Saturday, 31 January 2015


When I started blogging about Mummy things I very quickly got drawn in by ads on my blog and the possibility of reviewing products on my blog. I got drawn in by the idea of staying home with baby!

How exciting that this little hobby of mine could be more than that! But I've decided to disable ads on my blog and although I'm still a PR friendly blogger I won't accept payment for posts. I will review products and samples but only if I deem them appropriate to this blog and my family (which is how I've always worked. I've never reviewed something I wouldn't ordinarily purchase or use.)

I think I need to earn my stripes as a blogger and not jump in the deep end quite so eagerly.

Plus I'm returning to work in 5 weeks and this blog will be added to my balancing act. I'm just a normal mum, blogging because I enjoy it. This isn't my job as such and maybe one day my dream of working from home will come true. But there's no shortcut, quite rightly so, to a successful blog. I need to work at it.

My PR page will be updated shortly to reflect this change.

Let me know in the comments what you think. Have I done the right thing returning to Blogging as a hobby?

Come say hi and leave your constructive criticism. I'm always looking for ways to improve! As alway thanks for reading xoxo

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The New Arrival - Book Review

**Disclosure: This is a review of a book I paid for with my own money. I am not being paid or compensated for this review in any way. All opinions are my own!**

It's been a long time (roughly 8 months) since I have read a book that didn't involve a small child or some sort of animal as the main character. It's been at least a year since I read anything that wasn't an instruction manual on how to be pregnant, have a baby or keep them well looked after.

Any other books have long been neglected in favour of blogging, early nights or social media websites. Particularly loving inboxing all my non-mummy friends and acting like staying up past 11pm isn't a totally irresponsible act that I will pay for tomorrow when the baby wakes at 7am and I'm wondering how his 12 hour sleep has resulted in an overly tired me.

But after a lovely twitter conversation with Sarah and Amy Beeson I followed a link to SarahBeeson.Org and after a little look around decided I wanted to read the memoirs book that Sarah and Amy had worked on together. A few nights later I ordered the book and when it arrived sank my teeth in to my first non-bedtime story book in quite some time!

Name & Author: The New Arrival - Sarah Beeson MBE

What's it about?: It's the memoirs of Sarah, a 1970's trainee nurse. The book starts as she sets off to London to begin training as a nurse. It follows her through her training, the friendships made and some of the patients that made an impact on her. Heartwarming, funny and yet at times heartbreaking real-life stories.

My Impressions: Within the first few pages I was already hooked. Rhodri was down for his morning nap and I read quicker than I've ever read taking in every word that painted a vivid picture of Sarah's surroundings and the people she met.

Within the first few pages I chuckled a few times and I felt like I was immediately transported to London in 1969. Moving quickly from chuckling, within the first few chapters I already shed a tear or two reading about one of the first patients Sarah encountered.

I kept reading, trying to swallow the book whole. I just wanted to take in as much as I could and genuinely didn't want to put the book down. I was quite disappointed when Rhodri woke from his nap, and quickly scolded myself for being so selfish.

Next nap I promptly picked up the book again, dieing to know who the patients Sarah would encounter next were. What ward she would next spend time on, and what adventures her & her friends would get up to. In all it took me 6 hours to read from cover to cover.

The book itself is very well written, it's easy to read and not at all over complicated like some memoirs can be. I love reading but often find books littered with long words that seem to be there for the heck of it. Like a neon sign saying look how intelligent I am, but it's a big turn off to me. This book isn't like that at all. It's written as someone would tell you a story from their past and with vocabulary you can imagine the author using normally.

Each 'story' is written in easily manageable portions. No story was long winded and each turn of the page left me eager for more.

When I reached the end of the book I wanted to read part two of Sarah's memoirs, but have to wait until July 2016 for that pleasure! I'm not normally a real-life/memoir/auto-biography kind of girl. I have read and enjoyed some but not to the extent that I loved The New Arrival. Normally favouring fantasies and a world I can escape to I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book as much as I did.

Overall Opinion: 10/10 - heartwarming, sad at times, good for a giggle and an overall fantastic read. I recommend this book to you all. It was a pleasure to read. When part two is released I will definitely have to limit my self to a chapter or two a day!! You can pick up a copy of The New Arrival from Amazon, Ebay (signed 1st edition, really wish I'd noticed that before I ordered my copy and not 2 days later!), Whsmith, Waterstones and Foyles. You can also get the E-Book. Click HERE for the links to the various purchase points.

Have you read the New Arrival? What were your thoughts? Any books you'd recommend I try? Let me know in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading xoxo

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

January 2015 - Sassy Bloom Unboxing

I received my January sassy bloom box almost two weeks ago now so I am a little late on the unboxing post, but it is still January so ... I can be forgiven right? You can read Decembers Unboxing Here

If you don't already know, Sassy Bloom is a subscription box that you receive monthly, with baby/children's products inside. It is suitable for pregnant mums from the 3rd trimester to baby/toddlers of two yeas old. The amount you pay is dependent on the subscription you sign up for, a monthly subscription is £29.00 per box, 3 monthly is £27.00 per box, 6 monthly is £25.00 a box and Annually is £23.00 a box. Each box is tailored and hand picked for your child.

**Disclosure: I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway to provide this review. I pay for the Sassy Bloom boxes myself. All opinions are my own.**

If you would like to try Sassybloom, using my referral code MammaTen you can earn £10 off your first box. You can also click HERE to apply that discount.

Without further Ado here is my January 2015 Sassy Bloom Box. This month the ribbon was on the parcel and it made the parcel look even more exciting!

Inside was a little envelope with a card telling me my box was handpicked for my 7 month old (who's now 8 months old... slow down little man) and some leaflets with my referral code to pass on to friends.

 Once I unwrapped the tissue paper I was met with a pretty full box of goodies! I was very excited to get in there and see what we had!

What is it? The first thing I pulled out was this Plush Rattle Caterpillar. Pretty self explanatory, a plush toy with a rattle inside. 

My first thoughts? I was quite pleased to see this in there. Rhodri loves teddies & plush toys so I knew he would like this. We've had it two weeks now and he still loves playing with it. He likes to chew on the legs and antennae when teething, and cuddling it when he's sleepy.

