Friday, 31 July 2015

My Quiet Place

I am a stay at home mum to two children. I have a husband and a cat. I am responsible for the cleaning, looking after everyone, most of the cooking and just about everything else, apart from the gardening! I am not green fingered at all.

I do spend a lot of time at home. I don't need to leave the house each day to go to work. The nursery run, a trip to the post office or the park is about as exciting as it gets.

Its quite a hard thing to deal with having everyone in your house depending on you. I love it but it can be hard. I rarely get anytime to myself. Wherever I am in the house there's always someone with me. Everywhere except the bathroom, most of the time anyway!

UK Bathrooms have recently done some research around stay-at-home parents and which room they spend most of their time in. The most popular were the kitchen, bedroom and the bathroom. They also found that 68% of people who said the bathroom admitted it was because that was the only room in the house where they can get total peace and quiet. 83% of people admitted that they often go to the bathroom for a few minutes peace. I am totally one of them and I know that Mark is too.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I regularly go and sit in the bathroom for a few minutes peace. Mostly after dinner is over and the kids are winding down for bed. Its nice to get 5-10 minutes peace before the bedtime craziness starts.

If I went to the kitchen i'd be constantly cleaning or making snacks or drinks. If I went to the bedroom i'd probably make myself fold the mountain of laundry that always piles up but in the bathroom there isn't much to do so I can sit on Paige's little stool and just relax, if only for 5 minutes.

We all need time to rest and relax. Me time. With children it gets put on the back burner quite a lot of the time but it is really important. I love nothing more than a long soak in a big bubble bath while the kids are asleep. The whole house is silent and still. I feel like that's the only time that I can truly relax.

Do you escape to the bathroom for 5 minutes peace? 

Nicola Xx

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Names, Names, Names.

When you first become pregnant it's only natural to think about names. As the weeks progress you think more and more. Sometimes you might decide on a name really quickly. Other times you may not even have one until the baby is a week old. Both situations are perfectly normal.

If you find out the gender you are able to narrow down names a little. Maybe you have a family name that you really want to use.

It can be really stressful when picking a name. It is a really important decision and many parents struggle. I was forever searching the internet and looking in baby name books. Like a lot of soon to be parents me and Mark found it hard to agree on names we both loved.  The Co-Op have created a baby name tool to add a bit of fun into helping you choose a name. Simply type a name into the tool and it will tell you how many people have made history using that same name. It also tells you a few similar names that you may not of thought of.


Paige and Parker
 
When picking Paige's and Parker's name me and Mark had very different experiences each time. With both children we had names before the end of the pregnancy but Paige took a lot longer than Parker. Parker is a family name so it felt natural to use it and seemed to fit perfectly. With Paige we took a couple of months longer. We used Ellen as her middle name, which like Parker, is a family name but we knew we didn't want Ellen as a first name. We actually found the name Paige from the tv show Charmed. It just seemed to fit and we knew.

When you have multiple children you also have to think about how well the names fit together. I was really scared about picking two names beginning with P just because I didn't want it to be a mouthful to say them both together but now I love how they fit together.

How did you choose your baby's name?

Nicola Xx


*Collaborated Post*

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Little Super Hero

Every child loves to dress to up, at least Paige does. One day she wants to be dinosaur and the next she wants to be a princess. We don't always needs fancy costumes as you can use your imagination but sometimes its nice to be able to dress up. You may need a specific fancy dress costume for a party or another event but even using them at home is just as fun, plus you get multiple wears.
 
Its nice to get children's imaginations working. Paige loves nothing more than dressing up as a super hero and saving all her favourite teddies or flying around the room.
 

 
What makes this super hero costume better than the rest?
 
It can be customised for your child!
 

 
On the cape you can have your child's initial. Each item is lovingly handmade. The set includes a superhero cape, mask, belt & cuffs. All matching in one of 7 available designs with a range of colours. There will be one your child will love.

Each capes measures approximately 70cm long and 45cm wide, and fastens with a velcro neck piece for quick release. The cuffs and belt also fasten with Velcro making them super easy for you or your child to put on.  The cape is made from gorgeous high sheen polyester satin and high quality acrylic felt. It feels absolutely gorgeous. and really well made. 


