I think my favourite part of being a mum is watching my children explore the world around them, and experience things for the first time. On our holiday last week we took Little Man to the beach for his first play in the sand. I think he enjoyed himself, what do you think?
Hello – and thanks for stopping by on day 1 of my Blog Every Day in May Challenge (#BEDM) hosted by the lovely Rosalilium. Yes I have decided that the answer to my sporadic blogging is to challenge myself to blogging each day for the month of May – thats 31 posts, one per day. There are some prompts for each day – some I’ll follow, and other days I’ll do my own thing.
So the prompt for day 1, is Introduce Yourself which seems like a pretty good place to start! I’m Jo, I’m 33 and I am Mummy to my two little munchkins. The Girl is 4 and starts school in September. She goes to nursery 5 mornings a week and loves it. She also loves all things crafty, being outdoors and Disney Princesses! She was joined in September by The Boy who turned 7 months a couple of days ago. He is into cardboard boxes, strange coloured purees and his best friend is the baby in the mirror who we seem to bump into wherever we are. We have an almost 4 year age gap between the children which was not what we planned, but we are happy to have our family complete now.
Mr HFJ and I have been married for 5 years, and together for 14, since we met at University. We originally settled in Devon, but last year we relocated with his work and now live in North Derbyshire in the East Midlands. We are still finding our feet up here and enjoying exploring new places to visit. I’m an At Home mum at the moment and am very fortunate that we are able to make that decision. It’s something I love, although its also a challenge some days too!
You can look forward to learning lots more about us, and what we get up to over the month of May. We are off to Butlins for a holiday next week so I’ll show you what we get up to, as well as some home updates too through the month.
I can’t wait to find some new blogs to follow over the next month too. So if you’re reading please say hi so I can come and see your blogs too (and I talk to myself enough in the real world – I’d love to know that I’m talking to someone here!). Happy Reading.
After a tricky breastfeeding experience first time around with The Girl, I was apprehensive about how things might go this time around. Luckily, my experience with The Boy couldn’t be more different and now at 6 weeks old, I’m looking forward to continuing my feeding journey rather than ending it as I was with her.
The one thing I have always been nervous of is feeding in public. With ample equipment its hard to do things discretely – especially at the start when he and I are both learning the ropes.
The right clothing is essential. I’ve got a number of nursing tops, some better than others! But when I was asked if I wanted to review the breastvest, I was excited to test it and see if it was as good as it sounded!
The breastvest allows you to feed discretely while wearing your normal clothes – it turns any top into a nursing top. Here is what they say…
If you’re one of the many mums who have ever been worried about exposing your postnatal tummy when breastfeeding, or alarmed by the surprising cost of nursing tops, breastvest has literally got you covered!
breastvest is a revolutionary vest that makes any top a breastfeeding top! It was invented to make breastfeeding in public easier and to let new mums get back into their favourite clothes while still doing the best for their babies.
Created, designed, tested and approved by breastfeeding mums, breastvest is held in place by specially designed straps and sits just below your nursing bra, comfortably covering your postnatal tummy whilst offering a comfortable layer of support and modesty.
I loved the freedom that the breastvest gave me to wear my normal clothes and feel comfortable while being covered and comfortable while I was feeding. After several months of wearing maternity clothes while I was pregnant, its lovely to be able to go back to my old favourites and also pick up some new clothes without having to look in a special section of the shop! Between feeds I found the breastvest to be very comfortable, and didn’t really notice I was wearing it under my top. The black was a great choice for me as it works with most of my clothes, but I think I’ll be investing in a white one as well.
breastvest is available in sizes S, M, L and XL and comes in black or white plus a stream of Limited Edition colours and is priced at £14.99
I have one breastvest to give away to a lucky winner. To enter just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
T&C’s: This competition is open to over 18s and UK entrants only. The winner will be randomly picked by Rafflecopter after the closing date 24th November 2014. I will contact the winner by email and will allow 4 days for a reply. If I do not hear anything within this time period I reserve the right to redraw a winner. Hello From Jo’s decision is final.
