Wednesday 26 February 2014

Ella's Kitchen's Incredible Edible Forest!

Baby and toddler food experts, Ella’s Kitchen, has today opened the world’s first edible forest for little ones, allowing toddlers to explore their very own mini world of delicious fruit and veg.

The edible forest has been launched by Ella’s Kitchen to celebrate the launch of its new toddler meals range which features six recipes for growing toddlers, each bursting with at least five different fruits and vegetables.

The forest, which stands at just 1.8m high making it perfect for little ones to explore, has been created specifically with adventurous (and hungry) toddlers in mind. Research shows that if little ones play with their food using all their senses, they are more likely to eat their greens at meal times!

Created by food artist Prudence Staite, the edible landscape is made up of over 600 kilos of yummy fruit and vegetables and took a team of six people over 460 hours to create.

Little ones (and their parents) will be able to eat their way through the edible woodland, which features everything from leek palm trees, lentil mushrooms and carrot hedgehogs to bell pepper flowers, a sensory herb garden and a bird bath made of pulses.

Little explorers can help themselves to tasters of the 23 different types of fruit and vegetables on offer as they toddle along the forest’s pathway, adding a whole new level of fun to the eating experience.

Paul Lindley, Ella’s Dad and founder of Ella’s Kitchen comments:
“At Ella’s Kitchen, we think fruit and vegetables are healthy, delicious and most importantly, fun! That’s why we wanted to create an incredible edible experience designed to excite little ones’ senses and encourage them to try a whole host of yummy different tastes and textures.

“Our edible forest captures the excitement and adventure of discovering delicious new flavours, and we hope the mini taste explorers who visit the edible forest enjoy their scrummy healthy eating journey.

Ella’s Kitchen’s edible forest opens to the public today, for one day only, at The Horniman Museum and Gardens, winner of the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award and renowned for being one of London’s most child friendly venues, and is free of charge for parents and little ones to explore.

How amazing does it look!? You can even view the 'Making of...' video here.

Monday 24 February 2014

My 2nd Pregnancy: 12 Week Bump Update

Ahhhh my first bump update! I've been so excited about posting this and I can't believe it's finally here! I'm 12 weeks pregnant.

My jeans seem to be getting really tight already and I'm seriously looking forward to be able to wear comfy & stretchy maternity clothing!

This week my baby is around 5.4cm long and weighs just under 14g. It's the size of a plum!

The baby's reflexes are becoming more focused so if I were to prod my belly, the baby will move although I'll not be able to feel it yet. My baby can now close its fingers, curl its toes and clench its eye muscles - how amazing is that!?

I've been feeling a bit crap for the last few weeks if I'm honest. I've been so tired and I've been having a lot of food aversions. I'd wake up in the morning and instantly feel nauseous. The nausea would go away once I'd eaten but I could never find anything that I could stomach. I've completely gone off meat and my cravings include cheesy wotsits, icing (cherry bakewells have been satisfying this), cheese, ice pops, milk and KFC gravy! A weird combination!

Morning sickness hasn't been too bad this time round. I think I've only vomited three times whereas I was constantly throwing up when I was pregnant with C.

I'm a bit shocked at how big my 'bump' seems to be. I was able to completely hide my pregnancy from everyone for 5 months last time but there seems to be no hiding it now! I have, however, lost a lot of weight since then so I guessed that would play a part in it!

You're Invited to the Ella's Kitchen Event

To all of my London readers, I just wanted to let you know about a fab public event that baby food company, Ella's Kitchen are hosting on Wednesday 26th February.

Calling all adventurous little ones…

Baby and toddler food experts, Ella’s Kitchen, is creating a totally incredible, edible experience for little taste explorers to enjoy.

Created to celebrate the launch of the ‘my little BIG meals’ range, the super-secret taste adventure is designed to introduce little ones to a world of scrummy fruit and delicious veg, and features a whole host of fun things for little explorers to taste, touch, smell and discover.

The incredible edible event opens to the public at The Horniman Museum and Gardens, London on Wednesday 26th February from 10.30am – 1pm and is free of charge for parents and little ones to explore.

