Tuesday 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013!

2013 has been such a good year for me. I started writing this blog on 14th Jan 2013 as a way to look back on C's development. I cannot believe how far it has come and I can't fathom why people keep coming back for a read!

C was only 4 months old at the start of this year so 2013 saw lots of "firsts", sitting up, standing, walking, etc. and I'm so pleased that I have been able to document them here. 

We even had my 21st birthday, C's 1st birthday and the announcement that Chris's sister is expecting a baby in May so I will be an auntie!

I'm so grateful for my wonderful family and we really have had the perfect end to this year...<3

I can't wait to see what 2014 brings us. 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday 29 December 2013

Would You Like Free Money?

No, I'm not pulling your leg! I love saving money wherever I can. I have lots of store loyalty cards like Boots Advantage, Superdrug Beauty, Nectar etc, and I save up all year until Christmas time then I can use those points to buy presents.

A few months ago, my blogger friend Helen from Mummy to the Max introduced me to a website called InstaGC. 

InstaGC literally means 'Instant GiftCards'. You can complete tasks like, listen to the radio, watch videos and download apps in order to earn points. When you've earned your points, you can exchange them for vouchers to use in places such as: Amazon, Asda, ASOS, B&Q, Groupon, iTunes, Rixty, Skype, Starbucks and The Honest Company.

I always redeem mine for Amazon vouchers and I recently bought my other half World War Z on DVD, absolutely free!

I definitely recommend everyone sign up. It's so worth it. You can sign up for your own account here.

Happy earning!

Thursday 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to stop by to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you have all had a great day and got spoiled! 

Chris, unfortunately, had to work 2pm-10pm on Christmas Eve so C and I went to Chris's mums for the evening. When Chris got home, and we made sure C was in his "big sleep", we started playing Santa. Luckily, I had all the smaller presents wrapped to Chris just built the bigger ones. It took him about an hour and a half to put the Fisher-Price Ballapalooza up! I couldn't wait to see his face the following morning. 

Morning came and Chris and I woke up at 6.30am. C would not wake up for love nor money. Chris even sat him up to put his dressing gown on, carried him downstairs but, nothing! I took this time to get myself dressed and as Chris has two younger brothers (5 & 3) he headed round the corner to his mums to watch them open their presents. 

Chris came back and we ended up being able to wake C up. At first, he didn't really clock on about the fact that all of these presents and toys were for him and as he was literally just awake, he had a bit of a cry. Once he got over the shock of being woken up, he was fine and ripping paper everywhere!

We headed to Chris's mums for a lovely Christmas dinner and settled down at home in the evening watching the Mrs Browns Boys and Father Ted Christmas Specials! Perfect end to a perfect day. 

Monday 23 December 2013

Ella's Kitchen & The 1st EVER Mini Queen's Christmas Speech

Whilst the nation enjoys the traditional mid-afternoon Queen’s address after tucking in to Christmas dinner this year, little ones across the country can tune in to enjoy an alternative message created by baby and toddler food experts Ella’s Kitchen.

The very first mini Queen's Christmas speech has been created specifically for tiny tots to enjoy and is set to be broadcast online on Christmas Day.

From the birth of royal baby Prince George to the nation’s favourite subject, the great British weather, the unique speech provides a kids’ perspective on the year’s news stories.

Delivered by mini monarch Grace Dawkins, the Christmas broadcast also contains a selection of special messages and highlights from the Ella’s Kitchen Facebook and Twitter community, celebrating the achievements and tiny triumphs made by little ones across the country.

Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen founder and Ella’s Dad comments: “Christmas is a very exciting time for little ones and we wanted to make it even more memorable by taking a much loved Christmas tradition and giving it our very own Ella’s Kitchen twist.

“We hope little ones across the country – maybe even baby Prince George – enjoy watching our mini Queen’s Christmas speech and who knows, maybe it will even become an annual occurrence!”

You can watch the mini Queen’s Christmas speech when it airs on the Ella’s Kitchen Facebook page at 3pm on Christmas Day (25th December): www.facebook.com/ellaskitchen or via YouTube: http://bit.ly/1drsnMh
Saturday 21 December 2013

C at 15 months

C is now 15 months old! I can't believe how quickly the months are flying by and soon enough it will be his 2nd birthday! 

This month he his first nose bleed! I woke up one morning and C was still asleep. I noticed some stains on his pillow but I didn't quite click on to what they were. I woke him up and realised that there was dry, crusted blood in and around his right nostril. Poor boy! It didn't harm him at all but it did frighten me a bit!

You can kind of see a little bit of blood. Not the best picture - sorry!

He had a horrible cold his month and that's when the tantrums began properly. He would drop down onto his knees, throw his head back and scream. The tantrums would happen over literally anything but thankfully, he's feeling better now so less tantrums! 

