping this month and refuses to be spoon fed. He also started giving kisses. The open mouthed, dribbly kisses are the best. I missed those.


He has 5 bottles a day with 1 of those during the night around midnight. He has two naps of around 1 and a half hours each time, morning and afternoon. He also eats two meals a day. I'm hoping to increase this to three meals by the time he is 9 months.

He still only has two teeth even though I feel like he's been teething for weeks now, his cheeks are permently red. He must be getting his top two soon.

We have his pre one year check up coming up in the next few weeks so it will be nice to get a bit of an update on how the health visitor thinks he is doing even though I have no worries what so ever.

His personality is really shining through now. He is such a cheeky little boy. He is so cuddly. He still adores Paige. He is really playing with his toys and this month we introduced him to Mega Bloks.

I can't get my head around the fact that in just one month he will be 9 months old and then it's into the double figures.

Nicola Xx

Showing your love: Not just for Valentine’s Day


With a flurry of blushing petals, extravagant dinners and more than a few freshly-minted engagements, Valentine’s Day has come and gone for another year. But that doesn’t mean you can stop making the effort! Showing your significant other your love for them doesn’t just come in extravagant, gift-wrapped forms. Here are some ways to make your partner swoon, all year round.

Make their life easier


There are a thousand little ways you can make your other half smile, without spending a penny. Whether you make sure their ailing phone battery is always charged, scrape the ice from the car windscreen in the morning, or always wake up first and bring them morning coffee, these little gestures cumulate and strengthen a relationship.

Give them what they care about


Frivolous gifts like jewellery and flowers are lovely, but if you try to notice throughout the year what your partner really enjoys, you’ll never be stuck for a gift idea. Perhaps her beloved author has released a new book, or his favourite craft brewery has created a new beer. Knowing what your partner cares about, and showing it, will be a constant source of delight in your relationship.


Don’t be afraid of a big gesture


In no way should you do this all the time, but if you send her flowers at work, just once, she’ll remember it forever, and you’ll gain serious kudos with her colleagues. Likewise, hampers for him are a wonderful gesture, and can come in all shapes and sizes, whether he loves gourmet chocolates, retro sweets, or pampering himself with some manly grooming products!


Listen more, talk less


It seems easy, but are you always the one in the relationship who is whining about your day at work, your hare-brained friends or your lack of energy? Take a step back, and ask your partner how things are going for them. Sometimes, we all need to vent a little steam, even if your other half is usually the one who listens.


Date nights


If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, or are living with your partner, your relationship might have taken a turn for the domestic. While long nights snuggled up on the sofa can be just as lovely, rekindle the excitement of getting dressed up for each other and going out by scheduling a monthly date night. Relationships take effort to feel effortless.


Any thoughtful gesture, no matter how little or large, will go a long way. Be sure to show how much you care every now and again and you’ll be a practically perfect partner.
 

*guest post*

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

My Most Stressful Time As A Parent

As a parent you experience stressful situations on a daily basis. It's all part of the package. A recent survey by Blinds2Go found that 29% of UK parents found bed time the most stressful part of day. Parents had to choose from a list of common activities that take place on a daily basis. A close second was shopping with 26% of parents saying they found it the most stressful situation. 

In our house bed time or shopping isn't a particularly stressful time. We've had bedtime routines in place from when Paige was around 6 weeks old and have kept bedtimes pretty constant. Of course there are nights when she will wake up but they are rare. As for Parker, he too has had a bedtime routine from around 6 weeks. He fit into Paige's routine quite easily. His sleep isn't as constant as Paige's but I still don't find it particularly stressful, just tiring at 4am.

Me and Mark may be in the minority here but we love taking the kids shopping, food shopping is a favourite and we all look forward to it each week. Maybe because it has always being apart of our weekly routine they are just used to it. Now Paige is older we let her help out which helps keep her entertained. Right now Parker just sits the trolley and has all the other customers cooing over him but I can't wait for the day when he can help out too.

So what is our most stressful parenting situation?