WHEN? Wednesday 26th February, 10.30am – 1pm
WHERE? The Horniman Museum and Gardens, Victorian Conservatory
ADDRESS: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ

If you do end up attending, I hope you have a great time! Living in Northern Ireland sucks some times ;)

Sunday 23 February 2014

My 2nd Pregnancy: 12 week scan

Today is February 13th and we had our 12 week scan at 4pm. I say "12 week scan" but really I'm only 10 weeks and 3 days. I was so nervous about going because last Monday I had a little bit of brown spotting but I ignored it in the hope that everything was okay - and I was right! 

I was so pleased that firstly, there was only 1 baby, it was healthy and the heart was beating away. The relief on Chris's that it wasn't a multiple pregnancy was a picture! He is a twin & my mums two sisters are twins, you see! 

We discussed my pregnancy with C, and I was told that as long as I continue to take my aspirin everyday, the preeclampsia should be kept at bay. As long as my blood pressure behaves itself, there's no reason why I can't have a natural birth. The only thing that they won't do is induce me if I go over. If I go the ten days over, they will opt for a cesarean section over an induction. Let's hope it doesn't come to that! 

So here we have baby #2 - due September 8th!

Saturday 22 February 2014

StyleLux Blackhead Killer Face Masks - Review

I have horrible skin. I'm not long out of my teenage years and my skin really reflects that. I do get quite spotty (probably my own fault as I'm always falling asleep without taking my make up off - oops!) and I do have quite a lot of dreaded blackheads. 

When Style Lux got in touch about reviewing their blackhead killer masks, I was definitely up for giving them a go. I was sent 5 x 10ml face masks.

Firstly, *WARNING* here's a scary photo of me without make up. 

The instructions on the back are pretty simple. After 10 minutes of drying, gently peel the mask off. Cleanse with warm water and apple a face moisturiser.

I ripped open my sachet and put my finger in it to start putting it on my face. I really didn't expect it to be black but it smelled beautiful! I applied it as evenly as I could over my face. Beautiful, right?:

I could instantly feel the mask hardening and waited ten minutes and off I went to remove it. I found a good little bit to start off my peeling, just under my lip. Maybe it was the placement but it did sting a little peeling it off. The chin, upper lip and jaw bone seemed to be the worst but these are where my face would have tiny little baby hairs so I'm guessing it could be down to that!

As I was peeling, I noticed that I could see some dead skin cells stuck to it. Definitely a winner in my eyes. After the mask had been removed completely, I did notice a huge reduction in the amount of visible blackheads. My skin also felt a lot smoother.

I would definitely recommend these facemasks to anyone else who also suffers with blackheads. I've used a lot of different cleansers in the past but this seems the be the one that's worked the best.

You can buy your own pack of 5 x 10ml facemasks for £14.95 at the StyleLux website

Friday 21 February 2014

C at 17 Months

Wow! Another month has passed. Unbelievable! C is now 17 months and every day I look at him and see less of a baby and more of a toddler. It makes me sad that he isn't my little baby any more but I am so proud of how far he's come. He is always happy and I'm proud of myself and Chris because I think we're doing a damn good job of this parenting thing!

Earlier this month all three of us had a horrid tummy bug. C had it first but it only lasted 24 hours. He woke up in the middle of night and vomited everywhere. I felt so bad for him because although as a small baby he was milky sick all the time, this was his first time being proper 'big person' sick. He seemed really stunned and shivery and he didn't know what was happening, bless him.

He's become a bit fussy with his eating. A little while ago, we took him out of his highchair and put his dinner plate on the table so he could eat while watching his TV shows. We soon learnt that this meant that he knew he could just get up and walk around. We put him back in his highchair and he'd just cry and not eat. I told Chris that if we just leave him, he'd eventually realise that he's hungry and eat. That didn't work initially and he would pick up pieces of food, pretend to take a bite and say "mmm!" Rascal! He did eventually give in and clear his plate. Happy mummy and daddy!

