Sunday 26 February 2017

Schleich Farm World Starter Set - Review

One of my favourite brand of toys for Elliot is Schleich and we have actually reviewed some of their figures on the blog last Summer. Schleich believe in educational play and I covered this in detail in my last review which can be found here.

Since our last review we have been adding to our Schleich collection, Elliot's most recent purchase being a dragon! However when we were offered some new farm animals to review, we didn't need asking twice and Elliot asked everyday when they would arrive :)

We were sent the Farm World Starter Set and included in this were a cow, lamb, rooster and donkey. Elliot was over the moon with this selection, he has alot of animal figures already but no roosters so this was a big plus point for him!

As with all Schleich figures, the quality is outstanding. The figures are handpainted and the attention to detail is second to none. I would say that the Schleich brand is easily recognisable with the weight and the feel of the figures.

Elliot adores playing with animal figures and he couldn't wait to take these new ones down to his Grandparent's house where they have a whole host of animal figures and farms. As you can see from the photos below, it didn't take the animals long to settle in!

Playing with toys such as these ones really fires up Elliot's imagination and he spends ages acting out life on the farm, complete with voices! The animals are easily recognisable for children of a pre-school age and it's a great introduction to Farm Life.

The Schleich figures are suitable for children aged 3-6 but I would say both younger and older children would enjoy playing with them too. The toys are very well made and sturdy and will last and last so I'm sure when baby Erin is 3/4 years old, Elliot will enjoy playing with them again!

The full collection can be found at and the price for the Farm World Starter Kit is £14.99.

*Disclosure - We were sent a selection of schleich figures for writing this honest review - as always, all thoughts are my own. And we genuinely love Schleich toys! 

Thursday 23 February 2017

An Elective C-Section - Erin's Birth Story

When I fell pregnant last year, I soon started thinking about giving birth and how I planned to do it. In my first pregnancy with Elliot, he was 2 weeks overdue and I ended up being induced with not much success. He was far too happy in my tummy and in no rush to come out so I eventually had an emergency c-section. ( Good job too because he was enormous at 10lb 13oz!)

This time round I knew immediately that I would be having another c-section. I know alot of ladies go onto have successful VBAC's but in my mind I had visions of having another unsuccessful induction and the whole thing being dragged out over a few days again. I liked the idea of knowing exactly when the baby would arrive - this meant we could arrange childcare for Elliot and not be rushing around like headless chickens! 

A few days before my c-section date my husband and I went along to the hospital for a pre-op meeting. I had no idea what to expect but there were several other couples there who were all booked in for the same day. We were given lots of information on what to expect on the day and the all important consent forms to sign. They took some bloods from me and I was given some anti-sickness tablets to take on the evening and morning before the op. 

I didn't get alot of sleep on the night before my c-section, other than needing to wee about 50 times I just felt really nervous and kept waking up! We arrived at the hospital for 730am and were greeted by the lovely midwives that we'd met at the pre-op meeting. We were taken to the ward and straight away we were given gowns and scrubs to change into - eek, things were moving fast! Standard obs were done - blood pressure, pulse etc and I was given some sexy compression stockings for after the operation.

We were the second couple to go down to theatre and we got called in just after 10am. I'm not sure what I expected but it was all very relaxed! The radio was on and all the staff were chatting away and cracking jokes. I was feeling petrified but the atmosphere did calm my nerves a little!

I was told to sit on the operating table with my legs dangling down - I had to kind of arch my back and push my chin down onto my chest so that the anaesthetist could find the right spot in my back for the spinal. Paul tells me the needle was ginormous but I didn't really feel it go in, the worst part was feeling the anaesthetist pushing onto my spine - this really bloody hurt!! It's also really tricky to keep your back in the correct position and they had to keep telling me to " keep your shoulders down, don't move!". Eventually they told me the spinal was in and that I would feel my body go warm - immediately my lower body went all numb and it did indeed feel all warm. They helped me swing my legs round and onto the table and I was told to lie down as fast as I could. It was a really peculiar feeling, I literally couldn't feel a thing!

