Five Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

Before having C, I never realised how much I loved sleep. Having said that, I was a stereotypical lazy teenager before that so would happily stay in bed until 1 in the afternoon. Now though, I really miss it so I've compiled a list of my five top tips for better sleep!

1) Don't use electronic devices before/in bed - The best way to wind down is with a good book. I am totally guilty of playing about on my phone and before I know it, 2 hours has passed and I'm still wide awake at 2am! No TV in the bedroom either. Phones and TV's only stimulate the mind when really, you should be trying to relax.

2) Camomile tea - Now, I'm not one of those people into all these herbal remedies etc, but I genuinely believe that camomile tea helps relax you before bed. Try it, honestly. No caffeine so won't keep you up!

3) A good mattress - Of course a good mattress will get you a better sleep, who wants to sleep on an old lumpy one? Make sure you get the right one for you. The mattresses at John Lewis are FAB. Just seeing the photos of them makes me want to curl up and fall asleep!

4) Don't nap late - Sometimes I'll nap when C is napping because I'm just so exhausted (10 month olds are tiring, you know!) and I regret it when I can't get to sleep later that night. Setting regular bedtimes and waking up at the same time is a good idea too. Your body will get into the routine.

5) Get out of your head - This may be easier said than done and if you know how to do this, tell me how. I'm awful for stressing, over-thinking and over-analysing things and I only do it when I lie down in bed! Poor Chris is desperately trying to get some sleep and I'll keep nudging him and asking him questions! I find it very hard to do this.


What are your top tips? 
Do you agree with what I've mentioned?
This is a sponsored post.

Date Night

Chris and I have been together for almost 4 years (sometimes I can't believe it's been that long!). I was 17 when we first met and when I turned 18, went to uni and moved in together we started going out for meals, to bars or to the cinema. Nowhere extravagant, just the occasional dinner at places like TGI Fridays or Chiquito. We really took this for granted and I've missed meals out since C was born.

On Thursday, we ventured out with C in tow. I'm still not used to leaving him so I wanted to bring him with us. We had four possible places in mind; Chiquito, Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny's or Spur Steak & Grill. We ended up in TGI Fridays, haha.

When we arrived, we were seated and C was asleep in his pram. We ordered our food and then he woke up. I got a highchair for him and he had a nosey about at all the lights and shook his rattle, banging it off the table. 




After a little bit of a wait, mine and Chris's meals came out. I had the Ultimate Southwest burger and Chris had the Ultimate Bacon Cheese Burger (yum!). At this point, C started leaning over the table trying to grab our food and crying because he couldn't have any. His mash then came out (the waiter was lovely and brought us a teaspoon as he assumed the mash was for C) and because I had to blow on it to cool it down, he had another cry. Whilst eating his mash, he still tried to get at our food. In the end, Chris had to give him some chips on a plate for him to pick up and eat himself. The whole way through eating them, he whinged.

We quickly ate our meals whilst trying to calm C down. His next tantrum came when he tried to put his chip down his straw and Chris told him 'no'. Everything felt very rushed as we were so focused on C and how he may be irritating other customers, which is a shame because the food and service was fantastic.

I definitely think in future, we either won't go out or I may have to reluctantly leave him behind :(



Have you ever had testing meals with your children?

what2buy4kids Girlfriend Leopard Print Hair Turban Review

what2buy4kids are a fab website that sells gifts for kids from 3 years to 12 years old - perfect if you are like me and are baffled at choosing age-appropriate gifts for children.

A few weeks ago, they sent me a Leopard Print Hair Turban to review with the assistance of my 11 year old sister.

This review was for their bl
og so if you want to have a read, you can do so here.


Happy reading!

