Review: Songmics Large Folding Storage Ottoman Bench Box + Competition
Songmics Large Folding Storage Ottoman Bench Box – With Christmas not that long ago we always find ourselves having to do a reshuffle and reorganisation of the toys and books both old and new. Finding the right home storage is key to keeping it all under control.
When Songmics, leading sellers on Amazon got in touch and asked us to review the Storage Ottoman Bench I bit their hands off (virtually of course). Songmics sell a range of household and storage solutions at great prices.
I like box style storage or multi-purpose storage in muted tones which is why I was drawn to this Grey Ottoman Bench box.
As you can see it doesn’t look like a toy box from the outside so fits in perfectly in the dining area.
It was really easy to put together with no fixtures or screws. It came in four pieces:
All we had to do was unfold the base, add the bottom which was a thick plastic part that keeps the base box shaped, and then add the divider.
The lid is padded which means that it can also be used as a bench style seat, or a reading place as Isabelle has already claimed it to be.
As it’s quite large I thought it was perfect to store some of our ever growing collection of board games. We’ve put it in the dining area which means that if we were to have additional guests for dinner we could use it for extra seating at the table so it definitely has a multi-function purpose. You could of course use this for anything from a blanket box to shoe storage.
What we think?
It gets a big thumbs up from me simply because it is multipurpose and doesn’t look like a toy box so fits in with the surrounding furniture. It also gets an additional thumbs up from Isabelle who has been lounging on it reading her books or playing on her tablet as she’s been full of a cold for the last couple of days. Our games have a great new home now which is easily accessible whilst looking stylish.
Like what you see then enter our Competition to WIN one for yourself – Just fill in the rafflecopter form below.
Parenting in the Year 2018 – The only thing consistent about parenting throughout the ages is that it’s never been easy. So, here’s some advice you can apply to raising kids in 2018!
The world is changing at a rapid pace and, consequently, so is the way we chose to parent our children. Only thirty years ago, it was 1985 and societal norms and technological capabilities were vastly different. In 1985, a mobile phone was roughly the size of a house brick and was only owned by stockbrokers and the wealthy. Today, children in the UK generally have their own phone by the time they begin high school, if not before. Letting your children stay out until the street lights came on, using smacking as a form of discipline – these perfectly acceptable parenting standards for 1985 would be considered neglectful by many parents today. Social media platforms connect modern parents in ways that were unimaginable thirty years ago. Parents can now form supportive online communities and seek advice from others worldwide. Conversely, the advent of the internet has also resulted in the serious child protection concerns that parents typically harbour today. Each generation of children bring forth new challenges for their parents, that much is certain. Here, we discuss the ways that 2018 is trying to give parents a helping hand.
For kids, there are a fantastic range of apps currently available that are educational, entertaining or both at the same time! Take Rooster Money for example, an app that’s digitising pocket money. It’s entirely virtual with no card attached, so it’s perfect for the younger age groups. It also allows the child to have a savings and a wallet account, so you can begin to teach them the difference between having accessible cash and saving for a goal. Then there are apps with cards attached like goHenry, which are ideal for teaching pre-teens important financial lessons.
For the adults in the family, there are apps that cater to a variety of needs. In the past, parents who were separated or divorced were often plagued by the communication problems that naturally occur when a child splits their time between two homes. Today, there are apps that have been formulated with co-parenting specifically in mind. These apps come with custody schedules, expense management features and photo-sharing abilities so you can still feel connected to your child when it’s their turn to stay elsewhere. Some of these apps even log communications which can then be used to provide an accurate record during divorce proceedings.
There are also tasking apps which, although not made solely for busy parents, make a huge difference to daily life. Airtasker will finally be making its UK debut this year, meaning more parents will be able to free up their schedules with ease. If you haven’t heard of tasking apps like Airtasker, it is worth doing your research. You simply post a task using the app, and taskers will bid to do the chore. For example, if you know Wednesdays are a nightmare because of music lessons and football training, you can arrange for a tasker to do the grocery shop for you! The days of feeling like a plate-spinner are over.
