9 Months

Well here we are… 9 months of fun and the trouble is just beginning. Isla can now pull herself up and walk around the room at lightening speed – you might think you’ve put everything out of reach… and then I find her stacking her books on the floor so she can stand on them to reach…! She can stand without holding on for 10+ seconds at a time before falling over so I think we aren’t far off walking!

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She’s so much fun and an absolute joy every day! She now gives out high fives to everyone she can & waves whenever anyone or thing comes & goes! She’s had her first pair of jeans, trainers and now sandals which only help with her crawling faster – which can never be a good thing!

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“High Five!!”

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And of course she is obsessed with my phone, laptop, camera… anything shiny with buttons! I’m already failing at my pre-baby declaration of never giving in & letting her have it!

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And off she goes again…

Starting my journey with The Body Confidence Programme

I’m not a particularly impulsive person, especially since having Isla! When I buy something I like to research & plan to make sure I get exactly what I want & that it’s going to be amazing quality… Well I may have thrown this out the window… and for something pretty important…

I bought my Wedding dress on a whim.

Literally less than 10 minutes discussion with my Mum & it was on the way from Net-a-Porter in it’s beautiful black box!

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But not only did I decide to buy it – way before we’d even put the deposit down on our venue or anything at all… I bought it two sizes too small…

Since having Isla I have not made much progress with shifting the baby weight. My priorities have changed & I feel much more concerned with having energy, feeling good & feeling strong again. I purposely have not put any scales in my home & have been rating how I feel far higher than how I look for the first time in my life.

Now the Wedding is coming, I want to feel amazing in my dress so I knew I would need to make some changes to feel like ‘me’ again. I searched for a programme where I could take control, find my energy & ultimately feel amazing at the end of it.

The Body Confidence Program is the only 8-week fat-loss revolution that doesn’t involve restricting calories or spending hours at the gym. It is NOT about weight-loss. Stop eating for 3 days and you’ll lose weight. But is that sustainable or healthy? No. The Body Confidence Program is about lifelong fat-loss, learning how to live a healthier more confident lifestyle.

Some of the benefits of doing the program are:

  • Dropping 2 jean sizes, guaranteed!
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved moods
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased fitness levels
  • Reduced bloating
  • Reduced body fat
  • Balanced blood sugar levels
  • Increased productivity
  • Long-lasting healthier lifestyle
  • Body confidence
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Renewed pride in appearance

So far I am a week into the programme and I’ve already reduced by 6.5inches from all over. I am absolutely thrilled with this as it hasn’t been an easy week. My sugar cravings have given me some awful moods but I think the worst of that is over & it’s all up from here. I’m already learning to make better food choices which is something that will stay with me long term after the plan has finished.

You can follow my progress over on my Instagram where I will be posting food pictures & updates as I go through the 8 week program!

For now I am feeling positive & ready for the challenges to come in the next 7 weeks. I will be posting a full review of the program at the end so keep an eye out!

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Full Disclosure: I have been invited to do the programme for free in exchange for my honest opinion!

Bambini & Me – Review

We were very kindly sent this gorgeous Bamboo Romper for Isla to try out from Bambini & Me today! There’s nothing better than a baby in super soft, snuggly outfits for hanging out around the house & getting that crawling/wriggling/rolling practise in! Isla has been putting it to the test all morning & it seems to be holding up perfectly! 🙂

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The eco-friendly range, full of quirky prints, includes pieces for babies from 0 to 18 months.   As well as helping with temperature control, bamboo clothing is perfect for absorbing moisture away from the skin and ensuring breathability. A perfect buy for the summer! 

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Isla is wearing size 6-12 months which is a little short in the leg but for the summer months that’s no problem at all! I would order up in the sizes where possible as I don’t think she’ll be in this one for too much longer! (She’s just going into size 9-12 months in most shops.)

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We wore the romper out to the park after our little photoshoot and got so many compliments on the pattern & colour! Who says blue has to be for boys?! 😉

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Isla is so active now that she spends all day crawling circles around me, this beautifully soft romper is absolutely perfect to keep her little knees happy & stretchy enough for her to get up to all sorts of mischief with no problem! I’d highly recommend stocking up on all things Bamboo especially the swaddles & wraps! 🙂 The more you wash them, the softer they get & are so durable!