Art.co.uk Opens Nominations for Next Art Sparks Learning Campaign

Art.co.uk Opens Nominations for Next Art Sparks Learning Campaign    

Communities Can Help Support Art Education and Inspire the Next Generation of Artists by Recommending their favourite School

To support art education today while inspiring the artists of tomorrow, Art.co.uk (part of Art.com Inc.), the world’s leading online destination dedicated to experiencing and buying art, is accepting nominations for its next Art Sparks Learning campaign launching this Autumn.  For the first time since the program’s inception, the company is inviting the public to nominate schools that will each receive 18 framed artworks of their choice to decorate their schools and inspire their students. Previous campaigns have seen UK and US schools compete for the grand prize, however this September, the UK venture will be a completely separate campaign to the US, with six UK schools competing for a grand prize of art supplies. Nominations for the Autumn campaign can be made at www.art.co.uk/artsparksfrom now through until the end of July (even if you don't get your entries in by this time, you can still nominate as they will still be in the running for next time!)

“We’re very proud to continue the Art Sparks Learning campaign this fall, sharing the power of art with students, teachers and parents by donating framed artworks to schools in need,” said Geoffroy Martin, CEO of Art.com Inc. “This time around, we’re encouraging our fans to nominate schools that have special meaning to them. Anyone who loves art has the opportunity to spread their passion and help foster the creative development of our youth.”

Since its launch in November 2012, the Art Sparks Learning campaign has presented public schools in the U.S. and United Kingdom with framed art in an effort to enhance and inspire students’ learning and art appreciation. For past efforts, schools were selected after receiving nominations offline from parents and teachers; each school chosen received the artworks they curated. As part of the spring campaign, which concluded in April, Art.com also provided the winning school, Woods Cross Elementary School in Utah with $1,000 worth of art supplies from BLICK Art Materials after its moving story and curated gallery received the most votes from Art.com and Art.co.uk visitors. Runners up, Brookland Junior School (from the Spring campaign) and Gloucester Primary School (from the previous campaign) in the UK both received 24 pieces of art from their curated galleries.

Brooklands with their artwork
‘It is amazing to hear the children excitedly and spontaneously talk to each other about the art they see on the walls. In addition, some of the pictures were chosen to complement literacy, history and art topics and will be used throughout the year to broaden the children’s learning across the curriculum’. Heather Blackmore, Head Teacher, Brooklands Junior School.

Gloucester with their favourite art pieces

‘It will be a day I hold close to my heart forever, seeing the children so excited over key pieces of art’ 
Emma Maltby, Teacher, Gloucester Primary School

Visit www.art.co.uk/artevent to nominate a deserving school to receive artwork through the Art Sparks Learning campaign and to learn more about the previous schools in the program.

About Art.com Inc.
Art.com Inc. is the world's largest online retailer of high-quality wall décor. The company was founded in 1998 to make art widely accessible by transforming the way the world discovers, personalizes, shares and purchases art. Today, with more than 17 million customers in 120 countries worldwide, the company hosts two unique properties in the U.K.—Art.co.uk and AllPosters.co.uk—along with a significant international presence in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico and South America. 
Art.co.uk and AllPosters.co.uk offer custom framing, specialty printing and interactive visualization tools to help people find the perfect piece of wall décor for their space.  

I'm happy to be lucky enough to review Art for Kids. My post will be up shortly. Meanwhile, get entering!


gNappies gPants Review

Last Wednesday, I posted about gNappies first gVideo! (If you missed it, you can see it here). They also very kindly sent us 2 gPants (size M), 2 microfibre reusable inserts and 15 disposable inserts.



As I've posted before, we are only just transitioning from disposable nappies to cloth nappies. I'd always wanted to use cloth from the get go but I never gave them enough thought and I assumed it would be too much hassle with C being my first baby. Now he is 10 months old and I feel as though I'm a pro at being a mummy so I went for it! 

Before now, I'd only ever tried one size fits all cloth nappies with poppers. I'll be honest, they're a little bit scary so I was quite happy to see that gNappies had Velcro fasteners. Popper nappies are also pocketed so I was surprised that you only had to tuck in the liner as I'd never seen these before (see photo below). 