Gadgets – all the cool parents have them
Sure, there may be thousands of books and how-to-guides available for parents on Amazon, but that’s just the problem – it is so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information. What are you supposed to do when your baby has trouble sleeping, or starts to roll over in their cot for the first time? If you try scouring baby manuals for answers, you’ll most likely end up with ten different opinions and no solution. Enter – gadgets. Just like James Bond has, only these have much more practical, everyday applications for new parents. When babies first begin to roll onto their stomachs, it can be worrying, especially when you put them down for a nap. Parents often get up multiple times in the night, anxious at the thought of their child struggling to breathe. But thankfully, you can now purchase baby movement monitors that simply clip onto your baby’s nappy. These monitors alert you if they detect no movement for 15 seconds, giving you peace of mind. Getting up in the night to sooth a crying baby can seem like a never-ending cycle, but now mobiles exist that can sense when your baby has woken up. These mobiles then play soothing sounds and lights to lull your baby back to sleep, leaving you to enjoy a few extra minutes of precious bed rest.
21st century education
Parenting methods are changing in the UK. What was once considered to be ‘hippy’ or ultra-alternative has now become almost mainstream. The Department of Education states that parents have a right to educate their children at home if the children in question are receiving a safe and suitable education. There has been a reported 65% increase in UK children who are recorded as being home schooled in the past six years. Home-schooling and unschooling, the practice of allowing children to learn from their life experiences and direct their own education, are becoming increasingly accepted as methods of education. By no means will these practices suit everyone, but it is comforting to know that there are many options available for you once your child reaches school age.
New parenting challenges, and new, innovative solutions to such challenges will continue to exist as long as there are children to care for. While it is easy to feel overwhelming in this age of information, it is worth researching what is currently on the market. Implementing two or three changes may be all that it takes to make things run that little bit smoother in your household.
#whatwedidthisweek – I thought I would resurrect this weekly post. I had been thinking about vlogging but I just can’t put myself in front of a camera.
So as not to stray from school holiday tradition isabelle was poorly. I’m trying desperately to dodge her coughs and sneezes but it’s almost a given that I’ll get it since her fave place is clamped to my side.
Before she got really poorly we went to Poundland at the weekend so that she could do a Poundshop Haul video. I’ve yet to edit it but will get it up as soon as I can.
We’ve done a few bits and bobs at home, such as make a cardboard car and a mermaid tail. She wanted to do some cooking but, well the permanent snot slug trailing down her face definitely says otherwise.
I ordered some Orbies as Isabelle has watched loads of videos of kids sitting in baths full of them or putting their feet in wellies full of them. They arrived on Wednesday so we popped them in a bowl and waited for them to grow. It didn’t take as long as the instructions said and Isabelle couldn’t resist keep putting her hands in them.
Daddy wasn’t impressed as they kept popping out of the bowl, and these things ping in every direction and are quite tricky to pick. It’s quite therapeutic to put your hands in them, but as to what purpose they serve I have no idea.
The next day I said she could put them in a big bowl and put her feet in them which she really enjoyed. it was really cold and they squished under her feet. Any ideas for what to do with these would be greatly appreciated.
Days at Home
The rest of the week went by in a bit of a haze of playing board games, colouring, endless snacking and watching you tube video’s. Believe me there are only so many videos that you can watch before you start climbing the walls.
Isabelle did get a mystery Valentine’s gift through the post, the person responsible has yet to come forward. It cheered Isabelle up no end though.
Isabelle’s attention span is much the same as a goldfish so we start doing something and then she wants to go and lay on her bed. She’s not really eating very much, more like snacking. The poor dog is looking longingly at us to take him out, but as it’s constantly raining, Isabelle being full of a cold and me walking like an old lady due to back ache the poor thing has no chance.
The days have been long and really boring.
A bit of normal
Thursday we went out to McDonald’s for lunch. Isabelle still has a cold but the thought of going to McDonalds where they are also giving away The Amazing World of Gumball toys (if you haven’t watched it, don’t – it’s rubbish) was enough to get her out of the door. It was heaving and we were lucky to get a table but she enjoyed it enough before her face started to go red and blotchy and we knew it was time to make a move.
The McDonalds we went to is in the middle of a retail park so you can imagine what the car park was like. Not the best time for me to have to jump out of the car at the exit of the car park therefore forming a queue so that I could stamp out the pain going from my back and shooting down through my leg BUT I did it anyway. Flippin cramp and weird shooting pains.
Friday was Isabelle’s first full day of feeling normal (still snotty) so Daddy took her and a friend to ibounce to burn off some of the stored up energy and I got to do some work. I’ve started a course called Finance for Freedom which is really quite interesting. I’m totally British when it comes to talking about money, but it’s amazing how our finances affect our happiness etc so it’s a bit of an eye opener. I’m going to post about this separately as I’m sure you will find it an interesting read.