I would have to say travelling, Mark may disagree. I don't mean a short car journey to the shops but longer trips are definitely not fun in our house. The survey found that 23% of parents agree as travelling came in as the third most stressful time.

We have family that live quite far away. Mark is actually from Ipswich and we live in Yorkshire so we have to travel over 200 miles to see everyone from Marks side of the family. The thought of travelling that far stresses me, even though we've done it a few times since Parker was born, I still find it hard. I find that babies are quite easy to travel with, especially when they are smaller. As long as they are clean, fed and cosy they pretty much sleep all the way which is amazing. Its the sudden screaming as you get to their fed time while stuck in traffic on the motorway that stresses me out.  We tend to plan stops around Parker's schedule so we can avoid him getting hungry and crying in the car.


As for Paige, she gets travel sick so whenever we travel long distances I'm always on the edge of my seat waiting for her to be sick. I can never properly relax on the journey and it leaves me feeling quite anxious. With Paige it normally starts with her crying, as she starts to feel ill, and then the saliva begins. She is then sick and of course cries uncontrollably because being sick isn't nice for anyone.

We do try to do a few things to help her..
  •  We try to travel when we think she will be tired and fall asleep. Paige doesn't nap anymore but if we travel around 2/3pm we know she is more likely to fall asleep. So far sleeping is the only thing that stops her from being sick.
  •  
  • We never let her travel straight after a full meal. We try her with something small to eat before we leave and some sips of water if she is sick.

  • We keep the car cool, well-ventilated and use a sun shade on her window to stop her getting too hot.
  •  
  •  We try to distract her with little games and songs. This is hard if we are travelling for 4 hours but with little breaks it helps.

  •  I always make sure I have a muslin cloth or a towel, baby wipes and a change of clothes handy for if she is sick. I can easily clean up the mess and deal with the situation. We normally find that once she is sick she will fall asleep.

  • A lot of toddlers outgrow travel sickness so I'm hoping that Paige will too but it not we will deal with it just the same. If you have anymore travel tips that may help I would love to hear them.

    What is your most stressful time as a parent?

    Nicola Xx

    Tuesday, 24 February 2015

    A North Yorkshire Adventure

    We often have little adventures to North Yorkshire. My mum lives there so we tend to visit every so often. Our recent visit was a long weekend over Valentines day.

     
    We travelled up on the Thursday after work, Mark finished a little early. The drive is actually really nice. It's around 60 miles but takes 2 hours to get there. The last part of the journey is very narrow country roads. The last few times Paige was sick, she often gets travel sick on long journeys but this time she wasn't as she fell asleep. She has also being using her Trunki Snuggle Bundle in the car. She loves the blanket and being able to snuggle up with it in the back of the car.


    Friday was our first full day. We didn't really do much all weekend, mainly because in the village where my mum lives there isn't too much to do. We went for a little walk and then stopped off in the pub for some lunch. In the evening we got the kids off to sleep then me and Mark headed out for a little meal. It was kind of to celebrate Valentines day but just to spend time with each other really. We've only left Parker twice since he was born and the first time was a few weeks ago for a couple of hours. We had such a lovely meal out with some yummy food and it was nice to be Nicola and Mark again, rather than mummy and daddy.

     
     

    Saturday was Valentines Day, we didn't have anything special planned and to be honest we never really do for Valentines day. Me and Mark did go out for a little walk though and a spot of lunch. Paige and Parker went for a walk with grandma and granddad to spend some time alone with them.


    Sunday morning we just chilled out around the house and then came home early afternoon.

     
    It's nice to have little breaks away to see family but I always love coming home and getting back into our routine again. Both children did really well with going away. Parker had one bad night and Paige ended up in our bed every night but there are worse things than snuggles.


     
    I tend to get quite nervous on car trips, I have no idea why as both children are normally so good and do so well. Like I mentioned before Paige is usually sick but if she sleeps it tends to help. We have a 400 mile trip coming up in the next week so fingers crossed that goes well.
     
