Monday, 27 May 2013

Saaf Skincare Review

I was offered the opportunity to review a product from Saaf Skincare and after looking through the site I chose the Super Hydrating Body Balm.

 For the past two years I've had really dry, flaky and itchy skin on my arms. It became so bad that I was scratching throughout the night and waking up with sores and scabs all over my arms. Last summer I did not wear short sleeves and I was expecting the same this year. I've been to the doctor and was prescribed steroid cream which helped a lot, but because of it's nature it can only be used for seven days then you have to take a break. So, although it was effective for a while it didn't help long term. In-between I've been using a BP cream, which doesn't really help much and is very greasy.

After reading about the Super Hydrating Body Balm from Saaf I thought that it may be the product to help me. The ingredients are: Safflower oil, sesame oil, beeswax, shae butter and black seed oil. Ylang ylang, patchouli, lavender and clove essential oils are added for their softening effect and fragrance.

It claims to provide care to prematurely ageing skin, to soothe and repair skin and to hydrate and restore suppleness.

The packaging is very classic looking, you get a mostly white box with a green stripe and a beige stripe. The logo is in gold and their is a gold trim around the inner jar giving it a luxurious look. The jar holds 150g of balm which is a fair amount for the cost.

The first thing I noticed on opening the jar was that the balm was solid, not a cream, this is because of the beeswax. The second thing I noticed was the smell, the essential oils were quite strong and I did worry that they may be a little too strong. It was a nice smell but I usually go for products with little or no smell, I don't like things to smell like perfume. Once applied, however, the smell is much less noticeable and is really pleasant and soothing.

The balm is easy to apply, although at first you may want to warm your hands a little to melt the beeswax. It sinks into the skin beautifully and leaves behind no lasting residue, just a soft silkiness and a delicate smell. I have used the balm on my arms only so far but it is meant to be used all over, paying particular attention to especially dry areas like elbows and knees.

Saaf skincare is very pure and made with natural organic ingredients and no alcohol, fragrance or chemicals. Even the name Saaf is persian for pure. They sell products for the face, body and haircare.

I love beeswax products so as soon as I opened my balm I was happy. I was worried about the strong smell, but it did fade a little once applied, and it was actually an nice smell of essential oils which have a relaxing therapeutic effect. I found the balm easy to apply and it was not greasy but left me with a soft silky feeling. I noticed straight away that it calmed the poorly skin on my arms and the itching fading dramatically after just a couple of uses. Two weeks on and I am happy to report that I have not been scratching and I have no scabs or sores on my arms. My skin is softer, in fact my elbows are the softest they've been in many years. My skin feels soothed and supple rather than dry, flaky and itchy. I still have the scars from before but I am hoping they too will fade in time. I will wear short sleeves this summer and hopefully a little sun will darken my arms and make the scars less noticeable. It is such a relief not to be itching all the time, even my family have commented on my lack of scratching my arms. I am so happy that I had the chance to review this product, I would recommend it to anyone with dry, itchy skin.

I was given a jar of Saaf Hydrating Body Balm for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Duck and Slide

It was a lovely day so we decided to walk down to the duck pond. It's only a five minute walk and it's a lovely place to visit. Once the bread is finished and we've walked around the pond we like to go to the playground. If it's a really nice day we venture a little further and go across the fields to the stream where the little ones like to paddle. We'll save that for another day though.

Excited Children reach the duck pond

Walk in line and waddle like a duck

When we arrive we walk around the duck pond avoiding the fishermen and find a spot where we can sit by the water. Then we feed the greedy ducks, who are definitely not shy, they will come up and take it out of your hand if you let them, but a peck off a duck is not very pleasant so I don't encourage that practice.

\Hello duck!

While we were there we witnessed a rather ugly duck get into a bit of a squabble. The other ducks very loudly gave him his marching orders and forced him out of the pond and up over the grassy hill. I couldn't help but start singing;

"Quack, Quack, get out, quack quack, get out, quack quack get out of town"
Maybe that ugly duck will come back one day as a beautiful swan. (I doubt it somehow)

As you can see the littlies had fun feeding the ducks

After feeding the duck we took the littlies to play at the park. They had loads of fun and it was a lovely way to end our day.

