Sunday, 15 January 2017

10 Things We're Looking Forward To in 2017

January is normally cold, wet and a bit boring. Christmas has come and gone and those warm Summer months seem an age away! Inspired by Sabrina at The Mummy Stylist who recently wrote about things she is looking forward to in 2017, I decided to do the same to ensure those January blues are well and truly chased away :)

1. New Baby!! 

This of course has to be number one on the list, our lives are about to get turned upside down again! We are booked in for a c-section so I know we will definitely have the new arrival within two weeks - I think I'm ready now, my bags are packed, all her clothes are sorted and put away and the moses basket has been washed and aired, (Thanks Mum!). We just need to have a practise run with the putting the car seat in the car - it's been a few years, we're a bit rusty!

2. Greg Davies Tour

I love this man! I'm not usually one for live comedy shows but he's my favourite comedian and I couldn't not get tickets. I love all his shows he does on telly, he's hilarious and I can't wait to see what he talks about on his tour! (Just a pity I have to wait til Dec 2017.....months away!)

3. Justin's Party

Pic credit - Imagine Theatre
This is more Elliot's thing than mine but we have tickets for Justin's live tour - front row tickets no less! We saw Justin a couple of years ago and Elliot really enjoyed himself so I'm looking forward to taking him to this. 

4. Sunshine

I do love the Winter but it gets to this time of year and I long for the hot Summer days where we don't have to drag coats and hats and boots out with us. I'm looking forward to spending lots of time outside this year and making the most of where we live

5. Favourite shows returning for 2017

I hate that all our favourite TV shows stop over the Winter and I hate the cliffhangers that come with them! Ones I'm looking forward to returning are Designated Survivor, Game of Thrones and Walking Dead but I'm also pretty excited about 24:Legacy. Obviously I'll miss Jack Bauer but I just hope it's as gripping as the original series. 

6. Singing in a choir

I know I always go on about choir but it really is one of the best things I've ever done! I joined Just Sing in January 2014 and I have loved every minute so I'm really excited to see where this year takes us. I know we will be recording our very first professional CD in March so can't wait for that but I'm hoping we have lots more exciting performances lined up. Last year we got to sing with G4 twice and I'm hoping they invite us back again :) 

7. 40th Birthday Celebrations

Not for me I have to say, I have a few years to go yet! My husband turns 40 in October though and I'm really hoping he lets me throw a big party for him. I had a big 80's themed party for my 30th and everyone got dressed up so hopefully we can do something similar for him...any excuse for fancy dress ;)

8. New Beginnings at School

Big one for Elliot this year as he'll be off to big school in September for his first year in Reception. He really can't wait and in a way I can't either as I know he's more than ready but it still makes me a little sad that he's growing up so fast!

9. Fun Days Out

We love getting out and about but it's not quite as fun in the Winter and we haven't been to many local attractions recently. There's lots we want to do this year including a return visit to Marwell Zoo, dinosaur hunting on the Isle of Wight, expanding our knowledge at the Natural History Museum in London and getting the most out of our National Trust passes.

Kingston Lacey, one of our favourite National Trust locations

10. Getting Back to Normality...

Might sound like a funny thing to say with a new baby about to arrive but I'm looking forward to getting on with things, getting into a new routine and not being pregnant! I'm looking forward to going back to Slimming World again - I've had to be quite strict over the last 3 months with what I eat and the gestational diabetes and it will be good to have carbs again! I lost over 2 stone last year so I want to continue my good work and get into a healthier weight bracket.

I'm also looking forward to treating myself to some new clothes - my maternity outfits are literally falling apart at the seams so a shopping trip is very much needed once the baby is here!

What are you looking forward to this year?

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday BestRachelSwirl

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Annoying Things People Say & Do When You're Pregnant!

I'm not sure what it is about pregnancy but sometimes it feels like this gives people a free pass to make silly comments, ask ridiculous questions or encroach your personal space! I've noticed this more and more recently and it seems I'm not alone - I had an overwhelming response when I reached out to fellow parent bloggers about the annoying things people had said. Are us pregnant ladies just overly sensitive?! 

Here's a selection of some of the most annoying things that have been said or done to a pregnant lady.....

- "Wow you're huge, are you sure there's only one in there?" - Yes I'm quite sure thanks, I think they might have spotted twins on the very first scan! And thanks for that vote of confidence..