The blue bunny Romper is available here in 3 sizes for £21.00.

Full disclosure: We were sent the romper for free in exchange for our honest opinion! 🙂

Top 10 (ok, 11!) Tips for planning your Wedding & staying on budget!

Well it’s taken us long enough but we have achieved what felt like the impossible… We have booked our Wedding venue!! Not really hard to guess, if you follow me on Instagram  as it’s our favourite place in the world!

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We have just over a year to organise everything and somehow that doesn’t seem like enough while juggling a business, a blog & being Mum! So I thought I’d share my top tips for starting your Wedding planning with minimum stress… (I just laughed out loud even saying that…ok… with maybe a bit less stress…!)

  1. Set a budget!!
    Sit down with your partner & write down what you are happy to spend. This is a list of what the average person in the UK spends and I think it’s a pretty good starting point… Start contacting venues and suppliers that you like to get an idea of costs! Total unashamed plug… If you are looking for a good photographer 😉

    Wedding venue and ceremony fees: £1,500
    Reception venue £2,500
    Catering: £2,500
    Drinks: £750
    Entertainment and venue decorations: £1,000
    Photography: £1,500
    Cake: £500
    Flowers: £550
    Transport: £250
    Stationery: £300
    Favours and gifts: £400
    Wedding rings: £600
    Dress: £2,000
    Bride’s shoes: £150
    Jewellery and veil: £250
    Hair and makeup: £150
    Bridesmaids’ outfits: £250
    Groom’s outfit: £320
    Attendants’ outfits: £250
    W-day insurance: £100
    Honeymoon: £4,000
    Total: £19,820

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  2. STICK TO IT! (No, seriously!!)
    It’s so easy to start spending a little more here & there, but before you know it you’ve added another £5k to your budget and there goes your honeymoon…
  3. Decide what matters most to you…
    Discuss with your partner which parts of the Wedding are most important to you – obviously it’s the photography for me & neither of us were fussed about having a big white cake so we’re going to have a banoffee pie instead and save the £500 or put it towards something else more important to us!

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  4. Make a spreadsheet with everything on it.
    Keep everything in one place… budget, guests contact information, dietary requirements, RSVPs, a list of tasks with a deadline & all your suppliers information. Closer to the time you can make an itinerary that your venue will probably help with & your photographer etc. will need!
  5. Ask friends & family for help.
    Don’t get weighed down by the pressure of creating the perfect day. All the people closest to you are going to be so incredibly excited and more than likely would love to help you plan! Don’t be afraid to dish out some tasks to your maid of honour – that’s what she’s there for! 😉

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  6. Don’t act on impulse. Take your time.
    When you go & visit a venue or supplier it’s very easy to get swept up in the excitement & before you know it you just put a deposit down on their triple gold package with dancing fountains and fireworks… but oh wait… THE BUDGET. Take a moment to chat with your partner to discuss what you actually went there for& reign it in!
  7. Do just one task every day towards the Wedding…
    A great way to not feel overwhelmed is to write a list of tasks & just tick one off each day. Whether thats searching for cake makers or choosing your colours, those are big decisions so don’t try & do it all at once!

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  8. Be realistic…
    We wanted rows of trees with flowers covering every inch of the venue initially, but then came back down to earth with a thump when we realised that would make our flower budget as much as our WHOLE wedding! Haha! Set your sights on something achievable & make it the best it can possibly be!
  9. Do it yourself & get the kids involved!
    A great way to save money is to do things yourself, whether thats the invites or the flowers in jars – it seems to be all the rage right now! And don’t forget to include the kids in any way you can – even if it’s just licking the envelopes it might keep them quiet for a whole 5 minutes… 😉