In my eyes, this makes them so much simpler. I don't need to change the nappy at every change, just the liner. The Velcro has also made my life easier as I'm not constantly thinking, "Ooh, I wonder if I've buttoned that up right? What if he leaks?" They make the transition so much smoother.

I'll be honest and say that with the popper nappies, I've had some leaks (probably due to fastening) but we haven't had a single problem with the gPants (neither with a disposable liner nor microfibre - even during the night!) and I use one liner for 2-3 hours.



They are very compact and easily fit underneath C's clothes. He hasn't had any rashes with them and seems very comfortable. I actually get sad when I need to wash them and he has to wear a different nappy. gPants are my new love and I really don't want him to wear any other nappy! (Might have to buy all the ones that gNappies have on sale!)



If you're looking into changing to cloth nappies, I really cannot recommend gNappies enough. I'm really having trouble thinking of any negatives. They are totally worth the money. Even my partner thinks they're great and he's not a fan of cloth! As I mentioned before, they're great for transitioning. You won't regret it! 



You can find gNappies at their website, Facebook and Twitter.
These cloth nappies retail at £14.95 each.

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


Papershaker cards / Review & Giveaway

Show me the words 'photographs' & 'personalised' and I know I'll love it.




They very kindly offered to send me a pack of 10 cards of my choice to review. I decided on a thank you card and chose 'Sweet Stars' as my design. They were really easy to create. I just needed to upload three photographs of C and put what I wanted into the text box. You can even play about with the illustrations! 'Sweet Stars' is a flat card so on the back, you can write your own message (folded cards are also available).

Delivery was very prompt and arrived 2 days later. 

I loved them as soon as I opened them and it's quite sad how excited I was about the Velcro fastener!



The quality is fantastic with the front of the card being on photographic paper and the back being normal paper so you can write on it easily if need be!

They arrived with 10 envelopes too so they're all ready for you to put the recipients name on and send them off!


I wish I'd seen this a year ago when C was just born but I definitely think I'll be ordering more to give out after his 1st birthday!

The cards start off at only 65p per card. You can find Papershaker 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).

Now, here's your chance to win a pack of 10 cards with free P&P! (2 winners will win a pack of 10 cards!) Just enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Don't know how to use Rafflecopter? Di over at Super Lucky has put together a handy guide here.
This competition is UK only and will start at 5pm 24/07/2013 and run for 2 weeks.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway > Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

tommee tippee Royal Baby Range

The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here - the Royal Baby has been born!

tommee tippee® is celebrating the new royal arrival with a limited edition Royal Baby collection available now exclusively in Mothercare.


The range from British brand tommee tippee® closer to nature® consists of 2 gift sets containing 2 bottles and 2 soothers in pink or blue - making it the perfect gift for any little prince or princess. There is also a 260ml individual bottle available. Each bottle has a unique celebration design with bunting and either the royal guard for boys or royal carriage for girls, and comes in a gorgeous presentation/gift box.


The tommee tippee® closer to nature® bottles are suitable to use from birth and are designed to mimic the natural flex, stretch and movement of a mum's breast. Together with the bottle's super-sensitive valve, this encourages your baby's intuitive feeding action for a comfortable and relaxed feed. The range of soothers from tommee tippee® are designed with an orthodontic silicone teat to support healthy oral development.

tommee tippee® Global Marketing Manager, Katy Pigg comments, "With so much excitement around the royal baby, we decided it would be great to mark the occasion with a limited edition range. The exclusive design and gorgeous gift box make it the ideal gift for little princes and princesses everywhere!"

The tommee tippee® closer to nature® limited edition range is available exclusively in Mothercare. There are 2 gift sets and 2 x 260ml individual feeding bottles. The range is suitable for babies 0 + months. Priced at £5.99 for the bottle and £14.99 for the gift set. For more information on the entire ranges, please visit www.tommeetippee.co.uk.