RRP? I don't know the RRP of this item. When you get a box, the items are listed on the web page with the RRP and some other information. You are able to leave feedback on your box and the items. This item wasn't on the list so I'm not sure what the RRP is. But from looking online I've seen them for around £5.99.

Overall Impression? I like this product. It's stood up well against the chewing and drool. Rhodri hasn't become bored quickly (which he sometimes does with rattles).

What is it? Gumigem Miller Pendant. Its a rubbery pendant necklace that baby can chew on. It's easily washed and as its soft it won't damage little teeth. The cord is long, so plenty of reach for babies to pull, but it also has a safety clasp incase it's pulled too hard or too far.

My first thoughts? I had actually been looking in to buying one of these. Rhodri, like most babies, is obsessed with jewellery. He grabs and plays with necklaces and bracelets. I wanted something I could let him play with, with no danger of it breaking, and he could safely teeth on if he wanted. Seeing this in my box I was excited to try it out. 

RRP? £12.95

Overall Impression? After two weeks of use I like it. It's easy to clean and I can chuck on a necklace without worrying about it being broken or chewed on. Rhodri likes to chew on it and it seems to help with his teething so it's a win win. 

What is it? Nuby Grip N' Sip. A non spill beaker, with two handles to make it easy for babies to hold and with a one touch valve built in.

My first thoughts? Looked very easy for baby to hold. I'm always looking for cups and beakers to help Rhodri learn to drink out of something other than his bottle.

RRP? £2.99

Overall Impression? Rhodri can use this and seems to like drinking out of this more than some of the other beakers we have tried. The mouth piece is soft but, like it says on the packaging, it is non spill. I like it!

What is it? Baby Dan Fingersafe. These are put on doors to prevent them doors from slamming and trapping little fingers. They are also designed to fit on the door handle when not in use.

My first thoughts? Rhodri is starting to become more mobile so of course little safety items for around the house are always on my mind. When I saw these in our box I was happy to have something else to keep the little man safe.

RRP? £2.99

Overall Impression? After two weeks I'm satisfied with them. They do exactly what they are supposed to. Good product and nice to try something safety related.

What is it? Babycup - Blue Small plastic cups. To help babies learn to drink from cups. Small for little hands to hold on to.

My first thoughts? I was a little underwhelmed when I first saw these. They look like little shot glasses. Are small and plastic. I wasn't overly excited  and think that cups aren't exactly a good idea with a 7 month old.

RRP? £6.66

Overall Impression? Well they are good for helping him learn to hold and drink from a cup BUT his first instinct is to turn it upside down. I think he is a little young to get the concept of cups. But it's always good to have these things in the home ready for when he is more able to try them out and it's definitely good to introduce drinking from open cups, as it's said to be better for their teeth. The product is good, but I think it will come in more useful later down the line.

What is it? Organics Multigrain Mini Cereal Puffs. Soft chewable organic cereal. A stage 2 cereal for introducing more flavour and textures.

My first thoughts? I love the organix range and Rhodri certainly likes his food. It's always good to try new flavours and brands to see what they do and don't like. I was happy with this product.

RRP? £0.80

Overall Impression? Rhodri liked the cereal and ate the full portion, I think I will purchase some of this cereal as he seemed to enjoy this as a change from his porridge.

What is it? Sock ons. Strong stretchy material, worn over socks to stop socks coming off.

My first thoughts? I had heard that people had received these from Sassy Bloom and was really hoping I would also get them. Rhodri, like most babies, has quite a talent for working socks off his feet. I was excited that there may be a solution for this!

RRP? £6.00

Overall Impression? They definitely do keep socks on. They seem quite tight on his feet but then no lines or marks were left on his feet so I think I may have worried over nothing. Rhodri is trying to walk and stand a lot at the moment and the packaging says they shouldn't be worn when walking so I spent a lot of time taking these off and putting them back on. I managed to loose one already! The product itself is amazing and does what it says, but possibly better for younger less mobile babies. Loved the product though and would definitely purchase some for any future babies.

What is it? Munchkin Wonder Waterway. A series of beads, wheels and spirals that keep baby entertained during bathtime.

My first thoughts? Whether he takes a quiet and relaxing bath or a playful splashing bath I love bathtime with Rhodri. I like buying him bath books & toys to help keep him entertained during bath time so I was looking forward to trying this out.

RRP? £5.99

Overall Impression? Rhodri likes the water flowing through the toys individually or the tower as a whole. The product itself is great, good quality and I think it definitely keeps him entertained. I like it alot.

I liked all the products in my box this month. My favourite was probably the Plush Rattle as Rhodri likes it so much. My least favourite is probably the Babycups, but mostly because he's a little young to use them at the moment. The items themselves are good and I'm sure we will get more use out of them eventually. I was really pleased with the box overall. It was another impressive box and I'm already looking forward to Februarys box!

Did you get a Sassybloom box this month? What did you receive? What were your favourite items?

As always, thanks for reading xoxo

Friday, 23 January 2015

Rhodri's 8 Month Update

8 month update

Rhodri playing in Nannas

So Rhodri is 8 months old now. It's crazy how time has flown, that the cheeky, funny and very bossy little man has been in our lives for 8 months already. Yet I also feel like he's always been a part of our lives.

One of my biggest blogger regrets is that I didn't come back to blogging sooner, that I missed an opportunity to keep all my pregnancy milestones and memories here, and until I wrote Rhodri wrote Baby R's First Blog Post I haven't done the best job at marking his milestones either. 

So new year, time to turn over a new bloggers leaf and get those memories typed up. Starting with his 8 month update! 

Weight/Height: He's gaining weight exactly on the trend he should be. Our Health Visitor has joked that he must have had a copy of the baby book and read it before he was born!

Height wise, he's only ever been measured once when he was was about 13 weeks old and never since so I don't know. He definitely seems longer but that's not very accurate of me!

Clothing size: 6-9 month.

Sleep: He sleeps 7pm - 7am most nights. 