The Little Man Keeping Watch

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Castle At the End of the Road

Where we live there is a castle at the end of the road. It was never actually a castle but a fortified manor house, it was quite impressive in it's time. The area was named after it.

Here is how it looked before:

We go and visit quite often, they have special events there throughout the year like falconry days, family days, tours and even plays. There wasn't anything special on today but we decided to go for a walk with the girls.

It was dry but a little cold, the girls had fun running around and exploring. They just love being outdoors.

Behind the Castle, look carefully and you can see the bricks!

The path behind the castle leads right into the next district, hidden from view with houses either side. It actually runs alongside a dried up canal. Some parts are overgrown some quite passable. We like to follow it right up through the park to the main duel carriageway. From here it goes underground and it's not possible to follow it. It's a lovely walk on a nice day.

There isn't really much left of the castle itself. In recent years there was a grant which was used to preserve and repair the area. It's mostly fenced off to the public unless there is a special event on. There is a viewing area though and you used to be able to see it from the top of the number 29 bus until they stopped doing double decker buses on the service. You can see it from the road but it's mostly hidden by bungalows. When I worked in the local library we often had people coming in to ask if there was, or had been a castle in the area.

As the weather brightens up I'm hoping to bring you more photos of our time exploring our local area. We really are quite lucky living in a big city and having some lovely country like places to visit right on our doorstep. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
I'm linking this post up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill
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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Throwing A Baby Shower- Is It Still an American thing?

When my older children were born baby showers where unheard of in this country, along with finding out whether you are having a boy or girl by scan and pregnancy tests that give results in a minute. I had to wait four hours for the results of my first pregnancy test!

Now we find more and more British parents having baby showers and they are growing all the time in popularity. So what are baby showers? They are parties thrown for the mum-to-be before the birth to celebrate her pregnancy and shower her with gifts. Some choose gifts for the baby, some choose gifts for the mum-to-be. There are also usually games and cake involved.

You can find this cake on Dee Cake site

The baby shower is usually arranged by a non family member, this could be a friend of the mum-to-be or a work colleague. They are held usually in the later stages of pregnancy when the mum has found out that baby is doing well, but they can really be held at any time, even after the baby has been born.

How you hold the party is really up to you but first you decide on a budget and go from there. You may want a theme and tie in party food and decorations and it is traditional to play party games, like Stick the Dummy on the Baby; which is like pin the tail on the donkey. Or you could play charades or even have a baby quiz.

You could even have a gorgeous Pinata like this one:
You can find this on My Baby Shower site

In the USA baby showers have been popular for a long time and celebrities often have them. Jessica Alba, the star of Sin City recently held a competition in aid of Mother's Day where she hosted a baby show for a lucky winner in Los Angeles. The mum-to-be Jessica Turner chose a hippo themed party.

I'm not sad that I didn't have a baby shower myself, but I would love to host one for someone else...maybe when the grand kids come along?
Did you have a baby shower or do you think they still very much an American thing?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Exploring Social Skills with Flummox and Friends

From the very beginning of our lives we are learning how to interact with other people, how to respond to a smile, how to talk to each other, how to ask for things and many more skills that help us to get on with other people. For some the learning is not as natural as it is for others. This may be because of  special conditions such as autism, attention deficits and other learning disabilities.

Star is such a person, she talks out of turn, talks only about what she wants without consideration to others, has difficulty in seeing things from another person's perspective, zones out into a world of her own and generally finds it difficult to understand other people. She has received a lot of help with this and is learning these skills that often come naturally to others.

We were asked to review a short show about how we can learn these skills. The Show is called Flummox and Friends and you can see a pilot episode here. The show focuses around three inventors and their friends and neighbours. While they invent things to help them with their interactions it's often their friends and neighbours that show them how it's really done. The show also has musical pieces and animations which help to re-enforce the messages.

It took Star while to become engrossed in the show but I think that was mainly because it was something she was unfamiliar with. She particularly loved the music and animations. She laughed out loud at the characters silly dances and tried to copy them. When we talked about the show afterwards she was more interested in talking about the silly dances than anything else. I could see a lot of her behaviour traits in the main characters of the show and I do think that if it was a show she watched regularly then it would help her with her social skills. I'll definitely be watching the website for when more episodes are available.

