Little Pink Teacup

Little Pink Teacup: September 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

Naomi and Nicole shapewear



In a stark contrast to today's other post, but in no way undermining it, I have a little body-confidence-inspired review for you.

If you follow me on Twitter then you may know that this week I am under-taking a bit of an image change; I'm having what I anticipate will be about six-inches cut off of my hair, a huge step for myself. My personal image is on my mind a lot at the moment now that I've had my second and almost undoubtedly last child, how do I, as a woman, regain some confidence within myself? Myself as a person and not just mummy?

Pregnancy was kind to me and I was back in my size 12 clothes almost immediately after having Bear though I will admit there are a few more lumps and bumps than there used to be, not that I mind, had I not got back in my clothes, I wouldn't of been bothered. To sooth out some of those bumps when wearing my unforgiving business-lady dresses (oh yes, bet you didn't know I had to wear those on occasion), I've had a little bit of sneaky help.

I already own a few bits of shape wear to suck in this or that. There's a reason for this; I'm a really weird shape. I'm an 'hourglass' figure typically but below my waist, my hips draw in creating a natural 'muffin top' (normally when your excess wobbly bits overhang the waist band of a garment). My hips are much narrower than my waist and so I have a little roll sitting atop of them and then what I consider to be generous thighs (insert wink here). Because of my weird shape, a lot of dresses don't fit me quite right, so I use shape wear to ensure that I get a good fit out of my fashion. There's nothing worse than trying to exude confidence when talking to other business-owners when inside you know you're rolls are on full display in an unforgiving, little, black dress.

The Naomi and Nicole rear-lifting, high-waisted boy short is a clever bit of undergarment kit that smooths out your tummy whilst lifting your bottom so that you get the best of both worlds. The garment stretches all the way up to just below your bosom, ensuring no unsightly overhang just below your bra and 'shorts-style' legs to keep your thighs in check too!

Here are my before and afters...


And now my pros and cons.

Pros.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Smooths and shapes.
- Creates a 'stream-lined' silhouette.

Cons.
- Because I'm taller than average, I found the legs to not reach the full way down my thighs and so it was visible where they 'cut into' me a little bit beneath my leggings.

The rear-lifting, high-waisted boy shirt by Naomi and Nicole is priced at £32.50 and is available from mytights.com

Clare 

Please note I was provided this item for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Food Poverty


Last week my community midwife told me that 4000 children in my town of Eastbourne go to bed hungry every night. 4000 in what I consider to be quite an affluent area of the country. I was horrified and saddened by the idea of a child, any child, going hungry but especially right on my doorstep. In this day and age, how is it acceptable for a child to not be eating? When we live in a world of excess.

She then went on to tell me that, as a community midwife, she's been in some of these homes (because apparently not being able to feed the children that you have doesn't stop some people from having more) and that quite often the parents aren't going without. Cigarettes, alcohol and (yes I know it's a cliche but...) giant televisions. I can believe it, too. When I was a college student I worked for Tesco and regularly accepted food tokens for milk and bread (which you are entitled to if you're on a very low income) and then would serve the same people cigarettes and cans of lager. I was never sure which shocked me the most aged seventeen; that they would rather smoke and drink than spend the little money that they had on the three children in tow, or that they had such a blatant lack of shame to make it so apparent by buying their personal items right after spending their government-funded benefits to feed their offspring.

Call me a cold, heartless, judgemental cow if you wish, but I don't believe it's right to be buying such luxuries if you have to rely on milk vouchers to feed the children you brought into the world. Children are purely a selfish experience, nobody HAS to have children in this day and age, the population will not die out if you don't reproduce, you are doing no service to the world...nobody NEEDS to have a baby but everyone should have the right to do so should they wish but surely it's only fair on them to do so only if you believe you have the means to take care of them properly.

I'm not saying that you should only have children if you can 'afford' them, none of us can plan for the bumps in the road that might lie ahead, and I can speak from personal experience of making a budget stretch, of looking at the contents of the fridge and worrying if we'll make it to the next food shop which is always on a very strict, fixed price of £50 a week for two adults, toddler and now a newborn.

So what do we do about this situation? This food poverty that is so, so real and right in front of our faces? Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver already tried to tackle the issue and received a lot of anger because of it (at least his heart was in the right place, as a parent, he couldn't bare the thought of children going hungry, of children suffering...it's not his fault he has absolutely no idea how to live on the breadline) and the BBC did a show a month or two ago about teaching people on limited incomes how to feed themselves well. Not one of the three chefs they featured could shop for a decent meal with the daily budget these people live on.

