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BabyHub SleepSpace Travel Cot Review

SleepSpace Travel Cot Review

SleepSpace Travel Cot Review – Over the past year or so we’ve tried to make the most of our family time. It’s really easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle of work and school, and if you throw in housework and a dog it can be really time consuming. We’ve decided as a family that the time that we do get together should be spent doing fun stuff, one of these things being taking the opportunity to venture outside of the house with day trips as well as the odd family holiday.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

 

Saying that we haven’t got anything booked as yet since little Freddie was due at any time and we didn’t want to commit ourselves to anything until we’d got into our new family routine. Now that Freddie is very much here and making his presence known we can start thinking about our family adventures.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

Previous experience of holidays where some things are provided such as cots, highchairs and prams have not been great so we like to take our own things so that we know they are safe and clean to use.

When we were asked to review the SleepSpace Travel Cot I was very excited. You may wonder why, but the SleepSpace is no ordinary travel cot as it is multifunctional, and doubles up as a play teepee or den if you’re seven.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

The SleepSpace Travel cot is lightweight (6kg) and comes in it’s own zippable bag for easy carrying. It comes with its own padded mattress, 67 x 94 x 2cm which all standard travel cot fitted sheets can be fitted.

it has an umbrella style mechanism for folding/unfolding which makes it easy to put up and down with just a few clicks.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

it also comes with a mosquito net perfect for our unusually hot weather, and a teepee which fits over the top to transform the cot into a safe play space.

The SleepSpace Travel Cot has fully padded edges to avoid bumps and has breathable mesh sides making it a safe place for your baby to sleep and play.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

The SleepSpace Travel Cot is suitable from birth to 3 years and is available in 4 colours (Tangerine, Pebble, Kiwi and Ruby).

Our thoughts

We took a few close up shots on Instagram to see if you guys could work out what we’d had delivered since this is no ordinary ‘run of the mill’ travel cot and quite a few of you savvy mums and dads had it sussed fairly quickly.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

Assembling the SleepSpace Travel Cot was extremely easy with just a few clicks. We liked the mosquito net feature since the weather has been unusually hot so there are a lot of flying nasties to contend with. It’s got plenty of padding covering the frame to prevent any bumps.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

Most importantly this was deemed ‘cool’ by our seven year old daughter once it was transformed into a teepee den. With a seven year old and a newborn there are few things that are appealing to both age groups but this definitely got the thumbs up from Isabelle who had this in her room for a few night to ‘try out’.

Freddie is obsessed with lights so we turned it into a little sensory light show with the help of Isabelle.

The SleepSpace Travel Cot has also won several awards which in my book always goes a long way since they use Mum and Dad reviewers to help make these decisions.

Sleepspace Travel Cot Review

The test of all tests is whether or not the travel cot would go back in it’s bag. Don’t you just hate it when you buy something, take it out of the box and then it never goes back in there unless you squash it or sit on it. This went down and back in its bag like a dream.

Overall we were really impressed with the SleepSpace travel cot not only for its functionality as a safe place for Freddie to sleep but also the multifunctional use of a cool play space for both Freddie and Isabelle to enjoy.

The SleepSpace Travel Cot is available to buy at the BabyHub Shop for £149. To keep up to date with all the news and special offers sign up to their Newsletter.

Disclosure: We were sent a SleepSpace Travel Cot free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions and images are my own. 

Baby Days – 8 Week Update

Baby Days – 8 Week Update

Baby Days – 8 Week Update – I’ll probably start off by saying this every time, but seriously where has the time gone! Freddie is now eight weeks old and has fitted in like he was always here.

Growth

Boy this boy is growing! We’re packing away too small clothes at a ridiculous rate. He was weighed on Wednesday and now weighs 12lb 8oz and is quite long. He feels more sturdy in my arms now but still needs support for his head which he flings about.

Development

He’s smiling a lot now which is awesome. His little crooked smile makes the night feeds and tiredness all worthwhile.

He’s cooing a lot as he takes in his surroundings and I don’t think it will be long before they turn into little chuckles.

Obviously the TV is an attraction with the colours and sounds but he gets very excited when he hears voices but can’t quite see the person and is looking around to find them.

Baby Days

 

This morning he was getting very excited, kicking his legs and feet and waving his arms at Daddy’s dressing gown which was hanging on the bedroom door. I think he was waiting for daddy to turn around.

