Thursday, 31 July 2014

My Real Mum All Bran Challenge

If like me you think All Bran is a bland boring cereal that only your parents eat then you will be surprised to find that actually it is not like that at all, as i have recently discovered for myself when i took part in the #RealMumsAllBranChallenge. Brit mums recently teamed up with All Bran to challenge some of there bloggers to try the new All Bran cereals for five consecutive day's to see what we thought and here is how i got on. This post is my entry for the Real Mums of All Bran challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs.

I was sent three flavours of All Bran cereal to try out golden crunch, red berry and chocolate wheat's. And to be honest i am not really a cereal lover at the moment as i am eight months pregnant i am finding myself starving in the mornings and crave carbs to fill me up so i have been eating a lot of toast and i just did not think cereal would fill me. 

I tried the red berry cereal first and i really did not think i would like it but i was really surprised to find that i did like it a lot, it was really tasty and had pieces of dried berry's in which were yummy and i actually felt full after my cereal which i was not expecting at all. In fact all three flavours are really tasty the golden crunch is really sweet and satisfying and a big hit with the other half  and the chocolate wheat's do in fact taste of chocolate and were a huge hit with my eleven year old who demolished the whole box of them in two days!

I have been eating All Bran for the last couple of weeks now for my breakfast and i have to say i feel a lot better for it, being heavily pregnant and also being on iron tablets and recently having my gallbladder removed have all played havoc on my digestive system and i have been feeling bloated and constipated and just rather rubbish and without going into to much information i am now feeling a lot better since starting the All Bran challenge the bloating has gone - well apart from my huge bump, and i no longer feel constipated and sluggish.

Red berry crunch
Since trying these cereals out we as a family are now definitely All Bran fans and i have started buying it with my weekly supermarket shop as it is yummy and healthy and i am feeling fuller, have more energy and my tummy feels happier all thanks to All Bran. And i am pleased my daughter loves it too as it is much healthier for her then normal chocolate covered children's cereals.

I can safely say that these cereals pass the taste test in are house and i do feel better for swapping my toast for All Bran and it is no surprise really as 90- 95 % of the 'happy' hormone serotonin is produced in the gut and a study of 1000 UK women found that 52% experience digestive complaints such as  bloating or gas at least once per week. Eating fibre everyday is a simple remedy for happy tums. So if your one of the 52% of people experiencing digestive complaints or your on a health kick or even if you just fancy trying out a new cereal then i can personally recommend trying out All Bran as i am sure that out of the three new flavours there will be a flavour to suit everyone.

*Disclosure: i was sent three boxes of All Bran cereal to try out for free from Brit Mums to take part in the Real mums All Bran challenge. However as always all opinions and words are my own honest account and i was not paid for this post.

Monday, 28 July 2014

My Ten Tip's For Surviving Pregnany In Summer

As everyone is aware we are having a bit of a summer heatwave going on in the UK this summer and for once the north east is actually enjoying a lovely hot dry summer. Normally i love the summer and love sunbathing in the garden and going on days out to the beach but not this year as i am now 36 weeks pregnant and i must say being so heavily pregnant in this heat is no fun at all. Obviously i have been pregnant in summer before as Chloe was born in the october so i was pregnant during the summer but not so heavily so it was not to bad. Sophia was born in the may so it was warm but not as warm as it is now. 

Before the heatwave struck i was having such a easy pregnancy but due to the heat and nearing my due date i am now starting to struggle with this pregnancy and after seeing lots of other pregnant people on my twitter and facebook feeds also mentioning they are struggling in this heat i know that i am not the only one. And it is no surprise that us pregnant ladies are struggling in this heat as we are carrying extra weight, we have all them lovely crazy hormones racing around are bodies and we have extra blood in are bodies when pregnant so are temperature can be higher then normal. So here is my ten tips that i have found useful for surviving a summer pregnancy.

1.) Drink lots of water.

I know that sometimes when you are pregnant the last thing you want to be doing is drinking lots of water as you are often needing to wee often enough but i have found drinking lots of ice cold water a big help. It is so important to keep hydrated in pregnancy even more so in hot weather and i find that i am getting so thirsty in this heat. A nice drink of ice cold water cools me down and refreshes me.

2.) Eat cool refreshing food's. 

Even when i am not pregnant in the summer i always find that i want to eat healthy foods like salads and fruit and i just don't fancy hot meals often. And this is even more true now i am pregnant, plus if i eat the odd healthy meal it means that i can indulge in a cake or two. Another food i am having lots of now is ice lollies, they are a godsend on hot days especially when us pregnant ladies cant eat mr whippy ice creams and ice lollies are so refreshing too. I am having lots of fruity ice lollies to keep cool although its a battle to get them in this house as the other half and Chloe are forever pinching them before i get a chance to eat them.

3.) Get someone else to cook.

On the subject of food i have found that i am really struggling to cook in this heat even with all the windows open i get all hot and bothered standing in the kitchen cooking and i also can not be bothered some days as my back and feet ache. So one thing i recommend is getting the other half to cook its the least he can do to look after you after all the hard work you are doing growing a baby after all.

4.) Wear cool clothing. 