The Liberal Democrats have the right idea giving free school lunches to infant-school-age children as of next year. I know that a lot of people are negative, don't want them, etc. whatever. You don't have to accept them, you don't want the saving? Then carry on giving your child packed lunch, it's a personal choice. I saw someone wrote on Twitter at the time that they didn't want free school lunches as they had a hot meal at dinner time as a family. That's great but...am I the only person that thinks there's nothing wrong with two hot meals in a day? I often give Moo a hot lunch and a hot dinner (sometimes she'll have a hot breakfast of porridge too), am I doing something wrong?

But free lunches for 5-7 year-olds isn't going to save the world, more needs to be done, where do we start? I don't really know what to do on a national scale but I do know that there are already charities out there trying to help.


So I've decided that next month I'm going to do something about it. Next month I am going to apply to volunteer at my local food bank. I don't have a lot of money, I can't financially help anyone, but I can give my time, my experience and above all, myself. Christmas is coming, it's going to get busy there and I for one can't sit at home or out for coffee with my friends, essentially doing nothing, when I know what I know now.

I'd love to know your thoughts on everything I've talked about here today, good or bad...please comment below with them if you'd like to share them.

Clare

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Parenting with Anxiety

I have always been of a nervous disposition, ever since I was a child. I was shy, withdrawn, paranoid and socially awkward. There was a reason for this, it's not one that I wish to share just yet (if at all). As I got older, left school and went to college, I pushed through it all and for a few years, managed to grab ahold of some semblance of a normal life, free from irrational and unfounded fears. I say 'free', I still dreaded going to work, thinking I was in trouble. I'd done nothing wrong, I liked my job, it paid well, and had been given no warning that I was in trouble...yet every shift, I had butterflies thinking that I had forgotten/missed something.

It's a horrible, horrible way to live and sabotaged many an opportunity. 

Looking back, I'm impressed with myself, with what I achieved and the progression I made in my career before becoming pregnant with Moo, I handled some difficult things whilst working with children and I know that the me now would struggle with some of the things I encountered back then. Looking at myself now, I wouldn't think I was the same person.

My first pregnancy wasn't so bad, but once she was born, I was struck with the most awful fear of everything. The first night I brought her home, I cried for about half-an-hour worrying over her inverted jaw and whether or not she'd be bullied at school. I barely slept the first week for fear of SIDS and I'm sure that it was exhaustion that got me through the first six months of her life with sleep. I couldn't get down the stairs without imagining falling and dropping her, of hurting her...and then as she grew, it expanded to myself. I find it difficult to walk down the street for fear of falling into the road, I don't drive for fear I might have an accident and harm someone else...a rarely eat when alone in the house in case I choke...becoming a mother brought a whole new realm of fear to my life...one that has upped it's game since having a second baby. The constant fear of the dreaded SIDS is back, despite my religious following of all of the advice and guidelines...I still imagine falling down the stairs, or my new one, dropping him over the banister in the dark and the butterflies in my tummy when I think I'm in 'trouble' extend to all destinations...friends and relatives houses included.

I know that mental-health problems are quite openly discussed in parenting circles and I do talk to my parent friends about my anxiety but it doesn't stop me from feeling like a failure and it doesn't stop the constant paranoid that any day, any second, I could lose one or both of them to something I can't protect them from.

I wish I could tell you what my coping mechanisms are, how I control it...but I homestly don't have an answer...I just do. I have two options; collapse into a puddle of quivering fear on the floor and try to hide from it all, or I can stand up tall, accept that what happens, will happen and be the best mother I can be to the children that I chose to bring into the world. I get up, I go to work, I earn my money and set an example to the people that I selfishly gave birth to. I show them that you can overcome your past, that you can get through things and that having a problem, doesn't mean hat your life has to stop, in fact, it should dive you harder to carry on.

I'm not a gracious loser and yes, I live in fear constantly, but I like to think that I parent with the best of them! I am winning at this and my anxiety knows it...and is running scared!

Clare

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Nonabox - September

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post here on the new Baby Box craze that had hit the UK. 


I was recently fortunate enough to receive a Nonabox to review and was really very excited. A few other parent bloggers that I follow had posted reviews on their blogs and I had been very careful not to ruin the surprise for myself.



My first impression was that it was beautifully packaged in it's trademark purple and silver box with silver ribbon. I'm a sucker for a good bit of packaging! Inside the contents were wrapped with a single sheet of tissue paper, hoorah! No excess wastage!