We did baby-led weaning with C so he's always used his hands to eat. My mum thinks I'm crazy as she hates mess but I think it just helps him to enjoy his food. He is getting older now so one night when we had chicken curry and rice for dinner, I gave him a spoon. I showed him how to hold it and scoop up some rice. He found this bit difficult, and he still does, so I do need to help him out a bit. He thought he was great because he could feed himself and after every spoonful he said, "mmm!" I think it took him about 2 hours to finish his meal but on the plus side, he did end up taking an extra two bowlfuls!

C has a new favourite movie. Tangled. It is a great movie, but Oh. My. God. we are so fed up of watching it. He has it on about 3 times a day and Chris and I could probably act the movie out by now! It doesn't help that the songs are so catchy and I even caught Chris whistling one while he was ironing his clothes the other day!

Next month, my little boy will be a whole 18 months old. 1 and a half years! *sobs*

My Second Pregnancy: Confirming Pregnancy & Booking Appointment

On 3rd Jan, I visited my GP. Before I went I had said to Chris that I was a bit nervous. There I'd be, walking into a doctors office with my 15 month old in a pram and telling him that I'm pregnant again. He reassured me that 15 months isn't that small of a gap. I was kind of sad that he couldn't come with me as he had to work. But I'd done this before.

After an hour long wait, I was called in to see my regular doctor. I told him that I had had a positive home pregnancy test. I knew things would be different this time due to the pre-eclampsia. I'm "high risk", apparently.

He gave me an estimated due date of 8th September 2014 so that would make me 6 weeks pregnant on the Monday (6th Jan). Because of the pre-eclampsia last time, I needed to start taking one aspirin tablet a day from 6 weeks to 36 weeks to hopefully stop the onset of pre-eclampsia again. 

The midwife normally doesn't book you in until between 8-12 weeks but I would be seen the following Friday (10th Jan). I asked if I would have more appointments this time around and was told that yes, I would be monitored more closely - which is what I expected! My blood pressure was fine today so I'm hoping that it doesn't go up and I get a relatively easy pregnancy this time! 

The 10th Jan came and I went to my booking appointment. I was almost 7 weeks pregnant by this point. It had been two years since my last booking appointment so I had forgotten what usually happened. I was so nervous when I realised that my bloods would be taken - I vomited after them at my booking appointment with C! Thankfully, we had no vomiting episodes and I got through it like a trooper!

The midwife filled in all of my paperwork, gave me a strange look when I informed her that Chris is a twin and that my mums two sisters are twins and I was complimented on the fact that I have lost 2st since last time!

I was given my scan date for 13th Feb. The day before Chris's birthday. What a lovely present!
Tuesday 18 February 2014

WaterBaby Pregnancy Drink - Review

WaterBaby is an everyday water drink containing the recommended daily intake of folic acid and a blend of vitamins such as zinc and calcium, designed to offer hydration and additional support throughout all stages of pregnancy.

WaterBaby very kindly sent me out three of their flavours to try out for myself.

The bottles came beautifully packaged in a white box with a magnetic fastener - very fancy for bottles of water. They were wrapped in tissue paper and also came with an information leaflet.

The flavours that I received were Care (citrus), Calm (ginger) and Bloom (cranberry).

Now, I don't drink enough water as it is. I constantly get headaches and Chris tells me that dehydration is the reason. For some reason, I just don't feel that thirst so I would never go out of my way to pour myself a glass of water and to be honest, I think plain water is too boring to drink anyway!

These bottles seemed perfect for me as they had a little hint of flavour so it did just feel like I was drinking juice. Another reason that I like them so much is that I did have a couple of days where I forgot to take my folic acid tablet and/or swallowing it would make me heave (don't you just love morning sickness?) This way, I could just keep a bottle beside me and sip away at it and I knew that the baby was getting enough.

I have to be honest and say that although I really enjoyed the citrus and cranberry flavours, ginger was not a friend of mine. When I was pregnant with C, people told me that ginger biscuits would help with morning sickness but they just made me feel more ill! I expected the same with this pregnancy and I was right. Unfortunately, I just couldn't stomach the ginger but others may have a difference of opinion.

All in all, I would definitely recommend these to any expectant mother as I did genuinely feel hydrated.

On their website, only the Care (citrus) is available to buy in a bundle of either 12 (£18.49) or 28 (£32.49) although the option to buy Bloom (cranberry) or a mixed bundle are coming soon.