He's learned how to climb up onto the sofa. It's so funny watching him cock one leg up and push himself forward. Becoming too toddler-like for me!

The biggest things he's learned is to walk properly. He went to Clark's to get his first shoes and now there is no stopping him. He much prefers walking to crawling - thank God!

When we give him hugs, he pats our backs and he's constantly giving kisses and saying "mwah!"  He even puts his hand to his mouth and pulls it away to blow kissss too. 

He had his first ever hair cut! Chris's sister is a hairdresser so who better to do it? We just went to Chris's mums and she cut it while he stood and played. Not a peep out of him! He did scratch at his ears though. 

Probably Chris's proudest moment - C is a black metal fan. Chris was playing music through YouTube and C began dancing and head banging! 

Thursday 19 December 2013

C Visited Santa!

On Tuesday, Chris had the day off work so we decided to take C to see Santa. I was a little worried in case he cried. Last year was fine as he was only 3 months old but he's more aware now. 

C and Santa - Christmas 2012

We took him to Victoria Square and because they were just coming back from a break, the queue wasn't too long, thankfully!

In we went and Chris handed C over, he looked straight at the camera but looked a bit like a deer in the headlights! At one point C turned around to look at Santa as if to say "you're not mummy or daddy. Why am I on your knee?" and the photographer captured that moment. 

I think it is a gorgeous photo and it's always good when Santa has a real beard! He even got a little wooden jigsaw as a present too. Definitely worth the £12!

Has your little one been to see Santa? How did they get on?

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas for Dad

My dad is in his mid-fifties (don't tell him I told you that!) and I find it really hard to buy presents for him. He always says that he doesn't want anything but we both know that something has to/will be bought. 

IWOOT is a fab place to start looking for gift ideas, even the name of the website is great as I do always find myself saying "I want one of those!"

IWOOT recently sent me out a pack of their Vinyl Bookends and as soon as I clapped eyes on them, I knew that my dad would love them. They're so retro and kitsch and he always tells me about records he used to own (he still owns a record player but it doesn't get used). 

When I first opened them, I'll admit that I did think that they might be a little too flimsy to hold up books but I was wrong! They work fantasticly well and I love that both the records have different images on them. IWOOT don't just sell vinyl bookends, you can even pick up bowls and coasters to match!  

I can't wait to give them to my dad! He'll be over the moon. 

You can buy your own Vinyl Bookends here for £9.95 and you can find them on Facebook and Twitter

(Disclaimer: I received these bookends free of charge in exchange for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own). 
Tuesday 17 December 2013

Pregnancy Symptoms*

I started blogging when C was four months old and I do feel sad that I never documented my pregnancy with how C was growing, symptoms, etc so when he was born, I soon forgot it all. Now that Chris's sister is pregnant and talking about how she feels, it's all come flooding back. 

Morning sickness was such a pain for me. For the first 6-7 weeks it was just constant and I couldn't keep anything down. It then started to ease but came back with a vengeance every time I brushed my teeth!

I had C at 32 weeks and only started getting heartburn at around 25 weeks so I didn't have it for very long. I tried everything to ease it but nothing worked except milk. The bad thing was that it only kept it away for about 15 minutes!

One thing that irritated me more after pregnancy than during was my hair! During pregnancy, the hair on my head got a lot thicker but as soon as C was born it started to come out in clumps everytime I brushed it. Chris was constantly going on at me for forgetting to clear the drain after washing my hair! 

Leg hair was bad too. Naturally, my legs don't get too hairy if I leave them (they're light & fine too which makes them harder to see) but as soon as I was expecting C, I started to resemble a gorilla! (Okay, that may be an exaggeration!). I couldn't wait to shave them! Luckily, we're back to normal now!

My bump was a bit hairy too. I was so embarrssed going for scans but I hear that it's normal (it is, right? Please tell me there's someone out there who has had this too!) but one thing that I am thankful for is that I didn't develop any facial hair. If I had, I would have been straight down for some laser facial hair removal. I know, it sounds scary and I don't cope with pain very well but I've managed five tattoos and a Caeserean section so I think I'd be okay. The laser hair removal reviews don't contain any scary stories anyway! The laser hair removal prices are so reasonable too and it would definitely be worth it to be smooth again! You can head over to sk:n's blog page too to read more and maybe interact by leaving a few comments!

This is a sponsored post.

Monday 16 December 2013

Christmas Spirit - where are you?

Here we are, 16th of December and I don't feel Christmassy at all. I don't know why!

We started Christmas shopping back in November (maybe I did it too early?) and put our Christmas tree up just over a month ago but it just doesn't feel as though Christmas is just around the corner. 

Usually, I get so excited to get wrapping everything and can't wait to see peoples faces when they open the gifts that I have chosen for them but at the time of writing this post, I couldn't be bothered wrapping anything so I haven't even started. 