Maternity fashion is not the best i must admit i mainly live in leggings/jeggings with tops and a cardigan when i am pregnant. I would love to be able to wear pretty summer dresses but its just not happening when i feel like a huge hippo. So i have found myself living in vest tops, flat sandals (when my fat feet let me) and i also find the kimono style cover ups great as you can hide your wobbly bits while still keeping cool and looking stylish. Other people swear by maxi dresses in pregnancy but i have yet to find a nice one that does not make me look like the size of a elephant.

5.) Slather on that suntan lotion. 

Obviously everyone should make sure they wear suntan lotion in the summer but i often forget but now i am pregnant i have found that my skin is much more sensitive and i am burning easily off the sun , i am blaming them crazy hormones again. So i have been slathering on lots of factor 30 suntan lotion before i go out. I have still ended up covered in freckles though.

6.) Cool showers.

I am normally a bath lover, i love nothing more then a red hot bubble bath at the end of the day but i have found now i am pregnant i am wanting nice cool showers. In this heat i am getting all hot and sweaty and feel dirty so i am loving nice cool showers every day to cool down and freshen up.

7.) Stay indoors when its very hot. 

I hate being indoors especially when it is warm and the children are off school, i love days out and having family adventures and i had so many things planned for the summer but i have to face reality that i simply can not go out everyday all day in the heat as i am really starting to struggle with being hot, uncomfortable, sweaty and out of breath and just generally knackered if i am honest. So i have been staying at home indoors a lot more then normal. Don't get me wrong i am not a hermit just yet we still have days out just not as many as normal and i just try to avoid being out at lunch time when it red hot.

8.) Put your feet up and relax. 

This heat has made my feet swell right up i have even had to go out and buy new shoes in a size bigger as none of my shoes fitted me. And i have also been getting achy legs and everyone keeps telling me to relax and sit with my feet up. And i have been doing this not very often when i get the chance and it does help with the swelling. But if you are in the position to relax with your feet up a magazine and a bar of galaxy in hand then go for it, although i will be very jealous.

9.) Water mist spray and a fan.

 I have a water mist spray and when i am hot and bothered its lovely to spray on my face and helps keep me cool and i intend to pack it in my hospital bag for when i give birth. Also a fan will be amazing in this weather although we have not got one i really wish i did as everyone swears by them.

10.) Keep cool in bed

I am struggling the most with the heat at bed time i have my bedroom window wide open , i don't use the duvet and i normally love wearing pj's but i have swapped them for a cool cotton nightie or the other half's football tops to try and keep cool during the night.

So there we are those or my ten tips for trying keeping cool in the summer when you are pregnant. I would love to know if anyone else has any tips for keeping cool in the summer as i still have four more weeks to go and i am not looking forward to them at all if the weather stays like this. Sorry everyone who loves the sun but i would love for some windy cooler day's.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sophia's 13 month update

Sophia has just turned 14 month's old on thursday so i am a bit late in posting her 13 month update, so here is a quick look at what Sophia was like at 13 months old.

Sophia had her immunisations when she turned 13 months old and her daddy said apart from a little cry when she had the injections she was fine, i always get her daddy to take her for her injections as i feel bad taken her for them. She has also got her ninth tooth a one at the back on the bottom and her tenth tooth is also starting to come through as well on the other side. We have been lucky that Sophia has not really been bothered by teething she just gets a bit dribby. We have not taken her to get weighed this month so i have no idea how much she weighs but she is still wearing her size 4 pampers nappies and all of her 12-18 month clothes now fit her perfectly and she is still a size 4 and a half f in shoe size.

Sophia is so confident in her walking now and she walks everywhere and loves toddling about outdoors although she often try's to pick things up off the ground and eat them such as stones and grass so we have to watch her. She is also running around and she climbs all over now which is a nightmare as she grabs and pulls things she is not supposed to touch and she has no fear at all so we have to watch her non stop, as she will often climb up on her toys. Her talking and understanding is also coming on loads now too and she is copying almost everything we say and she understands so much she knows peoples names now and will point to them if you say there name and repeat there name. She also points if she wants something and she puts her hands up in the air if something has gone ,normally if she throws food out of the highchair or when her daddy goes to work. She seems to understand the telly now too as when she is watching her programs she will laugh and jump and point at things that are happening. She has such a lovely personality and is so happy and playful she never whinges or cry's and she is happy to see anyone and is still not at all clingy.

She still has the same routine she has had since birth she wakes between 7 -8 am and when she wakes up she will stand up in her cot and shout 'hey' and then she smiles and laughs and plays peekaboo with you , she then comes downstairs and gets changed then has some toast in her highchair and watches doc mcstuffin then she will spend the morning playing or we go out. She is down to one nap a day now normally around 11 am and she will sleep for 1 - 2 hours. She then wakes up and has her lunch and then plays with her toys or we go out then she has her tea at 5 and she will eat anything we put in front of her at the moment she loves sausages, cheese, pasta, any fruit and vegetables and anything with garlic on. Sophia then has a bath at 6.30 which she loves and then her daddy takes her to bed at 7  and she falls asleep straight away and then sleeps until morning.