You can find out more about WaterBaby at their website, Facebook and Twitter

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

Monday 17 February 2014

My Second Pregnancy - Finding Out

The three months before I found out that I was expecting baby #2, I was addicted to peeing on a stick. I'd have a stock pile in the house and I'd feel so down every time I got a negative result back. I wasn't stupid though. I know my body. I still got my pre-menstrual cramps so I knew my period was coming. It was just wishful thinking. This time was different. 

It was about a week before Christmas and I had complained that my breasts were feeling a bit sore. Obviously, this could have just been because my period was coming so I thought nothing of it. I then started to lose my appetite. Again, this is relatively normal for me. I don't eat a lot, maybe about 1 or 2 meals a day so it didn't bother me. My period was due on Boxing Day and I was moaning at Chris "Eugh, I'm gonna be so bloated and feeling rubbish over Christmas!" Christmas Eve came and I still didn't have any of my tell-tale pre-menstrual cramps. On Christmas morning, I tested. The Control line came up to say that the test had worked, but the Test line was horizontal instead of vertical. I told Chris that "it's only positive if it's vertical" and off we went to have a lovely Christmas. 

Sunday, 29th December, my period was three days late. Still no cramps. I had stayed at my parents the night before and woke up wanting a sausage sandwich with brown sauce for breakfast - nothing else would do! I told Chris that I was going to test again when I got home. I knew my body, and I knew something wasn't right. 

In I went and yep, clear as day, a BFP! 

Chris didn't believe that it was positive as it was so faint but I told him, "a line is a line!" 

At the time of writing this (30th Dec 2012) I am roughly 4 weeks pregnant. Once the initial happiness went away, I felt scared. After what happened with C, I don't want another premature birth. I want to have that big, uncomfortable bump that I didn't get first time around. 

Only time will tell!

Saturday 15 February 2014

4 Little 1 Baby Nose-Clear Nasal Aspirator - review

C has suffered from quite a lot of colds in the short time he's been around (he must get that from me, my immune system is terrible!) so when we were offered the chance to review a nasal aspirator, I was happy to try it out. The last time C had a cold, he kept waking in the night unable to breathe. He would have his dummy in his mouth but not be able to breathe in through his nose which panicked and frustrated him.

I'll be completely honest and say that when I first opened the packaging, it scared me a little bit. I think it was the plastic tubing so you can see what exactly is coming out, but then again, that's a good thing! You can see if the aspirator is working and if anything is being sucked out.

C did mess around a little bit but he doesn't like to sit still at the best of times. We found that using it when he had fallen asleep seemed to work best and it didn't wake him up. All you need to do is place the larger end in your childs nostril and use the other end to suck the 'gunk' out - easy! I did panic a bit in case I sucked too much and ended up with it in my mouth - eugh! 

It did work really well for us and he was able to get a good nights sleep. It opens from the middle so it's super easy to clean too.

This nasal aspirator is suitable for babies from birth (including premature babies) and it is the only baby nasal aspirator that is available via prescription in the UK.

You can purchase your own baby nasal aspirator from 4 Little 1 for £7.29.

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

Thursday 13 February 2014

Sorry I've been so quiet lately...

Wednesday 12 February 2014

The Mum Tag

Bex over at Futures & Helen at Mummy to the Max tagged me in this post. I don't usually participate but I really love the questions so I thought I'd join in!

1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum, or a Working Mum?
A stay at home mum. 

2. Would you have it any other way?
No, I love it. Sometimes I do lose sight of who I am but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love being able to see C's development every day before my eyes.

3. Do you co-sleep?
Yes. When I was pregnant I always swore that I wouldn't do it. Things do change though, and he had a different idea! Within the next month or so, I will be purchasing his first toddler bed in a bid to get him to sleep in there!

4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
A baby bouncer for when they're really little then a Jumperoo. Both great items to keep little ones entertained and for mums & dads to get five minutes to themselves!

5. How many kids do you plan on having?
We don't have a plan. I could have loads as I love being pregnant soooo much but I think when the time comes we'll just know when enough is enough.