Saturday I finally went for the haircut that I’ve wanted to have for a couple of week’s. I thought pregnancy was supposed to give you lusciously thick glossy hair but mine has taken on the look of an abandoned birds nest. I’ve had all the dry ends cut off so it’s quite a bit shorter than I wanted but it feels so much nicer. I’m going to give coconut oil overnight conditioning a try to see if this helps to keep it from going so dry.
Today I went to see my dad who is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He’s had three cycles so far and has fared pretty well apart from not being able to sleep very well. He’s just started to lose his hair which given that he’s almost bald I don’t think he minds. His sense of humour took quite a beating but he seems to be getting this back a bit which is nice. He’s originally from Scotland so I thought I would buy him one of those ginger wigs with the tartan hat attached as a joke present.
Back to work tomorrow and due to our pretty miserable week, I’m really looking forward to going back. Not so much the thought of my alarm clock going off at 5.30am.
Pregnancy Diary 24 Weeks – I’ve been off work this week with Isabelle as it’s half-term. Of course like always, half-term has been ruined with Isabelle having the worse cough and cold. Add in the abysmal weather and it’s made for a rubbish week.
As always I’ve taken the time off whilst Chris is at work so I’m left feeling like a single mum most of the time. I really need to get my driving sorted so that I have a bit more freedom.
I’m aching all over every second of the day. As I feared, my neck and shoulder pain has come back with a vengeance. I’m so sore so I feel miserable.
I can’t walk that far at the moment which I’m really peeved about. My pelvis starts to grate and my lower back gives me really horrible painful twinges. I had to jump out of the car at the exit of a car park the other day so that I could stretch out the pain going from my back down through my entire leg. We literally blocked the traffic but hey I needed to stamp my feet!
You’d think that with being home this week I’d have had the perfect opportunity to get some rest, but Isabelle doesn’t give me a moment peace. I know a lot of mums say this, but she literally doesn’t give me a break. She’s loud, can’t sit still and needs constant entertaining. It’s totally draining me and having no help at all is just making it worse.
She does like to cosy up on the sofa but I can’t get comfortable with her half covering my body and the thought of getting her germs isn’t a great thought either. I really can’t wait to go back to work next week just so that I can get out of the house and the conversation is more varied than:
‘Blow your nose’
‘Put your hand over your mouth’
‘Stop jumping on the sofa’
‘ Stop shouting’
Friday saw the first day of no rain or hail. We actually had a blue sky. Daddy I think has finally picked up on my low mood and arranged to take Isabelle and her friend to ibounce to burn off some energy. It was nice to have some Isabelle free time!
We then went to the library in the afternoon. Libraries are supposed to be quiet, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It was ridiculously loud with kids running around karate chopping each other. Some other kids were fighting over the huge rocking horse and the mums sat there pretending that nothing was happening. End of the week syndrome I think! Mums frazzled but the kids are still hyper!
My appetite had definitely picked up, but now I don’t have any room to eat. My tummy feels so tight that eating a big meal is just not manageable.
I’ve finally got round to having my hair cut. Aren’t we all supposed to get really lovely glossy hair and glowy skin when we’re pregnant? My hair is probably a reflection of my mood = FRAZZLED. I’ve had to have quite a bit cut off just to get rid of the straw like ends so it’s a bit shorter than I was expecting. I do, however, like it and it already feels a lot lighter. I read somewhere about putting coconut oil on it overnight as a conditioning treatment which I think I might give a try.
I’ve also got a flare-up of my eczema which I get when I’m feeling stressed.
At 24 weeks the baby is now the size of a papaya measuring around 30cm and weighing about 1.3lbs.
The baby’s lungs are now maturing so that they can breathe air rather than fluid and the organs in their ears are starting to develop so that they can work out sounds – poor thing probably knows that I’ve been telling Isabelle off quite a lot this week.
Their face will now be fully formed with eyelashes, eyebrows and hair. This will still be white due to lack of pigment, but will start to change colour soon.
Apparently it’s quite common to experience lower back pain at this stage of pregnancy – Yey!
All in all Week 24 has been CRAP!
P.s – if you have any tips for pain during pregnancy i would love to hear them xx
Pregnancy Diary Week 23 – A desperate plea to get my Mat B1 at my whooping cough injection appointment.