     
    Do your children travel well?
     
    Nicola Xx
    
    

    Beebies Baby Store Wish List

    If you saw our news last week you will know that we are Beebies Baby Store ambassadors. I thought we could start off our journey together with a post about my favourite Beebies items and a little wish list of things. There is also a great little feature on the website that lets you create your very own wishlist and even share it with friends.

     
    Party Afternoon Tea Fabric Food Play Set - This little role play set is so sweet. Paige has a little tea set that she loves to play with. As a result I get a million cups of tea a day but we have so much fun. This little set would be the perfect addition to our tea parties.

    Gumigem Bubba Bag Teething Tools - Parker is a teething monster right now. He has his two bottom teeth through but no more as yet. His cute little red cheeks would suggest more are on the way but who knows. We've tried some Gumigem products before and loved them so I would love to try outthe Bubba Bag.


    Foxy and Friends Babygrow - Babygrows are an essential item for a baby. They are so easy to thrown on and provide warmth and comfort. Plus this one has a super cute pattern.


    Cream Floral Print Tea Dress - I fell in love with this dress as soon as I saw it. The print is adorable and I think Paige would look gorgeous in it. I also love that its handmade too!

    Red Kite Sleeptight Travel Cot - We do quite a bit of travelling, not to exciting places abroad but we tend to visit family a lot. My mum is in North Yorkshire and Marks family is in Ipswich. When we do go visit it tends to be for a weekend so a travel cot is an essential item for Parker. At the moment we don't have one so borrow one at both places but it would be nice to have our own, even tough it will take up room in the car. Why is it when you travel with children you have to take so much?

     
    Cosatto Supa Foxtrot Stroller - I must say that this is probably our most wanted for item and it is of course the most expensive. I love prams and strollers as much as handbags and shoes, in fact more than shoes!! They are an essential item and with two I find that a good stroller is a must. I need somewhere that can potentially seat either child while the other is being held or walks in Paige's case. The reason I didn't pick a double is because Paige tends to walks a lot. While I was pregnant we went back and fourth with the idea of getting a double and it just didn't feel like the right decision and i'm glad we didn't get one. I've never tried the Cosatto brand before so would be interested in trying them out plus the Foxtrot design is super cute,gender neutral and not too in your face.


    I could carry on all day but I wont.

    What items are on your wishlist from Beebies Baby Store?

    Nicola Xx

    Monday, 23 February 2015

    Safetots Competition

     
    Safety is very important when you become a parent. You spend half of your time worrying about your newborn. As they grow you worry about different things. Feeding, eating, development. Then they become toddlers and you worry about moving them from there cot into a big bed. You worry about if there sleep will be effected and what happens if they fall out.

    To take some of that worry away we have teamed up with Safetots to offer a reader the chance to win a bed guard. The winner will have a choice of a white, natural or blue coloured bed guard.

    Blue Bed Guard

    "Safetots is a family run business, established in 2003 by brothers David and Peter Boast.

    The aim was to provide a shopping destination for the very best brands in baby and child safety products, whilst offering expert advice and information. Encouraged by the fast rate of growth and the increasing popularity of the company, Safetots made the decision to expand across several online platforms including eBay.

    Safetots understand how important it is to have fully trained staff and each member of our team have had in- depth training on all of our products, including our wide range of child safety stair gates. We have every confidence that Safetots can find and recommend the correct safety solution to meet your requirements.

    Today, Safetots is the UK's largest shopping destination for child safety products, offering over 3000 safety products for your home or travel, including many of our own Safetots branded products. Putting this together with our expert knowledge of the industry and our fast and efficient delivery service, Safetots are placed in a unique position to help and guide our customers."

    You can find Safetots on Facebook and Twitter.

    For a chance of winning simply fill out the raffle copter below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The competition will run for two weeks. The prize will be provided by Safetots.

    Good Luck!