Initially I was quite impressed with the contents, and for a lower price I'd of been more impressed, however, compared to the press release I was given for my previous post, it was a little disappointing. The blurb stated that each Nonabox contained 7-10 products, however mine only contained 6, one of which being a sample and not a full-sized product and even at the most premium price that I could find, the items didn't add up to the promised £70, which, if I had purchased this myself I would've been quite unhappy about. I've since discovered that there was an error in both the press-release and the box, with the worth of the box estimated at between £40-70 (depending on which box you have, there is a variance of twenty-three different kinds of box you could receive dependnt on your baby's age) and that unfortunately my box was one of a small amount sent in error containing only six products. 


Here's what was inside...

Cloud B Aroma Sleep Sheep Pillow £34
A cute and cuddly sleeping-ad pillow that's lavender scented. My toddler really liked this and nabbed it before I was given the chance to ask if she would like it as obviously with a newborn, I am limited to what I put in his crib due to the SIDS risk. It's not an unpleasant smell and the option to remove the scent is there so it's quite a nice little product for an older baby or toddler.

MAM Self-sterilising, anti-colic bottle £6.99
Not really sure what to make of this proud, it's a good idea in theory and I'll definitely try it when Bear's a little bit older but as we're great-feeding and he's still so young, it will have to be something we return to look at in a Opel of months.

Bibetta Reversable Bib £5.50
Was unfortunately sent a girl's bib but am a fan of Bibetta and their products so will most likely use it regardless when we reach weaning in a few months. It's a good, sturdy bib with an innovative design.


Water Wipes 60p plus additional £1 off voucher
These are a great product that I have found to be really handy when Moo has an 'accident', they are great quality that you can feel a difference to normal wipes, it's just a game it's only a sample pack.

Nuerer's Organic Nursing Tea £4.95
I'm a sucker for herbal teas and infusions, being of a barista background through work I have tried many different kinds so I'm looking forward to trying this.

Gumigem Teething Bangle £8.95
I have really, really wanted to try one of these for ages and so this is the product I am most excited about! Can't wait to wear it!


So here's my pros and cons...

Pros.
- A great way to try new, trusted products.
- Lovely customer service, everyone at Nonabox is very nice, open and positive.
- The majority of other boxes I have seen online for older babies have been really impressive with a variety of products.
- Great presentation.

Cons.
- I believe I have a newborn box so products are going to be somewhat limited at this age.
- Although it's stated the boxes are targeted to you and your child, I received what i consider to be a girl's bib when I have a boy.


I think that perhaps this is something that parents of older babies would get more out of as obviously as children grow they can experience more, whereas newborns are restricted to what they can have due to strict safety instructions.

Did you subscribe? What did you get?

Clare

Please note, I recieved my Nonabox box for the purposes of review. All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.


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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tesco A/W13 Collection

It's no secret that I love a bargain and growing up in south-east Hertfordshire you're never short of one as it's the homeland of supermarket giant Tesco! I have, for many years, bought clothing from across the brands that Tesco stock, in fact one of the best winter coats I ever owned was from my local supermarket back home in Cheshunt (a textured, black wool number A/W 2006). 

I find the quality of F+F clothing to be incredibly high; it maintains colour and shape when washing as well as lasting far longer than your typical 'budget' high street equivalent. As an example, I have a black cardigan that I again bought in 2006, I adore this cardy, it is the perfect shape for my hour-glass figure with three-quarter-length sleeves and is a great all-rounder for dressing up or down. I've owned it for seven years, wearing it typically at least once a week...I am yet to replace a button, mend a hole or confine it to the 'clothes that have shrunk and I will one day fit in again' drawer and it's STILL black. Not grey. Not off-black. Black. Black black. Not bad or what I think at the time was £8!

So you can imagine how giddy with exitement I was when they got in contact to ask if I'd like to give some of their children's clothes a whirl (and maybe a little something for myself). So I browsed the easy-to-use site (I work pretty much exclusively online using just my tablet, some websites don't work well) for a variety of items for both Moo and Bear (Bear it being born at the time).

Starting with Moo I wanted to get her a little outfit that she could wear to a variety of places (such is life for a busy three-year-old) such as soft play, nursery or visiting relatives. She also needed new wellies and I happened to find the perfect pair.





Which I paired with these super-cute faux-pocket leggings(£6-7) in dusty pink and soft, lace-front sweater(£8-9). The leggings are a really skinny fit (which is great for us as Moo is really skinny), however her great-grandmother struggled to pull them up for her so perhaps the fit could be a smidgen less snug! I cannot praise the sweater enough! Despite the fact that it is cream and has delicate detailing on the front, it washes up a dream! Moo covered herself in marinara sauce whilst wearing it and I almost cried, thinking it ruined. Nope. All came out in the wash, first time. Phew!