Whooping Cough Injection
Monday I went for my whooping cough injection. The nurse did warm me prior to the injection that I would have a sore arm the next day but jeez! It hurt to lift my arm above elbow height and sleeping on it woke me up during the night. So feeble.
Mat B1 Form Update
I got the Golden Ticket!!!!
I asked if she could fill in the Mat B1 form for me which she couldn’t, but after speaking to the Receptionist she was able to get the doctor to fill this in for me.
It’s official people! My last day at work is Thursday 17th May with a return date of Monday 20th May 2019!
My appetite has finally returned a bit. Chicken is still off the menu but this week I’ve had feta cheese, cous cous, pasta and sauce (unblended sauce) and a hot pot type dish.
There has been no sickness this week but have had a couple of near misses. I think that’s down to the awful heartburn that I’ve been getting so Gaviscon is now on the menu most evenings.
I think I’ve got more of a sweet tooth this time or it could be that I’m making up for all the food I could’nt eat at the beginning.
Is it a boy or is it a girl? Isabelle’s Fool Proof Gender prediction
Isabelle is quite annoyed that this baby is a boy. We of course don’t know this BUT when she puts her head on my belly and shouts ‘kick if you’re a boy’ the baby kicks. I have tried to explain that it doesn’t know if it’s a girl or boy and that it’s probably just reacting to her shouting. She thinks she’s got it so Sussed.
Buying for Baby
I bought some baby clothes. Just some little vests and a couple of hats but it’s a start. I also got some of the Dove baby range which smells lovely but not too strong.
We must get all of Isabelle’s bits and pieces out to see what we have that might be suitable.
I also got a delivery of an outfit that I won via the Let’s Talk Mommy blog from The Essential One. I was able to choose the size so opted for newborn. Ryan weighed 6lb 4oz and Isabelle was 6lb 12oz so we had to make a special trip to buy tiny baby clothes so I’d like to be a bit more prepared for a small baby so that they don’t have to be drowned in the first clothes that they wear. Anyway the prize arrived this weeks and it’s just so cute.
Urgh my coat is a bit of a squeeze to do up now which is a bit pants as it’s still quite cold and of course raining nearly every day. It’s my every day coat that is warm and waterproof (my mum coat). I don’t really want to buy a new one so I’m hoping the weather improves so I can wear one of my lighter jackets.
My baby is now the size of a Mango (feels a lot bigger) weighing about 1.1lbs and measuring around 28.9cm and has all the features of a newborn.
It can still do somersaults which I think it’s doing plenty of at the moment.
The lungs are still developing and getting ready to breath following the birth and they still have translucent skin.
Apparently now is the time to start playing soothing music to the baby as noises are more familiar.
Did you know that it is Chinese New year on Friday 16th February? It’s not a date that I usually remember. We’re huge fans of Chinese food whether it be homemade or a cheeky takeaway. So How well do you know the Chinese Zodiac? Take the quiz below.
My Chinese Zodiac sign is the Rooster – This means that I am Determined, brave, perseverant and hardworking. I’ll take that!
Chinese culture is bursting with symbols of luck and fortune. And the Chinese zodiac is just one of many fortune prediction methods. The zodiac comprises of 12 animal symbols in total that repeat in a 12 year cycle. Each year is the year of a specific animal – for example, 2018 is the year of the dog.
The zodiac animals are, in order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and lastly pig. Why these 12 animals in particular? Well, these animals were actually deliberately chosen, representing creatures that were most closely associated to ancient Chinese people’s lives.
The ox, horse and goat were important domestic animals – while the tiger, dragon and snake were simply loved by the people. Their order in the zodiac, according to legend, was decided by a race but the arrangement may have been decided for a different reason.
The animals were placed in a fixed order which was determined by a number of factors but most importantly: the Yin and Yang theory. This ordering means that the creatures and the years have been arranged in an alternating yin-yang sequence to represent balance and harmony.
Each of the animals has a symbolic meaning, attribute and saying attached to it. What’s most interesting is that each animal has a contrasting partner – just like yin and yang. The animal’s attribute and respective partner’s attribute harmonise with each other creating balance. For example, the rat harmonizes with the ox – and their assigned attributes (wisdom and industriousness respectively) balance each other out.
The Chinese zodiac is certainly an interesting contrast . Mastery of it can lead to great fortune – and that’s good news when playing slot games at bgo. But how does your Chinese zodiac symbols knowledge stack up? Test yourself in our short quiz and find out. Answer them all correctly and you can consider yourself the ultimate master!