Play

We can now play with toys for around 10 – 15 minutes before he’s had enough.

We have a playmat with dangly toys, lights and sounds but I think his favourite things are bells. We have quite a collection of children’s instruments and shakers from when Isabelle was tiny which all the little ones that visit seem to love including Freddie.

He doesn’t mind tummy time which we do on our bed with his as he can hold his head up but again this is limited to around 10 minutes.

Baby Days

 

Feeding

Freddie is a hungry boy and likes his milk. He was breastfed and then infection struck so went onto formula, but this little boy never gave up on breastfeeding and so we’re currently restarting (did you know you could do that?) with a combination of expressing milk, formula and breastfeeding. It’s not going to be easy but I really didn’t want to stop breastfeeding and clearly Freddie didn’t either!

Baby Days

I think we’re lucky that we are receiving support to achieve this both from health professionals and local groups. Having watched the Channel 4 documentary on breastfeeding which has raised lots of opinions and highlighted the lack of support across the country was quite sad, but maybe something good will come off the back of it.

 

We seem to have just fallen into a sort of pattern particularly at night which is a feed at around 8.30-9pm and then he goes down until around 1 – 1.30am and up again around 4am.

Baby Days

 

Look at that face x

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Top Review + Giveaway – My Breastfeeding Journey when Isabelle wasn’t what I’d expected so this time round I did a lot of reading in preparation for our third baby and felt that it would be different. Apart from the pain that I experienced I didn’t feel particular comfortable feeding in front of people and felt that I was in a constant state of undress which left me feeling all hot and sweaty most of the time.

The Bshirt Review and Giveaway

Did you know that stress can hinder your milk production so taking the time to find a comfortable place to feed your baby is advisable. Finding suitable clothes to wear is a big factor when breastfeeding, and I still think that maternity and nursing wear has a long way to go in terms of being both wearable and looking nice.

I also felt that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes that I wouldn’t get much use out of which looking back seems silly since a lot of people breastfeed for 6 – 12 months or longer so you would get quite a lot of wear out of them.

The Bshirt

The Bshirt has definitely been a key piece since Freddie was born as it’s a simple black top that will go with anything from jeans, leggings, shorts and skirts.

Unlike other nursing clothes the Bshirt looks like a normal top with no hooks or clasps to fiddle about with. It has a built in layer which you just pull up for access to your bra. As you don’t have to lift the entire top up your tummy remains covered which can be an area  that many of us are self-conscious about.

The Bshirt is made from 95% Organic cotton 5% lycra to make it stretchy. Its lightweight which is great for layering and also drying once washed.

You will be pleased to know that the Bshirt is available in several different colours in sizes from 6 – 20.

About the Bshirt

The Bshirt Breastfeeding Vest was developed by two fellow Devon mums, Lisa and Philippa who understand the difficulties that mothers face when breastfeeding in public. Essentially the Bshirt was designed to allow women to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes whilst having easy access to breastfeed. They are keen to encourage breastfeeding within the UK where current rates are pretty poor by supporting charities that promote and support women through this journey.

You can also find out about the Breastfeed with Confidence campaign and find out which local retailers, cafes, restaurants and attractions local to you are in support of this.

Our thoughts

I’m not a fan of a lot of maternity or nursing clothes because as a size 8 most of them drown me or are generally quite frumpy but the Bshirt ticks all the boxes in terms of look and fit. Most maternity vest tops that I’ve tried have been baggy rather than fitted which I don’t like.

This exceptionally hot weather we’ve had recently has made breastfeeding that little bit harder in terms of feeling hot and sweaty so it’s great that it’s lightweight and can be easily dried.

I’ve worn the Bshirt underneath clothing and also on it’s own as a vest top as it looks like a normal black top. It gave Chris and I had a bit of a giggle as when you lift the flap it is a bit ‘peek-a-boo’ but that might just be our childish sense of humour.

I would definitely recommend the Bshirt to other Mums and feel that I’m going to get a lot of use out of mine.

Competition

You can get your own Bshirt Breastfeeding Top by popping over to the website or try your luck at winning a Bshirt by filling in the rafflecopter form below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*We were gifted a Bshirt for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

 

The Secret Meaning of your Pregnancy Cravings

The secret meaning of your pregnancy cravings

The secret meaning of your pregnancy cravings – Many women experience cravings during pregnancy, which can range from normal, everyday combinations to weird concoctions that would normally sound disgusting! The pregnancy vitamin experts at Vitabiotics Pregnacare have researched some of the most common pregnancy cravings to discover what they really mean for you and your body. Check out what they found below!