Tesco also stock a wide range of character-wear, including Disney and Peppa Pig (they've got lots of Sofia and DocMcstuffins) which is great for toddlers and at a much better price than if you were to go direct to the brand stores themselves.

Please forgive the dribble...

For Bear, I got a couple of little outfits; turn-up chinos(£6) and a elbow-patch, waffle-knit jumper(£7) as well as ribbed-waist jeans(£4) and a skull-and-cross-bones long-sleeved t-shirt (because in case you missed the memo, we're all about the rock'n'roll here at Casa Teacup). Sadly the skull top seems to of sold out so here's the same but bicycle-print(£3) which I actually like slightly more (and just purchased). All of these items washed and dried wonderfully, however I will say that the neck-hole on the jumper could be slightly wider as the smallest button fastens it a bit too tight for my liking.



I picked up this three-pack of little socks(£3) to keep his tootsies warm; he wore the skulls with the skulls (sorry, overkill) and the oh-so-adorable sneaker-print pair with his snugly jumper!




Finally I treated myself to this beautiful, maroon bird-print snood(£5) which I've had loads of compliments on. I usually team it with a broach, cardy and ballet-pumps.

I can see already that a vast amount of my winter-wardrobe will be coming from F+F this year, and some of the children's stocking-fillers too. I'm a super for good-value for money and to know that I can still get great quality and long-lasting fashion at a very reasonable price, reassures me that I can have that little bit extra cash to spend on other things like food shopping and rising utility bills.

Do you shop supermarket chic? Do you think it offers better value than certain 'budget' high-street retailers?

Clare

Please note I was sent all items mentioned for the purpose of review, however all opinions and finings are 100% my own.


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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Adjusting to Life with a Newborn Again

Oh Heavens I had forgotten what life with a newborn is like; squishy, lovely, surreal, euphoric, heavenly...I love him oh so much, he is a new part of my world that was previously made of his father and his sister. They are everything.

But then there's also all the really, really hard stuff.

Like spending my time at home wandering around with one or both breasts out of at least my bra if not my bra and top, or forgetting how long it's been since I last washed my hair (I think I'm on day eight...yes, I repulse myself).

Looking back to my pregnancy, especially the last few weeks, I foolishly thought that this would be the easy bit, that carrying him was hard and it would all be smooth sailing so long as we were both healthy after birth. How very wrong I was.

Sure, it hurt to get in the shower, but I managed it, I had time for it and I definitely never forgot how long it had been since I did it. In those last weeks I lived in leggings and vest tops for comfort and make-up and I were basically estranged. Now my 'slap' is a distant memory and I'm still living in 'Jeremy Kyle-worthy' attire because it's the only thing I can breast feed in/hides baby and toddler sick/wee/poo/vomit/food...let's not even talk about the dust gathering on my GHDs.

Yesterday I even went to the registry office with breast milk on my top and baby wee on my leggings.

I recently turned to my good friend who's eldest is Moo's age and youngest just turned a year, I told her that I didn't know how I was ever going to get anywhere ever again. She laughed and reassured me that it did get easier...but I was relieved that the fact I've tuned into Godzilla-Mummy was totally normal (at least he thought so).

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love my children. They are all I have ever wanted...I just had no clue it would be so hard having a newborn in the house again, or rather, trying to slot a newborn into our lives.

Also...is it normal for a two-week-old baby to guff this much?!

Clare

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Monday, 23 September 2013

My Story Monday - Bear

Happy Monday everyone! Today I'm going to tell the birth story of my second child, Bear (or Baby Bear as we call him as he's currently such a squidge). He was long-awaited as everyone was so sure he would arrive early...but was in fact thirteen days overdue (and only came then because he was forcibly evicted), so here's his little slice of drama...

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know how desperate I was to have this baby out of me, but as my midwife kept saying...I was too good of a host and he was clearly very cozy in there. I really didn't want o be induced, in fact, I was terrified of it and the after care I might receive as a result of ending up at the Conquest hospital in Hastings. I tried everything to get the little pudding out but no such luck sadly and so on the morning of Saturday September 7th, the husband and I found ourselves doing a 7am ASDA run for snacks, magazines and treats after dropping Moo off for a very tears goodbye.