- "Hello tubs!" - grrr, yes I am overweight and no I wouldn't expect you to say that to me normally so why do you think being pregnant makes it any different?! It's still bloody rude! 

- Bump touching. Just no!! 

- "Are you allowed to eat that?" - Oh I'm not sure, you're obviously the expert, you tell me!

- Checked in on Facebook to my hairdressers - within a few minutes somebody had commented and asked if this meant I was in labour. Erm, yep, this is top of my priorities when my waters break!

- The weeks leading up to the birth when you get a barrage of text messages asking if you've had the baby me, I will tell you once the baby arrives! You don't need to keep asking!! 

'You'd better catch up on your sleep now, you won't be getting any for a while...' - was my pet peeve comment while pregnant. Yes, because I have a sleeping bank I can simply store up for months down the line - also, I have to pee every 40 minutes, and can sleep in one position and one position only, how much sleep can I really get? Kirsty @ Life With Boys

"Wow, you're bump has got bigger since the last time I saw you" when you haven't seen someone for a few months....well, yes that is the ideal plan with pregnancy. It's just the shock from some people that you have grown, I'm not really sure what else they expect (although I'll admit, I do this now with my pregnant friends ha!) Abi @ Something About Baby

Mine was always the opposite 'Arent you small!' heard it constantly when pregnant with Charlotte and I think people expected me to be huge simply because I was carrying a baby! Emma @ Me, The Man & The Kids

I've had two girls, first pregnancy everyone was 'oh you must be so pleased it's a girl' errr why? Second time the same people were 'oh no! Boys are so much easier' I mean seriously!! Kirsty @ Winnettes 

When I told people I was pregnant with my second boy, I got lots of "oh that's a shame" and "I bet you wanted one of each". I'm very happy to have another boy on the way, thank you! Becky @ The Family Beehive

"Can I feel your bump?" whilst already slathering their hands all over me. Friends, family, complete strangers in the street; one time in the chemist a man asked to have a feel and when I said no he looked aghast and told me "I was only being nice!" Sophia @ Tattooed Tealady

"Are you sure there's only one in there? You're huge!" Lauren @ Mummy is a Gadget Geek

"Oh your putting weight on your face too" (2nd preg) and 1st pregnancy "oh your putting weight on all round!" Kirsty @ Kirsty Dee

"Make sure you get some sleep now, as once the baby's here you won't get any!" you can somehow bank sleep up! Nicola @ All Things Spliced

"Oh you don't look pregnant yet!" Yepp thanks for that!! It's puppy fat ...Amy @ The Smallest of Things

"What did your mum say?!" In fairness I was 19 and it wasn't planned so fair enough but it made me feel like a naughty 14 year old haha! Maddy @ The Speed Bump

On telling people I was having identical twins "oh I bet you hope they're a boy and girl" #facepalm Beth @ Twinderelmo

"You can tell you're having a girl, your bottom's bigger." Said by a work colleague. Yeah, thanks for that. (Also how would that even be a thing??) Rebecca @ The Ish Mother

I remember being at work and having a colleage tell me "I totally knew you were pregnant... your boobs are now HUGEEE" - this was a male colleage too! Emily @ Emily and Indiana

It wasn't so much what people said but more what people did, the non consented touching of my bump used to irritate me! Actually thinking about I worked in a nursery and got a lot of "oh you'll be fine you work with kids!" Nope... I wasn't. It was very very different!  Siobhan @ The Baby Boat Diaries 

"Was it planned?" The most annoying question ever! Why must people be so invasive? Amy @ Amy and Tots

"Who's the father?" or Asking my wife who the Dad of our baby is!  (Lesbian couple) Laura @ Mama, Eden & Me and Vikki @ Mum Times Two

Making jokey remarks about how much of my bump was baby and how much was food - I put on a lot of weight. Good job I'm not easily offended! Lucy @ Real Mum Reviews

Whilst trying to squeeze past me this morning "can you breathe in love?"  I'm nine months pregnant... Hollie @ Thrifty Mum

Asked me if I knew what I was expecting. Then proceeded to have a go one i said boy! "Why did you find out? You've ruined your birth as you won't get the surprise"... Blah blah! Amy @ All Things Amy

Pregnant with my 3rd boy everyone was asking: "Oh you really wanted to try for a girl this time then??" Sara @ Mind Your Mamma 

Have you had any unwanted comments from friends, family or strangers?! 