Along with the show there are downloadable guides for extended learning for both parents and schools. These focus on the messages Tune In, Connect and Have Fun. Each section has guidelines for talking and learning about these particular social skills.

Tune In is about tuning into yourself, those around you and the world around you. This involves self-awareness, perspective taking and and assessing the social context.

Connect is about communicating, predicting feelings and sharing and appreciating unique qualities.

Have Fun is about using play to re-enforce social skills and aid interaction with others.

This is a Sponsored Post, All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Picnic With Hedgehogs

I was really excited about this months Center Parcs Family Blogger Challenge, it was to have a picnic and if there is one thing me and my children love it's picnics!

However, having one proved more difficult than I anticipated because of the wonderful British weather. Sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next. So rather than venture out to our usual picnic venue, the duck pond, we decided to have our picnic in the garden so we could run inside if the weather turned. We were lucky enough for it to stay nice while we were out. The kids have been promised a trip to the duck pond tomorrow to feed the ducks.

I didn't really do anything special for the picnic, just a selection of the kids favourite foods, like chicken, salad, sausage rolls and fruit. My piéce de résistance was my home made hedgehog bread rolls with raisins for eyes.

hedgehog bread rolls tucking into some salad

This cheeky little fella escaped and tried to nibble the treats

Even though we only managed to go as far as our own back garden the kids had a lovely time and the picnic got a thumbs up all round.

For a chance to become the next Center Parcs Family blogger simply share pictures of your fun filled family picnic on your blog. Visit Tots 100 for full details and good luck!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
I'm linking this post up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Friday, 17 May 2013

My Pregnancies - Boo

Last time I told you all about my pregnancy with Star which was worrying because of all the bleeding. I also had very bad SPD.

Before getting pregnant with Star both me and my other half had had fertility tests, but we never really had an explanation as to why it wasn't happening. However, it did happen in the end and just after Star's first birthday we decided it would be nice to have another baby. We also decided to go for it straight away as I wasn't getting any younger and we could be trying for a long time. Four weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test!

Then around six weeks into the pregnancy I started bleeding again. I also had a pain in my shoulder which was really worrying as my midwife told me it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. A visit to the Early Pregnancy Unit showed that it wasn't but they couldn't tell me why I was bleeding. I tried to remain calm, I'd experienced the same with my previous baby and she'd been ok. It's still such a worry though.

The bleeding continued and I ended up back at the EPU again at nine weeks and thirteen weeks. A dating scan showed that baby was doing fine and again I tried to be calm. I then had a whole three weeks of no bleeding, but I had fortnightly checks with my midwife.

When I had my twenty week scan it was seen that I had a low lying placenta which was in fact covering my cervix. This was given as a possible reason for the bleeding. So for the first time I had a reason, but it didn't make me feel any better, especially when they told me that if it didn't move it could prove dangerous later in the pregnancy and I would most likely be having a C-Section.  I was booked for a thirty six week scan to see if it had moved. Another animality picked up on the scan was the increased amount of fluid around the baby.  They told me that it could be that baby was not swallowing properly or the kidneys where not doing their job. They even said it could mean the baby had a chromosomal problem. I tried to feel consoled with the fact that they did a detailed scan on the baby and believed the kidneys and bladder to be working ok, and I saw baby blowing bubbles which had to be a good sign. Then, with two much fluid I was in danger of developing polyhyrdramnios which could mean ending my pregnancy stuck in hospital and becoming incredibly huge. Suddenly all the bleeding didn't seem so bad in comparison.

The gorgeous Boo at 20 weeks, perfect in every way, just a shame mummy was not so perfect too.

Just a few days after my scan I was back in hospital after a really big bleed and a lot of pain. They blamed my placenta. I was tested for infection because of the pain, but after a couple of days things settled down again. I did, however, continue to bleed sporadically for the next two weeks.

I made it to thirty six weeks and went off for my scan, fingers tightly crossed. After much scanning and checking and double checking and even more scanning (I couldn't say they were not being thorough  the final diagnosis was....the placenta had moved. whoo hoo! There was a 5cm gap which was deemed big enough for me to try for a vaginal birth. The estimated weight of the baby at this stage was 7lb 6oz. Wow! big enough to come out already....please!

A week later I was bleeding again. Worried that it could be placenta praevia because my placenta was still pretty low I was sent for a check-up. The blood turned out to be from a burst varicose vein! phew!