This months milestones: 
  • Rhodri got his first two teeth just before turning 7 months, and it's looking like some more will come through now he's 8 months. Slowly but surely!
  • He's been able to sit with very little assistance for a while but around the 7 month mark he got his balance and can now sit unassisted for quite some time while playing without falling.
  • He learnt to clap new years eve.
  • He has also learnt to fake a cough. He finds this highly amusing.
  • Hand eye co-ordination is definitely improving, he can now close the pop up section of toys deliberately and has a vague idea of how to make them pop back up.
  • He can stand up for a short time when holding on to toys/tables.
  • He does walk forward if you hold his hands and point him in the direction of a toy or person he wants.
This months special outings:
  • We took Rhodri to visit his new baby cousin just before Christmas
  • We also took Rhodri to his grandparents to spend time with his Auntie, Uncle & cousins who came to visit for Christmas. They live far away so that was quite special for him.
  • Rhodri met his new twin besties. He was intrigued by the two small people, and very much liked their soft blankets.
  • Rhodri went to his cousins 3rd Birthday Party. He didn't really understand what was going on, and I suspect he thought all the attention and fuss was for him. Either way he enjoyed.
Baby gear love: I would say my love this month would be the Summer Nasal Aspirator. I can't quite remember how it came to be in my possession, I remember thinking how gross it was and chucking it in a draw somewhere. Cue the cold he had over Christmas... love it now don't I!?

Baby's routine: You can read our bed time routine HERE

Daytime wise he wakes at 7am, has porridge for breakfast, has a bottle, plays in his door bouncer or walker. Around 10am he goes for a nap. This is usually for about 1 and a half hours. He then has a little play until 12pm when he has lunch and his second bottle. We play with his more interactive toys until about 2.30pm when he goes for a second nap. This is usually an hour nap. Once he wakes up we tend to play with his sensory tent and then he goes in the door bouncer or walker for a bit as well. This takes us up until dinner time which the bedtime routine covers :)

Of course there are days this differs slightly, if we go out he tends to avoid naps as long as possible and playtime isn't so scheduled but you get the gist.

Highlights of the month: 
  • Rhodri has started to give proper cwtches, not just I'm being held and cwtched by you. But the proper arms around my neck, head nestled into my shoulder kind of cwtches. A cwtch is a cuddle by the way, Welsh term.
  • He also gives kisses. If you say "kiss please" and he's in the right mood he puts his open mouth on my check, so that counts as a kiss right? The affection is certainly one of my highlights. 
  • It was Rhodri's first Christmas shortly after he turned 7 months. That was a huge highlight. Loved seeing him with all his family.

Rhodri's monthly favourites: 
  • Toy - door bouncer closely followed by his walker/activity centre
  • Teddy - goodnight bear closely followed by scout the talking dog
  • Food - Pork & Apple Casserole
  • Music - Sam Smith 'Stay With Me' - I can't explain he just loves it.
  • Activity - pretending to cough or sticking items like remotes in his mouth.
  • Person - Mummy & Daddy of course!
  • Book - One Ted falls out of bed.
Rhodri's monthly dislikes:
  • Day time naps, especially if we aren't at home.
  • Being dressed. Particularly dislikes putting coats on.
  • Toys with pop up bits. You know where an animal pops up when you push a button? Yeah he doesn't like that. He shouts at the toys and slams the pop up bit shut! Weird but true.
That's all for this month. As always thanks for reading! xoxo

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Review of Baby's Big Box of Little Books

You might have noticed in Bed Time Routine of my 7 Month Old that Rhodri has a little collection of books slowly building on his bookshelf. Every night either me or my husband read him a bed time story before he is put in his cot and left to drift off to sleep. I've done this since he was about 8 weeks old and since he has gone to bed in his own room. 

Story Time
Why, you might ask, have I read to him since he was so little? Well I think it's important to encourage all children to read, it sets them in good stead for school. For babies it encourages them to learn to talk and communicate with others.

I think the earlier we introduce books in to their routine, the easier it is for them to fall in love with stories and characters. I'm a bit of a book worm myself, often escaping in to the pages of a good read. I hope that Rhodri will one day enjoy the comforting pages of a book and enjoy reading more than games consoles... I can hope!

So when Puffin Books kindly sent me Baby's Big Box of Little Books to review I couldn't wait to give them to him and see what he made of them! The books are written and illustrated by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. They wrote and illustrated one of my all time favourite childrens books - The Jolly Christmas Postman, so I had high hopes for these little books. I wasn't disappointed!

Having first received them, I was full of ooo's and aahh's at the presentation on these lovely little books in their presentation box.

I was also impressed with the box itself as it's quite sturdy and has a magnetic flap to keep the box closed. This keeps them all neat and tidy, minimising the room they take up on his relatively small book shelf.

 Inside the box, there are 9 little books. Each book has a different 'topic'. There are Mornings, Toys, Baby, Inside, Pets, Outside, Games, Family & Night-Times.

 Each little book is sturdy, always good with an 8 month old who has managed to rip a few paper book pages already!

The pages are thick, perfect for little hands to grab and keep hold of. Rhodri hasn't quite grasped how to turn pages yet but he held the book letting me turn pages for him, which is definitely progress!

 Inside each book words relating to the 'topic' are printed, illustrated with a clear and easy to relate to picture. They are very easily recognisable for babies and young children, which seems to keep Rhodri engaged. The words, at the moment, don't mean a lot to him. But the pictures keep him engaged, which will eventually make the words mean more to him.

 Each book has 5 words in, so a nice little bite sized portion of learning.

I love that these books introduce simple, everyday words. They are familiar words and concepts to him which keeps him interested in the books and pictures. Although Rhodri will sit and listen to a story every night, I feel that is partly because it is routine or habit, and because he is getting a cuddle at the same time. Normally a book in the day time would be considered a toy for chewing and throwing. These books have escaped that fate and Rhodri has enjoyed looking at the pictures with me.

I quite enjoy the fact that there are different topics that relate to every day life, so I can pull the books out at different times of the day for us to look at together. We have a cat, so if he's trying to play with the cat I will pull out the 'Pets' book and show him the animals. He definitely seems to enjoy that he recognises certain things from the books.

I really love these books and think they are perfect as a gift for a baby or to give Mum at the baby shower. It's a lovely little addition to our book collection and I think every Mum and baby should have these! The books are good quality, well illustrated and perfectly aimed at children who are learning, babbling and starting to gain a vocabulary. I would definitely recommend all my Mummy friends add this to their collection!