The mask is super cute and finishes the costume perfectly. It is the perfect size for a child's head. It has a detachable elastic strap to hold it in place. I do find that it slips down on Paige's hair quite a lot but I think the reason for that is that her hair just so smooth and silky!


Everything is really lovely quality, really well made and looks gorgeous. It is an item that can be kept forever and treasured.

You can buy the costume from Beebies Baby Store and it retails for £29.78. A reasonable price when you take into account that time and effort that goes into making a personalised handmade item.
 


Would your little super heroes like something like this?

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - We were sent this item to review as part of our role as a Beebies brand ambassador but all views and opinions are my own*

Monday, 27 July 2015

Mummy and Me - July

What a month?! An over night hospital stay, my first operation, potty training and Parker running around everywhere. Thank you to everyone that joined last month, I am so sorry I am yet to comment on posts but we've had a hard month.

July was such a different month. Our lives were turned upside down. I wasn't allowed to pick any of the children up and Mark had to take two weeks off work to look after us all. But we made it!

This first picture was taken right at the end of those two weeks, we had to get out the house so we went to the park. We had a picnic and ate ice cream, they all played and we just enjoyed the sunshine, it was lovely.


These next two pictures were taken at home. Just me and my babies having a cuddle. My hair is also different as I had it cut. What do you think?

If there's something that being in hospital teaches you its to take a chance. Step out of your comfort zone. I've wanted a fringe for ages but never had to courage, at the end of the day its only hair, it will grow back and I can change it if I want to but having the confidence to just do it was something that being in hospital taught me.


 
 
Thanks for reading and I hope you can join in. Children grow up so quickly... lets capture moments with them while they are still small.
 
Nicola Xx
 


Friday, 24 July 2015

Caseapp - iPhone 5 Case Review

My phone goes everywhere with me. It is my contact list, my running shopping list, my camera and my way to keep up with social media. The majority of my phone is filled with pictures of Paige and Parker. When you become a parent you just can't help but snap away. They grow and change so quickly that pictures and videos are an essential part of everyday life for me.

 
I had yet to get an updated case with Paige and Parker on so when Caseapp got in touch asking if we could work together I said yes. I previously had a custom phone case from them loved it so I was sure I would love my new one.

Ordering is pretty simple. The website is easy to use. I always find it really difficult actually picking a picture and making it look good on the case. I love the collage ones but always find it a struggle to actually make pictures fit nicely inside. There are many different case options and even laptop skins.


I decided to go for this picture and a matt finish.


I ordered on the 9th June. My estimate delivery date was 12th-19th June. My phone case actually arrived on June 22nd. I was a little disappointed that it didn't arrive within the given estimate but when it did arrive it was packaged well and I loved it. A little email would of being nice to let me know that it was on its way just a little later than expected.

 
The case does look lovely. I always get asked about it and people love it just as much as I do. It fits my phone really well and has protected it really well so far. It has all the necessary holes for the camera, charger and access to the volume controls. 

 
As the case wraps around your phone your picture also does the same. This is something to keep in mind when ordering. There are very easy to understand guidelines on the site when you are placing your picture so you can control exactly how it looks.
 
 
 Overall I really love the case. It looks great and performs well. It retails for £19. If you fancy ordering yourself a personalised case Caseapp have kindly given me the discount code NICOLACASE for you to use to claim some money off.

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - I was given a code to purchase a free case but all views and opinions are my own*

Thursday, 23 July 2015

13 Months Old

Its already being a whole month since Parker turned one. I can't believe it. Time is still flying by.

 
At 13 months Parker now has 9 teeth with another on the way. He is working on the rest of his molars and he is pretty grumpy with them to be honest, maybe I should dig out the amber teething necklace.

 
He is a pro at walking and even runs when you chase him. Its so cute. He babbles all the time still and uses his hands when he talks, he looks like he's having arguments with himself. He's still wearing 12-18 months clothes and is a size 3 shoe. He got his first pair of shoes now long after my previous update. He got used to them really quickly.