I went into labour while watching Eastenders. The contractions where pretty strong but five mins apart so I expected a fair wait. At 10pm I decided to go to bed. I knew I wouldn't sleep but hey, it would be nice if I could get some rest. At 11.30pm I was in the taxi on the way to the maternity hospital. On arrival I was examined and found to be 4cm dilated and in established labour.

My midwife was a student and she was lovely. Just a few hours after arriving in the delivery room I was pushing. The midwife broke my waters, boy it was like Niagra Falls, I thought it would never end. Then I foolishly hoped that that huge bump had been mostly water and my Boo was going to be really small. By now it was the early hours of the morning and I was shattered. So tired I didn't want to push anymore, I wanted to sleep. I had to find the energy deep inside to push out my baby. My lovely bouncing 9lb baby girl. so happy I hadn't found out the flavour at the scan. We'd called her Boo while still inside, and even though she does actually have a name we still call her Boo now!

Then we had a little more drama as Boo had passed meconium while inside and was rushed off to have her airway cleared. I could see them working on her in the corner of the room and it was so terrifying. Just a few moments later she was breathing and they brought her over to me. That few moments had felt like a lifetime to me.

Then we celebrated because my Boo was the student midwife's fortieth delivery which meant she became a fully qualified midwife.

 photo P9180007.jpg

The magic moment when I met my Boo!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Bloggers Are Also Bonkers!

Last year I went to Blog Camp and it inspired me to write this blog. I did have a blog (or three) at the time, but I didn't really have a direction (read as- a clue as to what I was doing)
Going to Blog Camp taught me many things. One was that is was ok to change your blog, you see that's where I'd been going wrong, instead of changing my blog I started a new one and had several blogs all going in different directions. So I came here, to this blog which was called something completely different and basically a load of crap and re-invented it (to hopefully something a little less crap!)

Last year I also learnt a lot about taking photos and editing them. Something I'm still not brilliant at but I think that's because I need a more fancy camera that will do all the work for me, any PR's out there got one they'd like me to review? (If you don't ask, you don't get)

There was lots more that I learnt but that was last year and now I've just been to Blog Camp  Summit this year and learnt a whole heap more. I just wanted to point out that it was last years event that started me out on the path I am now, and I'm come such a long way (don't bother going back to look at the rubbish posts in my history, I've deleted most of them) and I've made so many new friends. I've gained so much from my blogging but my proudest moment has to be becoming a finalist in the MAD blog awards. So you see, these brilliant Tots100 events can bring you great rewards.

So what did I learn this year?

Well,. first up, I have to say I've become a lot fitter and the four flights of stairs didn't phase me (I think they almost killed me last year)

A grill session with some great bloggers ( Sally from Who's the Mummy, Chrissie from Mediocre Mum, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Ruth from Geek Mummy) taught me that it's ok to take time out from blogging if you need to. Also, you need to follow your heart and take your blog where you want it to be. Find your voice and do things your way, it's ok to do reviews and sponsored posts if that's what you want but you will learn in time how to balance things out and keep your readers happy. One more tip was to make a sock puppet, but the reason why is a secret only for those in attendance. Finally, Sally gave us a quick lesson on the metrics of the Tots100 ranking, which really is quite simple, honestly.

number of people who love your blog + number of people who loved your blog even more in the last month + number of people who like socialising with you x number of kids you have + how many bathrooms you have - number of people you've p**d off in last three years (or something like that)

An advanced SEO session with Judith Lewis taught me that I need to analyse some brilliant keywords for my blog and create a new page for them to bring in the traffic from search engines. This procedure involves much work and spreadsheets, apparently spreadsheets that have pretty colours work better. I can't go into too much detail here right now (it was a lot to take in and would take up a lot of this post) but once I've had a go and worked it out for myself I may just make a new post to let you know how I get on and if it works.

After lunch I went for an interesting talk on Pinterest by Cathy James from NurtureStore. Now, I've used Pinterest for a while, I find it a great resource for, well, practically anything I'm planning from parties to picnics, wallpapers to cake decorating. However, I've never fully optimised it for my blog, and didn't really know how. But now I do and it's pretty straightforward. You can create images specifically for Pinterest to go with your blog posts and you can cross post your images to different but relevant boards (so long as you don't do it all in one go) Images should be portrait rather than landscape and your boards should be organised on your page with the most appealing images as the cover. Also, up to 50 is the optimum number of boards to own. Apparently Pinterest can bring  you lots of traffic to your site and I have to admit I have noticed this from an image I posted from my daughter's birthday party last year.