This month we have taken Sophia out for few meals and she has loved it and behaved and happily sat in the highchair and ate whatever we give her, i think she loves going out for meals as we have been taken her to restaurants since she was a few days old. We went for a Indian meal and she happily ate poppadoms and salad and she loves prawn crackers from the chinese and pizza is another thing she loves and fish. She will tell us if she likes something by going 'mmm nice' . We have also been on some days out to soft plays and parks and she has loved going to places like this as she can run around and she loves being around other children.

Sophia is still a total daddy's girl she loves him so much so i am a bit worried how she will cope with the new baby arriving in a few weeks as i think she will get jealous if she sees her daddy with a baby, but we are buying her a dolly and pram as a present of the baby so she does not feel left out and we have said we are going to keep her in her routine as best we can and hopefully she will slowly get used to him. I really can not believe that she is probably going to be a big sister within the next month at only 14 months old. I love watching her grow and learn new things everyday and i hope that she still stays the same lovely little girl that she is once she is a big sister.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mini Baby Haul

As i am now only one month away from my due date i am starting to get prepared for baby's arrival and we have started baby shopping after putting it off for so long, mainly due to the fact that we did not find out baby's sex until i was 28 week's pregnant. After having two girl's i am finding it so strange shopping for a little boy as i keep automatically looking at little girl's clothes and i am a bit unsure of what to buy a little boy if i am honest. So the other half has been picking most of the things we have brought so far so here is a little look at what we have been buying baby.

First soft toy
We got this lion soft toy from the little white company we seen it when we were in Fenwick's baby department recently and the other half seen it and wanted it as a first soft toy as he had a lion when he was little.We got this lion for £10 reduced from £20 as it was in the half price sale the little white company had on.  And both the girls have special soft toys that i brought them before they were born and i think it is nice to take a soft toy into hospital with you and put in the cot with baby when you take photos and they can keep it for years to come .Chloe has a little white bear that my mam brought her when i was pregnant that she still has now and we brought Sophia a elephant when i was pregnant with her and she has it in her cot with her.

Newborn sleeping bag
We got this sleeping bag yesterday from jojo maman bebe and it was £18. Sophia loves her sleeping bags and they have been brilliant at keeping her safe and warm during the night and we wanted one for baby but all the ones we have seen have been really thick and not suitable for a newborn but this one is for a newborn baby and it is really thin material perfect for a summer baby and it has built in arms and scratch mits so will be perfect to wear over a vest on warm nights and i love the little blue elephant pattern on it.
First  tiny outfits
These are some of the little outfits we have brought the little white baby grow that says born in 2014 was £6 from next and was the first thing we brought baby, and Sophia had the same one saying born in 2013 so i just had to get it. The blue baby grow saying little brother is from Matalan and was £5 and was just so cute we had to get it. The blue striped romper suit is from Marks and Spencers and was £12 and comes with a cute little hat and this is what we are planning on bringing baby home from hospital in, it looks much nicer in real life then on the photo. The little t-shirt was from Next and was £6 and the jeans are from Sainsburys and were £6 and we got the cardigan from Mothercare and it was in the sale for £8 reduced from £14 and i think it will go with everything and be great for keeping baby warm when we are out. And the little jacket is from Marks and Spencers and was £12 and we got this in 0-3 months so that it will last a bit longer for when the weather gets cooler in september.
And lastly we got two blankets for use in the pram the blue one is from Boots and was £5 in the sale reduced from £10 and the white and grey wool one is from Morrisons and was £8 and will be nice and cosy for winter. Now i have started baby shopping it is starting to seem more real that i am having a baby now and i cant wait to buy the rest of his things, although i will probably end up doing the rest of my baby shopping on line as it is too hot at this time of year to go shopping when heavily pregnant. Lets just hope baby is a boy and the scan was right now i have started to buy everything blue.

Family Day Out At Morpeth Park

When i was a child i always remember going to visit Morpeth park every summer and have fond memories of visiting, so now i am a mum myself i take my own children there every summer for a day out. Morpeth park is situated near the town centre of Morpeth in Northumberland and i love it and think it is one of the nicest park's in the north east. The park itself is not very big but there is a large paddling pool for children to go in and a small play area for smaller children and then another area for older children but it is situated in such a lovely well kept park garden and there is a river running through it where you can feed the ducks and go on the rowing boats.

Fun on the see saw
As it is the summer holidays and the other half was off work and the weather was nice we decided to visit Morpeth park yesterday as it was such a lovely hot day and it is only a fifteen minute drive from where we live. We arrived at 11 and the park was already really busy so we headed to the shops and stocked up on drinks and bread to feed the ducks and we stopped off at the chinese van which is just outside the park and you have to visit here if you are in Morpeth they do meals for only £3 and they are so nice and quiet big portions. We headed to the park and ate are chinese and Sophia loved the prawn crackers.


The girls then spent some time playing in the park before going to feed the ducks and then Lee and Chloe went on a rowing boat on the river which was only £4 to hire for half an hour. We then stopped off at the doughnut van where they make yummy sugar doughnuts before heading into the town centre to look around the shops as me and Sophia were both starting to struggle with the heat.