He still eats well unless he is cutting teeth. He is starting to use a fork to feed himself too. 
 
 He is also now fully on cows milk, bye bye formula. We gradually introduced it into his bottles and he was fine. He also just drinks water, we don't give the kids juice.

He still adores Paige and is generally really loving. He will give kisses and cuddles all day long. He is pretty good with strangers, it just takes him a few minutes to warm up to them then he will pass them toys and sit on their knee.

His hair is going really light in the sun, just like Paige's. His eyes are a lot darker than what Paige's were and look dark green/brown. They are very similar to Paige's now but his defiantly have more brown in them.

 
His sleep is normally pretty good. He usually sleeps 12 hours straight but again teething does effect this and he will sometimes wake up super early. He is really good at self settling. He has a little brown bear that he loves to sleep with and I think that helps him too, he loves that bear so much.

He is such a toddler, I want my tiny baby back!

Nicola Xx

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Baby Eczema Help With Cetraben*



If you have followed my blog for a while then may know that when Paige was a baby she suffered with really bad eczema. It took us many doctors trips and many different creams/skin routines to get it under control. She is now 3 and her skin is much better but still quite sensitive. She has the odd breakout on her elbows but they are really quite rare and if she does have an problem area we quickly know which creams will work and help soothe her skin.

During that time I spent hours researching different things on the internet that may help her. We changed washing powders, stopped using other products and applied creams every couple of hours. It was a tough time and a tough thing to handle seeing your child in discomfort.

The lovely people at Cetraben have put together a series of videos which help parents understand how to look after eczema in children. Dr Pixie McKenna offers advice and answers some frequently asked questions.


I know how frustrating eczema can be and these videos would of helped me greatly when Paige was suffering. I hope they help you.

Nicola Xx

*In collaboration with Cetraben*

Monday, 20 July 2015

Potty Training Story

In May turned three. In May Paige was still wearing nappies. In June Paige was still wearing nappies. Now she isn't! 

We've finally had a break through and it's true what they say. If you wait until your child is ready then potty training is easy. 

Me and My Big Girl
Paige was ready. We knew she was. She would tell us after each time she had a wet nappy. She saw children the same age wearing big girl pants and wanted to be the same. She could pull her pants up and down by herself. 

Day 1: 
Paige had 3 accidents in a row. It was like she just didn't understand when she was needing the toilet. I thought we'd be in for the long haul but there was no going back. After her 3 accidents she managed two successful wees in the potty. 

Day2: 
1 accident and 2 successful wees in the potty. We also had a poo success in the potty. 

Day3:
Nursery day. She had one accident and one success. 
At home she had 2 more successes. 

Day 4 and every day since: 
All in the potty. 

When she has the first three accidents I questioned whether she was ready. I questioned if I was ready! It was hard but it helped that she was getting it. In that first day I just longed for one success and we got it. Eventually. Those accidents actually helped her realise when she needed to go. Each time she knew a little sooner until she understood the feeling of needing to go before she actually went. 

Now she tells us she needs to go and goes. She has even stay dry through nap times and bed time. She still worn a nappy for bed the first week just in case but has been dry. After a week of dry nights she asked to wear her underwear so we let her. She now doesn't wear nappies at all. She goes on the potty before bed and then when she has woken up. 

We are so proud of her. She was potty trained so quickly. I really do think it is down to the fact that we left it until she was ready. We tried a few months ago and she just wasn't ready then. She'd have an accident and be so upset, it was awful. This time when she had an accident she wasn't upset at all. She knew that next time she needed to try get it in the potty. She did get upset with the first accident at nursery but we think that was because of all the other children.

She is still scared of the big toilet but we can work on that. She is using the potty fine and I am very happy with that. We've got her a little stool and a toilet seat so that in the coming weeks we can transition her to the big toilet but there's no rush. 

We didn't use bribes, just good old fashioned praise. She is still so proud when she goes and we are too. And danced, clapped and sang our little hearts out. 

Was your child scared to use the big toilet?