There seems to be less and less houses with lights and decorations up and it just doesn't feel cold enough for snow. Possible factors of my lack of Christmas spirit?

I WILL start wrapping presents this week and making up C's Christmas Eve box. We're taking him to see Santa too (in his fab Christmas jumper) so hopefully I'll get into the spirit soon. I haven't even listened to the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York' this year. What is going on!?

Are you in the Christmas spirit!?

Thursday 12 December 2013

Garden Games Ltd Wigwam Review

I find that kids nowadays are always stuck indoors watching TV or playing on tablets and games consoles. I really don't want that for C. When I was younger I was always outdoors playing and I want him to be the same. Recently we received a fabulous garden wigwam from GardenGamesLtd for C to try out. Unfortunately, we haven't had the weather to put it outside but that's okay, it can be used indoors too. 

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous about putting it up. I always leave the building to Chris but I gave this a shot myself and it was so simple to follow the instructions. If I can do it, anyone can. 

The wigwam is a lot bigger than what I imagined. It stands at 1.9m tall with a diameter of 1.4m! The actual wigwam itself is made from a thick water resistant cotton. Definitely what you need when it's outdoors! The design is absolutely beautiful too. There is also a little Velcro bit at the front so your child can close the door over. It sits sturdily so I don't need to worry about it falling on top of C.

C loved sussing it out and finding out what it was all about. My sister and I enjoyed getting in too! I can't wait for summertime to arrive so C can play in the  garden with it! 

You can find out more about the wigwam at Garden Games Ltd and purchase your own wigwam at GardenGamesLtd Amazon page for £52.23!

(Disclaimer: I received this wigwam free of charge in exchange for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Wednesday 11 December 2013

WorldFoods & Stop Hunger Now

You may notice a shiny new badge in my sidebar - I'm so pleased to be a Grow The Cause Ambassador for WorldFoods!

Let me tell you a little bit about their campaign. There is a charity called Stop Hunger Now and WorldFoods are aiming to give something back to those in crisis and help end world hunger.

WorldFoods have implemented a Christmas charity campaign in which they hope to match the first 5,000 'likes' they receive on Facebook with a donation of $1 to Stop Hunger Now. You can like the page yourself and help out here.

Stop Hunger Now want to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world's most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilizing the resources to make this happen. They have been fulfilling this commitment since 1998.

In 2005, Stop Hunger Now launched their meal packing programme perfecting an assembly process of small meal packets that contain essential vitamins and minerals and have a 2 year shelf life. These cost only 25 cents. This means that a $1 dollar donation from WorldFoods will feed four hungry mouths. 

70% of their meals are provided to transformational development programs such as school feeding, vocational training, early childhood development and orphanages.

What are you waiting for? Your job is easy. Just head over to the Facebook page and fill in your details!

(Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.)

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Little Robin's Christmas

I love reading books to C. I loved to read books as a child too so I really hope that he will be the same. We recently received a copy of Little Robin's Christmas and I was so excited to get reading a festive book to him. 

The story is about a little robin redbreast who, at Christmastime irons out 7 vests for himself ready for the cold days ahead. He bumps into some friends on his journey outside and notices that they are all cold so he shares out his vests until he  doesn't have any left (even for himself!). I won't spoil the ending but it is very happy as someone comes to HIS rescue. 

It is a really lovely book and is beautifully illustrated. It teaches kindess, selflessness and a little bit of karma too! C is only 15 months old so he only really enjoys hearing us read it to him and looking at the pictures but I hope to read this book to him every Christmas and hope he learns a little something!

You can buy your own copy of Little Robin's Christmas from Egmont at a fab price of £6.99. 

(Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Saturday 7 December 2013

Perfect Christmas Day

To begin with how I'd describe my perfect Christmas Day, I NEED to include the lead up - Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, after dinner, I would give C his Christmas Eve box that I've made up for him which includes:

Dressing gown
A Christmas bedtime story
A Christmas DVD 
A teddy

I'd bath C, get him all snuggled in his new pjs and settle down to watch his new DVD with his chocolate. We'll have baked cookies earlier in the day to leave out for Santa alongside his milk and carrots for the reindeer. Once C got sleepy,  I'd read him his new Christmas story and watch him drift off to sleep. 

Myself and Chris would then happily and excitedly leave out all of his toys from Santa ready for the morning. I usually wake up first on Christmas morning (I'm like a big child!) so I'd get Chris and C up too. I'd hope that C's face lights up when he sees everything but he's only 15 months old, I really doubt he'll have a clue what's going on. We'd help him open all his presents and I would play with him for a bit whilst Chris makes his delectable scrambled eggs (they're the best in the world, I don't know how he does it!) with toast. 