Chloe and Lee on the rowing boats
We had a look around the shops and we got some gorgeous things for Sophia and the baby in JoJo Maman Bebe shop and we then headed to Marks and Spencers and brought more baby things.
We spent most of the day in Morpeth and we had a lovely day just the four of us as i want to try and spend as much time as i can having nice days out with the girls before baby arrives and also because Chloe is going to secondary school after the holidays and she probably wont want to come on days out with us much longer. 

I love family days out creating memories and we have visited a local soft play and went out for a lovely Indian meal with my dad this week too, but i have realised that at almost 36 weeks pregnant i need to slow down a bit and i can't really go on all the days out that i want to at the moment as i am starting to get tired easily and the heat is awful in late pregnancy and i was in so much pain with my hips and pelvis after being out all day yesterday. But hopefully we will get some more nice family days out this summer as i love spending time with my girls having fun .

Sophia and her daddy

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Week's 33 And 34 Pregnancy Update

I am now 35 + 1 day's pregnant only five more week's until my due date! I know that i say this all of the time but i can not believe how fast this pregnancy has flown over, it seems like only last week that i found out that i was pregnant and now i am only a few week's away from meeting my baby!
A lot has been happening baby wise now that i am nearing the end of my pregnancy so i think i will start doing weekly updates again rather then fortnightly ones next week. But here is what week's 33 and 34 of my pregnancy were like.

34 week bump
I had a midwife appointment when i was 33 week's pregnant and my blood pressure and urine were fine and baby was measuring exactly 33 week's so my bump is not measuring small any more, hopefully it is a sign that he is starting to grow and wont be small on my next growth scan. We also got to hear his heartbeat which is the best part of midwife appointments for me i never get bored of it and could listen to it all day long. I had my blood's taken again just to check that the iron tablets that i have been prescribed are working as i had low iron levels on my last blood results a few week's ago.

I have also been feeling pretty good still no sickness, cravings, heartburn or aches and pains. Although i have been finding my back hurts and i am finding it difficult to bend down now and i am starting to find it uncomfortable lying in bed and i am forever tossing and turning all night. And the heat is really getting to me the bigger i get, i am getting so hot and sweaty and i can not bear being out in the sun as i just get so hot and bothered and tired and out of breath and i normally love being out in the sun. Sleeping on a night time in this heat is awful,being heavily pregnant in this heat is no fun at all. But apart from these little niggles i have been feeling fine and i am still finding this my easiest pregnancy yet especially now that my iron tablets are working i find that i am not as tired as i was and i have more energy now then i did.

In other news my maternity pay has finally been sorted as you may know i gave up my job after my maternity leave to Sophia ended as the cost of childcare for two children was going to cost more then i earned so i did not think i would be entitled to any kind of maternity pay but because i was still classed as employed when i fell pregnant i am entitled to maternity allowance which is based on my pay slips from work and i actually end up receiving more in maternity allowance then i did of statutory maternity pay i received from work when i was on maternity leave the last time. So i am finally starting my baby shopping now my maternity allowance is sorted as i have been putting it off for ages. I have only brought some clothes and bottles and blankets so far for baby and my hospital bag things as we just can not seem to make are mind up on things like the double buggy. I am just lucky i have a lot of baby stuff still off Sophia as at this rate i will not have started my baby shopping before baby's arrival.

Week 34 i had a midwife appointment when i turned 34 weeks and my blood pressure and urine were fine and baby's heartbeat was fine but my bump was measuring 38 cm so it is now measuring four weeks ahead which is crazy as i don't feel like my bump has grown and i have gone from measuring small for dates to big for dates, but i am not worrying yet as i will see what they say at my next growth scan. I also mentioned that baby has been a bit quiet lately and not moving as much as normal so i was sent straight to the hospital maternity assessment to get checked out where i was hooked up to the heart trace monitor and of course as soon as that was put on baby woke up and had a party kicking and wriggling non stop. But they said baby was lying back to back and was in a funny position so that was probably why the movements had changed. I felt a bit silly but i am glad i went and got checked out as it is best to be safe.

Getting monitored
I have started to struggle with this pregnancy now i am getting tired easily and i am finding it hard running around after Sophia as she is into everything and the heat is just making things worse i am so hot and uncomfortable, my feet have swollen and i have had to go and buy shoes in a bigger size as none of mine fit. I am finding it hard to get comfortable in bed on a night time and i am so hot and i am also up visiting the bathroom numerous times during the night as baby is so low down now and pressing on my bladder.

My lower back has been sore this week and i just can not get comfortable even sitting on the sofa is becoming impossible as i am so uncomfortable all the time. My legs have also been really achy all week but i find going for a walk then sitting with my feet up is helping. Still no cravings, heartburn or sickness which is brilliant and my skin is smooth and clear and my hair is still shiny and thick which i love. Baby is really active this week he wriggles and kicks non stop and you can see my tummy changing shape and moving, i will miss the feeling when he is born.