Nicola Xx

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Siblings - July 2015

The past month has been the most amazing and one of the hardest. Hardest because I've had to have surgery and can't do much for 2 weeks. Most amazing because of Paige and Parker. 
 
There bond is so strong. Stronger than I ever thought possible. 
 
They play, chase, share food, help each other and make each other giggle all day. Parker started full on walking the day after his first birthday and since that moment things between them have just exploded. It's so funny how such a normal thing like walking can make a relationship step up a level. Paige absolutely loves that Parker can walk, well run now. And he loves being able to get up and chase her. 
They spend hours just chasing each other around. They run around outside with a football. Play games and just enjoy each other. 
 
 
Parker also loves to walk over to Paige and give her the biggest cuddles ever. A truly heart melting moment. They also love to hold hands and dance. 
 
I want to remember how they are right at this moment because I love it so much. 
 
Nicola xx 
dear beautiful

Monday, 13 July 2015

My First Operation

If you don't follow me on Twitter, Instagra or Facebook you might be wondering why my blog has been very quiet...

It started as belly ache at 7pm. At first I thought I'd just eaten too much lasagne at tea time. By 9:30pm I realised something wasn't right. The pain had moved from above my belly button to my lower right abdomen. I could barely walk. I phoned NHS direct who told me I'd have to wait until 11:30am the next morning to be seen by a doctor. I got a call back at 11:30pm from a doctor who didn't seem worried but thought I should be seen the next day to double check everything was ok.

 
The next morning came and the pain was defiantly still there. I could walk a lot better than the previous night but it was still very sore. I went to my appointment at the out of hours doctors in the hospital and didn't come back out until after I'd had surgery. After blood tests, urine tests, many doctors feeling my stomach and hours and hour of waiting I was admitted to hospital. By 5pm they'd found me a bed. My operation was to take place that evening. Silly me thought 7/8pm. At 11:30pm I was taken to theatre. I hadn't eaten or drank since 8:30am that morning. But I wasn't hungry. I was so thirsty but fluids helped, after me getting very light headed around 7pm

I've never been put to sleep before. I didn't know what to expect. I was laid in a small room off to the side of theatre. There were 3 ladies looking after me. Two were holding my hands and the other a mask over my face. I took deep breaths, my chest felt squashed and heavy. I panicked. They got me to relax. The last thing I remember was one of the ladies telling me to stay awake for as long as I could. 

I woke up after the surgery around 1:30am. They called my name and asked if I was in pain. I was. I was given morphine. I told them I couldn't see anything. They said to close my eyes and rest. I was wheeled to another room off from the theatre to recover. After about 10-15mins the pain was fading, the morphine helped. My eyes slowly came around. I was taken to my room and my friend was waiting. Mark was with Paige and Parker at home.

I barely remember anything. I was tired and drowsy. I held my friends hand and fell asleep. She left to get some rest. I then had nurses coming to check on me 3 times to check my stats. I woke properly at 7am. I felt so sick and completely out of it. Mark came around 8:30am and I'd managed to get changed and eat half a slice of toast. The first thing I'd had in 24 hours. I also had a few sips of water. 

After more resting and more checks I was allowed home around 1:30pm. I had suspected appendicitis but after looking my appendix were fine. They did find a burst ovarian cyst.

I am now resting. Its funny because two weeks ago I would of given anything to lay in bed and not do a single thing for the day but being forced to rest is completely different. The first couple of days I was still so out of it from being put under, I felt sick and was so sore I could barely move. Five days later I feel ok. I'm swollen and still sore but I can move around ok.

I'm not allowed to lift the children up for two weeks. Marks had to take time off work to look after them and me. The guilt I feel is awful but I know that I need to rest as much as possible.

 Nicola Xx

Friday, 3 July 2015

Review - Indiacoco

IndiaCoco is a gorgeous childrenswear store offering style and outstanding service. They feature hand-picked British children’s clothing brands, offering the very best in quality and value for babies, girls and boys aged 0-10. With collections from labels like Joules, Frugi, Lilly & Sid,  Hatley, Toby Tiger, Ava & Luc, Tootsa MacGinty and Lucas Frank there is guaranteed to be something you love.