The Secret Meaning Of Your Pregnancy Cravings

Sweet treats

Sweet treats, such as cake, fruit and ice cream are common cravings during pregnancy. Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy can lead to blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling tired and groggy. Your cravings for sweet and sugary foods will give you a sugar boost, which help to perk you up, although only temporarily! Choose foods that will release energy slowly, such as a banana on whole grain toast, so you don’t suffer from a mid-afternoon slump!

Pickles

While pregnant, you may find yourself reaching for pickles and other salty foods more than you would normally. Although this is fine in moderation, be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.

During the first two trimesters of pregnancy, many women suffer from low blood pressure which can leave them feeling tired and dizzy, so craving salty foods is our body’s way of helping to get our blood pressure back to normal.

Chilli

Lots of women find that during pregnancy, they reach for spicier foods more often than usual. Pregnancy helps us to tolerate spice better, and luckily doesn’t induce labour (no matter what the old wives’ tales say!). Spicy foods may worsen symptoms of heartburn or nausea, so only indulge in moderation if you experience these symptoms.

Ice

It’s unclear why so many women find the crunch of ice so tempting during pregnancy. Many experts think that it is simply an effective way to stay hydrated, whereas others believe it may be a symptom of nutritional deficiency. Although the definitive meaning of this craving hasn’t been found, many women find that it disappears after they begin taking an iron supplement, so it’s worth checking in with your GP if you think an iron deficiency may be the issue.

Non-edible foods

If you find yourself craving weird, non-edible foods such as sponges or washing liquid, you may be suffering from a condition called pica. Although this is generally harmless, and just a side effect of your changing hormones, it’s suggested that you let your GP know about your cravings so they can advise you if they are a sign of anything which requires action.

Have you experienced any weird or wonderful cravings? Let me know!

Being treated for Sepsis Postpartum

Being treated for Sepsis Postpartum

Being treated for Sepsis Postpartum – I thought that the struggles that I was having with the breastfeeding was as bad as it would get. I had cracked nipples, feeling permanently sweaty from the elongated time spent feeding and two slit like wounds on either nipple which were from his top lip.

I needed help and was receiving this from the midwife team and was due to be seen by a Lactation Consultant.

I spent two whole days doing nothing but pumping, feeding and crying alongside poor Freddie who essentially just wanted to feed.

Every time he cried my boobs reacted like beacons which gave me further pain.

The expressing was going well but was totally impractical unless that was all I had to do in life.

It wasn’t an ideal situation but I just needed to rest my poor nipples from Freddie’s Dyson like suction.

AND THEN……..

The expressing took a nosedive. After an hour sat like Daisy the cow hooked up to the pump I only managed to express the smallest amount of milk.

This also happened at about 10.30 at night so no help available. It wasn’t a hard decision to make to send Chris to Tesco’s for some formula. Freddie needed to be fed and if it had to be formula for a temporary period of time then so be it.

I carried on with the pumping but only managed to express a minimal amount each time so we had lots of crying both Freddie and I.

The following day I woke up with hot mega swollen engorged breasts which were only producing blood and pus. I was at my wits end and poor Freddie was getting angrier by the second at the lack of milk.

I was shaking uncontrollably and so cold and really had no idea what I was supposed to do. This was my second episode of this which I’d just put down to being tired and not having eaten properly. When the midwife phoned I was in a bit of a state and she suggested ringing the triage ward at the hospital.

The advice was to go up to the hospital to be assessed for mastitis. I just thought it would be a case of being seen and coming home with some antibiotics and feeding advice.

But no I was pretty quickly hooked up to IV fluids, swabbed from various bits of my body, blood pressure taken, temperature, heart rate etc. I was then given two lots of antibiotics through the IV and seen by various people.

I wasn’t going home – I was being treated for Sepsis as a precaution.

Freddie was to stay with me and was checked over by one of the neo-natal doctors in case he started to show any signs of infection.

My bloods came back showing raised inflammatory markers but the chest x-ray came back clear. I had a raised heart rate and my obs weren’t quite within the normal range.