Bibisili Bib Review

We were recently sent a Bibisili bib to try out. We opted for one of their new additions - Deano the dinosaur because, well, who doesn't like dinosaurs?


I instantly loved how brightly coloured it was and how appealing it looked. At first, the fasteners scared me. This is no normal Velcro fastener.


It was relatively easy to loop, squirming babies might make it a bit difficult but it's worth it. C is known for trying to pull his bibs off and successfully does so with Velcro. Maybe I shouldn't say this but it's quite funny to see how frustrated he gets because he can't take this one off!

It's made from silicone which makes it unbelievably easy to clean. We had a few dried pasta sauce stains on it but I just popped it in a sink full of warm, soapy water, gave it a clean and it came off so easily. C is also enjoying chewing on it! It dries quickly too.

I don't use it for bottle feeds but since I received it, it's the only bib I've been using for mealtimes simply because of how much easier it makes it! I love the crumb catcher as it keeps his legs and seat of the highchair clean and makes it easy to dispose of the food.


I am surprised at how much I love it and would definitely recommend it to every single mum out there! You can buy your own Bibisili bib here for a great price of £6.99 or you can win one in my competition here. But be quick, you've only got a day to enter!

Bibisili can be found at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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

Win a Personalised Maternity T-shirt from Personalised Pregnancy

Personalised Pregnancy is a fab new website from the creators of MumStuff. At Personalised Pregnancy you can find personilised gifts for mums-to-be. I'm a total sucker for personalised items (I've mentioned this thousands of times before!) and I wish this had been around when I was pregnant with C!

They've very kindly offered my readers the opportunity to win a personalised maternity t-shirt - you can choose here.

One of the available options:

So if you're expecting a baby or know someone who is, get entering! 
Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Don't know how to use Rafflecopter? Di over at Super Lucky has put together a handy guide here.

This competition will run from 22nd July to 5th August and is open to UK residents only.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

I'm In Panic Mode - I Need Your Help

Today, C is ten months old. Two months until his first birthday...and we have nothing planned.

We automatically decided that we'd rent out a hall at a leisure centre and get things like a bouncy castle and painting station for the kids in our families but we haven't booked anything yet and now I'm starting to worry. Chris is very laid back about it all which I think is worrying me more. All I ever get is "I don't know". We really need to get our asses into gear and get something organised!

Now...presents. This is a toughie for me. C is our first child so we have no idea what to buy a one year old for their birthday! I'm thinking that most people with buy him musical/light-y stuff (am I right in thinking that?) so my ideas for gifts are:

A large Dumbo teddy from the Disney Store (£18)- I've already purchased this as he loves Dumbo and I couldn't resist. I think I've done well hiding it away til his birthday - proud of myself!


Big Dumbo next to C's current Little Dumbo


Mega Bloks First Builders - they had this in ASDA for £14.97 so I had to pick it up. I've heard a lot of good things about them so I hope he enjoys them!



A Smart-Trike - I've yet to buy this (thinking of getting it about 2 weeks before so it's not taking up lots of room for ages!). It seems like everybody's blogging about how amazing these trikes are. They look absolutely fantastic and I can just picture my happy little boy on one. At £75, they could be a great investment!


A wooden easy-grab puzzle (£5.99) - I think these look great and I love wooden toys. Just one of his small presents. It's recommended for 18 months but I think it would be alright.


Here's where you, my lovely readers, come in. What else could I get him? What has went down brilliantly at your children's first birthdays? And am I right in thinking that most people will buy musical/light-y toys such as Fisher Price or VTech?

Finger Food Friday - 19/07/2013 - Organix Review

Finger Food Friday is slightly different this week. Organix have lauched two new finger foods; Strawberry Rice Cakes (suitable from 7 months) and Multigrain Hearts with Strawberry (suitable from 10 months). In line with these, they have also lauched a new video designed to help mums understand the role of finger foods within the weaning process.