You can grab your self a set from Amazon or Waterstones. RRP £9.99 but both retailers are selling this lovely set for £7.99 (prices correct as of 21/01/2015).

**Disclosure: Puffin Books kindly sent these books to myself free of charge in return for a review. All opinions are honest and in my own words.**

The Giggles Family

Thursday, 15 January 2015

My Big Fat Weight Loss Journey - Part 2

If you haven't already CLICK HERE for part 1. You'll find a little bit of background on why I decided to lose weight and the gruesome before pictures that haunt me! They also serve well as a reminder of what the old me looked like, I won't ever go back to that!

In my first post I told you that I wasn't happy at the weight I wasand I knew I wasn't healthy but didn't care enough, until I was going to be a wife and mother, to do anything long term. This is all true, but that's not to say I've never dieted before. I've dieted since I was around 15 and I've tried everything! There was slimming world, weight watchers, slim fast, I signed up to the gym, counted calories and I've even done those 'Drop two jean size' magazine diets. Although the numbers on the scale would drop by a stone, sometimes two, I'd soon get disheartened that I'd eaten well for two weeks and wasn't a size 8 yet. I'm one of those people who want everything yesterday and I was exactly the same while dieting.

I would try, sometimes harder than others. I'd stick at it for a few weeks or even a month. But it wouldn't be long before I'd go back to my old eating habits, the diet diary would be binned and the gym membership would be cancelled.

What was different this time?

Apart from everything in part 1, I started to really be bothered by my appearance. From the age of 16 I've hated every photo in existence of myself from the neck down. I hated ALL photos of me once I was in my 20's. I looked like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka only not quite so blue.

What Diet did you use?

I started out in July 2011 using the Cambridge Diet. In basic terms it's a low carbohydrate, high protein diet where you are limited to shakes, soups, meal bars and some more recently added meals that weren't available when I was on Cambridge. It works by getting your body in to Ketosis, i.e. you don't eat enough carbohydrates for energy so your body has to burn off the fat stores instead.

You work your way from Step 1 through to Step 6. Step 1 is obviously the lowest calorie diet and step 6 is the maintenance step. As you loose weight you adjust the amount of products you have, introduce more foods and eventually carbohydrates in to your diet. Essentially I was too fat to start at the beginning on Step 1. It would have been too dangerous for me to cut down to the 440 calories a day that diet required. So I had to start out on Step 2, 810 calories a day.

What did you eat on an average day?

Breakfast - The Apple & cinnamon porridge or a banana shake
Lunch - Vanilla shake
Dinner - Chicken, Prawns, Egg or Quorn Sausages with cauliflower & broccoli
Desert - Chocolate Shake
Drinks - 3 Litres of water a day. 2-3 cups of coffee.

How much did you lose?

Initially I lost just over 5 stone. However by the time I quit the Cambridge diet I was at a 4 stone 3lb diet. So some of the weight lost was regained.

What were the hurdles you faced?

  • Christmas. I took a few days off and quickly gained over a stone. It became apparent to me that if you didn't work your way up the steps and off the diet that even a tomato would affect your weight loss. I lost the weight I had gained and more, but my faith in the diet had been shaken.
  • Surgery. I had surgery in February and had to come off the diet for a short while during my recuperation. Although it was only for three weeks I regained two stone. I had been off the diet long enough that I found it very difficult to return to such a strict diet.
  • The cost. It was costing me £40 a week at a time I was saving and budgeting for our wedding. I decided to call it a day on the Cambridge and find a cheaper way of loosing weight.
  • Negativity. I had a lot of people whispering in my ear that I would be carrying my excess skin down the aisle if I lost much more weight. That I was loosing too much. It got to me. Enough to eventually stop the diet.
How did you lose the rest?

As already mentioned I'm currently at a 9 stone loss. As I lost 4st 3lb it's clear I lost the rest in some other way. I did that by downloading My Fitness Pal. It's an app that has a huge database of different foods and their nutritional information, not just calories, but protein, salt, carbohydrate content etc.

I input my height, weight, goal weight and how much weight I wanted to loose a week. It told me how many calories I could eat a day and I set about inputting my meals each day. For the last 804 days (as of 11/1/2015) I have input every single item of food, every calorie I have consumed in to the app. I've allowed myself treats and days where I have gone over my calories a little, but every day I keep track of what I've eaten. 

Why don't you take a day off?

I'm often asked why I don't take a day off from inputting all my meals in to the app. Especially when I continued to do so through pregnancy. There are two reasons I don't stop tracking my food.

  1. Even if I have a day off, or a treat I want to be honest with myself. For many years I told myself I was just unlucky, I only had to look at food and I'd gain weight. Obviously that wasn't true. I was in denial. So if I keep track of what I've eaten even on my off days I can't pretend I've "been so good this week and not lost any weight". 
  2. By keeping track I am learning about portion control. I am learning what a normal sized portion of virtually every meal I have ever and will ever eat looks like. It will help me when I reach my goal and hit the 'maintenence' stage of this new lifestyle. I will be able to stop using the app with full confidence I know what I can and can't eat.
What does an average day look like now?

Breakfast - Honestly I forget breakfast way too often these days. But on the days I remember I have either two pieces of toast with clover or mornflakes porridge oats made with semi skimmed milk.
Lunch - Either scrambled egg on toast (not if I had toast for breakfast) or a tortilla wrap with chicken and a garlic salad dressing, a banana and some yoghurt. 
Dinner - Fajitas or meat filled pasta or meat of some sort with vegetables, potatoes or rice.
Snacks - fruit, yoghurt, the occasional packet of crisps or sunbites 
Drinks - coffee, juice, coke zero
Treats - On rare occasions I allow myself a bag of wine gums, marshmallows or a bar of chocolate. I eat the bar/bag slowly portioned out over a few days until it's all gone.