    Nicola Xx

    Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/bed-guard#sthash.JNFLn3Cz.dpuf

    Thursday, 19 February 2015

    33 Months Old

     
      I feel like this last month was a big one for Paige. Her speech is getting so good. She said a 9 word sentence the other day. It literally amazes me to think that just a few months ago she wasn't really speaking at all and would only put a few words together. She has taken to calling Parker "Parker Chops" as I tend to call him that a lot so she has followed suit.

    She loves to sing and knows so many songs. Her favourites are Wind The Bobbin Up and Baa Baa Black Sheep. She has also learnt to say the alphabet this past month.
     

    She is still such a cheeky little girl but so loving. She is always giving cuddles and kisses to us and Parker.

    Her favourite things to do are helping, playing play-doh and dancing with Parker.

    She doesn't nap but thankfully her nighttime sleep is a little better. She now has a night light as she was starting to get scared of the dark. She doesn't really like going outside when it's dark or even having the curtains open.
     
     
    Her imagination is exploding. She will often sit with her dolls house and other toys and make them talk to each other. She has little Peppa Pig figurines that she carries everywhere and those particularly love to talk. She still makes them and her Bear talk to us in a different voice which is super cute.

    She can dress herself a lot better now. She still sometimes struggles with pulling trousers up all the way but is getting there. She also loves putting her shoes and coat on and taking them off by herself. She also loves to pick her own clothes out.
     


    I'm so proud of the amazing little girl she is turning into.

    Nicola xx
     
    

    Wednesday, 18 February 2015

    Kiddy Evo-Lunafix Review


    A must have item for a new baby is a car seat. But with so many to choose from how do you decide which one is for you.

    Over the past couple of months we have been testing out the Kiddy Evo-Lunafix. The evo-lunafix is "setting new standards for infant carriers. In conjunction with the Kiddy Isofixbase2, the Evo Lunafix from Kiddy can be moved into an ergonomic lie-flat position even when travelling by car. Newborns and infants can therefore peacefully lie back and relax no matter how long the journey. This has been confirmed by numerous midwives and paediatricians, as well as the experts from the AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.). For maximum body support and breathability!"

    In regular car seats your baby shouldn't be in them for hours at a time because of the position. It is actually quite bad for their spine. The kiddy evo-lunafix solves this problem. You wouldn't leave your baby in a car seat for hours on end anyway but on long trips having a car seat that lays down is a big bonus.




    The kiddy evo-lunafix has patented KLF technology. You simply adjust the handle back using the grey buttons and a slatter frame in the car seat rises up and moves the baby into a lying position. The slatted frame also ensures even ventilation so that the baby doesn't get hot and sweaty.

    Babies should lie down in as flat a position as possible, especially soon after their birth. Newborn babies have a particularly sensitive spine and the curved position caused by conventional infant carriers can put great strain on their still soft bones and back. Their bent legs can press on their stomach and lungs, leading to breathing difficulties. A significantly reduced blood oxygen saturation level can quickly ensue.

    Using The Seat

    When the car seat first arrived it was super easy to get it up and running. The last thing you want when buying a car seat is a difficult one to fit or adjust, especially if you are full term or have a newborn. We were very kindly sent the ISO Fix base to use along with the Kiddy evo-lunafix car seat. The base fits into the car using the ISO Fix points. You have to make sure your car is compatable with the base but a lot are. We've never had a base in the car before so it was completely new to us. We've always just used car seats which fit in the car using the traditional seat belt. Let's face it these are a bit of a pain and to be honest, and now we've used a base i wouldn't go back to fitting the car seat in with the seatbelt. I let mark fit the base into the car, mainly because I didn't want to mess it up but it was really easy. He had a read of the instructions and was all set. It took him around 10 minutes altogether. There are green indicators on the base to let you know that it's fitted correctly.


     
    With the base, the car seat is very easy to pop in and out of the car. So easy that we've had grandparents shocked and amazed. You literally just pop the car seat on top of the base, it then clicks together and you are done. To release the car seat from the base you pull a little lever on the back of the car seat and it releases from the base.