What was your score? I got 9 which was pretty impressive.
Pregnancy Diary Week 22 – this week hasn’t got off to a particularly good start as lower back ache kicked in over the weekend and has stuck with me. It has also progressed to neck and shoulder pain which is a pain!
I’ve been doing a bit of research and think I might give pregnancy yoga a go, but will also see if I can get some physio through my midwife.
I’m quite anxious about this as I used to suffer with chronic neck pain and had to load up on painkillers for the best part of 10 years. Weirdly being pregnant with Isabelle seemed to ease this and following that it only became an intermittent problem that was manageable.
Other than that the pregnancy is plodding along nicely. Actually not plodding along, it’s going really fast so let’s say whooshing along.
My bump is out and I look like a bona fida pregnant lady now. The comments have already started on my bump size:
You’re carrying high!
You sure there’s just one in there!
ITS MINE! My bump size is based on MY body size. I’m carrying exactly the same as I have with both my previous pregnancies. The baby is healthy as am I.
MOVE ALONG FOLKS!
It’s definitely a kicker like the other two. I was crouched down with Isabelle the other day and I thought she’d knee’d me in the tummy but it was a really strong kick. You can see some movement now when the baby kicks.
I still haven’t got my Mat B1 form for work. I’ve only got just under three weeks left to do this. My midwife is currently off sick and having spoken to the temporary midwife it seems that she can’t sign it because she hasn’t met me to confirm my pregnancy. It’s on my notes as well as the records at the doctors, but apparently she has to have eyeballed me before she can sign the form.
That’s fine I’ll make an appointment OH but there aren’t any!
Drama! I’ve hit a brick wall with this so have left it with the surgery to see what they can do for me.
I’m booked in for my whooping cough injection on Monday and hopefully they might have come up with a solution. I plan to be off for a year but I’m not sure this is possible at the moment. I’ve written a recent post on Maternity Financial Planning if you’re also on the pregnancy journey.
Buying for Baby
I bought my first item of clothing this week. Not sure why I’m so hesitant but I found this cute little jumper in H&M and couldn’t resist. I would pair this with some of the little cute leggings for babies but not sure what colour. Navy or mint. Maybe the same colour as the jumper. Isabelle is convinced that I know it’s a boy as it’s a boys jumper so was a bit miffed.
I do have a list of things that we’ll need to get but I don’t see any reason to buy it just yet since we have no space until we have a bit of a declutter.
There are two particular, actually three things that I think are at the top of my baby wish list. I want:
A nice pram – There are so many nice ones to choose from so haven’t narrowed it down as yet but am really loving the Silvercross range, especially the Silvercross Wave.
A beside the bed crib – I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it is likely this baby will end up in our bed. I try and be optimistic but it’s not so bad being snuggled up with your newborn so that you at least get some semblance of sleep so I love the idea of the beside the bed crib which will allow the baby to be with us but in it’s own safe space. I love this grey Knuma Huddle and also the Snuzpod.
Sleepyhead – As I’ve already said previously my daughter was an awful sleeper and I’ve heard so many good things about the Sleepyhead Pods so I would really like one – THIS ONE!
The baby is about the size of a sweet potato weighing around 430g and measuring about 27.8cm (not far off the size of a ruler).
The baby’s gums are already developing tooth buds ready for their little gnashers to come through (yey).
The eyes have formed but don’t yet have any colour. All of the other organs are developing and growing and will continue to do so.
They may have already started to develop their own little routine. Based on this, my belly is most active first thing in the morning, after eating and also when I get into bed. You can already see my belly moving around and it’s definitely having a party in there.
Pregnancy Diary Week 21 – I’m slowly getting a bit more adventurous with my eating. We had tacos last night with garlic and onion in it. I really enjoyed it even though I started to waver when the garlic and onion smell wafted through the house.
My Eating has improved…….
As well as the taco’s I’ve eaten a salad with feta cheese and salad dressing.
Raisin and cinnemon bagels are way up there on my current faves – toasted with loads of butter. Yum!
Food smells aren’t so stomach churning anymore, but I still don’t have a huge repetoire to choose from.
Chicken is probably my most hated food at the moment. Yuk.
I had my meeting at work this week to discuss maternity leave and how much time I intend to take off. At this stage I’ve gone for a year and fingers crossed that our finances allows this.