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  10. Cut costs where you can & spend where it matters.
    Look through your budget & spot where money can be saved – maybe swapping the champagne toast for Prosecco or having smaller bouquets for the bridesmaids? That way you can spend where it really matters – get your dress properly fitted, the rings are going to be on your finger forever (hopefully!) so make sure they are going to last & the photographs are the most important that you will ever have taken in your life – so make sure you find someone that will treasure your day & capture it perfectly for you to remember forever!
  11. Try to have fun & enjoy it!
    Now get yourself on Pinterest and start dreaming of your perfect day! Get a glass of wine (or two!) and share pins with your bridesmaids to your hearts content! You’ll have planned 10 completely different Weddings by the end of the night!! 😉

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The Big Breastfeeding Cafe with Medela

Today was the big day! Hundreds of Mum’s across the country connected to talk all things breastfeeding & expressing thanks to Medela‘s Big Breastfeeding Cafe! I hosted a cafe at home & we had an amazing time!

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All set up, ready to go including some goodies from Medela to give out!

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Isla had to be the first to tuck into the strawberries of course… 😉

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Some of the top tips shared were: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right the first time… Breastfeeding takes time to establish & that can be different for every baby even if it was easy with your first!”

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“Be patient, and don’t feel silly to ask questions/advice from friends or Breastfeeding specialists!”

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Nosy girls checking out cutie Bella getting changed! Haha!

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As you can see, my littlest guests didn’t think much of the chat!

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A big thank you to Gurgle Magazine for sending over a few copies of your latest issue for the ladies to enjoy! 🙂

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Isla took to her usual position of watching everyone eat… Haha!

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As you can see Mums & Babies all had a fantastic time sharing experiences, tips and advice! We talked about everything from best nipple creams to the best/worst advice we were given & how that impacted our breastfeeding/expressing journeys!

And one final piece of wisdom for any Mum’s struggling on their journey…

“Keep going, know that you are amazing & doing the best you possibly can for your baby every day!”

Thanks so much to Medela & Bump PR for organising such a great event for Mum’s all over the UK – it was great to be a small part of it! 🙂

Reading with Isla & Baby Lit

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll have noticed one of Isla’s favourite activities is reading, but our little madam is rather particular about her reading material… Enter BabyLit. They make an adorable range books that can introduce classic literature to your baby in a fun & stylish way!

“At BabyLit, we believe in the power of reading. Why? Because books take us places. Good places. And when we read with a child, we go places together. It’s more than just reading. It’s learning. It’s experiencing. It’s growing.”

Sounds good to me!

When I told Isla we were going to be reading during our photoshoot today she got just a little excited…

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That is her face whenever I get one of the BabyLit books out… Absolutely hilarious.

Things get serious pretty quickly though…

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This week I bought Isla two new books from BabyLit, Romeo & Juliet – to join in with all the celebrations for Shakespeare 400 & Moby-Dick!

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Before you start worrying that Isla might be slightly traumatised by the ending of Romeo & Juliet all the books don’t really tell the story as such… They introduce key characters and themes with beautiful pictures and usually all while counting to 10! (1 town, 2 lovers… etc etc!)

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I think it’s so important to encourage reading from an early age & you really can’t start too soon! If you want to buy your little one some of BabyLit’s amazing books you can shop direct or find them at a local supplier. We’ve got our eye on Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Wizard of Oz next!

They also make play sets, puzzles, dolls, notebooks and totes so you can really bring their favourite characters off the page!

Follow us on Instagram for more & you can find BabyLit here too!

Oh and just one more thing… I couldn’t resist sharing a few behind the scenes shots from our little photoshoot…

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Isla’s personal wardrobe mistress/assistant/dribble wiper for the day was my brilliant Mum, which she thought was just hilarious!

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So much love for Nanny!!

This is the first time I’ve convinced my mum to step in front of the camera, and I’m going to treasure these photographs forever. I juggle being Mummy, blogging and running my own photography business as well as the rest of life & I couldn’t do it without the amazing support my Mum gives me! And as you can see Isla is also a huge fan! 🙂

Medela – The Big Review!

I can’t express…see what I did there… just how much I love my Medela Freestyle Pump. When you get it out of the box it might feel overwhelming with how many pieces there are but it’s amazingly easy to use, clean and put together! It’s so fast, quiet and comfortable. I was expressing every 3 hours to keep my supply up and try to keep up with Isla’s needs and the Freestyle made that so much easier for me!