I was moved to the post-natal ward and put in a side room where Freddie could stay with me. There was a possibility that Freddie could develop the infection so they put him under observation as well as me.

I don’t think I realised how serious things were until they mentioned Freddie being cannulated and hooked up to IV tubes. I hadn’t cried or done anything but was running on autopilot until that point, but the thought of my little boy having to have tubes and needles poked into him really upset me.

Being attached to an IV line wasn’t much fun. You have to remember to pull the trolly thing along with you or you risk pulling it out of your hand – a painful reminder when you forget each time.

At this point it was still a possibility that I could return to feeding but I just couldn’t see it at all. When all you see when you look at your nipples is open wounds oozing green pus and blood how can you put a baby on to feed? How would you feed without it being excruciatingly painful?

No. I’d made my decision not to attempt feeding again and I felt happy in my decision even though I desperately wanted to feed him.

Chris stayed with us as much as he could and Isabelle came to see us on the second day. She found the chair on wheels that you use to sit on in the shower which she thought was quite amusing so spent most of the time wheeling herself around on that.

On day three I was really keen to go home. The swabs had grown Strep B and Staph so they knew what they were dealing with and I was changed to Flucloxacillin orally. Freddie was still at risk of having this and would need IV antibiotics if he showed any signs. It’s quite hard to swallow knowing that you might have passed on something to your baby which could be potentially very serious for him.

It’s hot in the hospital and quite hard to sleep when they have to change drips and take obs on either me or Freddie throughout the day and night.

Poor Freddie was also constipated as a result of changing him from breast to formula milk.

We were quite relieved when we were finally given the all clear to go home on the Friday.

This comes at the same time that Sepsis is being highlighted greatly through the media. Coronation Street are currently running a storyline in which Jack is diagnosed with Sepsis following a graze on his leg. Sepsis can of course be life threatening so early diagnosis is crucial.

In my case, the staff at my local hospital weren’t taking any chances with Freddie and I, and we were given the works in terms of tests and treatment which we were so thankful for.

what is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection which can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

How to spot the signs of Sepsis in under 5’s – Ring 999 or go straight to A&E if:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch
  • is breathing very fast
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • has a fit or convulsion

Other symptoms to look out for are:

Temperature

  • temperature over 38C in babies under three months
  • temperature over 39C in babies aged three to six months
  • any high temperature in a child who cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything
  • low temperature (below 36C – check three times in a 10-minute period)

Breathing

  • finding it much harder to breathe than normal – looks like hard work
  • making “grunting” noises with every breath
  • can’t say more than a few words at once (for older children who normally talk)
  • breathing that obviously “pauses”

Toilet/nappies

  • not had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

Eating and drinking

  • new baby under one month old with no interest in feeding
  • not drinking for more than eight hours (when awake)
  • bile-stained (green), bloody or black vomit/sick

Activity and body

  • soft spot on a baby’s head is bulging
  • eyes look “sunken”
  • child cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything
  • baby is floppy
  • weak, “whining” or continuous crying in a younger child
  • older child who’s confused
  • not responding or very irritable
  • stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down

If your child has any of these symptoms, is getting worse or is sicker than you’d expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.

For older children and adults:

  • a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • chills and shivering
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

In some cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) develop soon after.

These can include:

  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • a change in mental state – such as confusion or disorientation
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • slurred speech
  • severe muscle pain
  • severe breathlessness
  • less urine production than normal – for example, not urinating for a day
  • cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • loss of consciousness

This information about the signs and symptoms of Sepsis was taken from the NHS website and many of the symptoms are quite non-specific but it’s always best to get things checked out. You know your baby, child or yourself so don’t ignore your instincts or early warning signs.

Sepsis is treatable if identified and treated as early as possible.

The Sepsis Trust have campaigns running to raise awareness and urge people to ask the question – ‘Could it be Sepsis?’. Head on over to the Sepsis Trust to find out about events local to you or make a direct donation.

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass

Our Dream Garden with Artificial Grass – Now that we have our third and final child here, at the top of our list is making sure that the house is sorted before our new arrival gets here.

On the inside we’re in the process of sorting and organising everything that we have to optimise space and make it as homely but functional as possible.

Our Dream Garden With Grass Direct

Since the last time we welcomed a new baby to the world we have another addition to our family. Charlie our lovable labradoodle we got four years ago when Ryan was fifteen and Isabelle was three years old.