I had decided to make my last day the 24th May which would give me a week before my due date to chill a little bit. However, looking at the dates, it’s bank holiday Monday on the 28th May and Isabelle will be off school for the entire week leading up to my due date. Bit of a bummer!
I don’t mind so much that she will be off school but she’s going to want entertaining for the week AND I’ll be on my own with her if I go into labour that week. Yikes!
Anyway, as I didn’t have my Mat B1 form the official planning and acceptance of this has to wait until next week.
I’m sporting my one and only piece of maternity wear today which is a pair of over the bump leggings from H&M. I’ve been pretty disappointed with the choice of maternity wear that I’ve managed to root out on the High Street so I might have to have a look online.
Failing that I will just continue to wear tunic style dresses with leggings or tights with cardigans.
Just to report back on the leggings which were a total bargain at £8.99 a pair. These are so so comfy and are now going to be a staple feature in my wardrobe.
As well as leg and foot cramps at night I’ve started to get lower back ache which is making walking a bit of a problem.
We went to the beach today as a birthday treat for our dog, Charlie who turned four and it really took it out of me even though we didn’t walk particularly far.
Fingers crossed that I’ve just overdone it a bit and it will pass.
The baby will be about the size of a pepper, measuring around 27cm long and weighing about 360g.
The eyelids and eyebrows are formed and it’s possible for them to blink. Amazingly the baby will have taste buds and can taste a variety of different flavours dependent on what I’m eating (hope it likes cheese).
The skin will have a coating of white, waxy substance known as Vernix Caseosa. This protects their body from the effects of bobbing around in the amniotic fluid for so long.
The baby will be urinating, which they will then drink. Pee, drink, pee, repeat. The baby’s first poo is currently in the making which they will poop out once the baby is born.
This pregnancy is flying by and my belly is growing now at an amazing pace.
One of the biggest financial commitments you will make is having a baby and that’s why Maternity Financial Planning is essential so that you can enjoy your bundle of joy when the time comes.
So get ahead of the game, do your homework and then you can sit back (yeah right) comfy in the knowledge that your finances are sorted for the foreseeable.
Maternity Leave Payments
You are entitled to up to 52 weeks maternity leave. Dependent on how long you have been with your current employer will determine the amount that you are entitled to. To work out what your entitled to, use this Maternity Allowance Calculator. Statutory Maternity pay is currently at £140.98 per week.
Shared Parental Leave
Dependent on your circumstances you want to share the time off to care for your baby. Luckily there is such a thing as Shared Parental Leave which you may be eligible for. You can find out all the info on this through your employer or here.
Make sure that you claim everything that you may be entitled to. This is dependent on your financial circumstances, but it’s definitely worth a look. Pop over to the Gov Website for more info on everything from claiming Child Benefit to Child Tax Credits.
You are of course entitled to free prescriptions and dental treatment which is valid for twelve months following the birth of the baby. You will need to apply for this through your midwife or health visitor.
Forecast your future costs
Once you have your Maternity plan sorted and you have a rough idea of when you will return to work, sit down and work out your current incomings and outgoings. This will help you in the long run and can be adjusted if and when things change. If you’re going to have childcare costs when you return to work it’s a good idea to know how much this is going to be. It’s a huge factor in deciding what hours you will need to return to to make it worthwhile.
Try not to splurge
Easier said that done when you find out your having a baby BUT keeping your head whilst making purchases could save you a fortune. There’s loads of things that you can do to save on the spending:
I know that a lot of people aren’t up for this (I used to be one of them), but babies, especially newborn babies don’t wear their clothes for very long and usually remain in excellent condition. See what Baby Markets and Pre-loved events that are near you. I find a lot of these on Facebook so check out local events. You could also approach friends who have had babies to see if they are willing to sell you outgrown clothes which may give you peace of mind if you’re worried about where they’re coming from.
Do your research
All the magazines and websites will give you endless ideas and lists of all the ‘Must have’ baby gear which can be often misleading. Ask friends who have had babies and you will soon learn that they were led down this path only to find that they didn’t need X, Y and Z. For me it was a bottle warmer and a hand pump for milk. I haven’t known a single person to recommend a bottle warmer and the hand pump for milk was such an effort and took such a long time.
Find out when your favourite shops hold their sales and stock up on things. It’s worth stocking up on things that you know you’re going to need such as nappies and wet wipes. If you do know the gender of your baby or your baby is already here, buy the next size up in clothes or out of season clothes which will fit them when the time comes round.