We also had a talk from some PRs from Frank, Volvo, Parent Dish and Argos which was very interesting. It's always good to know how the PRs work and how they want to develop their relationship with bloggers.

Finally, we had an amusing talk from Andy Cope who told us about his research into why only 2% of us are happy and what we can do about it. In a simple summary you have to stop chasing happiness, for example, stop saying you will be happy when you achieve 'this' or you will be happy when 'that' happens. Instead you need to chose to be happy anyway. His little tip was to wake up every morning and be thankful that you don't have toothache. So you need to stop being a mood hoover, moaning about everything and waiting for happiness to happen and instead chose to be happy anyway. I like to think I'm an optimistic person, and I think the best of people and look for the best in situations. Even so I know I'm guilty of chasing after happiness. But now I'm going to just chose to be happy each and every day, and as for the mood hoovers in my life, well hopefully I can make them happy too.

Just one more thing to say, did you know, Bloggers are awesome!! It's true, I met some really lovely people at the summit and I know some of them will be real friends from now on.
Bloggers are also Bonkers! <<<<< click for more photos

from left to right Jaime from The Oliver's Madhouse, Charly from PODcast and me!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Choosing A Name For Baby

Did you pick your child's name before they were born? How did you choose the name, does it have a special meaning for you?

When my first child was due I had no idea if he was going to be a boy or girl and although I was quite set on a girl's name I hadn't really made up my mind about a boy's name. However, a soon as I saw him I knew what his name would be. 
With my second child I gave the honour of choosing to her daddy. As soon as he said her name, a few minutes after the birth, I loved it, even though I'd never heard it before.
With the three younger children we used names from loved ones who have passed on for either their first or second names. 

Emily Davies Writes - What's in A Name? Where she looks at the meaning behind the names she has chosen for her new baby girl. And Over40andMumtoOne tells us why she chose the names she did for her little boy. Others have told me that they chose names from favourite tv/film characters and some have been careful about choosing names too popular. Some say that the name hasn't been an option until after baby is born and they can decided what suits them. Some look closely at the meaning of names, some make up their own. You can gain insight or inspiration by looking at top baby name lists for boys and girls. 

The most unusual name in my family is my little great niece, Nevaeh (pr.Nev eya) have you heard that name before? I hadn't. Now read it backwards. She's a gorgeous little girl, truly heaven sent.

Celebrities sometimes start trends with names but would you name your child after a fruit like Gwyneth Paltrow who called her daughter Apple? Maybe the name Theodora will become popular after Robbie Williams gave the name to his daughter last year? I didn't spot a trend when Victoria Beckham gave her daughter, Harper Seven, a number as a middle name back in 2011. 

Jack and Olivia have been very popular names for some years now but they have knocked off the top spots by Harry and Amelia. See chart below for more popular names for 2012. My children's names do not make it to the top 10 but are not so uncommon that they don't feature in the top 20 to 40. 

Choosing a name is a personal choice, and also a difficult choice because in reality it's not only you who have to live with it. I could have called my son Arthur, which I think is a little old fashioned but still a nice name, but put it with his surname, Stone and it sounds silly. Say it out loud Arthur Stone! Again, I could have called my daughter Precious or Gem.  Someone told me of a little boy called Ben with surname beginning with D. There are two Ben's in his class at school so he gets called Ben D. There is so much to think about when choosing names. One thing I missed when choosing my older children's names where their initials. The are not bad, but they are the same and my son's initials (CASS) spell out most of my daughter's name (Cassie) It also means I have to look at any post that arrives for them very carefully. My mum had the same problem when my brother lived at home, 
she was Mrs J B. He was Mr S J B. 

The following infographic from Bounty shows the most popular names of 2012 as well as looking at some trends. It seems that the Royals have had some effect with Harry being top of the list for boys and Catherine rising 21 places. Some of the most unusual names include Tinkerbell and Nemo, seriously? I like that 80% of girls called April were born in April, but only 35% of girls called May were born in May. 