They recently opened a store in Wakefield and unfortunately we were unable to attend the launch but we were given two gorgeous outfits, one for Parker and one for Paige, to review.
 

Parker was sent a gorgeous dungaree set from Lilly + Sid. The set comes with the dungarees and the red t shirt. The dungarees can be rolled up at the legs on warmer days. They are also reversible giving you the option of the check or denim chambray. They have popper fastenings on the legs and straps. The sizing is pretty small and I would suggest going up a size. Parker is wearing 12-18m here and they fit well but it won't leave much growing room at all. The red t shirt is adorable and can be worn with other items of clothing as it is just a standard t shirt and isn't attached to the dungarees. We did have issues with the poppers staying closed in the middle of the legs but I think they maybe because this little monkey never stays still and is always on the move. After a couple of uses one of the poppers actually came away from the material at the side which I am quite disappointed with as the set retails at £30. You wouldn't expect that to happen. I contacted Indiacoco and they offered to replace/repair the item which is great customer service.
 




 

 
For Paige we got sent Joules embellished skipper blue stripe dress. I fell in love with this dress the moment I saw it. It is gorgeous. It is made from a heavy weight cotton that holds its shape after washing. It has lovely little capped sleeves and neat box pleats. The embellished heart flower and zip are a lovely contrasting pink. The sizing on this is pretty true. Paige normally wears age 4-5 and this is 4 years and fits her very nicely. The dress retails £27.95.
 


 

  
I love that both items are complete outfits that I throw on and know that the kids look put together without me having to think about it too much. Indiacoco packaged the items in lovely tissue paper and a gorgeous bag. The website is lovely to look around. A little more choice would be amazing but the items they have are lovely. The new shop in Wakefield looks gorgeous and I am planning on popping in next time we are that way.
 
Overall I am really impressed with Indiacoco, I'm just a little disappointed that Parkers outfit broke after a few uses, such a shame for the price tag. We have had previous Lilly + Sid clothing and haven't had a problem but the customer service from Indiacoco was great.
 
Nicola Xx



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

12 Months Old

 
My little boy is officially one year old. The past year has flown by at a ridiculous speed but we have loved every second, even the many sleepless nights. He isn't sleeping through consistently but will sleep through on the odd few nights, if we are lucky. If he does wake it's normally 1/2am. He will have milk and then go right back to sleep. I should probably cut out that milk and refuse to feed him but I always think that a baby knows when they don't need it anymore and so will sleep through in their own time and I know he can sleep through because he does sometimes.

At 12 months old Parker is becoming such a toddler. He defiantly doesn't look like a baby anymore. His hair has grown so much over the past couple of months. He has 8 teeth with molars due very soon, he is teething and dribbling up a storm.

He is wearing mostly 12-18 month clothes still. He is much smaller than Paige was at the same age and is 2-3lb less than her at around 25lbs. He is in size 4 nappies. I've no idea on feet size as he isn't wearing shoes yet but that will soon change because he is doing so well with his walking. He can now take 8 steps unaided. Its really funny because everyone that speeds time with him is always amazed as to why he isn't fully walking. His balance is amazing, he cruises so fast he almost runs. He has all the ability but he just didn't want to walk. About a week or two ago he started favouring walking over crawling. Now he spends 60% of his time walking and the other 40% crawling. He has taken steps outside too. He still refuses to perform, if he doesn't want to walk he won't. I really don't think it will be long before he is walking full time.

He is talking so much. He can say mama, dada, kiss and ta. He babbles to himself all the time and even uses hand gestures, it's so cute. He tries to say Paige so badly. He shouts and shouts until she looks at him and then he will shut up.

He's still pretty good at eating. He will try everything but his favourites are carrots, apple and pizza. He also drinks water and still loves his milk. He isn't fully on cows milk but hopefully will be by his next update. He can drink out of sippy cup and straws fine too. He also tries so hard to feed himself with a fork.

He loves to colour and will scribble in his colouring book. He loves being chased and playing with his tunnel. He loves to be outside. He still loves teddies.  

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that he is one. Someone took my little baby away.

Nicola Xx
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