 

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It comes with a shoulder bag & cool bag with freezer pack so you can express on the go!

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The Freestyle breast pump is the world’s smallest high-performance electric breast pump. It’s ideal for daily and frequent use with a single or double pumping option. The pump itself is small enough to hold in your hand – has a timer on the front so you can see how long you’ve been pumping & you can adjust how strong you want it to pump easily too.

Medela uses 2-Phase Expression as standard. The 2-Phase Expression is the only research based breast pump technology to mimic a baby’s natural nursing rhythm. It combines both rapid stimulation and slower expression so pumping is gentle, comfortable, and efficient.

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It’s so easy to clip together & take apart for cleaning – you’ll be doing it with your eyes closed in no time!

I was going to do my own pictures for this post, but these just amuse me so much for some reason… They demonstrate perfectly how the freestyle aspect of it works – but I’m sorry… I have never and will never look as glamorous as this woman while doing it.

You can buy the Freestyle Bustier separately & it’s great so you can crack on with something else – I even used it most days in the car to keep them in place safely & discreetly (only as a passenger!) .

Medela very kindly sent me their pump & save bags to try – which are so convenient! They pop straight onto the pump so you can pump your milk directly into the bags and put it straight into the freezer without having to risk losing one precious drop!

 

They also sent me the quick clean bags which we used loads when we went on holiday or were away from home. They’re perfect for cleaning bottles, teats, and much more. Each bag can be used up to 20 times, and will clean and disinfect in 3 minutes.

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Medela make a huge range of breast pumps to suit every need & they sent me the Harmony to try too. It’s a manual pump but still uses their 2-phase expression like the Freestyle. I found it worked just as well as the freestyle – but after a while I got tired of doing it and became less efficient. Also – having to pump one boob at a time wasn’t great for me. But if you are planning on breast feeding & expressing the other breast at the same time this would be perfect – as it’s silent and won’t disturb your little one. I used it mostly at night if Isla didn’t wake up for a feed just for some relief from engorgement.

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Both pumps express into the bottles that work with the amazing Calma teats that I have talked about before – but incase you missed it…

Calma is the only scientific based feeding device that helps to support the similar sucking behaviour of the baby at the breast. Calma is the unique teat for babies who are being breastfed with breastmilk, as it allows them to suck, swallow and breathe, as learned on the breast.

Calma requires a similar sucking behaviour to breastfeeding using the tongue to create a vacuum making it easier for babies to switch between breast and Calma. It’s the first and only teat to be introduced during breastfeeding to support the similar sucking behaviour of the baby at the breast.

Please note: Breastfeeding needs to be well established before introducing Calma. Calma is recommended for breastfed babies and not those who are currently bottle fed as they may find it difficult to feed.

A few other favourites that I’ve mentioned before are their disposable nursing pads. They are super soft & SUPER absorbent. They have two little sticky pads to stick directly onto the inside of your nursing bra & I never had a problem with them moving – even in the night! They are more expensive than some others on the market – but you get what you pay for & that really counts when the alternative leaves you with a drenched top mid-conversation with a stranger/postman/distant relative! I also loved the purlan 100 nipple cream – easy to use and does what it says it will! You can never use enough of this stuff! Plus the Hydrogel Pads were good for cooling relief  from cracked, sore nipples – they work amazingly well when put on top of the purelan 100!

 

I thought I’d include two of my favourite photos from my time expressing… This is Barney feeding Isla (in a hotel lobby!) the first time I managed to express enough to use the bigger bottle! A huge achievement!!

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And this is Isla first thing in the morning while I was using the Freestyle Pump – exactly what you need your hands free for – lots of cuddles!!

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So that’s it! I couldn’t love Medela more – from their incredible pumps to the amazing support they provide Mum’s on their journey – they are a wonderful company that I’m so thrilled to be working with!