Disclaimer: I was sent one breastvest worth £14.99 for the purpose of this review
The Boy is just over 2 weeks old now and we have survived the first phase of life as a family of 4. Hubby is now back at work (today is his first day) so its only me at home with the children now.
These are a few tips that have helped me with the first few weeks…
- Accept Help When Its Offered. This doesn’t come naturally to me, but this time around I’ve decided that I need to accept help. My mum and my Mother in Law have both been great at helping out around the house, whether its running the hoover around, folding laundry or cooking meals. Its been a big help.
- Involve Older Siblings. The Girl is almost 4, and so excited to be a big sister. I’ve been taking advantage of this to get her to help out with things. She is great at nappy change time. She passes me the wipes, finds a clean nappy, and talks to The Boy when he cries. She loves this and it is a great help to me too.
- Rest Rest Rest I know everyone says that you should sleep when the baby sleeps, but that’s not necessarily practical, especially with an older child. I hate napping in the day – I always feel worse when I wake up than I did before the sleep. But there is definitely a case for resting through the day. Settle down on the sofa and watch a film, read a book or catch up on the soaps. Just take the weight off your feet and rest. It will help you cope with the sleep deprivation.
- Set Up Changing Stations. I have 2 changing stations one upstairs, one downstairs. Each has a change mat (I just use this straight on the floor – I don’t use a change table), and a box or basket full of nappies, wipes, bags, nappy rash cream and a change of clothes. This means wherever I am, everything I need is easily accessible. I also make sure that every room I use, has somewhere to put The Boy down. There is a swing in the kitchen, a play mat in the lounge, and of course the crib upstairs. I keep a blanket with each of them so if I need to put baby down, perhaps to deal with The Girl, I can easily.
- Always Wash Your Hair. Ok bear with me on this one. But I have discovered that a hairdryer is a great way of calming a baby. I pop The Boy in his crib and sit down to dry my hair each morning, and he enjoys either 20 minutes of peaceful awake time, or sometimes the noise even sends him to sleep. I had forgotten that we used a white noise track with The Girl when she was a baby so this is the same idea. It also means I feel relatively human each day and look fairly presentable. The same is true for the hoover if you feel like it….
Do you have any top tips for surviving the early weeks with a newborn? Feel free to share them in the comments 🙂
Introducing our new son, born Sunday 28th September at 2.48am, 4 days after his due date. He weighed 8lb 4.5oz and is perfect.
The Boy is settling in very well and its hard to imagine life before him. The Girl is loving being a big sister and has adjusted really well.
I have so much more to share, but right now I need to go and have some more newborn cuddles!
I am very excited to have been asked to join the #AsobiAmbassadors team as a guest blogger for August. This month the Ambassadors team are reviewing products from CALAFANT and we chose to review the Horse Drawn Carriage kit.CALAFANT is made from 100% recyclable cardboard and the pre-cut, pre-punched pieces slot together easily so that children can create their own masterpieces! They are easy to build, fun to decorate and strong to play with. The kit contained all the pieces to assemble the horse and carriage, and a set of 6 felt tip pens for decorating the finished item.
As patience isn’t L’s strong point at the moment(!) I decided to assemble the pieces before I gave it to her. I’m glad I did as at just 3 the assembly would have been too fiddly for her. It was quite simple to understand and only took me 2 minutes to do and for an older child I’m sure it would be fine. I found that all the pieces fitted together perfectly and the finished model was strong and sturdy.
When L saw the horse and carriage she was thrilled with it and couldn’t wait to get started on the decoration. She enjoyed using the included colouring pens on it, and later went to get her own crayons and pencils so she could add more colours to it!
I didn’t guide her at all with the decoration, and the end result is a bright colourful model which she has been enjoying using for imaginative play. Cinderella has made several trips to the ball in the carriage, and L’s favourite toy rabbit has enjoyed being the driver!