It felt a bit strange to be lying on the operating table as it was slightly tilted - I had no idea why at the time but apparently its so the weight of the womb doesn't reduce the blood supply to the lungs, causing blood pressure to drop. All I know is, it felt a bit odd to not be lying completely flat!

Up went the screen and the midwives were constantly monitoring me while Paul sat up the top end near my head. They sprayed a cold spray up my body so they could check the spinal was working - it was, thankfully! It's a very strange feeling having a c-section because you know the Drs are working away down there but you just feel a bit of tugging.

Within about 10 minutes we heard a baby's cry and Erin was lifted up for us to see! I couldn't believe how quickly it all happened. She was cleaned and wrapped in a blanket and was given to Paul to hold. My first thought was wow, she looks just like Elliot! He sat with me while I was sewn back together and this part is a bit vague as I suddenly felt really sleepy and couldn't keep my eyes open. I just remember hearing Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling being on the radio!

We were wheeled down to the recovery room and I was given oxygen as my blood oxygen levels were low - this is why I had felt so sleepy after Erin was born. It was a bit of a pain, the mask kept getting in the way when I was finally allowed to hold her but I was told I needed to keep it on for a few hours until they were happy with my levels. Erin was weighed and we found at that she was 9lbs - not quite as large as her big brother but a pretty decent size!

After around an hour of being prodded and poked in the recovery room, we were taken to one of the post-op rooms where we spent the rest of the day. Slowly I started to regain feeling in my toes but I felt pretty groggy otherwise, the room was baking hot so I think I just drifted off to sleep on and off while Paul sat with Erin and the midwives came and went. One of the stranger things I experienced was itching! Apparently this is a common side effect of the spinal but my tummy and chest was so itchy, uncomfortably so!

Towards the end of the afternoon my oxygen levels had increased and I was allowed to finally take the mask off. I was also encouraged to stand up and walk around a little once they had removed the catheter. I managed to hobble to the toilet - it wasn't overly painful but I made sure I said yes to all the drugs they offered! I was also able to eat for the first time in hours but it was probably a bad idea choosing fish from the hospital menu - one bite and I puked all over the floor and my clean top which I had only just put on! I was sick a few times through out the rest of the day and I didn't really get my appetite back until the following morning. Nausea is quite common after c-sections.

My parents brought Elliot in to visit that evening and I was glad I was able to be up and about and not in the hospital bed, I didn't want to overwhelm him too much and I know he'd get a bit freaked out if he saw me looking poorly in bed!

Later that evening I was taken up to the postnatal ward and my husband went home for the night. I noticed that the other ladies had their husbands staying with them but I didn't mind Paul going home, it had been a long day so I knew he probably needed a good nights sleep, something he wouldn't get on the wooden hospital chairs!

Erin actually slept pretty well on the first night - unlike the other babies on the ward! I'd forgotten how noisy it can be on the postnatal ward, not to mention being woken up early to have observations done. I did enjoy a breakfast of white toast and butter though - it's something I've not had in absolutely ages due to the gestational diabetes so toast has never tasted so good! (not to mention that I was starving having not eaten anything the day before!)

I was itching to get home but I ended up staying another night in hospital and I was finally discharged on the Thursday morning. It was all rather fast, the midwife came round after breakfast and said she was happy for me to go home and that was it...half an hour later I was packing my bag and waiting for my husband to collect me!

It was so lovely to get home and be able to relax in our own surroundings. It was nice for Elliot to be able to have proper cuddles with Erin too, he was certainly pleased we were home!

The first week went by in a blur and I did feel quite sore. It didn't help that I had a cough too so every time I coughed, it bloody hurt. I also ended up sleeping on the sofa for the first few nights too as it was more comfortable to be sleeping upright and not flat in a bed...the hubby didn't mind this as it meant he couldn't hear the baby crying downstairs ;)

It's been 4 weeks now and I feel about 90% back to my normal self. My c-section wound seems to be healing well and I'm not really getting any pain. I drove for the first time yesterday too which was amazing, I've missed driving so much! Fortunately my husband has been able to work from home since Erin was born so he's been around to help with lifts, housework and the pre-school run. I think he'll be glad when I'm able to do the hoovering again though!