We arrived not long after eight and were almost immediately shown to the room on the pre-natal ward that was for women being induced. There were two others there; another woman from Eastbourne who was being induced early because of problems with her loos pressure (poor thing, she was quite poorly) and a young girl from Horam who was really unimpressed at the fact shed been there 24 hours and nothing was happening for her. I got the impression she was quite young from her attitude (she was also a smoker, ick).

I was given the prostin and left to my men devices, we witnessed the other lady (who was on the drip) go into labour and head off for delivery, leaving us to watch bad TV on the ridiculously-charged screen above the bed and entertain ourselves. Food was disgusting, husband had to fend for himself...we took a couple of walks but it was freezing, ended up in the coffee sop spending more money than needed.

At some point in the late afternoon I started to get pains but they were nothing  much to write one about...and by 7pm husband suggested he go home and get some rest in case he had to return in the middle of the night (they were going to kick him off at 9pm and the drive is about 40mins). I said that was probably a good idea, not much was happening, so off he went, leaving me alone, feeling a bit sad and teary but I figured I too could use the sleep.

Half an hour later or so things started getting a bit painful so I wen and asked for some paracetamol. It had no effect so about nine I buzzed for the midwife...I was in quite a bit of pain by this point and running my own back through contractions (which is very difficult). She examined me and said I was only 2-3cm and that it might not be 'real', she'd get me a script for some pethedine. I said that was fine though when she returned, it was without the drugs, saying all the doctors were in surgery, I'd have to wait. So wait I did and it was agonising. I'm convinced she still didn't believe I was in labour. Ninety minutes after she examined me, she finally brought the injection and administered it without re-examining me (this is where I think thins started to go wrong). She reassured me that if it was real t would take the edge off, if it wasn't it'd knock me out and I'd get good sleep ready to try again tomorrow. Did it knock me out? Yes...but each contraction re-awoke me and they were agonising. I buzzed again, begging for help (this is where I totally lost my dignity and I'm so ashamed) and she agreed to monitor me. I'm not really sure what happened next, I know that at one point I was asking someone to get my husband, pleading with them that I needed him and I was in and out. All I know is that the midwife was shaking me awake to tell me a midwife had come from labour with a wheelchair to take me to delivery and that I could call my husband (from my own phone, charming) when I got there and found out what was going on. Like I said, my dignity was completely gone by this stage, I was moaning and begging for help and whining like a child (seriously, I'm so embarrassed)...and as I was being wheeled I felt the desperate need to push so I said 'I really need the toilet...I don't want to poo myself'. They started to wheel me a little faster and when I got in the room I rushed to the bathroom, being called out to by my new midwife to 'please be careful'.

Collapsing on the bed, really unsure of what was happening, the midwife told me to call my husband before she examined me...I think she could tell I was close. So I rang his mobile twice and got no answer so bit the bullet and called the landline without a clue what the time was (it was 12:54am), this waking my daughter, husband, mother-in-law and her partner. I shouted 'you need to come now' at my husband before hanging up on him...I had to follow with a text that read 'delivery' so he went to the right ward. Smooth. I know.

I was then examined and panic ensued. My midwife turned to to her student shadow and told her to get more help and a doctor, the baby's heartbeat wasn't right...and I remember not panicking, just thinking that I was so desperately out of control of it all...as the doctor came in and a floor of other women, my midwife told her that I was fully dilated, waters 'bulging' (I know...ew) and that the heartbeat was at fifty. The doctor instructed her to break the waters and at that point I started to tell about pushing, she very calmly shrugged and said 'well go on then'. The normal me probably would've punched her for being so incredibly blase about the whole thing.


With three pushes and at 1:06am Baby Bear entered the world, seven minutes after I was examined and twelve after I was permitted to call my husband. Remember I said home was forty-minutes away? Yeah...my husband missed the whole event...ran in twenty-five minutes later to a lot of blood, a lot of people and both his wife and baby in shock. He was slightly unimpressed, mainly because he was distressed at the thought of me doing the whole thing 'alone'. At 5am they transferred me to the post-natal ward and my husband was asked to leave to return at 9, so he drove home. Again.

Luckily we were discharged at 2pm that day after some not-unpleasant but certainly not attentive after-care on the ward and he has settled into life at one nicely...though I wish he'd stop spitting up all over me!



Clare

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Friday, 20 September 2013

NodPod

I love a snugly blanket as much as anyone but for me with my dry, sensitive skin, I'm quite fussy when it comes to buying bedding, especially where my children (more specifically my newborn) are concerned. I'm especially picky with my son, not just because of his delicate skin, but because I spend a lot of time picking up, swaddling him and wrapping him up, especially now that the weather is turning to autumn (yay). Some poorer quality fleece blankets can scratch against my skin, and even some more expensive cotton blankets I've previously bought from well-known high-street names have been abandoned in favour of the home-made blankets that were given to us.