Also this week Chloe left primary school and i thought that my hormones would make me cry and i nearly did but i managed not to. I am really looking forward to spending time with both of my girls before baby is born. I have also started nesting of sorts i have been making lots of to do lists and i have started having a clear out of the house and i am trying to be organised, i have a list of what we need for baby and i am going to drag the other half shopping to get it all in next week when he is off work. I have even been and got Chloe's new school uniform in for September.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Walking Baby Sophia And Her First Shoe's

This post has actually been sitting in my draft box for two month's now and i was just going to delete it as Sophia has been walking and got her first shoes age's ago but i thought that it would be nice to post it so i can look back on when she started to walk and getting her first shoe's.

Sophia has always been really quick at doing thing's ever since she was born she is really smart for her age so she obviously does not take after me or her daddy she has been sleeping on a night time since the day she was born, she was rolling over at just twelve week's old and she just seems to pick thing's up so easily and loves to learn new thing's. But Sophia never really properly crawled she bum shuffled along the floor really quickly to get what she wanted from around 5-6 month's but at christmas time when she was 7 month's she started pulling her self up on furniture and cruising along the sofa's and before long she was walking along pushing her baby walker at 8 month's old then when she was 9 month's old she took her very first step's. She would only take one or two steps then fall back down on her bum but she didn't give up and seemed determined to walk and when she was 10 month's old she started to walk properly across the room on her own, although sometimes she was still a bit unsteady on her feet. But as soon as she turned 11 month's there was no stopping her and she was toddling along confidently all over she was even talking steps when we were out in public and wanting to walk everywhere so we had to get her some shoe's.

Loves to walk
Like most parent's when you think of getting your child's first pair of shoe's you go straight to Clark's and that's what we done. I always remember getting all of my shoe's as a child from Clark's back in the day when you get a secrete key hidden in the sole of your shoe. And i have always taking my oldest daughter Chloe to Clark's to get all of her shoe's although now she is starting secondary school i don't think she will be wearing them any more as she lives in converse these days.

So we went to Clark's and they measured Sophia's feet and she was a four and a half f they brought a selection of shoe's out for us to pick from and me and her daddy both picked the same navy dotty shoe's. But of course when we tried the shoe's on Sophia she refused to stand up or walk and just sat on the floor trying to pull the shoe's off and eat them! And getting a photo of her with her shoes on was a nightmare she just would not look at the camera, But the staff managed to check the shoe's fitted and we got them.

pretty first shoe's
They were expensive they were £34 and they will only last a few month's as she is grown so much all of the time. But i just love clarks children's shoes and i personally think that they are worth paying a bit extra for as your child's feet are measured properly and i hate seeing small children going around with really cheap looking shoe's on they look horrible and poorly fitting and normally fall apart really quickly.

Walking with her sister outdoors
Now Sophia is almost 14 month's old and she walks everywhere and climbs and runs and is so confident on her feet and loves walking outside with her shoe's on although she normally try's and picks stones up off the ground and eat them, so we cant let her walk around as much as we would like outdoors. She is no longer my little baby but an actual cheeky toddler who is into everything. I couldn't wait for her to start walking but she really is so much harder work now she is walking. So to all them parents out there who are wishing there babies would hurry up and walk, enjoy them not walking for now because when they do find there feet you will be exhausted from chasing them all day.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Passport Nightmare

Recently it has been splashed all over the media about the passport nightmare facing thousand of holiday makers in the UK and we were one of the unlucky ones caught up in this. I totally understand that you should leave plenty of time for a passport to arrive and we thought that we had but here is what happened .

The sought after passport
My dad had arranged to go on holiday at the May half term with his partner however she could not go with him so he decided to take Chloe my oldest daughter instead. She has been abroad before but she had always wanted to go to Spain as she has never been and she has not had a holiday for a few years now as we had Sophia last year and this year i am pregnant again. 

So in April my dad booked for Chloe to go away with him to Spain and we applied to renew Chloe's passport as it had run out. We checked how long a child renewal would take and we were told three week's as we had just over six week's until she travelled we thought we would pay a little bit extra to send the passport off check and send via the post office. So we sent the passport off and i received a text a couple of day's later to say the application had been received and we should receive it within three week's.

Three week's came and went and still no passport and there had been no mention of delays on the news or anything at this point so i rang the passport helpline and got through to someone in a call centre who informed me the passport was in the final stages and would be issued soon but they would request a call back within 48 hours from Durham passport office where her passport was getting issued from. I waited for the call back, it never came so i rang again and this time was told that the passport was in examination and had been since they received it and they would request another call back so i waited, still no call back. Once again i rang the helpline and was told that passport had not even been looked at and we were unlikely to receive it back in time and they would request another call back and i am still waiting for a call back now over two months later. 

By this point they had the passport for four week's and we had two week's until she travelled. So i looked on the internet to see how long a passport should take and i came across a thread on Netmums which was full of people saying they were having the same problems and there passports were taking ages and some people had even missed holidays due to this and they advised to contact your local MP who can contact the passport office direct on your behalf. 

So i emailed my local MP and i received an email back a few hours later saying that they would contact the passport office and look into things for me. I also found a number for Durham passport office on line and so i rang them direct the next day and was told that the passport had not even been looked at yet as there was a backlog but the MP had got the passport put in a que to be fast tracked which would cost us extra but that the they work on date of travel order so not to expect a call to renew until few days before travel, but that a child renewal passport was the most easy and straightforward of all passports.