Hurdles Faced
  • Pregnancy #1. I increased the amount I was eating but continued to log my meals. I was determined not to eat for two. However sadly the pregnancy didn't progress past 12weeks and I had a little battle with my self to keep on track. Copious amounts of Ben & Jerrys were consumed. I got back on track by continuing to log every item of food and found it gave me a sense of control at a time where I felt a total loss of control. This taught me to adopt a sensible attitude to food that I will be able to maintain for a lifetime.
  • Pregnancy #2. The first 12 weeks were full of scans and scares. It was very stressful and although I didn't diet, I found it very difficult to find the balance of eating well. I wasn't hungry due to the stress and for the first time ever had to force my self to eat! 
  • Breastfeeding & having a newborn. I was constantly hungry and ate ALOT of food which my midwife assured me was normal for a breastfeeding mother. However sometimes I would forget to eat and drink in the foggy early days where your head is full of questions like, when was his last feed, when is the next feed due. Resulting in a bit of a binge when I did finally remember... it was difficult to find the balance but we got there in the end.

Weight Loss?

Since using the app I have lost a further 4 stone 11lb, putting me at a total loss of 9 stone so far.

Would you do it differently if you had your time again?

That's a tough one. I am by no means bashing The Cambridge Diet and in some ways I think it's a good diet. Especially if you don't have as much weight to loose as I did. I don't think, knowing what I know now, that I would opt for Cambridge again. For me personally it was too restrictive.

That being said Cambridge gave me my life back. Although I didn't stick to it until I reached my goal it taught me self control I'd never had before. After such a strict diet, calorie counting was easy peasy! It gave me a kick start and my consultant was amazing. She gave me confidence to believe in myself, and if it wasn't for her I think I'd be sat here probably fatter than before, crying in to a tub of ice cream.

As for Myfitnesspal. Yes I would do that time and time again. I've learnt portion control and gained an awareness of what I put in to my body. I don't know why calorie counting never worked for me before, but I'm assuming the combination of the kick start Cambridge gave me and the ease of finding any food I eat in the app was what made it work this time. 

How is dieting going at the moment?

It's not coming off as quickly these days but I'm genuinely OK with that. No I don't have the time to worry over every food choice I make, I'm busy enjoying being a mum and making the most of what's left of my maternity leave.

That being said I am determined that by the end of 2015 I will have reached my goal weight and the additional 2st 6lb will be gone, and gone for good. I think once I'm back in work this will actually be easier. In work I found it so much easier to drink large quantities of water (which I'm a firm believer definitely helps with weight loss). 

So what is the plan?

  • Continue to use MyFitness Pal. It's worked so far and it's really teaching me portion control.
  • When I get to my target weight I will use it for a while to help me adjust to maintenance but then I need to stop relying on the app and learn to trust what I'm eating without counting every calorie. 
  • I plan to reduce the treats. Over Christmas I didn't gain any weight, but my calories were made up of a lot of treats and not a lot of nutritious food. 
  • I'm useless at eating breakfast so my immediate goal is to make sure I have breakfast every day.
  • Increase my water intake. I drink little to no water most days. I need to get back to my 2-3 litres a day.
  • Reduce my coffee and carbonated drinks intake.
  • Increase my exercise. I get out and walk with Baby R in the pram quite a bit at the moment, but want to start doing something to tone up. Also when I'm back in work I won't get to walk as often so will need to make an effort to walk around the local area in my lunch break where possible.

So I guess this is kind of a New Years Resolution. Beat the bulge once and for all! I will keep you updated on my progress and hopefully sometime soon I will be happy to announce I hit my goal weight!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


I'm not happy today.

That's a hard thing to write or admit on a blog isn't it?

I am honest with you all about my life as a first time mummy, I share the fact that Baby brain sends me doolally and has me walking up and down my street like a crazy woman checking if my front door is locked. I share the fact that I sometimes spend too much time day dreaming over the crusts from a loaf of bread. I even shared the pictures of myself 9 stone heavier.

Despite that we all tend to keep a little something back don't we? Especially on the blogging front, we write comical stories about nappy changes and the constant lessons we learn as parents. We write touching and endearing posts about how much our children mean to us. Sometimes we share some artistically taken well edited photos... or if you are like me you point, shoot and "that'll do."

We share the ups and downs in a very toned down way. An approach I seem to have adapted to my everyday life too. When I've had a rubbish day and I really want to scream & shout I rarely show it. If I shout around you then you need to know I've really hit my limit because I don't do sad or angry very well any more. I have one setting 'I'm fine'.

I think the only two people who ever see the full good, bad & ugly these days are my mother and my husband. Mum gets the day time rampages over the phone, and hubby gets the left over emotions after a day of either calming down or winding up.

On the days where the post man woke the baby up from his nap with ridiculously loud knocking, even though we have a door bell. The days where you've just cleaned the entire house so naturally baby spits his food everywhere and the cat kicks litter everywhere. The days where the nappy leaks everywhere and no amount of wipes can clean this mess. The washing machine gives up, shortly after the nappy leakage. The days where you think, if one more thing goes wrong I'm going to scream. Those are the days I find myself smiling and saying "I'm fine" before I even have a chance to think about it.

For the longest time I've felt the pressure to not show how I feel. To not say it. Like it's a bad thing to admit I feel something other than happiness.

So today I'm going to take a moment to say that I'm not OK, and that's alright too.

I'm a Mummy and I love it. Honestly it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, and on the days where I don't feel happy I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. How dare I not be happy when I have everything I ever wanted and more. How dare I! Well let me tell you, I'm human and sometimes I'm unhappy because I woke up on the wrong side of bed. Sometimes I'm unhappy because we all have private battles and wounds that have barely healed. Being a Mummy, and loving it, doesn't mean we can't be sad sometimes.

So I am admitting I'm not OK, that I don't want to smile but I will for my little boy. I'm admitting that my heart aches a little today, especially today. Pre-Rhodri it would be one of those days I would have crawled back in to bed and hidden under the duvet for the rest of the day. As I watch him play my heart is filled with love & joy, but there's a piece of my heart missing and it's aching today.

Today is a battle, a very private battle, and there I go keeping a little something back again. I guess we all have those things that remain private, but today my blog won't tell cute stories, or make jokes about how forgetful I can be. Instead I just want to leave a message for you all:

It's OK to not be OK. In this world where being positive is such a virtue, where we are frowned upon for wearing our hearts on our sleeves and we too quickly find ourselves saying we are fine when we are not. We sometimes forget that we are allowed to be human, to be hurting, or to just be having a bad day. So let me say it again. Today I am not OK, and that's OK too...