The NodPod is a stylish, shaped little blanket that allows you to wrap your little one up all snugly and warm without the need for lots of excess fabric getting tangled in the way. It's a blanket, with legs and hood to ensure that your baby's little limbs are kept nice and warm. At each side are additional pieces of blanket to wrap around baby, keeping their arms nice and close (like swaddling). The shape is perfect for use in the pram, car seat or sling (I've done the first two so far), without the need to extra fussiness and allowance for straps, you just wrap, clip-in and go! Unlike a regular blanket, you know that baby is and remains as covered as he or she was when you put them in their mode of transportation, rather than wondering of blankets have bunched or a leg is dangling out!

The NodPod isn't exclusive to being out and about, it is just as effective inside a cot, crib or Moses basket, still keeping your babe snug and cozy and has rapidly become my go-to blanket of choice if I need to nip out to the garden to tend to my toddler or whenever we leave the house. Here are my pros and cons...



Pros.
- Washes well (maintains it's shape and softness) and is fast-drying.
- Soft to touch.
- The shape allows baby to stay warm.
- Difficult for baby to wriggle out of.
- Suitable for use with straps, slings and everything inbetween.

Cons.
- Can swamp a tiny newborn as difficult to get them to straiten their legs, blanket available in sizes 0-6 or 6-12 months.
- Because of shape, may not be suitable for longer (taller) babies.


The NodPod can be found at Beebies Baby Store in both sizes in a choice of blue, white and pink  from £23.

Clare

Please note, I was gifted this NodPod by the kind people of Beebies Baby Store, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Second Child

Having a baby is a big change in anyone's life; whether it's your first or your fifth. Towards the end of my pregnancy with Bear, I started to worry that I might not be able to love him as much as I loved Moo. The love I have for my daughter, as with any parent and child, is immeasurable and I struggled to understand how I could possibly have room in my heart or another.

When he was born. I'll be honest, put my hands up and say, that or the first hour I was in such shock from the birth, I didn't know how I felt when I looked at him. I wasn't over-whelmed with love or emotion when I gazed at him, though I know that I loved him, was proud of him...but it didn't come flooding over me like it had our first, perhaps it was the trauma, I don't know. Whatever it was, it quickly passed and I love the little squidge with everything that I have.

It's hard, having a second baby. Harder than having the first...emotionally and physically. When Moo was born I could sit and stare at her for hours with nowhere to be, nothing to do...just sit in with her or go for a walk with her...but with Bear I don't have that luxury...I have to divide my attention, attempt to maintain constant and steady stimulation to a toddler and be every thing I was before, plus more!  I am still my daughter's teacher, dresser, put-to-bedder, chef, entertainer and everything in between whilst breast-feeding and bonding with a new baby who needs me. 

When I was younger I used to look after a brother and sister. She was the eldest at seven, he was five and I remember the favouritism being so apparent that some days it would bring me to tears to witness. Their mother adored the son, showered him with love and praise whilst the daughter was constantly left on the outside. I hated their mother for it and now more so as a parent myself. Now the mother of two, I understand slightly how and why she felt that way; it is so, so easy to get cross and impatient with your eldest when a new baby comes along. Moo has been trying at times in the past week, waking in the night and refusing to go back to bed because I'm up with her brother, or blatantly not listening to instructions...and let's not even discuss the lack of bladder control that's suddenly taken over her. Team that with the hormones, the sleep deprivation and exhaustion of being a new mum, I've never been such an impatient parent in my life (well, maybe the last days of pregnancy). I'm struggling emotionally because as soon as I snap at her, I instantly regret it, the guilt takes over. The other day she was in the throws of a colossal tantrum and I shouted 'bed' at her so loudly, I frightened myself. When your eldest is behaving like that, and then you have this perfect little baby that does no wrong, it is so, so easy to wish you could just get away from the 'naughty' one for a few minutes.

That's not the parent I want to be, that's not the parent that I am. How do people do it? I have a new-found respect for single mothers and the parents of large families...I genuinely don't know how I would cope without my husband (and because of his work, he's around a lot).

I spend a huge portion of my day sat worrying over whether or not I'm good enough a parent to do this. Am I? Does it get easier or will I get better? I try so hard to be a good mother to both, to encourage Moo and show her thati love her as much as I always have, and she is a very happy child, but I worry.

It does get easier, right?

Clare

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Funky Giraffe Bibs


I was fortunate enough recently to be offered a chance to try out something lovely by the very trendy people over at Funky Giraffe Bibs.