Best of WorstDiary of an imperfect mum


Friday, 6 January 2017

Newborn Wishlist - When there's always more things to buy ;)

With Baby B's arrival due in just a few weeks I've been trying to get myself organised. Fortunately I kept lots of Elliot's baby bits so I've not needed to buy the big things like a cot or pram but when there are so many lovely things on the baby market, I have done a sneaky bit of online shopping for some bits that perhaps aren't totally essential!!

I'm not one for traipsing around the shops (shopping can be hard with a 4 year in tow!) so I buy most things online for convenience. During my online travels I found LovetheSales which I've found some great baby bargains on. Basically rather than visiting lots of different websites looking for bargains, you can find around 500 retailers in one place.

Here's some bargains which I've got my eye on...

Tommee Tippee Essentials Baby Bottle Kit - £94.99
Tommee Tippee was one of my favourite brands when Elliot was a baby and I love this essentials kit. It can work out quite pricy to buy things separately so to be able to get this bundle and have everything you need for bottle feeding is a godsend!

Minene Unisex Storage Basket - £21.50
I'm not one for things that are too pink so I love these bright and colourful storage baskets. Babies come with alot of clutter (nappies....wipes....muslins....)  so these would be really handy for keeping the house tidy.

Polar Gear Go Anywhere Pram Organiser - £6.99
These organisers are brilliant for attaching to the pram to keep your essentials to hand, you generally need about 5 pairs of hands when you're out and about with the baby so I'm all for things that make things easier! I used to get the bus alot with Elliot and it saved alot of time rooting around in the bottom of my changing bag for coins!

Fisher Price Sunny Days Bouncer - £29.99
Love the colours on this unisex bouncer. Elliot spent many a happy time in his old bouncer so I will definitely be upgrading to a lovely new one like this :)

BT Baby Monitor - £75
We're planning on reusing our AngelCare monitor for this baby but that hasn't stopped me having a little look at others on the market. This one is a colour video monitor which is a step up from our old black and white one and it even plays lullabies!

Chicco Next to Me Crib - £139.99
We didn't have anything like this with Elliot as he outgrew his moses basket in a few weeks and went straight into his cot! But I like the idea of having the baby next to me without the risks of bed sharing and this clever little crib can even be set at an incline to help with colic or colds.

What were your best buys for your newborn?

*Via LovetheSales

Monday, 2 January 2017

Pregnancy Update ~ Second Baby (Week 36 - The End is in Sight!)

Happy New Year to you all! Well, so much for my regular pregnancy updates - looking back, my last one was around 28 weeks. I'm now almost at 37 weeks! The time has just absolutely flown by and I can't believe our baby will be here in 3 weeks time - eeeeek!

Gestational Diabetes

So in my last update I wrote about gestational diabetes and to be honest, that has taken over my life a bit. But not in a bad way - just it's always there, I'm always thinking about it and thinking about what I should be eating/not eating. Thinking about when I next need to test my blood sugars. I have appointments most weeks at the hospital so I feel like I'm constantly there sat in the waiting room! But I've got used to it all and it's becoming second nature to whip out my finger pricker thingy (there must be a proper name for it?!).

I've had to change the way I eat which was actually not as hard as I originally thought - I've taken alot of advice from and I've basically been following a high fat/low carb diet. Which is the complete opposite of what I'm used to with Slimming World - it still feels really naughty to be having full fat cream and luxury full fat mayo! I've cut out cakes completely (well except a small slither of Mum's Christmas Cake on Christmas Day!) and I've been eating nuts and cheese like there's no tomorrow. Eating out hasn't been too challenging, I just make sure I avoid any sauces and go for something meaty. I hear that alot of ladies who have GD stick with this diet after their baby is born but I have to say, I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into carbs again. And unlimited fruit will be such a treat!!

How am I feeling?

I've actually been feeling really well over the last couple of months and I've had lots of energy in the daytime. I'm sure by this stage of my last pregnancy I was in hibernation mode but I feel quite sprightly at the moment!