Organix very kindly sent us two bags of each of the new products to tie in with this weeks Finger Food Friday. First up were the Strawberry Rice Cakes. According to C, these were not to be sniffed at. As soon as he was handed one, he gobbled it up like there was no tomorrow and even looked at me as if to say "can I have another?" when he'd finished it. 





Initially, I expected them to be a bit bigger (I don't know why) but they seemed a good size and he really enjoyed them.

The Multigrain Hearts with Strawberry were a bit different. C is just starting to learn to use his pincer grip and as these are so small, it was perfect practice for him. At the beginning, he got a little big annoyed when he couldn't lift them and decided to shake them onto the floor but he eventually concentrated and looked so proud of himself when he was able to lift one into his mouth. He's now a pro with the pincer grip thanks to these Multigrain Hearts!







I definitely think we'll buy these. They're so handy to stick in the snack pot and bring out and about. 

You can find Organix on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

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


Mum of a Premature Baby



Win a Bibisili catch-all bib!

Bibisili are a company selling very stylish and funky bibs. They're 100% silicone so very soft and durable which makes them easy to clean!



They have an adjustable neck and crumb catcher and just look amazing! They retail at £6.99 but they've very kindly offered my readers the chance to win a catch-all bib of their choice. You can view the range here.

This competition is open to UK residents only. It will run for one week from 18th July to 25th July.

Good luck!
Don't know how to enter Rafflecopter giveaways? Di over at Super Lucky has put together a fab guide here.
.
a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Introducing gNappies first gVideo!


Changing the way the world changes nappies.
Celebrate gNappies first gVideo and make the change.

Conventional nappies take 500 years to break down.
Wet gNappies are completely compostable/biodegradable 
within 150 days. With each baby needing an average of 6,000 changes, choosing gNappies gives you the option to create a different future for our planet.




gNappies invited gMums from all over the UK for a gTea at Orleans Park Gallery Gardens by the Thames.  Videoing for posterity, the first gVideo was born. Watch and share the video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2H_q3UroKc&feature=youtu.be




“An amazing product in its own right, gNappies deliver everything that's great in a conventional nappy, but has improved it to deliver environmental credentials with a 100% biodegradable, compostable*, disposable insert, combined with a breathable covering that's better for your baby's skin.  I feel very privileged to be part of the worldwide team that's changing the way the world thinks about nappies." Louise Kjellerup Roper, gNappies European Managing Director.   

It is this belief and the cold facts about conventional nappies that drove husband and wife duo and gNappies co-founders, Kim and Jason Graham-Nye to find a better way. “We both imagined our unborn child all grown up and asking us “What were you thinking?!.”  After intensive research and hard work behind disposable nappies, gNappies was then born.

In the behind scenes of the video seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuQLK5YBys8&feature=youtu.be, gNappies introduce the new limited edition gRegal gPants.  The plush purple velour embroidered nappy has a delicate gold crown atop of the signature “g”, adding a hint of royalty to welcome any newborn into the world.  It's wonderful to have a reason to celebrate another, rather special, new birth.  Notably, HRH Prince Charles is a tremendous pioneer of doing all that he can to avoid leaving a "dysfunctional world" to the next generation.

www.gNappies.com gNappies gPants start from £14.95 and the limited edition gRegal gPants are £22.95
so be part of the future and help gNappies celebrate by sharing these adorable videos.

*wet gNappies inserts are 100% biodegradable in home compost as per independent tests or ask councils to use their facilities.

Finding Out and Announcing Pregnancy

No - I'm not pregnant again. Don't worry!
I started my blog when C was 4 months old so I'm just looking back on times before that.

I didn't announce my pregnancy in the usual way. I was 19 when C was conceived and I turned 20 a few weeks later. I think my parents still saw me as a child and the thought of telling them terrified me. It took me 6 weeks to even realise!