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Sunday 19 February 2017

New Spring Crafts with Baker Ross

We are part of the Baker Ross blogger network and we get to try out lots of their lovely arts and crafts products. I'm a bit rubbish with craft bits though but fortunately Baker Ross cater for non-pinterest mums like me and have a whole host of easy to do kits on their website!

We were sent some exciting bits from their Spring range and Elliot couldn't wait to get stuck in.

The first thing that caught his eye was the Pond Pals Sticker Scenes (£3.49 for 4). He absolutely loves stickers of any description so this was the perfect activity for him.

There come in a pack of 4 and feature animal stickers such as heron, otter, kingfisher, swan, newt, frogs and fish. All the stickers are repositionable so it's an activity that can be used again and again. This was a big hit with Elliot and he's already asked me if Baker Ross do anymore sticker scenes!

The Creative Colouring Flower Wreaths (£2.50 for 6) was our next activity and this is another perfect kit for the little ones. The flowers on the wreaths are quite detailed and I'm sure any adult would enjoy colouring them but Elliot loved adding a splash of colour!

His colouring isn't overly neat and he's no where near able to stay in the lines but I don't think that matters, the finished result looks lovely :)

The wreaths also double up as Pat Butcher-esque earrings ;) 
 One of the other items we received was the Easter Train Kit (£1.99). This little kit includes foam pieces that slot together and no glue is needed. It does say it is easy to assemble but actually I found this so fiddly!! I knew Elliot would really struggle to do this one as it's aimed at older kids (5+) so I started it off for him but it was quite tricky.

I eventually managed to get it all put together and then noticed one of the train walls was round the wrong way meaning the wheel hole was in the wrong area...doh! Couldn't be bothered to take it all apart as it had taken me so long so our train is missing a wheel and probably wouldn't get too far! Elliot enjoyed decorating the train but I fear for it's durability.....!

Next up was the Super Mum Magnet Kits (£3.95 for 6) which Elliot really enjoyed. The superhero outfits can be mixed and matched and everything (except the capes) is sticky backed so no glue needed. This makes it a really good activity to do when you don't want to make lots of mess!

The last craft kit was the Bug Pom Pom decorations (£3.75 for 3) but this looked like it could be a bit fiddly for Elliot to get stuck into so we decided to leave this for another day when he wasn't so tired!

Are you a fan of crafts? Do you like ready to go kits like this or do your children prefer something more creative?

For a whole host of crafty bits, check out the Baker Ross website HERE

Disclaimer: We received the products for the purpose of the honest review. All views are my own

Friday 10 February 2017

Tommee Tippee Newborn Products (Electric Steam Steriliser, bottles, thermometer) - Review

In my first pregnancy I was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of brands and products out there catering for baby needs. However one brand stuck out, Tommee Tippee and it's one I've continued to use into my second pregnancy and also now baby Erin is here.

I was recently sent some Tommee Tippee products to review and we couldn't wait to put them to the test.

Tommee Tippe Electric Steam Steriliser (Special Edition)

I was quite excited to receive the electric steriliser as we only had a microwave one last time and this was a step up from that! There are several different versions but we tested out the Special Edition - I don't think there is any difference other than the colour, the standard sterilisers are white and transparent but our one had a sleek black design.

The box contained one of the Closer to Nature feeding bottles - the Tommee Tippee bottles come in several different sizes but this one was the small 150ml variety which is perfect for our newborn needs. Also enclosed in the box was a dummy and plastic tongs for holding the just sterilised items.

What I love about this steriliser is that it is SO simple to use. And not just simple but really quick too. Very important for those times when you run out of bottles and you need one, right now!

All you need to do is fill the steriliser base with 80ml of water - this is very straightforward as this amount is marked on all the Tommee Tippee bottles so you know exactly how much you need. Once you have added the water, load the steriliser up with your bottles - it will hold up to 6 bottles which is really handy when your baby is feeding lots in the early days.

There is room on the bottom layer of the steriliser for the bottles and the top shelf is for your teats and lids. When you're all loaded up, you simply just press the on button on the front of the steriliser (this will turn orange to let you know it's working) and 5 minutes later it's done! The steriliser will kill 99.9% of household bacteria which is great and is 100% natural using no chemicals.