Family and Friends
All family and friends want to buy something for the new baby. Most people will ask if there is anything in particular that you need. Be honest and let them know what you have left on your list to buy. If it’s something big they may contribute with vouchers, but people really do like to know if they can buy something that you want – It’s why they asked!
I went to loads of baby groups when Isabelle was a baby but the cost of these do stack up. Make sure you factor these into your monthly budget. Not all groups have to cost the earth. Look out for local parenting groups most often held in village or church halls which are often something like £1 for a stay and play session where you get a cuppa and a biscuit. Your health visitor should be able to give you some information on where to find these.
Nappies and Wet wipes
I’m going to write a more dedicated post on this subject, but have you thought of using Washable Nappies and Wet Wipes? Don’t cast this idea aside. Have a look and I guarantee you will be surprised on the options available. We went washable with Isabelle and will be washable with baby number 3. This could save you a small fortune not to mention the environmental benefits. We’re lucky in Devon that we have the Real Nappy Project where you can get advice, trial kits and demonstrations. Again, you should be able to get local information from your Midwife, Health Visitor or you may even receive this information at the hospital antenatal classes.
Loads of the big shops such as Boots and Tesco have Baby Clubs where you get additional points for baby purchases, find out about upcoming ‘baby events’ and special offers. It’s definitely worth signing up for these so that you can get the best value of money on all the every day essentials.
Baby Markets and Pre-loved Events
As well as picking up a bargain, you could also sell on your outgrown and unused items to make some pennies to put towards the next thing you have to buy. You may of course be planning to have more children so it may be that you will store everything for the next one.
I’m sure that there are so many more ways that you could save money so if you have any fab nuggets of wisdom then do pop them in the comments.
Leg cramps during pregnancy is something that has bothered me during my first two pregnancies and now with my third so I thought I would share some tips on dealing with leg cramps during pregnancy. Some women complain about their bladders being the thing that wakes them up in the night, but for me it’s crippling leg and foot cramps.
The only thing that seems to get rid of the pain and foot spasms is to get up and stomp my feet on the floor. For the first time ever my calf muscles are tense like I’ve exercised loads and it’s been striking me during the day as well.
During the day I could cope with the cramps as I can get up and walk around which is never a bad thing as I work in an office I probably sit far longer than I should anyway, but it’s awful at night so I thought I would do a bit of research.
What causes leg cramps during pregnancy?
It’s not entirely clear why pregnant women suffer from leg and foot cramps, usually in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
It could be due to the additional weight that we carry round during pregnancy and then cramp up when you rest.
The pressure that your baby puts on the nerves and blood vessels that lead to and from your legs with changes to your circulation.
There is also a theory that your body becomes low in certains salts during pregnancy which can cause your muscles to cramp.
What can you do to prevent or ease cramps during pregnancy?
Stretching your Calf muscles – It’s thought that stretching your calf muscles before bed may help prevent leg cramps. Stand at arms length from a wall, put your hands on the wall in front of you and move your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold and stretch for about 30 seconds, being careful to keep your back straight and your hips forward. Don’t rotate your feet inward or outward and avoid pointing your toes. Repeat with the other leg.
Stay Active – Continuing to exercise during pregnancy is important ensuring that you seek advice from your fitness instructor or a doctor.
Make sure you stay hydrated – We should be trying to maintain our hydration levels anyway, but it’s always best to try harder during pregnancy. A good way to tell if you are drinking enough is by your urine. It should be light in colour. If it’s dark you should try to drink more.
Keeping your legs raised – When resting put a pillow under your legs to help maintain blood flow. At night put a pillow under your legs to keep them slightly raised.
Taking a Magnesium supplement – Only after seeking advice from your midwife. I take Pregnancy vitamins which contain Magnesium, but you can also try eating magnesium rich foods such as whole grains, beans, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Wearing sensible shoes – Boo but hey I’m not a first time mum so the days of walking around in massive heels are long gone. Supportive footwear (urgh) with heel support can help as a preventative.
Massage your calves – If you can reach!
Taking a bath – Before bed this can help relax the muscles and hopefully will aid a good or decent nights sleep.
I’m going to be trying all of the above as I definitely need my sleep, more so now that I’m growing a little person. I will keep you up to date with the leg cramps in my Pregnancy Diary Posts.