I get weighed at the hospital at each appointment and I've lost weight so there's the silver lining of gestational diabetes! I dropped 5 pounds last week and that is the first time in my life where I haven't put on weight over Christmas! I'm only a few pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight so I'm really intrigued to see what happens over the next few weeks and if I end up weighing less when the baby is born. It certainly gives me a good head start for when I return to Slimming World :)

What have I been wearing?

Fashionwise, I'm not going to win any awards for maternity wear! It's either leggings and a shirt or leggings and a dress. I have about 4 outfits that are on rotation! I did treat myself to a lovely maternity dress from Yours Clothing before Christmas which I wore to my choir performance - it's quite dressy though so I doubt I'll get the chance to wear it again before baby comes. Which is a shame because I really liked it!

I'm a bit camera shy when it comes to bump pics but here's me on the far right in my lovely Yours Clothing dress - good job you can't see my baggy tights and chunky ankles ;) 

How's Baby?

We had a scan last week and she is growing perfectly - she currently weighs 6lb 5oz so my money is on around 8lb at birth! (Hopefully not another 10lb+ baby like Elliot was!) . She is SO active in the evenings - I guess in the daytime I'm busy so don't notice it as much but when I sit down on the sofa I can feel her doing all kinds of flips and kicks.

What next?

I've now been given a date for my c-section so it's become very real now! It's forced me to finally pack my hospital bags and today I finally got round to sorting out her drawers and putting all her new clothes away in their new homes. I didn't think I had many outfits for her but actually sorting it out made me realise that she has plenty for the first 3 months at least! I've bought lots of things in the sales recently and picked up some lovely bits in Morrisons last week. Sabrina from The Mummy Stylist also sent me some lovely girly bits passed down from her baby Lily and I can't wait to dress our baby girl in these!

Elliot is still really excited about the impending arrival of his baby sister and has now taken to counting down in days.. "how many days now Mummy!". I think he will be a really great big brother and I have no worries about how he will be when she arrives. I think he'll love helping me out but has already stipulated that he won't be dealing with any dirty nappies ;)


The (Not Big or Fat) Quiz of the Year

I was tagged by the lovely Alex over at Lamb and Bear to answer some (not so) probing questions about 2016 and the New Year. Seeing as my blogging has been very sporadic over December, I thought it would be a good way of easing me back into blogging life gently!

Drumroll please.....

What was your highlight of 2016?

We had a brilliant year but it would have to be finding out we were expecting baby number 2! I had never really decided if I wanted another baby so we let nature take it's course, if it happened it happened. If it didn't, then it wasn't meant to be. Well it happened and our new arrival is due at the end of January - eek!

Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016  if asked in 5 years time

Well I think it will always be remembered as the year of the celebrity death - so many legends in such a short space of time! The big one for me was David Bowie, The Labyrinth was one of my favourite childhood films and he'll always be remembered to me as the Goblin King.

Sum up 2016 in one word

Pregnant! I found out I was expecting back in May so I feel like most of the year has been spent whilst being pregnant - going through all those different stages such as morning sickness, food aversions, scans, expanding waistlines etc etc

Name one pearl of wisdom that you will carry through to 2017. 

Life really is too short so get out there and make the most of it. I had the honour of singing with my choir at a funeral last month and it was a lady just a few years older than me with a young family and her whole life ahead of her. Sadly she lost her fight against cancer and it really made me think about things and appreciate the now.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?

Every year I promise myself that I'll get healthier and 2017 won't be any different. Except I won't be returning to Slimming World for a few months yet!

How did you see in the New Year? 

I'm not really too fussed about NYE and I usually take a bit of persuading to do anything but at least this year we had a good excuse not to go out! It was much like any other evening except I actually managed to stay awake til midnight!

What would you most like to do in 2017?

I'd really like to be able to spend more time on my blog this year - I feel like I've neglected it a bit and life has got in the way. But you know, with a newborn I'm bound to have loads more time to write aren't I?!

So that's my little quiz - I'm going to tag the following lovely bloggers if they want to take part:

Sabrina @ The Mummy Stylist
Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks
Dawn @ Dear Mummy 
Natasha @ Bebe Bear Cubs

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Beer52 - Craft Beer Subscription Review & Discount Code

At this time of year I'm always racking my brains to think of something to get my husband for Christmas and he really is the hardest person to buy for. But there's one gift that never gets boring - beer! We were recently introduced to Beer52 who offer a craft beer subscription and I have to say, this might be one of the most popular things I've ever given him!