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Introducing Baby R

Last Friday night during #mblogchat I asked some of my fellow mummy bloggers a question on Twitter. How do they decide how much of their lives, or more specifically their children, to share with their blog readers? The overwhelming response was that of course it's personal choice and you need to do what feels right to you. They were kind enough to share with me what they had chosen. A lot of people chose to share names and photos, just as many used photos but just an initial, no name. 

For some time now I have found my self typing Baby R's name automatically before deleting it. Adding a photo to a blog post before realising Baby R can be seen. It started to feel like I was hiding him from you all. This couldn't be further from the truth. I am so incredibly in love with my son, and so proud of him. I want to show him off but of course I want to protect him.

So Hubby & I had a little chat and we decided that we will allow photos of him on my blog but any pictures we include will be taken with his face out of view or blurred. This isn't because we are ashamed of him, quite the opposite. I'm that Mum who constantly has a camera (or at least a phone that has a camera) in my childs face.  The only reason we are keeping his face from view is because he is our son, we want to protect him and we want to ensure we have control over his photos and who sees them.

In addition to this we decided that we were OK with sharing his first name. This is mainly to make writing about him that much easier. It is after all my parenting blog, and he is my child! We want to protect him but feel there is very little damage that can be done with a picture from the back of his head and his first name. So here it goes...

My name is Rachel, I'm married to Chris and our son is called Rhodri. It's the Welsh name (we are Welsh) of a 9th century King who was a great warrior. Rhodri has always been our little fighter, the name fitted for our baby if it was a boy. Once he was born and he was definitely a boy, once I saw his face I couldn't imagine any other name for him.

Rhodri, 6 months, discovering the joys of sitting unaided.
As always thanks for reading xoxo

Monday, 12 January 2015

Bed Time Routine of my 7 month old

Since Baby R was born, it became quite clear to me he was a child of habit. He whimpered for his first feed 3 hours after he was born and for the next few weeks, (until his reflux became an issue) he fed every 3 hours at daytime. He slept at the same times and woke at the same times every day. 

So, seeing as he seemed to like routine, once he started sleeping through the night we established a bed time routine for him. 

It can change slightly with times if we've had a busy day, or if we are out visiting family. I try not to be too rigid with it and if he is tired earlier than usual we don't force him to stay up. Sometimes I miss out parts of the routine deliberately, this is so he doesn't need the entire routine to help him go to bed. If he doesn't have a bath one night or if he's staying with his grandparents he still needs to be able to go to bed, and some of his routine isn't always going to be possible. So it is flexible to a degree, but our routine looks a little something like this:

4.30 - 5pm Dinner Time 
Around this time of evening eye rubbing is Baby R's favourite thing to do. He's getting tired but won't nap even if I did attempt to put him down for one. It is also this time of day he starts making a popping noise by smacking his lips together and this is his 'I'm hungry' sign. So once the rubbing of the eyes commences or he lets me know he's hungry, I take him in to the kitchen and sit him in his highchair with his highchair toy (1st on the list in my 3-6 month Must Haves). I make his bottle and put it to cool before feeding him his solids. Sometimes he has food from a jar or a pouch, other times he has what me & hubby are eating but mashed up a bit. Either way, once food is ready I take his toy away and he eats his dinner. After he's eaten his food and chucked strategically placed what he doesn't want on the floor, highchair, his face, bib and clothes we attempt to wipe up the mess. The majority of cleaning is met with little fuss, but as soon as I wipe his face I am told in no uncertain terms that he doesn't like it. 

I grab his bottle, remove him from the highchair and we go sit on the sofa together while he has his bottle. He's getting more mobile and active these days so bottle time & bed time are rare opportunities for a cuddle! This is his last bottle of the day. Baby R used to have a feed/bottle at bed time, but he eliminated this himself and started refusing any bottle offered to him at bed time.

5-5.45pm Play Time
After dinner Baby R has his final 'Play Time' of the day. I like to let him burn off that excess energy he suddenly acquired from nowhere! Usually he goes in his door bouncer or walker/activity centre. He loves being stood up so these are his favourite things to play with, but occasionally he's not in the mood for either of these activities so we will play in his sensory tent, or with some of his other Christmas gifts. I will normally put Cbeebies on the telly, music on my phone or Baby Einstein on YouTube for him. Some days he will take great interest in the programmes or songs but usually it's just background noise to him. He doesn't like the house to be too quiet so background noise keeps the levels of happiness up.

5.45-6.15pm Bath Time
Bath time!

I run Baby R a bath most nights. At the moment he is enjoying Johnsons Baby 2in1 bubble bath & wash. I use Johnsons Baby Shampoo with calming Lavender. I put his bathtime buddy (a sponge shaped like a frog, his bath book, a hippo water squirter and his rubber duck for him to play with and then sit him in the bath. For those who have read my must have posts you will notice we are no longer using the bath seat. I still love it and if he's very tired having a bath I will lie him in it, but he enjoys sitting up and playing in the bath these days.

Although Baby R is currently using and loving a lot of Johnsons products, our bathroom cupboard is filled with lots of different products/brands. I was bought a lot while I was pregnant and most of what you see in the picture is my pre-pregnancy stock. I like to try different brands to check he isn't allergic or sensitive to anything. 

Once Baby R is all washed, and he's had a good 10 minutes of playing & splashing I take him out of the bath wrap him in his hooded towel and dry him off. Twice a week I put baby lotion on him to try and keep that skin lovely and smooth. If I use it any more or less often his skin suffers. Twice a week works for us. Then it's a clean nappy and fresh PJ's to end his bath time ritual. He is always calm an relaxed after his bath.

6.15-6.25pm Bed time story & cuddles

Baby R's book collection
Baby R has quite a collection of books already. We even have a few in Welsh for him, although my pronunciation isn't the best, we are hoping it will stand him in good stead for school. We normally read him one book, but if the story is long we will split it in half. The favourites at the moment are One Ted Falls Out of Bed & Guess How Much I Love You. We have a cuddle, read the story and look at the pictures together.