6. Date night? How many nights per month?
Never. We went out a few weeks ago for our anniversary (this was out for lunch without C) and before that, it was in September!

7. Your childs favourite show?
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He also enjoys Something Special, Handy Manny & Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

8. Name one thing you bought before you had your baby and never ended up using?
Foam bath support. I actually think we used it once but it was just easier to bathe him without it.

9. Your child’s favourite food?
Pasta. He's just like his dad. I hate pasta because Chris makes it so much but the two of them seem to love it! It has to be with tomato & mascarpone sauce though!

10. How many cars does your family have?
None. Neither of us drive. We really hope to change that soon though. It will be so much easier to have a car when C starts school.

11. Weight gain before pregnancy, during and after and now?
I was 11st at my booking appointment with C. I'm not sure how much weight I put on during pregnancy but I am 9st now :)

12. Dream holiday with your kids?
It has to be Disneyland. I think in Florida.

13. Dream holiday without your kids?
Chris & I would love to travel all over America.

14. How has your life changed since your baby has been born?
I don't see as many of my friends anymore. I do see around 4 or 5 of my best friends and that's really all I need. I think I've grown up a lot. I've gone from a lazy 19 year old who would stay in bed until the afternoon to someone which responsibilities. I moved in properly with Chris too so I learned just how hard it is to maintain a household too. I miss lie ins!

15. Finish the sentence: ‘It makes my heart melt to see … ‘
the love that C has for Chris and I. Sometimes he moves his face right in front of ours just to look at us. I love it.

16. Where do you shop for your kids?
Mainly Asda, Primark, Matalan & Next.

17. Favourite makeup and skincare products?
I don't really have any favourites! I do love Rimmel's matte powder & I adore Urban Decay's eyeshadow palettes.

18. Huggies or Pampers?
Neither! When C was born we had some people do up hampers for us containing both brands of nappy. I always found that they leaked! I then discovered Asda's Little Angels which were my fave until cloth nappies came along!

19. Have you always wanted kids?

No. I was never the maternal type and always said that I didn't want children. My sister is 10 years younger than me and I just saw her as an annoyance. As cheesy as this may sound, it wasn't until I met Chris that I knew I'd have a family with him.

20. Best part about being a mum?
I've mentioned this before but just seeing the love the C has for us. Even if I've had a bad day, his cuddles and kisses make it so much better.

I tag:
Everyone! I'm pretty sure that most people have already been tagged so if you're reading this and you haven't done it, go! Make sure you link me in the comments so I can pop over for a read!
Friday 7 February 2014

Degustabox: January - Review & Giveaway

I LOVE my food and I love the idea of subscription boxes so imagine my delight when I was approached to review Degustabox.

Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with delicious food products at only £12.99 per month. The best part is that there is no commitment necessary.

I was so excited as soon as I opened my box and Chris was already wanting to dive in. I had to shout, "No, I need to take photographs!!" Bless him. I must warn you, this is a photo heavy post!

Inside my box was:

Zico Chocolate Coconut Water
This drink is made from 85% coconut water (from concentrate) and a more-ish natural chocolate flavour. It is an excellent low calorie option with great hydrating qualities.

I only took one sip of the coconut water and decided that it wasn't for me. I'm not a big fan of water, even my diluted juice has to be really concentrated. For me, there just wasn't enough of a chocolate flavour for my liking. Chris really enjoyed it though!

Dorset Cereals Berry Granola
This granola contains a heavenly mix of traditionally baked oats and zingy blackberries and raspberries.

This is absolutely delicious and is a great way to start the day. I've only had a few bowls and Chris keeps stealing it all!

Jules Destrooper Butter Crisps
Jules Destrooper are a family company that have been baking biscuits for 125 years. Their Butter Crisp biscuits are made using rich summer butter and a secret blend of spices.

These go down great with a cup of tea and I must admit, they didn't last very long in our house! They have a gorgeous buttery flavour and were bigger than I expected them to be!

Amy's Kitchen Chunky Tomato Soup
This soup is made with organic ingredients and they put the same care and attention into it as home cooked food. It can be found in the free from section of supermarkets.