Do feel free to let me know in the comments why you chose the name you did for your child.

Baby Names Infographic from Bounty

The infographic is provided by Bounty. All other thoughts and comments are my own. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Night Out With The Girls

A few weeks ago I had a night out with the girls, well really it was a weekend out with the girls.We met up on Saturday morning in a very sunny Nottingham, spent the day together, booked into a hotel and then in the evening went out on the town. It's not something we do very often as we all live in different parts of the country, but we have been friends on-line for many years.

On our night out we went for a meal, after much deliberation we ended up in Pizza Express, then on to the bars. We had cocktails in an Eerie pub, which was supposed to have been scary, but I was disappointed with it's eeriness, there were no demons or vampires and the only spirits were the ones behind the bar.
At the end of the evening we found ourselves in a church. No seriously! The Pitcher and Piano used to be a church before it was turned into a bar, it still looks very much like a church, if you can imagine a packed out church with people drinking alcohol and dancing to loud music.

Me and my friend on our night out

I think as you get older a night out with the girls is one of those rare events. Often with children to look after it's difficult to muster up the energy for a night on the town with friends. I do think it's something that should be done occasionally though. I can meet friends at playgroups or the park, but nothing beats a good night of fun, laughter and even a little alcohol.

Another option is a night in with the girls. This survey by Ladbrokes Bingo shows that nearly 70% of the ladies surveyed preferred a night in with the girls than a night out on the town. The reasons given were cost, it was cheaper to stay in, not having to queue for drinks and no chance of bumping into your ex. What about no queues for the toilet? I think that would be top on my list. So less women are dressing up and painting the town red, preferring to stay home and gossip with the girls instead. Well, apart from my home town  Birmingham where it falls to 58% preferring a night in to a night out.

I have to admit, although I loved my night out with the girls, the most fun was had during the day time, and back at the hotel afterwards. At least you could actually hear each other speak, and kick of those heels that might look gorgeous but boy do they make your feet sore! Another pet hate of mine also mentioned in the survey was queuing for drinks, does anyone actually enjoy that part of the evening? Squished up the bar amongst a load of strangers getting drinks spilled over you, I don't mind paying for a round if you go and fetch it.

So, what do you prefer, a night in with the girls, or a night out? My Birmingham girl friends are off out on Friday night if you fancy coming.

This post has been published in association with Ladbrokes Bingo.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Visiting Mum

It seems not so long ago that I would be visiting mum at her little house with the pretty garden. We'd put the world to rights over a cup of tea, after she'd given me a low down on all the soaps she watched. I was almost tempted to start watching the soaps myself as I started to miss them, but who has the time? Not me! I did start watching Strictly Come Dancing though because I'd grown fond of it after watching it with her when she was really poorly. I remember the last final when she was in the hospice, she didn't really have a clue what was going on but she smiled when I told her that Tom had won, he was her favourite, he had to be, he was a soap star. Mum passed away in the hospice on December 25th 2008, just two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. I would give anything to sit with her and chat over a cup of tea, I miss her so much.

Mum never met The Little Man so I like to take him to visit her. He likes the bus ride and the opportunity to help out. The church where my family are buried is 227 years old, it celebrated it's 200th anniversary the year I was married there. It's a lovely church and I'm happy that my family is there together.

st laurences church

It was a beautiful day today and the church looked lovely in the sunshine. We even spotted a squirrel in a tree. The cheeky little animal didn't run away but stayed there long enough for me to get a photo. Can you spot him?

The Little Man was really helpful, he knew where to get the water from, he filled up the flower vase and helped me arrange the flowers before taking the leftover bits to the bin and helping me clean the headstones. Mum would have loved him, I wish she could have met him and he his nanny.

Also in the plot is my daddy who died in 1973 when I was a little girl. Then there is my nanny who died in 1996 from pneumonia, and finally the ashes of my younger brother who died January 2009, the day before mum's funeral. From when I was small I have always visited this grave. After my nan was buried there mum's eldest sister looked after it, now it's taken care of by me and mum's youngest sister. I wonder if the Little Man will continue once I get too old? 

I know this post might seem morbid to some, but to me it's just my way of visiting my family. I can't share a cup of tea with my mum but I can still talk to her and give her some pretty flowers to let her know I love her still. And you have to admit, it is a beautiful church, and the grave always looks so pretty when I leave.