I never tried bandana bibs with Moo, when I saw other children in them at playgroups, I thought they looked large, awkward and stiff! This was three years ago and while their popularity as a must-have baby accessory has grown, so has the design!



Funky Giraffe bandana bibs are cute, sleekly-shaped and well-made. They're such a good size that even on my newborn, they don't look too-large for his little body (the multiple poppers make for easy re-adjusting too)! Bear has been living in his pretty much since he came home as he's such a hungry hippo and is a bit of a dribbler (no shame son, no shame) and I love them! He looks super cute in them and they whip away the dribble and that awful, watery, newborn milk sick really quickly without getting saturated (I hate hate HATE a soggy bib). The frontage is cotton and the back polyester so it absorbs the moisture really well so that baby's neck and chin don't get sore.

He's had quite a few compliments on them too, ranging from 'this is nice' to 'he looks such a dude'...which he is. The bibs are designed in such a way that they stand out without being garish and come in a huge variety of prints such as stars, stripes and little motifs, you can also get holiday themed ones!

Since I've started using the bandana bibs, I've been reluctant to use any other kind and so now I have to buy more (oh, the horror but three simply won't suffice)! Here are my pros and cons...



Pros.
- Printed rather an embroidered. I HATE embroidered bibs for one very simply reason; they're useless. You cannot mop up milk, vomit, dribble or spit with a bib that has a gigantic Donald Duck stitched on it, all you do is slap your baby in the face with a very hard, course image of a cartoon character. 
- Fabric-backed as opposed to plastic. See the above...plastic backed bibs are equally rubbish for mopping up fluids.
- Very attractive and stylish.
- Slim-fitting, even on a newborn.
- Adjustable to suit a wide-range of neck sizes.
- Wash very well (at 30 which is the recommended highest temperature) and dry very quickly too (my tumble dryer and I don't have a lot of contact but I know he's there if ever I'm in a jam).

Cons.
- I don't have any cons for the bibs themselves, I think they're fab, however the website can be a little tricky to navigate on my tablet.

They've got some fantastic pricing on the website at the moment such as five bibs for £11 (bargain) or why not personalise your own bib (£5 each or 3 for £12).

Funky Giraffe also have a range of other products such as moccasins, burp cloths and hats.


Baby Moccasins £7.

Clare

Please note these bibs were sent to me for the purpose of review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Gigging Outfit on a Budget


With Autumn now approaching and my body being a baby-free zone once more, my thoughts have turned to the colder months ahead and the plans that the husband and I have; we've got tickets to a few concerts coming up and I am looking through my clothes thinking 'its time'. You see, I don't buy clothes often. In fact, for me to buy myself anything is pretty unusual...I'm not a martyr, I just don't buy unless I need; this can have it's downsides as I often wear things to death.

It's not that I don't enjoy shopping, I love shopping and I love spending money, it's the guilt that sets in after...the 'I should've put that towards xyz for Moo'.

But I've just had a baby, I'm feeling un-body-confident again (in pregnancy I tend to embrace the bump but outside of it, I'm quite self-conscious) and I think that it's high time I bought myself a few basics to update for this A/W. So I started shopping...and I only got as far as H&M...

What can I say about this season other than...damn. It's beautiful. Women's and children's wear had me salivating so I've thrown together this little number which I think is suitable for travelling and gigging...



Super-stretch treggings £12.99
Crinkle scarf £4.99
Oversized top £6.99
Loafers £14.99
Bag £19.99
Braided belt £1.99
iPhone case £3.99
Lip pencil £2.99
Nail polish £2.99

If I were to buy this entire outfit (little accessory and cosmetic treats included) it'd cost me £71.91. How often can you say that you can buy an entire look for under £75? Not too often. Oh, and yes...I know treggings don't actually require a belt, but it's cute and you can always sling it around your hips for a bit of texture!


And because I'm not 100% selfish (and my children are equally as rock and roll as I am), here's a couple of on-trend children's looks suitable for rocking...or playing, yknow...whichever they prefer (in Bear's case, sleeping and looking cute).


Denim jacket £14.99

Dress £7.99
Ballet pumps £5.99
Leggings £3.99
Bows £1.99

Chinos £5.99
Shirt £5.99

I'm loving Autumnal fashion at the moment, how about you?

Clare

Please note this is not a sponsored post but something I stumbled upon independently whilst shopping. All images belong to H&M United Kingdom.

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Monday, 16 September 2013

My Story Monday - An Announcement

Happy Monday everyone!!