Medela Mum Badge 2016

 

6 Months

Isla turns 6 months old today & I can’t believe we are here already… Sitting up, rolling over and now giving crawling a really good go! I just want to freeze time & enjoy my tiny baby for a bit longer. She brings so much love & light to everyone she meets – chatting & laughing to anyone who will pay her even the slightest bit of attention. Most nights she does ‘Twinkle Twinkle Stars’ fingers and then applauds herself in her cot before going to sleep… I can’t even. We’ve been exploring art and music a lot this month – she has even ‘painted’ her first masterpieces for her Nanny & Grandma. She loves watching videos of child prodigies playing the cello!

Our photoshoot this month was taken in the kitchen after breakfast this morning! I want to remember her how I saw her every day, just hanging out in her PJ vest, as well as all dressed up for fun.

Happy 6 Months my crazy Beanie Bear!

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Cybex Aton Q Car Seat Review

Choosing the right car seat is one of the most important things you can do to keep your little one safe – but it really is a minefield for new parents! After staring cluelessly at a wall of plastic & material with a startling price range (You can get a car seat from £20 in certain supermarkets… surely that can’t be safe!?) I’d never heard of ‘ISOFIX’ let alone what the current government safety standards were… So my research began…  I was kindly helped by an incredibly knowledgeable sales assistant at Mama’s & Papa’s & we were on our way!

So here are the top things you should know…

  1. You MUST have a car seat for your baby, even if you don’t own a car – if you are planning on bringing baby home from the hospital.
  2. Choosing the right car seat for your baby’s age & weight is crucial.
  3. Be careful about borrowing/buying a second hand car seat – you must make sure it’s never been in a crash before & that you have the manual so you can install it properly.
  4. Check the weight range on the car seat you are buying. Group 0 is from Birth to 22lbs. Or Group 0+ is from Birth to 29lbs. (It’s worth noting that a new standard called ‘i-Size’ is being introduced in the UK. Car seats using this standard will be classified by height rather than weight. Which will eventually replace the old weight-based classification, but not until at least 2018.)
  5. Your baby should stay rear-facing for as long as possible as it’s 80% safer.
  6. Check your car has ISOFIX points – if it was made compulsory for all cars made after 2006. (Metal bars that secure the chair directly to the car with no need for a seatbelt).
  7. You will need to purchase the ISOFIX base separately so remember to budget for that too!
  8. Never leave your new baby in the car seat for more than 2 hours at a time. Once they can sit up un-aided this does not apply.

Anyway… After all that… We found our car seat… PHEW…

The Cybex Aton Q Car Seat.

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Oooh… Aaah! I hear you cry!

I love how it looks – especially with the shell sun canopy cover up. Also it’s still looking pretty perfect, after 6 months of use!

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Isla’s taking all this VERY seriously.

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The Aton Q is group 0+, suitable from Birth to 13kgs/29lbs. It has:

– Safer sides – superior side impact protection.
– Telescopic shock absorbers – retractable side impact rods help the energy absorbing shell soak up the force of a side on collision.
– Easy up and down – seat height adjusts automatically.
– Adjustable headrest – 8 comfy positions plus an integrated harness guide.
– Energy-absorbing shell – cushions the impact in case of a crash.
– Super comfy straps – extra wide Y-harness straps with soft belt and crotch pad.
– Ready-made shade – integrated XXL foldaway sun canopy in matching colours.
– Sun safe – all fabrics are UPF 50+.
– Removable covers – easily slipped off and safe to wash at 30 degrees.

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When I put Isla in, I put the straps tucked up into the headrest so they don’t get in the way & I can easily grab them to secure her with no fuss!

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We got a baby mirror so we can always check on her & now she’s obsessed with laughing at that funny baby in the mirror… until we reach 30mph & she’s out like a light!

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It is also travel system compatible with our Urbo 2 Pushchair which is great if we are just popping into a shop quickly & don’t want to disturb nap time!

The only downside is, it is heavy. I really struggle to carry it very far with Isla in – but as it clips right onto the pram – this is rarely an issue.

Cybex do a full range of beautiful & incredibly safe car seats for every age group! You can see them here. We are already looking at the next stage up for Isla but we have quite a few months of life left in our Aton Q before we will need to make our next big decision!