There are a whole range of designs to choose from, from simple vehicles to whole palaces and castles which look like they would offer hours of fun for older kids. We were really impressed by how sturdy the pieces are and the finished product stands up to lots of playing.
Having sampled what CALAFANT has to offer, I’d highly recommend these kits and plan to buy some as presents for Birthdays and Christmas. I know L would like to tackle one of the larger models too – the castle is next on her wish list!
Kind Toys are offering a 20% discount off all CALAFANT products throughout September using discount code CALAFANT at the checkout so please go and have a look at the other great products available.
I’m very excited to be able to offer one lucky reader their very own CALAFANT Horse Drawn Carriage Kit. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below.
You MUST leave a comment and follow @Asobi_Toys on Twitter (compulsory entries), you can also gain extra entries as shown in the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
T&C’s: This competition is open to over 18s and UK entrants only. The winner will be randomly picked by Rafflecopter after the closing date 18th September 2014. I will contact the winner by email or Twitter and will allow 7 days for a reply. If I do not hear anything within this time period I reserve the right to redraw a winner. Hello From Jo’s decision is final.
For more reviews of Asobi products and more chances to win why not check out posts from A Mummy Too, Susan K Mann, Innocent Charms Chat, Red Rose Mummy, Real Housewife of Suffolk County and Lilinha Angel’s World.
It’s now just over 4 weeks until baby is scheduled to make his entrance into the world, and my thoughts are turning to the practical items that make life with a new baby easier and more enjoyable. As a second time mum the top of my list was muslins. Before L came along I didn’t really think they would be high on my list of useful items, but pretty quickly I came to realise that they had a multitude of uses, from mopping faces, lining cold change mats, comforters to sun shades and light blankets!
I was offered a pack of Sew Lomax Large Muslins to review and jumped at the chance. Each muslin is a whopping 100cm x 100cm and made from soft 100% cotton. They come in three colour choices, pink, blue and green and all feature some gorgeous Sew Lomax designs.
Each pack contains one safety pin print, one dummy print and one plain white with an embroidered safety pin in the corner. The set was beautifully boxed and would make a very welcome practical gift for a new mum. I chose to receive the green as I am trying to avoid having everything blue! Its a gorgeous colour and would be perfect for anyone who is expecting a surprise. The large set retails at £26 which I think is a fair price for the quality and size of these muslins. I can’t wait to use them on baby, and think they will make lovely comforters and swaddles for him. A small set of muslins is also available for £12.50 which has three 50cm square muslins in the same design.
The new range of baby essentials from Sew Lomax also includes dribble bibs and towel and flannel sets, all of which feature the same cute designs.
Emma Lomax has been taking the fashion and beauty world by storm for the last two years with her ethically produced collection of stylish wash bags & accessories and this Summer she introduced her highly anticipated baby range! Her debut collection of must-have essentials consists of beautifully designed and ethically produced muslins, dribble bibs and now baby bath time towel and flannel sets.
You can view the full debut baby collection at www.sewlomax.com
Disclosure: I was sent a pack of large muslins for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own
So it turns out that preparation for baby number 2 is about a million miles away from preparing for number 1! I’m 35 weeks now, so just 5 weeks left to go until my due date, but my preparation is nowhere near where it was at this stage last time.
I haven’t given my hospital bag any thought at all. I can’t remember what I took last time, let alone whether I used it all. I’ll be off to have a look at some other bloggers posts on the subject to start to put my list together and then get on and put it together.
These are a couple of useful posts on hospital bag essentials which I’ve saved to read.
So up until a month ago the nursery was also known as the junk room. You know the one, after you move house, where all the junk you don’t know what to do with goes in. It was a mammoth task one weekend to get it organised and cleared. Which we did. But then we started buying things for bump and its got full again! It feels too soon to take everything out of boxes but its looking a mess again. I need to rearrange things so that the clothes I’ve bought can be sorted and put away properly. I need to see what I’ve got so I can see what (if anything) I still need to buy.