So who are Beer52?

 They are the largest craft beer discovery club in the UK and they offer various subscriptions of craft beer, delivered direct to your door. Their beer experts visit breweries all over the world so you can be sure of something new and different in your delivery!

You can choose to order a one off box (£24 per case) but if you really like beer then you can sign up for three (£69), six (£132) or twelve months (£252). Each box contains 8 or 10 beers, plus a copy of Ferment magazine (the UK's number one craft beer magazine) and a tasty snack to enjoy with your drinks. You can even just send them a text on 88802 to order a case!

What did we think?

Firstly my husband was pleased as punch to hear he'd be testing out some beers and it was the first time he was actively interested in my blog ;)

The beers arrived in a big sturdy box and were well packaged. The theme of the boxes changes each month but being December, this one was of the festive variety. Our beers included Mimosa, Single Hop IPA, Santa's Private Reserve, Santa Paws, Flower Power, F*ck Art; the Heathens are coming, Krampus and Littlebro. The snacks were Munchy Seeds Chilli Bites, we've had these before and they are really good but the bag could be doing with being a little bigger!

My husband is already a fan of the Brewdog company so he was really pleased to see Santa Paws and this one was his favourite from the box. He enjoyed all the beers and said it was really good to be able to try out some new breweries that he'd not heard of. The selection you can find in the supermarkets can become a bit samey so the new beers were a big hit!

The magazine was also well received, even I had a read through and I know nothing about beer! Inside there were lots of interesting articles and even a run down of which beers were featured in the box - really useful for finding out more about the breweries.

Overall, this was a big hit with my husband and something I will definitely consider in the future for a gift. I like the fact that you aren't tied to a monthly contract/subscription but can order a one off box.

For more information and to order your very own beer box, take a look at the Beer52 website HERE

And if you fancy getting £10 off when you sign up, please use discount code ELLIOT10

*Disclaimer - We were sent these beers in return for an honest review. My husband can be bribed with beer but he said he was very honest and the beer box got a big thumbs up 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Aladdin at Lighthouse, Poole - Panto Review!

At the grand old age of 35, I have never been to a pantomime. It never appealed to me...that was until I became a parent! I really enjoy taking Elliot to the theatre and now he's 4, his attention span is so much better so he's able to sit through longer shows without getting too fidgety. This year seemed a perfect time for our first ever panto!

This years local pantomime at the Lighthouse Centre for the Arts in Poole was Aladdin, written and directed by Peter Duncan who readers of a certain age (ie old like me!) will remember from Blue Peter back in the 80's. It promised to be lots and fun and we were excited to see how Elliot would enjoy it!

When we arrived there was a real buzz in the theatre and rather than having to wait for the show to start, there were already circus performers on stage entertaining the crowd. They asked for a volunteer to walk along the tightrope and a young lad jumped up on stage but after he fell off and banged his head, it became clear to the audience that it was actually Max Bowden (Waterloo Road) and ta da, Aladdin had begun!

We were soon introduced to the other characters including the hilarious Widow Twankey, the evil Abanzer (Peter Duncan) and beautiful princess XiaoXue, played by Emmerdale actress Sapphire Elia.

Photo Credit - Richard Budd

The Aladdin storyline hasn't been tweaked too much but there was plenty of audience participation, lots of booing and hissing (Elliot loved this!), brilliant songs and choreography and even a flying carpet ride!

The leading characters all have great chemistry but the star of the show has to be Miguel Angel who plays the Genie...the Genie as you've never seen him before!

Photo Credit - Richard Budd
Belting out hits from rock gods of the past including David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson, he really stole the show and I couldn't wait to see what he'd sing next!

The best bit of the show for me was when the storyline went off track and the genie's magic made everyone sing about what they'd be doing if they weren't in panto. Great singing and acting from the whole cast but what made it was the 100+  cubs and scouts in the audience joining in with the Honey G dancing - absolutely hilarious and it was certainly a sight to see!

Our first panto experience was alot of fun and Aladdin is a real family friendly show. The pantomime isn't too long so it's perfect for little ones and they are sure to be entertained.

Photo Credit - Richard Budd
We will definitely back for next year's pantomime!

For more info and tickets, visit the Lighthouse website here
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