6.25-6.45 Quiet Time & Bed Time

Calpol, Slumber Buddy, Light Show & Goodnight Bear

Obviously calpol isn't a constant in our routine, but I'm 'featuring' it because at the moment Baby R is teething. He has two teeth and another two are trying to push their way through. I have tried every teething product I could get my hands on. Even the so called miracle teething powders but nothing really helps him much. If he is showing signs of suffering with teething at bed time, we will sometimes give him a dose of calpol to take the edge off so he can get to sleep. Then we put on his Slumber Buddy which shines stars on the ceiling and plays different lullabies or soothing sounds. Brahms Lullaby is Baby R's favourite. We have a cuddle and some quiet time in the rocking chair and wind down. At the end of our routine Baby R is placed in to his cot, while still awake. He is given his goodnight bear and tucked in. I say "It's bedtime now, night night." and then leave the room. Normally he is asleep before I get to the bottom of the stairs but sometimes his chattering can be heard over the monitor for a few minutes. After a few tired giggles & some cooing he drifts off. By 7pm he is asleep.

Coffee and some Brahms!

After that I settle down with a cup of coffee, the baby monitor & YouTube. If Hubby is home we natter and catch up, if not I enjoy the quiet time. That's it then until 7am when Baby R wakes us up with the joyful babbling and giggles over the monitor. It really is the cutest alarm clock ever!

What does your little ones bed time routine look like? Let me know down below. If you're a blogger and have already written a post about it then leave the link for me in the comments so I can have a read! As always thanks for reading! xoxo

Sunday, 11 January 2015

My Big Fat Weight Loss Jouney - Part 1

If you read my Liebster Award Post, or if you follow me on twitter you might well know that over the past three years (12 months of which I was pregnant) I have lost 9 stone in weight. Shockingly, despite all that weight loss I'm still not at my goal weight and still have a further 2 stone and 6 lbs to loose. 

My three year journey has been quite a journey so I'm going to split this in to two parts. Part one is the lead up to weight loss, and part two (coming soon) will be about my actual journey, the diets I tried, the hurdles I faced and how I plan to reach that final goal by the end of this year!

I won't be putting my weight on here, but I'm sure you can all guess from the 11.5 stone total loss goal, that I probably weighed more than your average British woman in her 20's. My BMI started at just shy of 50. Which you probably all know is morbidly obese and incredibly unhealthy. I had eaten my feelings for many years, along with a truck load of pizzas, chocolate bars, ice cream and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I did eat healthy meals the majority of the time, but my snacking habit was ridiculous. 

I knew what I was doing to myself and to my health, but honestly I just didn't care enough to stop eating. I was in a really dark place, throwing the biggest pity party ever, due to non weight related health problems and just added to them by making myself so overweight and unfit that I was always ill. 

Back on NYE 2010 my hubby proposed to me after six months of dating. We had been best friends for 5 years at that point and he had spent the last 18 months seeing me through one of the most difficult times of my life. We'd gone from friends to partners and I'd fallen head over heals for him, so of course I said yes! We spent the next few months wedding planning and discussing things like starting a family. It was at that point I decided something had to be done about my weight. If I was going to be someones wife I needed to commit to them for life, I needed to live longer than 40! If I was going to be someones mum I needed to be able to take care of them, play with them and help them to be happy & healthy individuals. I couldn't do that while I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. So I finally decided in July 2011 that this was it. I was going to go on a 'diet' or rather I was going to change my relationship with food forever and I was going to be healthier.

I used things like my wedding dress, the wedding photos and wanting to have children as my incentives and on day one I got my now husband to take a picture of me. A picture of me at the heaviest I'd ever been and at a weight I have vowed I will never ever get close to again. Here are the photos that were taken, please forgive the poor quality, they were taken on my old phone 3 years ago, and weren't intended for blog posts! 

July 2011

I have now lost 9 stone and this is what I currently look like, taken 06/01/2015. Forgive the lack of make up. I realised I didn't have anything from Xmas or NYE that didn't have the baby in. As Hubby and I are undecided on whether or not to share pictures of Baby R on my blog we took an impromptu photo at 11.30pm and frankly you were lucky I wasn't in PJs at that time of night! :)

Find out how I did it, the hurdles I faced and how I plan to drop the final bit of weight in Part 2 (coming soon). As always thanks for reading xoxo

Thursday, 8 January 2015

5 Baby Brain Moments

Curse you baby brain! There was a time when I could remember birthdays with out checking & double checking my diary. I was able to get to the end of the street without having to go back for something. But then there was pregnancy and my brain turned to mush. There is something about all those hormones and the constant stream of baby related things to think about that gives women 'baby brain'. Or maybe I just lost my marbles?

Here are five of my funniest, albeit potentially dangerous, baby brain moments:

  1. Set fire to my microwave. No, I'm not joking. While getting ready for work one morning I pulled some bread out of the freezer to make sandwiches for lunch. I put the bread in the microwave for 1 minute to defrost and walked away to finish getting ready. When I returned to the black cloud of smoke that was my kitchen, I had an inkling that something was wrong. The source of the black smoke was my microwave, it was billowing out of the sides. I panicked for a second before opening the microwave door and covering the now cremated bread with a wet towel. If you can guess why this happened you get 10 brain points. Go on take a guess... 'defrosted' the bread on full power. Forgot to press the defrost button didn't I?
  2. 'Polished' living room. Doing the housework one Saturday morning. Thought to myself the polish smelt like apple & cinnamon, which was odd because the polish I used at the time was beeswax, there was no added smell. Continued cleaning and moved on to the dining room, went to spray the dining room table and something on the spray can caught my eye. As you have probably already guessed it wasn't polish I'd used to dust my living room. It was air freshener.
  3. Cried over Multi purpose wipes. This is kind of my hormones fault, but I'm blaming baby brain because in my crying fit that's what I decided was to blame. I grabbed and opened a pack of wipes. Wiped my kitchen work tops and went to put the pack of wipes away. Realised as I put them away there was already a pack of wipes opened. I blamed baby brain that I'd opened a pack when I already had a pack open and then sat on the kitchen floor and cried that there were now two open packs. Crying turned to laughter when I explained to Hubby why I was crying but for a good five minutes I was genuinely distraught!
  4. Had a bit of a mix up. Trying to be a supermum in the earlier days and doing many things at once I made a bit of a boo boo. I was tidying the house, making me some lunch, feeding the cat, putting on laundry and making the baby a bottle. Look at me go with all the multi-tasking! Right, lets put the washing powder in the machine, and the milk powder in the bottle. Add some hot water, well that's not right is it? The milk doesn't get that frothy until you shake it. Yes, you guessed it. Milk powder in the washer and washing powder in the bottle. No babies were harmed, I noticed straight away but never do the two things at the same time any more! 
  5. Made an error putting together our new wardrobes. We moved in to our new home this time last year. In our old house all the rooms had built in wardrobes. So as well as purchasing a lot of nursery furniture we also needed a rather large wardrobe to fit all of our clothes in. Eight months pregnant, one evening in April, we finally got around to putting up our wardrobe (I was sick of pulling clothes out of black bags and laundry baskets). Hubby refused to let me help much and instead 'allowed' me to read the instructions and tell him what to do. That was his big mistake! I did read the instructions, but not very well and after about half an hour Hubby was balancing the top of the wardrobe on his head, while one side was being built. I got to an instruction that said to put the other side on and then lift wardrobe off floor and stand upright. I suddenly realised I'd missed the glaringly obvious instruction at the beginning - Assemble on floor.
I wish I could say I'm joking but it's all true. Luckily I find it all very funny now and although I still have my moments they are definitely less dangerous! Did you have the baby brain? Did you still have it after your babies were born? Leave me a story in the comments about your 'funniest' baby brain moment. 