I'm really impressed with this piece of kit, as mentioned before it is so easy to use and super quick. It is also really quiet so whilst it is sterilising, it barely makes a noise so won't interrupt naptime!

My only criticism is the power button doesn't feel very sturdy and sometimes you do have to press several times before it stays orange but that is just a small niggle, overall I think the electric steriliser is a great product and I know we will be using it  alot over the next 12 months!

Closer to Nature 150ml Bottles 

Tommee Tippee have designed these bottles to mimic a Mum's breast, with an easy to latch on teat shape. This is to ensure the switch from breast to bottle is as easy as possible. Breast feeding didn't work out for us but we had absolutely no issues getting Erin to take one of these bottles from the moment we got home from hospital.

I find the bottles very comfortable to hold and I'm able to feed one handed with no issues....quite important for night time feeds when I'm scrolling through social media to stay awake!

I like the fact that the bottles all have the Easi-vent valve - this eliminates excessive air flow so baby can ingest more milk and less air. The teats are a good shape - they gently elongate and flex during feeding to mimic a breastfeeding action. I have noticed that Erin doesn't really have any excess milk around her mouth when she is feeding so I assume she is getting a good latch on!

The bottles are sturdy and well made and we haven't had any leaking issues. They are also very easy to clean with our Tommee Tippee bottle brush.

Anytime Soothers

We never used a dummy when Elliot was a baby - I wasn't against them, he just never really took to it. (I think he was so greedy that he quickly realised the teat didn't disperse milk!)

I assumed it would be a similar story with Erin but I popped these Anytime Soothers into my hospital bag and didn't think anymore of it....until night 2 when she screamed and screamed! She wasn't hungry, she didn't need a clean nappy so I thought I'd give her a go with a dummy. And it worked!! She very quickly settled down and soothed herself to sleep by sucking on the dummy. 

Now two weeks later I am still using the soothers with her and they do come in very handy. She doesn't have one at night time but she can get a bit distressed when we change her bum (especially if she's hungry!) so it's good to be able to pop one in her mouth and know she will be instantly soothed. 

The Tommee Tippee soothers come in a range of designs with teats available in ages 0-6mths and 6-18mths. 

Bath & Room Thermometer

This is a nifty little gadget that we have used lots since bringing Erin home. Not only does it tell you the temperature of the room but also the temperature of baby's bath. The water should be between 36.5C and 38C and if it's too hot, the LED light on the display with illuminate red as a warning. It also couldn't be easier to use - a little tap on the display is all that's needed! The thermometer also floats in the bath too. 

My husband has been on bath duty over the past two weeks and he said this product is really easy to use - he likes the simple display which makes it very clear to see what the temperature is and it saves guess work when running the bath! 

Baby Milestone Cards #ParentOn

The last thing I want to talk about is these fab baby milestone cards that Tommee Tippee have produced. Milestone cards seem to be a recent fad, I'm sure I don't remember them being so popular when Elliot was a baby! These ones are great because they feature some of the realer moments of parenthood....such as "I was sick on Mummy today!" and not just the standard "I rolled over today" that you get on general milestone cards. 

I am really impressed with all the products we were sent from Tommee Tippee - it's great to find a brand that you completely trust and I have no doubt I will continue to be a fan / loyal customer as my children grow up!

*Disclaimer - We were sent these items in return for an honest review. As always, all thoughts are my own and I am a genuine fan of the Tommee Tippee brand! We were also sent the Ultra bottle and the Baby Nail Clippers - we've not tested these out yet but will be doing so over the next few weeks

Family Fever

Thursday 2 February 2017

Pregnancy Update ~ Introducing Baby Erin :)

You may have seen my little announcement on social media last week but baby Erin finally made her appearance into the world! She was born via elective c-section on 24th January at 11.02am and weighed in at 9lbs...not quite as large as her big brother ;)

I might try and write up my c-section experience but for now, here's some photos of Erin looking rather cute!

I think my husband's phone has some amazing filters because I know for a fact I looked a lot worse than this!!

I love this photo of Elliot and his Grandad (my Dad) holding Erin

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