Baby number 2 is a boy and we are really struggling with names. I think that boys names are harder than girls and we seem to be having a lot more debates about names this time than last. We have 2 possibles now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with something completely different by the time baby arrives.
We have moved house twice since L was born and what with the miscarriages we suffered and the very real possibility that we were going to stop at one baby, we didn’t keep much of the baby stuff from last time. I sold our pushchairs, bouncers, seats, high chair, play mats and much more at my favourite nearly new sales and baby markets. Which means we need to start again this time. I’ve managed to buy quite a bit second hand or with vouchers which has been great. Doubling up Tesco Clubcard points to spend at Tesco Direct has been fantastic for some of the bigger items.
So all in all, with just 5 weeks to go I’m not feeling terribly prepared. I also need to organise the house a bit, and fill the freezer with batch cooked food, oh and buy a present for L to give to the baby, and for baby to give to her.
Watch this space for updates!
Linking up to…
One of the best things about moving to a new area is the excitement of exploring your new surroundings. We have now been in Derbyshire for 2 months, and alongside the unpacking, sorting and meeting new people (well attempts to!), we have set aside lots of time for exploring and days out. This beautiful sunny patch we have had recently has been amazing for us as we have truly been able to enjoy all that Derbyshire and the Peak District has to offer!
Last week Little Lady and I decided we fancied a trip out and so we headed to a place close by that I had been told about – Graves Park in Sheffield. Its to the SW of the city so very handy for us. The journey only took us 15 minutes from Chesterfield which was great. When we got there we parked in the car park (40p per hour so very reasonable) and headed in to explore.
First we went to the Animal Farm which was free to get into which I thought was brilliant! We popped into the Visitors Centre and Shop and picked up a cup of animal feed for £1 and headed off to meet the animals.
LL is getting very brave when we go to farms and loves to feed the animals. She has learned to keep her hand flat and thinks its funny when the animals tickle her hand or dribble on her!! (Luckily there were lots of hand washing stations dotted around the farm!). She doesn’t seem to mind how big the animals are and gets quite annoyed when one tries to take over and stop the smaller animals from getting a share!
Of course there she was just as excited to meet the small animals too – rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens and chinchillas were among those we spotted. The hatchery was a highlight too and we saw some brand new baby chicks fresh from their eggs.
After a walk around the yard we headed down to the paddocks in search of sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and deer. LL was carefully rationing the feed so we didn’t run out too fast – much to the disgust of some of the sheep who would have eaten the lot!
Back into the Barn and we found some young goats who came to play with us. Then it was off to see the baby piglets, some were tiny, only a couple of weeks old.
Another firm favourite with LL was the tractor in the yard which she could sit on and pretend to drive. She spent ages telling me about her journey around the farm, to feed the animals with the hay in her tractor.
After we had fully explored the farm we were feeling hungry so headed across the park towards the play ground and cafe. I wished I’d brought a picnic with us as it was a lovely day and there were lots of benches around the farm to enjoy your food but we hadn’t been that organised.
The cafe (on the other side of the park) was basic but reasonable and we both enjoyed our sandwiches. Once our energy levels were back up it was off to the park! There was a great range of play equipment for all ages and she had a great time!
Finally we wore ourselves out and headed back to the car – via one last walk through the farm yard. By this time it was close to 3pm and we had managed to be there for over 3 hours. The only cost is the car parking at 40p per hour (and lunch but next time we would take a picnic). Such a great, cheap day out and somewhere I will definitely be returning to!