I had a lump in my armpit. The usual thoughts overwhelmed me, you know, the C word. I ignored it. I was so ill with the worst stomach cramps, lying in bed for about a week barely eating or drinking anything. My 20th birthday rolled around. I had planned to go out for a few drinks with my two friends. I really didn't want to go but my dad convinced me saying that I'd enjoy myself once I got out. And I did. I only had 2 cocktails and a shot of Sambuca.

2 weeks later, I finally visited the doctor. He checked my armpit and said "I'm really having trouble finding anything". I was mortified. I could see the lump and he was telling me that there was nothing there!? Then he said the words that came down on me like a tonne of bricks - "Is there a chance you could be pregnant?" I stumbled over my words "I don't know". He then told me that if my period hadn't come in the next few weeks then to go back and see him. 

I walked out to Chris in the waiting room and told him what had happened. We went to the chemist and bought a test and did it when we got in. Yep - two lines. I hugged Chris and the two of us just cried. We had talked about having a baby before but it was just a huge shock. 



We muddled on, went to our booking in appointment and for the 12 week scan without anyone knowing. We lived with Chris's brother so he had to tell him as soon as possible. I didn't want to have to hide it around the house so he did and I met up with my best friend, Jessica. I had to tell her first. Like any best friend would be, she was so happy and excited and even bought me a baby name book. She also was quite serious with me and said that I had to tell my parents. I knew I did.

Except I didn't. Now that Chris's brother knew, it was a little secret that never left the house. I had put on quite a bit of weight since moving in with Chris so no one really caught on. One day, we went shopping and I kept pushing Chris to tell his mum. Like any bloke, he told me to stop nagging and that he'd do it. I went to try some clothes on and when I came out of the changing room he was on the phone. To his mum. I couldn't believe it. I heard him say "No, I'm not winding you up." He had told her over the phone! He hung up and then I got the truth. He had TEXT her saying "Ma, Rebecca's pregnant. We'll call round on our way home from town" OMG. So that was that. It was my turn.

The following week, I was at my parents on my laptop. My dad looked at me and said "look at that stomach Rebecca, you'd think you were pregnant" More OMGs. I kept my mouth shut. I was looking for the right moment for the past 2 days but I couldn't do it. Before I left I called him in, handed him the scan picture and said "I'm sorry". He took his glasses off and leaned against the wall, "Just let me get my head around this" I cried and hugged him. But I knew it was okay when he said "do you know what it is?" When I told him it was a boy, his eyes lit up. There hadn't been a boy born in our family for over 20 years.

I started by telling a few of my friends and word got around. I had to make it Facebook official, right? I'm not one to make a big song and dance about it. I don't like being the centre of attention. 

On August 8th, 2012 I posted: 


"In agony. Paracetamol and sleep are my two best friends :("

A friends mum replied: 


"Hey Becca, you should probably get your doc or midwife to check you over

and I responded with 


"I phoned the maternity dept last night. It's a pain in the right side of my lower back. I explained everything cuz I thought it was a kidney problem but seeing as I'm still able to pass water, have had no bleeds, womb isn't tightening and baby's still kicking away that it's sounds like a muscular pain. She told me to take 2 paracetamol and relax & if it didn't ease up to phone back & they'd see me at the hospital so I did and the pain completely disappeared (so I guess it is muscular). The tablets are helpin but only for a couple of hours then I've to wait until I can take another dosage. Don't wanna be overdosing! Xxx"

Then the congratulations messages started flooding in. 6 weeks and 2 days later, my baby was here. It must have seemed like the shortest pregnancy ever. I'm getting a bit teary reliving all this! And well done if you've read this far!

I never got to share my bump photos so here goes:
 
9 weeks + 3 days

 
20 weeks

 
25 weeks + 4 days

31 weeks (1 week before birth)



How did you announce your pregnancy? I'd love to hear :)

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