     
    In terms of getting the baby in and out of the car seat that is very easy too. The harness is very easy to use. To simply pop one side on top of the other then clip both into the bottom section. I sometimes struggle with getting Parker out as I find that when you come to take the baby out the car seat tends to tip forward with the weight shift of the baby and then there head touches the top of the car seat. Parker is now almost 8 months so this wasn't as much of a problem when he was younger and smaller. You can use the car seat from birth right up until 13kg which is around 15 months which is great. There is a newborn insert for when the baby is first born to help keep them extra secure and protected. Without the newborn insert the car seat is still super padded and looks very comfy.

     

    As I mentioned previously to get the car seat in the laying down position you push the grey buttons on either side and push the handle down. You do need both hands to do this but it is super easy. The movement is very smooth and we haven't had any trouble with it at all. This is super great for car journeys as the baby can lay flat and enjoy the ride more. We travelled over 800 miles on a couple of big journeys and it was lovely to know that Parker was in the perfect position for travelling. We obviously stopped for milk breaks but Parker slept perfectly in the car seat. The one problem I have with the car seat in the laying down position is that it makes the car seat quite long and when in the car I have to have my seat a lot more forward than I would with a regular car seat as Parker is behind me in the car. He can't fit behind Mark as Mark needs his chair further back to he can use the pedals in the car properly. It is definitely something to think about if you have a smaller car. We have a Citroen C3 for reference.



    Other Features

    The maxi sun roof in the evo-lunafix is one if my favourite features. It is such a lovely big size that it really helps shade and protect Parker from the sun. It's easily adjustable and works well. You can also remove it very easily.


     
    The car seat seat can also be used as part of a travel system. We were sent the Kiddy City n Move Stroller so we could test out the car seat in the travel system form. The car seat does attach to various other strollers to make a travel system and these can be viewed on the Kiddy website.

     
     
    To attach the car seat to the stroller you need to use the attachments. These attachments work well and are easy to use. I find attaching the car seat a little bit of a problem. Mostly because with Parker in the car seat I find it quite heavy to lift him and make sure both sides of the car seat attachments will fit into the holes on the stroller. I feel like I'm not quite big enough to do both things but it works well together. You do need to put extra attachments on the stroller first before you can clip the car seat on, so you need attachments on the car seat and on the stroller. Honestly I find both attachments a bit of a pain. The car seat attachments tends to fall out the car seat and we have lost one of them before. The stroller attachments are annoying because you can't fold the stroller down with the attachments on. I feel like this would be a good improvement to make just to make life easier. To place the car seat on the stroller you have to have the seat in a laying down position which is super easy to adjust just by pulling a little lever. Once the car seat is attached to the stroller it is lovely to use as part of the travel system. I've only ever used car seats that attach to the base of the pram without having a seat still attached. I didn't think I'd like it but I actually do. I love that Parker is super high up and very easily accessible. With the laying down option for the car seat you can again adjust the seat to the laying down position while on the stroller and baby can happily sleep. With the ease of getting it in and out the car and on the stroller it means that the baby doesn't wake in between. Many times we've gone to the shops and Parker has fallen asleep in the car, we've simply popped the car seat into the stroller and off we've gone to do the shopping. When we've finished we popped him back onto the base and  he hasn't woken. Meaning a stress free trip for us and a good quality sleep for Parker. To take the car seat off the stroller you simply push down on two black buttons and it pulls right off.
     
    The car seat can also be used as a rocker. If it is laid on the floor in the laying down position you can gentle rock the car seat. This is perfect for when you are visiting people houses and are trying to calm a baby or get them off to sleep.



    Overall we really love this car seat. Id recommend it to anyone and prefer it over others we have used before. I do find it a bit big when its in the laying down position but I tend to find car seats big anyway and always struggle to carry them with the baby in.
     
    The Evo-Lunafix is really easy and simple to use. It is super comfortable and safe for Parker and that's all I'm really looking for in a car seat. 

    Nicola Xx

     *Disclaimer - We were sent the car seat and base for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are our own*
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