We'd then get dinner started and get dressed. Both Chris and I have younger siblings so we'd love to also see them on Christmas Day and give them all our gifts to them. Chris's mum lives around the corner so we'd probably pop there first to see what Santa has brought his 5 and 3 year old brothers. Then, time permitting, we'd visit my family. My sister is a little older, 11, but it's always nice to be with your extended family at Christmastime. I'll be honest and say, I'm not quite sure how we'd fit Christmas dinner in there! We eat late anyway so I'm guessing it would come after. In my eyes, being with family and seeing them happy is more important than a huge meal. 

After dinner, we'd play a bit more with C and his new toys and watch some Christmas telly! Perfect :)

Merry Christmas! This post is my entry into the Tots100/Argos 12 Days of Christmas competition.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Check Your Bauballs!

UK male cancer charity Orchid have launched a new campaign - Check Your Bauballs designed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer, whilst raising money for life-saving research.

If testicular cancer is spotted early, there is a 98% chance of a cure. Bauballs are for life, not just for Christmas so keep getting them out once and month and checking.

A huge host of celebrities including Dr Hilary Jones, Rizzle Kicks and the boys from TOWIE have all endorsed this campaign, posing with their bauballs.

Decorating your tree with bravado will help raise money and awareness of testicular cancer and you're sure to make people smile too! 

You can grab your own bauball at House of Fraser for £5.00 or online at: http://www.checkyourbauballs.com/

Come on everyone, check your bauballs!

(Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post. I am simply helping to raise awareness of a great cause.)

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Spending Time Together as a Family

It's really rare that we get to spend time together, just the three of us. Chris works 4 days a week and has college 2 days a week. This leaves us only 1 day so we try to make the most of it.

The Christmas Continental Market arrived here on the 15th November and we still hadn't been so decided to head down yesterday. I love the market. There are so many food stalls from around the world as well as stalls where you can buy little gifts too. It can be quite expensive though. 

We had a walk around but didn't see any gifts that caught our eye so we just decided on getting food. Had to be done! 

Chris got a wild boar burger & shared it with C. He gets one every year - they're delicious. I opted for The Bellybuster. This was a pulled pork baguette with sage and onion stuffing and gravy. It was so lovely but a bit awkward to eat as we walked around!

Bellybuster (with a sleepy C)

C munching his wild boar burger

When we left the market, we took C to Clarks. His cruiser/crawler shoes are too small for him so he desperately needed a new pair. On Saturday, he started to walk on his own so after our failed trip to Clarks 3 months ago, I really hoped he could get some lovely shoes this time. And he did! We tried a gorgeous pair of blue shoes on him. They had rockets on the side and lit up whenever he walked. I was so surprised that he was okay in them as last time, he couldn't even lift his feet in walkers because they were so heavy. The lady took his photograph and he looked so happy and proud. 

Monday 2 December 2013

Brother Max Non-Contact Thermometer Review

Last Tuesday morning (in the early hours), C woke up screaming. He felt hot to touch even through his sleepsuit so I stripped him down to his nappy and gave him water. I used an underarm thermometer to check his temperature, which was really tricky as he's so fiddly, and it showed 39 degrees. A fever. I finally got him back to sleep and we got up as usual at a more reasonable time. 

The postman called to the door with a parcel. A Brother Max Non-contact thermometer. It literally couldn't have come at a better time. As soon as it arrived I opened it up and put the batteries in (which were included - how good is that!?) and got using.  

I am a huge fan of Brother Max products. We reviewed Ray the bath and room thermometer and I also own the dual purpose plug-in nightlight so I was really pleased to be given the chance to review another product.

As I mentioned before, this is a non-contact thermometer and it is so easy to use. There is a round button on the back which switches the thermometer on. To get a reading, all you need to is click the arch button underneath the screen. Either a house symbol or a head symbol will show. The house symbol means a room temperature will be taken and the head is, pretty self-explanatory, a forehead temperature.

To take a forehead reading you need to hold the top of the thermometer 2-5cms from the forehead, press the round button on the back and release. The temperature will shown on screen.

Taking a room temperature is the same method, switch to the house symbol but you do not need to point it at a certain place, press the round button and release.

As you can see from the photo above, there are two other buttons. The 'M' button is memory. You can press this button and it shows you previous readings that you have taken. The speaker button is for the sound. When you take a reading, a light flashes on the back (green, orange or red to indicate if the temperature is normal, raised or high) and the thermometer beeps. The sound button allows you to turn the sound on or off.

This is a great idea if you are taking a reading at night time and don't want to disturb your child. The screen also has a backlight so you can read the results in the dark. The screen has a battery life display so you know when it will need a battery change.

This thermometer really has made my life easier as C really hates being disturbed and annoyed and now I can take his temperature without a fuss.

The Brother Max Non-contact Thermometer can be purchased from Boots at a price of £39.99.

You can find out more about Brother Max at their website, Facebook and Twitter.

(Disclaimer: I received this thermometer free of charge in exchange for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)