I'm sharing this with

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, 6 May 2013

My pregnancies - Star

I was chatting with a mum-to-be on Twitter the other week because she was having some issues and I've now decided to write a few posts about my pregnancies as I did experience some problems and I thought that sharing might help.

I'm not going to tell you about No1Son or Eldest daughter as it was all way to long ago to remember any real detail. Although I will always remember being told that Eldest Daughter was breach on the day she was due then actually feeling her turn around in the car on the way home (wow, I'll never forget that!) and then going straight into labour and having her born, the right way up, later that day. I suppose I should also add that my first born was an emergency C-Section after a long labour which left him in distress.

With Star I'd had a 16 year gap between pregnancies. I would have liked it to have been sooner but I did suffer a little unexplained infertility, and a miscarriage. I found out I was pregnant on December 28th 2004 after a really special Christmas. My first scan was on 25th February and I had bloods done which put me at a high risk for Down's Syndrome. I decided against further tests for personal reasons. I could write you a whole post on my reasons but I won't go into that just now.

Just a month later when I was 17 weeks pregnant I started to bleed. In a panic I rushed off to the hospital. They gave me a scan and I saw my baby waving back perfectly happy. They wrote 'unexplained bleed' on my notes and sent me home. I carried on spotting (Which means I had small amounts of bleeding all the time) for a few more days. Then I had another big bleed and was back at the hospital. They checked the baby's heartbeat and all was fine. No-one had any answers and I was so scared and worried. The spotting continued but as the blood had become old and brown I tried really hard not to worry too much, I didn't want to raise my blood pressure and cause any more problems.

Then in April I began getting a searing pain in my pelvis. I could barely walk and actually clicked when I did. I went to my GP who diagnosed Sympathis Pubis Dysfunction. (SPD) I was sent to help group at the hospital (which was fast becoming my second home) only to learn that there was not a lot that could be done. I was shown how to move without causing myself too much pain and advised to get a support band to hold up my bump and ease the pressure. Just in case you didn't know the Sympathis Pubis is a bone at the bottom of the pelvis and when you get SPD the bone becomes softened and moves around too much which causes pain when moving and walking (and if you get it bad also when sitting and lying down.) It happens in pregnancy when your bones naturally soften to allow for childbirth, it can become quite serious if it continues after the birth.

The good news was, even though I was now in complete agony almost every moment of the day and night (it was a bad case of SPD) the bleeding seemed to have stopped. Thank you nightmare pregnancy for giving me at least some relief.

On the 20th April I had my anomaly scan and everything looked perfectly normal. So perfect, so beautiful, a lovely little girl. I was determined from the start that I wanted to know the sex of my baby. When I'd had my older two it wasn't an option and I found the whole idea really exciting. My other half was not so keen so I said I'd go by whatever he wanted. He left right until the last minute at the scan to ask if baby was a boy or girl.

On the 26th April I was admitted to hospital after another really big bleed. I lost a huge amount this time and was convinced I was going to lose my baby. I'm convinced that the midwives at the hospital thought that I was too. They were all whispers and fetching someone else in to see what was going on. Still there was no explanation. It was still a little early for my little girl to survive if she did arrive but I was given steroids just in case. I can't explain how I felt that night while they kept me on the labour ward. I don't think I'd ever felt so lost and desolate. Then the bleeding just stopped. The heartbeat was still there, baby was still there. The nightmare just ended and a day later  I was sent home. Still no explanation, but I knew now that this baby was meant to be. I was going to hold her and she would be breathing. Surely this was the end of my worry?

ON the 30th July and just weeks away from the birth, I went for a routine anti-natal appointment and the midwife was concerned about baby's heartbeat. She sent me to hospital, again, with a note saying baby was tachy cardic. Her little heartbeat was really fast which was obviously not normal. I was put on the monitor for an hour and listened in to my little girl. Her heartbeat was only fast when she was moving, when she was still it was ok. She was moving around an awful lot, getting impatient I suppose, so it looked like she was tachy cardic, but the hospital was happy enough with the results and I was sent home after another scan just to make sure she was ok.