Just a quick one today, I'm sure you can all guess what I'm about to say...I'd like to introduce to you the latest addition to our family; Baby Bear!



He was born in Hastings on Sunday September 8th at 1:06am weighing a chunky 8lbs11oz! Big boy!

I'll post his birth story next Monday (definitely come back, it's a cracker) so until then, here he is; long awaited and very much loved (especially by Moo).



Clare

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Friday, 13 September 2013

Judgement of Children's Size

I get a lot of comments on Moo's appearance.

"Isn't she tall?"
"She's so thin!"
"She not keen on food?"
"Do you struggle to get her to eat?"
"She's not got much hair."

Yes, she's tall and no, she's not a bad eater, in the slightest...in fact, I've not quite seen a child who can put it away quite like my daughter.

Moo is tall, yes, but so am I. I stand at 5'8" and my father is over 6'. My brother-in-law is also well over the six-foot mark as are their cousins (my husband is the shortest at 5'9"). Moo has obviously inherited this (along with my husbands fine, blonde hair, my big feet and our joint large noses) and yes, it does make her stand out a little bit. We cannot meet new people without hearing about how tall she is for two, someone recently said she looked about five (bit of an over-step in my opinion but okay).

It's not just her height that draws attention, but her size in general. She has a teeny waist and very long, thin legs. She is incredibly slim, so much so that on more than one occasion, she's had to of been made an 'emergency belt' when her trousers have continuously fallen down. Trousers are a nightmare; if they fit her waist, they're far too small in length and anything long enough (even her own age) is usually too big around the middle. Elasticated leggings are my friends and she lives in them...and dresses though they pose their own problem. More often than not we end up with a too-short, potato sack situation.

So why is she so thin? Do I starve her? Ha! Fat chance, that child is addicted to the fridge! This is a child that multiple times in the last month has had two breakfasts.

She is very active, it's not often youll see her sat still or even quiet. She started walking at nine month this and has seemingly not stopped since. She is constantly moving and even before she could roll over, she was constantly shaking her arms and legs around! Health visitors and doctors have never seen a problem with her, she's within normal centiles on the growth charts and is a happy, healthy little girl who enjoys swimming, climbing and football.

But comments on her weight hurt. The look on people's faces as she runs around in a dress that hangs around her skinny frame, as they tell me how thin she looks. Yes, I know how slim she is, I'm her mother, I give her a bath everyday. She has a healthy diet and I certainly don't withhold treats and nice things from her (I don't throw them at her either).

With this in mind, I wonder if those same people regard larger children with the same sort of sympathy and judgement. Surely, it would only be fair that they look upon a bigger-framed child with the mind of abuse like they do my daughter. It's clear that people think I don't feed her properly, that maybe I even neglect her so obviously, a larger child would provoke further thoughts of abuse, yes?

Do I think that if a parent is responsible for their pre-schooler being over-weight, it is a form of abuse? Well, actually, I do. Under-fives are incredibly vulnerable and have no control what-so-ever over what they out in their mouths, they are given the food that they eat. If a child is over weight because of his or her lifestyle then yes, I believe that to be a form of neglect. Do I look at every larger child thinking that they have a poor diet? No and I wouldn't expect you to, either. There are children who are naturally larger just like how mine is naturally thinner and their parents don't deserve judgement.

As for Moo's hair...the day it reaches her shoulders, I may cry...I'll no doubt be retired by then!

Clare

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Moo's Birthday; a shopping list

When it comes to toys, Moo has them practically coming out of her ears. When you have so many relatives, it's impossible not to be inundated with toys and as a toddler, it's overwhelming. She's becoming increasingly difficult to shop for at Christmas and birthday. Last year the husband and I did both Paris and Florida so ended up buying her a lot that we couldn't get in the UK.

This years she's three (where did my baby go?) and so she's becoming a 'big girl'. NanNan has bought her some big girl trainers as she was due new shoes, Grandma and Grandpa have bought her a very grown-up charm bracelet and children's perfume for her to be like mummy...and we have got...nothing. Zilch. Nada.

It's going to get to crunch time, I know it...we'll have to think of something...in the mean time, I've been looking around and so far I've found these little odds and ends...



Top: Sofia the First wipe clean book £6 Disney Store. Middle; Beatrix Potter complete collection £24.80 Amazon. Bottom; Lego Duplo deluxe brick box £28 Amazom. Centre; Top and leggings set £28-34 Ted Baker at Debenhams. Right; Izzy plush £15 Disney store.

Any suggestions? Anyone?

Please?

Clare

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