By now i was worrying that we would never got the passport back in time and it was in the news about the massive delays the passport office were facing and i really did lose all hope of getting things sorted. However three days before Chloe had to travel we received a phone call from the passport office who said that they had looked at the passport and if i paid £60.50 extra they would fast track the printing and we could go and pick the passport up the next day. I happily paid the money there and then on the phone and the next day we travelled to Durham which is about 45 minutes away from where we live to collect the passport. 

When we arrived at the passport office there was ques of people outside mostly foreign people waiting to be seen but luckily as i had a appointment i could go straight through i walked in told them i was there to collect a passport and i was handed it over after a few security checks. I couldn't believe we finally had a passport at last.

Once we had the passport we told Chloe she was going on holiday as we had not wanted to tell her until we were sure her passport would be back in time and she was over the moon. And she had a amazing time she went to Marbella in Spain on Sophia's birthday for a week and loved it my dad said he never seen her as she was just in the children's club all day and the only time he seen her was meal times and night time. She came back with a lovely suntan and had made lots of new friends and made some amazing memory's she will keep forever.

We were lucky that we managed to get things sorted with the passport. I totally agree that you should leave plenty of time to get a passport especially in the summer as it is a busy time, but we were told the passport would only take three weeks but it took us almost six weeks and a extra £60.50 and that was for a straight forward child's renewal. After hearing all the stories on the news, yes i have symphony for some of the people who have missed out on holidays two of are neighbours have also been caught up in the passport backlog too. But some of the people on the news are going mad because they have missed a holiday but they sent for a first adult passport with 4 weeks to spare when you are told a first adult passport will take at least six weeks and you need to attend a interview etc so i think some common sense is needed when applying for a passport and i will make sure that all of are passports are in date and never run out as i never want to go through all that worry and hassle again in getting a passport.

Monday, 14 July 2014

No i have not started baby shopping yet

People are always asking me if i am all ready for baby's arrival next month and the honest answer is no i am not at all, i have not even started baby shopping properly if i am honest i have only brought a few baby grows. When i tell people this they are shocked that i am 34 week's pregnant and i don't have a hospital bag packed or my baby shopping done especially as it is looking like i will be induced early due to high blood pressure. People assume that i must be worrying but i am not at all and here is why.

I fell pregnant with this baby when Sophia was only six month's old so i am lucky that i still have lots of her baby things such as her pram, car seat,baby bath, moses basket and stand, toys, baby bouncer etc all of which have only been used for a few months and are in perfect condition. So the only things that we really need to buy are a double buggy, some new bedding, new steriliser and bottles, baby towels, clothes, nappies , toiletries and formula and that's about it.

Also we have had a nightmare time of it lately money wise as you know i give up my job after my maternity leave ended in January due to the cost of childcare and the other half works full time but i was still entitled to maternity allowance as i was still employed before i fell pregnant i sent my forms off when i was 26 weeks pregnant and have only just received the forms back telling me i am entitled to maternity pay and all my backdated payments in the last few days and i am now 34 weeks pregnant. The girls have had so much going on lately that has cost money Chloe has been to Spain and we had to buy her all new holiday clothes and spending money and Sophia had her first birthday and then Chloe went away to the Lake District with school so we have been spending a lot of money on them lately and have not really had the money to baby shop.

Also i think i am more laid back this time around probably because it is my third baby and i know that i don't have to go overboard baby shopping as half the stuff you buy does not even get used. And i feel relaxed and calm and know that we will get everything sorted in time. Double buggy wise we have been looking at double buggies since i found out i was pregnant as Sophia will only be 15 month when baby is due but i don't see the point in spending over £1000 on a double pram that we will only be using for a year or so. So we have decided that baby will have Sophia's oyster pram and we have just brought Sophia a silver cross stroller and we are going to buy a cheaper double buggy for around £300 that will last longer we just have to decide between the Cosatto double or a Maclaren.

We are also lucky that i live right next to the Tommee Tippee factory and they have a factory shop where they sell a lot of there products cheaper then in the shops so we are planning on visiting there when other half is off and getting all are bottles and steriliser. So then all i need is bedding, towels and clothes which i plan on going on a shopping trip and getting soon and nappies and formula which i will just get each week when i go food shopping.

And as for my hospital bag i have most of the stuff for that all i need is some new slippers and toiletries which i plan on getting and packing this week. So see no need to panic at all everything will be sorted in time i am definitely more relaxed this pregnancy, i had everything brought and my hospital bag packed by 20 weeks with my first baby and everything brought by now with my second baby. But i just think when its your third baby you are more laid back and know that everything will turn out fine baby doesn't need a beautifully decorated cot it will be in a moses basket for first few months and it doesn't need a wardrobe full of expensive newborn clothes as half of them never even get worn as everyone you know buys you tons of baby clothes once baby arrives. All a baby truly needs is love, cuddles, a full belly and a clean bum and somewhere to sleep and everything will be just fine. So i would rather enjoy my pregnancy and relax with my feet up and eat a bar of galaxy then worry about nursery colour schemes and finding the perfect baby grow, and i have a excuse to spoil him and go on a shopping spree once he is born.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Galt Mini Masterpiece- The kiss

As anyone who knows us will know Chloe my eldest daughter loves art's and crafts and is forever making thing's and drawing. So when Galt toy's recently offered her the chance to create her own 'mini masterpiece' she was over the moon and couldn't wait to get started when she had some spare time after her two trip's away in recent week's to Spain and the lake district.