My baby was due on September the 5th so I had decided to have a meal out with a friend on the 23rd August, a couple of weeks before. She was pregnant too, our due dates where days apart. We decided to have a bump photo taken together and asked a waiter to do the honours. It was funny as he had to keep moving further and further away to fit us and our huge bumps into the photo. That morning I'd had a show, that means the mucus plug had come away from the cervix. It doesn't always happen in pregnancy and although it can be sign of pending labour, the plug can also come back again. So I hadn't thought too much about it. Until I started getting twinges.

On 24th August I woke up in labour at around 2.30 am. It got quite strong that by 6am I was fitted up to my TENS machine. Then at 10am the contractions stopped. I was really disappointed and the other half hadn't gone into work. Then while cooking lunch (sausages) the contractions came back with conviction. I went to the hospital at 3pm and Star was born at 8.01pm. The time from established labour (4cm dilated) to the birth was just four hours.

I will always remember that first night with my little girl, I couldn't sleep for looking at her. A real magic moment that I'd waited sixteen years for.

So as you can see I had a very eventful pregnancy. The bleeding was never explained but apparently it is quite common for women to bleed during pregnancy and it doesn't always mean that the pregnancy is going to end. The SPD went soon after the birth. I'd found it incredibly painful during the birth as it hurt to open my legs. Stirrups where a definite no-no and it was all a little difficult, but worth it in the end. I'd had no assistance during the birth, just my TENS machine and a little entinox, which made me sick.

It couldn't have been that bad, I went on to have two more!

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Great Gatsby and Breakfast at Tiffany's Inspired Fashion

I went out with Eldest Daughter today and she bought a new pair of shoes. I love them too and as we are the same size, I may just borrow them (if she'll let me)

This reminded me that I had not done a post for Next for a while so here I am.

The Great Gatsby opens in London this week and who can resist the gorgeous fashion of the Twenties? (oh my, not long until it will be the 2020's!) Dropped waistbands and flapper dresses, I'd certainly give them another go. Any excuse to get out my feather boa. (what you don't have a feather boa?)

At next you can buy this gorgeous dress for your little girl.

I know my girls would love it especially with all the sequins, I may get them one each. They are available in sizes 3 to 16 yrs.

Fast forward twenty or so years and you'll you meet my favourite fashionable literary Character, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn looks absolutely gorgeous in this black dress.

Truman Capote writes: “She was still on the stairs, now 

she reached the landing, and the ragbag colors of her 
boy’s hair, tawny streaks, strands of albino blond and 
yellow caught the hall light. It was a warm evening, 
nearly summer, and she wore a slim, cool black dress, 
black sandals, a pearl choker. "
Of course, I'm partial to a sexy black dress and Next doesn't fail to deliver.

Oh yes, I could see myself swanning into the MAD Blog Awards in this with pearl choker and black sandals. (might need to lose a few pound first though)

This post has been submitted to the Next Bloggers Network. I have not received anything from Next for writing it and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

When Poppy The Playgroup Bear Came to Stay.

The Little Man brought Poppy bear home from pre-school, along with her diary. The idea is to fill in the diary with photos and tell everyone about the fun things Poppy has been up to during her stay. So far Poppy has had a lot of sleeping, brushing her teeth, playing with toys and dressing up. So what could we do that was exciting, bearing in mind we had the whole weekend to occupy Poppy.  Well, such an exciting life we have, good job it wasn't last weekend because mummy was away, but if it had been next weekend we have an all day party to attend! This weekend the best we could do was a trip to the supermarket on Saturday and a visit to church on Sunday.
Here is Poppy's diary entry:

When I went to stay with The Little Man

I came home with The Little Man and met his family. His sisters Star and Boo were very nice to me. Boo played with me, fed me cake and then put me to bed.

On Saturday The Little Man took me out in his pushchair

We went to the supermarket where Boo decided to put me in the scales to see how much I weighed. It was about the same as 1lb of bananas.

On Sunday we all went to church, on the way The Little Man and his sisters had some fun chasing pigeon's on the square. I'm not sure if the pigeon's enjoyed it as much as the children did.

I'm not sure why The Little Man wears reins, he won't let anyone else hold them!

At church there was lots of singing, but mostly for me and The Little Man there was lots of playing. Here I am taking a trip on Noah's ark in the play corner.

I had a lovely time at The Little Man's house and I am looking forward to my next adventure.

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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