I'd never tried chunky tomato soup before, I'd usually stick to Heinz but this a welcome change. It really filled me with a roll and lunch and I will be purchasing more of Amy's Kitchen soups with my grocery shop. I don't eat soup very often but it has reminded me of how much I enjoy it!

GO! Kombucha China White tea
This item was included in the Degustabox in celebration of Chinese New Year. This tea faithfully adheres to the ancient Chinese recipe. It is filled with pro-biotic enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

This tea wasn't really for me. I don't tend to drink a lot anyway; water, juice, tea, coffee so the flavours just didn't satisfy me. I do know that others would probably appreciate it but it wasn't my cup of tea (pardon the pun!)

Maggi So Juicy and So Tender Sachets
We received these in So Juicy Sticky BBQ Chicken, So Tender Italian Herbs Chicken and So Juicy Mexican Chicken. We have bought all these varieties in the past as they are a quick and easy solution for a tasty midweek meal. I was really pleased to see these included as we love them. They're so easy to use and they have a 3 step guide on the sachet.

Quinola Express Pearl & Black
These are the perfect way to enjoy quinoa and save time. Quinoa is a superfood which is high in nutrients and it's gluten free. We used ours cold in a salad but it can be eaten heated as part of a side. They are organic and fairtrade and have won 4 Great Taste awards. This isn't something that I've tried in the past, and to be honest, I probably wouldn't have tried if it weren't for this box, but it is definitely something that I'll pick up in the future.

Goody Good Stuff Sweets
Goody Good Stuff sweets are suitable for vegetarian, Halal and Kosher diets and they use high quality ingredients to produce a range of confectionery that are gluten, dairy, soy, nut and high fructose corn syrup free. We received a bag of Tropical Fruit and Sour Mix & Match. These were the first items that we opened, naturally, and I think they were all scoffed in around 3 minutes? They taste no different to non vegetarian sweets. My best friend is on a gluten free diet so I will definitely be picking some of these up for her!

Degustabox have given my readers a discount code for £3.00 off when registering. Just enter: GPEEK

Degustabox have been very kind to offer one of their boxes up as a competition prize! You just need to fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. This competition is open to mainland UK residents only, over 18 and will end on 18th February. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 3 February 2014

Mr Tumble's Big Book of Counting - Review

I was so pleased to receive an email from Egmont asking if we'd like to review their Mr Tumble's Big Book of Counting. C loves Cbeebies and anything with Justin Fletcher is a huge hit.

I was really happy to see that it is a hardbacked book. C has a habit of being a little rough with his books and he always puts them in his mouth. When he noticed Mr Tumble on the front, a huge smile crept upon his face. He recognised him instantly!

We made our way through the book and C was a little excited and kept trying to turn the pages before we'd even finished the one that we were on! I love the little rhymes as they keep C entertained. I did find on a few occasions that he tried to copy the sound of the number after I said it which was just what we were aiming for.

This is a lift-the-flap book and C was able to lift these himself. He loved seeing all the characters that he knew from the TV show such as Grandad Tumble and Aunt Polly.

This is definitely a great way to teach children to count to five as they can associate it with characters that they're used to seeing. There are also questions such as "Can you count 1?" to encourage your child to repeat it back to you. This is definitely going to be one of our favourites and I know that C will be counting to five with the help of this book.

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

Saturday 1 February 2014

What I've Won - Jan 2014

If you follow me on Twitter or have me on Facebook you'll know that I spend most all of my free time entering competitions. I'd like to think that I do pretty well and just thought I'd share with you what I have won in January 2014. Most of them haven't arrived yet so I have included some stock photos!

1) Boofle 2014 desk calendar from Boofle's Facebook page

2) This P&G box came as a surprise from SuperSavvyMe 

3) I won a Cadbury Daim bar from Given to Distracting Others blog

4) A Crawlerz romper from Crawlerz Facebook page

5) A baby box from UK Baby Box's Facebook page

6) A selection of Brabantia products worth £264 from Brabantia's Facebook page

7) A Munchkin inflatable duck bath from Munchkin's Facebook page

8) 3 pieces of Kat&Bee jewellery from InStyle Magazine

9) An amber teething anklet from Handbags to Changebags' blog