Galt recently launched there own 'mini masterpiece' series which is six famous work's of art that they have templates of on there website that you can print off and get your children to colour in and decorate themselves to recreate there own 'mini masterpiece'.

Huge art jar
Chloe was kindly sent a art jar from Galt to help her create her own 'mini masterpiece ' which was The kiss by Gustav Klimt. Firstly we printed off a template of The kiss from the Galt website and then Chloe got to work on decorating it with her art jar.

The kiss template
Firstly she cut out and glued some yellow paper that was in her art jar and stuck this on to her template as the background for her picture. She then coloured in parts of the picture with some of her pens and then she decorated with glitter, sparkly shapes and beads that were in her jar.

Chloe had a lot of fun creating her own 'mini masterpiece' and she sat at the table for a couple of hours happily decorating it and really enjoyed it. And she was happy with her finished result.
This series is a great idea for children as it introduces them to famous artwork and it also lets them be creative when creating there own works of art.

The art jar that we got is also brilliant and is full of lots of material such as paper, glue, glitter, beads and pom poms to name just a few of the contents which is ideal to create lots of lovely works of art with.
The finished 'mini masterpiece'
With the summer holiday's fast approaching i highly recomend that parent's have a look on the Galt website and print of some templates so that there children can create there own 'mini masterpieces' we plan on printing some more off for Chloe to decorate as she enjoyed this one so much.
You can find out more about the 'mini masterpiece' challenge and about Galt toy's by visiting there website

*Disclosure: I was kindly sent the art jar by Galt to help my daughter create her own mini masterpiece. However all words and opinions in this post are my own honest view and i was not paid for this post . 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Week's 31 & 32 Pregnancy update's

I have been trying to write weekly pregnancy up date's as i feel this will be lovely to look back on in year's to come but i just have not had the time or energy to blog lately so i thought that it was best to do a week 31 and 32 update together as i am going to be 33 week's pregnant tomorrow.

I am still lucky in that i am not suffering from any sickness, heartburn,craving's or aches and pains etc. And my skin and hair are still looking great and i still don't have any stretch marks - yay. My hormone's are still under control with no bursting into tears or being grumpy and snappy which i am glad about ,crazy hormones have been my biggest problem this pregnancy. However i am still feeling really tired and have no energy at all to do anything as i mentioned in my previous update my recent blood tests had shown that i was suffering from low iron levels which was making me so tired and breathless i have started taking iron tablets three times a day and i do have slightly more energy but not much, i am still lacking in motivation and i am getting so tired easily of simple things like going to the shops and doing housework although the breathlessness seems to have improved.

The heat is also really getting to me still as i am getting so sweaty and hot and uncomfortable being so heavily pregnant, ice lollies and lots of water to drink have been a must. Sleeping is a struggle in this heat and cooking is also becoming a struggle if the kitchen gets too hot so the other half has been cooking a lot more lately. I am also struggling to sleep well on a night time i am still lucky enough to be able to get comfortable in bed but the heat and the constant toilet trips during the night for a wee and a baby who seems to come to life at bedtime have made sleeping impossible, i get a few broken hours sleep if i am lucky. I am also still having really vivid horrible dreams which i never normally have.

I have been suffering with lots of braxton hicks as well lately and lots of cramp type pains which come and go, i never experienced these with either of my girls so i actually thought i was going into early labour when i first experienced them. I have also been experiencing loads of pressure down below and baby sometimes pushes down when he is wriggling and i feel like i am going to wee myself which is no fun.

Appointment wise i had a midwife appointment when i was 31 week's pregnant and my blood pressure was actually a bit low but my urine and everything else were fine and we got to hear baby's heartbeat which was lovely as the other half actually came with me and it is rare that he gets to come to midwife appointments with me due to work. My bump was also measured and it is now measuring a week behind what it should be at 30cm and has actually shrunk from when it was measured two weeks previously by 4 cm so i don't know if baby has just moved position but the midwife was not concerned as i was booked in for a scan at 32 weeks. I don't feel like my bump has grown much but it does feel like it has dropped down a bit and i am getting less pressure under my ribs.

At 32 week's i had a hospital appointment for another growth scan and also an appointment with the consultant. The scan went fine and baby is still a little boy ( i had to double check) and he was head down so we couldn't see his face and he kept wriggling about but everything seemed normal on the scan with baby and placenta but the fluid around baby is a little low and has went down from the last scan but they didn't seem too worried. The scan was lovely and we could see him practising his breathing with his little lungs moving. We didn't get a scan pic as they said it was pointless paying for one so late in pregnancy as you cant see much as baby is so big.