I’m trying to build a capsule maternity wardrobe this time around. Full of things that can be worn together and mixed and matched. As I’m not working this time its mostly casual things that I need. I thought today I would show you some of the basics that I have got already. I have really struggled to find maternity clothes instore anywhere this time around. When I was pregnant 4 years ago I was able to buy some stuff in store but now I keep being told I need to order online in most High St stores which I don’t enjoy doing so much. A large branch of H&M is the only place I have found so far to buy instore. I haven’t managed to get to a Mothercare, JoJo Maman Bébé or Mamas and Papas so far this pregnancy but I will soon. Oh and someone told me that Kiddicare do maternity clothes so that’s somewhere else I can try!
So what am I wearing lately…
More or less as soon as my 12 week scan was done and I knew everything was going well, I dug out the maternity jeans I’d kept from my previous pregnancy. A combination of an existing tummy and the baby meant that fastening myself into my normal jeans was getting pretty uncomfortable. I had passed on most of my previous maternity clothes to friends and family a long time ago, but a few key pieces I kept. They are all denim and all from JoJo Maman Bébé.
Mid Wash Bootleg Maternity Jeans – £29.00
Firstly a pair of Bootcut Jeans. These are a real wardrobe staple and can be worn with most of my tops. I love the dark colour of these and the bump support is fantastic and very comfortable. I wondered whether having worn them for a previous pregnancy I would have stretched the elastic too far to wear early in this pregnancy, but it seems to have gone back to its original size and is sitting very nicely supporting my still fairly small bump.
Cropped Denim Maternity Jeans – £29.00
With baby due in September, I’m hoping for some nice weather over the summer so these Cropped Denim Jeans are another staple. These don’t have the full elasticated bump support, but instead have elasticated panels in each side which allows the bump to be supported and sit comfortably above. This is a much more comfortable style when the weather is warm as it stops the bump from getting too hot (Seeing as I am always hot in pregnancy this is a Very Good Thing!!).
Again the denim is lovely and soft and these cropped jeans go with most tops in my wardrobe. When the weather is picks up again, I’ll be living in these!
Mid Wash Pleated Maternity Denim Skirt- £29.00
My last staple from JoJo Maman Bébé is a Pleated Maternity Denim Skirt. This has been a great item to wear in both pregnancies and I have worn it in summer with a strappy top and flip flops, and in winter with thick tights and long boots. Another staple that can be dressed up or down and for all seasons. Again this skirt has the elasticated support which covers the bump and again, its so comfortable. The skirt has a pleat in it and is very flattering, its also a practical length which doesn’t cause me any issues when running around after a toddler!
I wore these three pieces throughout my first pregnancy, and now they are perfect for wearing through this one too. I pretty much live in denim at the moment!
For tops, I had a very successful trip to H&M in Westfield Shopping Centre in Derby a few weeks ago and this is what I picked up.
From left to right.
I loved this MAMA Cotton Blouse – £12.99 so much that I got it in both colours, pink and blue. Its a cute little blouse for summer with a checked pattern and short puff sleeves. Its quite thin so best suited to a lovely warm day although I have also worn the pink one with a jacket over the top for a day out which looked nice too.
I picked this long sleeved top up as I thought it would be a great basic to wear when its not so warm. I can’t find it on the website but think it was around £12.99. Its a navy and white striped top which is shaped around the bump giving a lovely shape to the top. I think I’ll keep wearing this through the summer as its not too thick and there are always days that you want to keep a little more covered up!
The pink MAMA Jersey top £9.99 is another lovely basic. Its gathered around the bump and has a nice button detail on the neckline. The only thing with this top is I have to be careful as if the buttons come undone it can be a bit too revealing! Again this is a lovely thin top for the warmer weather but I’ve been wearing it with a navy cardigan while the weather has been a bit cooler. On the right is a navy and white polka dot round necked t-shirt (again I can’t find this on the internet) which looks really nice with denim and gives a lovely shape to my bump.
I’m sure my maternity shopping spree with continue over the next few weeks and I’ll be back to show you some more If you have any tips on where to shop for maternity clothes please leave me a comment or tweet me @hellofromjoblog