As always thanks for reading xoxo

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Baby R's first blog post

Hello there,

My name is Baby R, you can also call me Chops, Monkey or Tinker. Mummy does ... alot! I thought seeing as my Mummy blogs about me ALL the time I'd come on here and tell you a bit more about me.

I was born in May 2014, which makes me 7 and a half months old. I live with my Mummy and Daddy. Mummy stays home and looks after me at the moment, but she will be returning to work in March. Daddy works, and he sometimes misses bedtime which makes us all very sad, but when he is home he plays with lots of toys with me and I love that!

Over the last 7 months I have become quite the clever little boy, even if I do say so myself. I can do loads of tricks, some of them make mummy squeal with excitement. Mummy's funny when she makes excited noises. It gives me the giggles.

Mummy was having scans from as early as 6 weeks pregnant with me, that's why she calls me Tinker, and the fact that I kept her on the toes for the entire pregnancy. At 40wks+2 I made mummy go to hospital by refusing to move for hours. She was sent home because even though the Dr wanted me to be born, they were too busy at the hospital. They told her to go back the next day to discuss induction. The next day we were told she was definitely going to be induced because I was distressed, but she'd have to wait another day because there were no beds. I didn't want to wait anymore, I wanted out! So as the nurse said 'You can go home' I started Mummy's contractions every 4.5-5minutes apart. Mummy wasn't allowed to go home, and good job too! I didn't hang around for long once I got things started. Mummy's active labour was 3 hours and 11 minutes! She was in a bit of shock when I was born, and it's been a whirlwind ever since!

From about 1 week old I've slept for 5/6 hour stints at night and since I was 7 weeks old I have slept from 7pm to 7am. This is not just because I love Mummy, it's because I love sleep! I know I could wake my parents up a bit more but I love cuddling up in my cot and sleeping the night away. I think I'll save the sleepness nights for when I'm older and Mummy isn't expecting it.

Around 5/6 weeks Mummy noticed I was being sick a lot. I tried to tell her I had reflux, but she didn't understand the arching of my back wasn't wind related. It got worse and worse, I was so sick that I was constantly hungry. That made Mummy cry and I was in so much pain! But a lovely woman at the Doctors surgery gave me Gaviscon and we've never looked back.

I learnt to roll over when I was about 4 months old. I'm NEVER doing that again! I hate being on my tummy. So now the furthest I roll is on to my side and then back again. I much prefer sitting up which I learnt around 6 months. It took me until 7 months to get the balance to stay sat up for any length of time.

I don't want to crawl. It's not fun. I'd rather sit with my toys or stand up. Standing up is great fun! I have to hold on to Mummy, a toy or a table but it's much better than crawling or rolling! Besides once I start crawling Mummy will stop fetching my toys and that's a game I enjoy way too much to give up.

I learnt to blow raspberries thanks to one of my Aunties (you know who you are!) when I was about 4 months old and since then I also developed a talent for sticking my tongue out as soon as I detect a camera in the room. Mummy paid for professional pictures of me, and all but one of them I had my tongue out!

I was 4 months when I started trying solids, I couldn't wait until 6 months. I just wanted food and once or twice tried to take food off Mummy. I used to love eating carrots or tomato and blowing raspberries. A mouth full of carrot can stain clothes, bibs and even my mouth like nothing else! Mummy wasn't very impressed with that trick, so now I only do it if I'm in a bad mood. It's my way of telling Mummy I don't want to sit in my high chair, I don't like bibs and I definitely don't like have my face wiped after dinner.

My favourite foods are pasta, tomato, banana, cheese and yoghurt. Although these tend to change dependent on whether mummy has bought a lot of my favourites. I then decide that I like something else. For example my favourite food was scrambled egg, until Mummy bought a truck load of eggs, so I promptly decided I don't like scrambled eggs and so Mummy had to eat all the eggs.

My favourite books are Guess How Much I Love You & One Ted Fell Out Of Bed. My favourite toys are my door bouncer, my activity center/walker and my mummys mobile phone. I have a favourite teddy called 'Goodnight Bear' I suck on his ears or his hands for comfort. All the white fur is now grey, and no matter how much mummy washes him he never gets white again.

I found my voice a while back, but I'm just about mastering copying certain sounds. So I can go Bababababa over and over while Mummy says 'Not Baba, Mama'. Oh yes and this Christmas my Auntie who came to visit me for Christmas taught me to clap. I'd like to thank her for that, because now every time I clap I can demand cheering and clapping from Mummy. It really lifts my mood when I'm getting bored of eating, sleeping, playing and babbling.

Well that's it for now folks, I'm really tired and probably need a nap. So I'm going to grizzle for a bit and then give my mummy a cuddle so she knows I'm ready for a sleep. If you have any questions for me let mummy know in the comments and I'll be sure to answer them all for you.

Thank You. Raspberries, slobbery kisses and giggles from me! xoxo