After my scan i had my blood pressure and urine checked and everything was normal and then i seen the consultant who said that baby was still measuring a bit small on my chart but he is grown so its not a great concern. I am lucky that my NHS trust - Newcastle have the growth assessment programme which is a customised growth chart that takes in my height, weight and my previous baby's weights and it shows how big my baby should be as it has shown he is measuring small so that extra checks can be made on him, but if i was just issued with a standard growth chart which some NHS trusts have his small growth would probably not have been picked up on. I have to go back to hospital in four weeks time at 36 weeks for another growth scan to check baby and to talk to my consultant about induction of labour at 38-39 weeks as they wont let me go over my due date due to my high blood pressure and being on blood pressure medication.

Growth chart shows baby is just below average
In some ways i want to be induced as i know that it is probably safer for baby to be born if there is a risk i could develop pre eclampsia. But after experiencing an induced labour and a natural labour i know that a natural labour is much nicer and less painful. But i was overdue with both my girls so it will be nice not to go overdue again. All i want is what is best for baby and if that means an early induction then i am happy with that.

So because baby will probably be arriving in 5-6 weeks time instead of in 7 weeks i think it's time i started baby shopping and organising his sleeping space (the corner of my bedroom for now) so that's the plan for next week as the other half has a week off work so we are going to buy most of baby's stuff and pack the hospital bags.

I also had my whooping cough vaccine at 32 weeks pregnant at first they were not going to give me it as i had one only 15 months ago when i was pregnant with Sophia but they said that i needed it again as it is to protect baby and i was happy to have it as me and Sophia were fine last time i had it. I had a really sore arm for a few days after it but that was it.

Baby is still active after i have ate, when i am in the bath and at bed time, his kicks are so big now and sometimes they hurt but i love watching my belly move about and i know i will miss it when he is born. I have a midwife appointment tomorrow when im 33 weeks pregnant and i will take a bump photo and hopefully get my hospital bag packed and most of my baby shopping done and actually start being organsied for are little boys arrival next month!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sassy Bloom subscription box

Before i started my blog i had never heard of Sassy Bloom or subscription box's for that matter but as i got to know other bloggers via twitter i heard a few people mention them and i thought they sounded great so when i seen that Sassy Bloom had a offer on where you could buy a box for just £1 plus £4.95 postage i just had to get one to try out for myself.  Sophia. 

Sassy Bloom is a monthly subscription gift box service for babies up to the age of two year's old. The box's normally cost £29 per month  and you are free to cancel at any time but there is cheaper options if you sign up for longer subscriptions and if you check there website they often have special offers on for your first box or you can buy one of box's as a gift for someone. When you order your box you put the child's name , age, gender and then fill in some details such as if they have a allergy, if they have a dummy etc. And Sassy Bloom then create a gift box that is suitable for your child based on the information you provide and each gift box has contents inside that are worth at least £40.

I ordered the box on the tuesday night and it arrived on the thursday morning and i actually got two box's and they were addressed to Sophia which i thought was cute. The first box was a plain brown box and when we opened it up there was a Cloud b twilight turtle in i had actually been looking at these in Fenwicks priced £29.99 a while ago as i was thinking of getting one for Sophia and the baby so i was really pleased with this and Sophia loves it as it projects star's onto the ceiling which she is amazed at.

The second box was a lovely Sassy Bloom gift box which was gorgeous and when you opened it up everything inside was wrapped in tissue paper. In this box there was a summer infant tiny diner place mat which is ideal for Sophia as she is at that age where she just picks plates up and throws them away so we have to put her food straight onto her highchair or table which can get very messy so these are ideal as we can just put her food on this mat and it makes cleaning up much easier i find it useful to take it with us when we go out for meals as it folds up small and fits in her changing bag as i don't want Sophia eating off a table in public in case of germs. We also got some Tommee Tippee disposable bibs which again are great for if we are eating out so Sophia does not make a mess of her clothes and they can be thrown away afterwards so we don't have to take a dirty bib home with us. We got a pack of four baby spoons which we will use and are the perfect size for Sophia to learn to use herself. And lastly we got a bumpkin wet bag which is ideal for when Sophia goes swimming. Everything that we got we will use and is perfect for Sophia i can not fault anything in the box.

The contents of the box are
  • Cloud b twilight turtle RRP £29.99
  • Summer infant tiny diner place mat RRP £11
  • Tommee Tippee disposable bibs RRP £5.99
  • Beaba 4pk spoons RRP £9.99
  • Bumpkins wet bag RRP £11.99  
The total value of the box is £68.96 so it is more then the £29 that you would pay for a Sassy Bloom box and is amazing value for the £1 i paid for it. And all the products are perfect for Sophia and are from well known brands which is a relief as i was expecting loads of product samples and cheap stuff with a subscription box which was not the case at all.

I have actually just got my second Sassy Bloom box and again everything in it is perfect for Sophia and are things that we will use. I really love these box's and i am glad i came across the special offer to buy a one and try it out for myself. I would love to continue getting them every month but as i will be having another baby soon and i also have Chloe i don't think that i will be able to keep getting them but if i only had the one child i would continue to get these delivered every month as they are amazing value and i love when they arrive and i get to see what gifts are inside the box.

*  I paid for this Sassy Bloom box myself when it was on special offer for £1 in May 2014. I was not asked to write this post or paid in anyway and all views are my own honest view of the products in the box. I just thought i would share what was in my sassy bloom box in case anyone else is considering getting a one.