There is an incorrect fact floating around the dog world where Labradoodles don’t shed their fur. This is a total lie, their fur is less likely to aggravate any allergies that you may have to dogs but he’s a big hairy beast who leaves a trail of fur wherever he goes.

Charlie’s fur gets absolutely everywhere! This hasn’t been such an issue with Isabelle being three when we first got him so she was no longer crawling or potentially eating things off the floor which may be fur covered.

With a new baby in the house we’ve had to have a huge rethink about the dog fur issue. We’re in the process of removing our downstairs carpet which his fur seems to knit into, and replacing with wooden flooring so that we can use a static mop to make sure the floor can be kept clean for once the baby starts to crawl and play.

I’m not sure how Charlie is going to fair with this since he does a pretty impressive Scooby Doo impression on the kitchen floor at the moment if he attempts to run. It could be quite amusing.

We don’t allow him upstairs as I’m not keen on dogs sleeping on beds so hopefully the baby’s room will be a dog fur free zone.

The garden is the other major space that needs our consideration. I know this isn’t something that we need to sort just yet, but once the baby is mobile we’ll need to have a rethink.

My Dream Garden

I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and love looking at perfect kitchens, bathrooms and gardens. If I were to have the garden of my dreams it would be big with three separate areas.

Our Dream Garden With Grass Direct

The kids area

We’d have a kids area with outdoor wooden play equipment and Isabelle’s trampoline and a gorgeous playhouse and fairy garden. Maybe a mud garden area and a vegetable patch. This would have a cute little fence around it so that Charlie wouldn’t go in and do his business or steal all the toys. We could even have some flowers and plants in this area as Charlie wouldn’t be able to get in and eat them.

Main lawn area

The main part of the garden would be accessible to all with low maintenance plants as we’re not particularly green fingered and Charlie does like to eat the odd flower or two so we don’t really do patio pots or flowers at the moment. Charlie is quite particular about where he does his business so maybe we could have a ‘Dog pooh corner’ incorporated somehow.

More and more people have been having artificial grass laid as it’s low maintenance and can be played on all year round. Our current garden has a bit of a slope and doesn’t drain particularly well which means that when it rains it takes quite a while for it to dry out enough for Isabelle to play on without it turning into a bog. We also have the same problem with Charlie going out on the grass when its wet as he comes back in with wet muddy paws which is a bit of a pain.

When I first heard of artificial grass I completely ruled it out thinking of the stuff that you used to see at the greengrocers where they put the fruit and veg. I had visions of cheap, plastic looking stuff and couldn’t quite envisage how it would look anything other than naff.

However, there are loads of perks to the artificial grass route such as:

Never having to mow the lawn – the garden is good to go all year round.

Easy to maintain – The grass can be cleaned with a mild detergent or special grass cleaner and will drain to dry

It’s safe for both children and pets to play on – opting for a softer grass for children is preferable

It stays green and lush looking all year round – No dry bare patches in the summer or muddy bog situations happening.

You don’t have to have a lawnmower!

I love the fact that you can wash it down so that it will be hygenic if Charlie has done his business, and also no wee burn patches on the grass would be nice.

It does have to be installed properly by a Landscape Gardener and ground needs to be prepared properly to gain the best result, but once it’s done think of all the time you’ll save not having to do the usual Sunday mow. I think it’s quite funny that you buy it by the metre like you would a carpet, but I suppose it kind of is the same.

Our Dream Garden With /grass Direct

Patio/BBQ area

I would love a grown up part of the garden where we have a built in barbeque, fire pit and a gorgeous seating area which can be used during the day and then at night with the use of outdoor lighting. I think this would need to be some kind of stone slabs rather than decking since the decking can become slippery when wet and needs maintenance. Chris would be the king of the Barbeque whilst I sit and watch the kids with a Pimms in hand. If I were to go one step further I’d have bi-fold doors to create a gorgeous indoor/outdoor living area leading into my state of the art open plan kitchen/dining area with huge beanbags or cushions where we can sit and relax.

One day I hope this to be our reality but for now I can but dream……..

* This was a collaborative post with Grass Direct

Baby Days – The first week

Baby Days – The First Week

Baby Days – The first week usually goes in a blur of euphoria. Full of cuddles, visitors and generally staring at your brand new baby and this time round it’s been no different.

Freddie has completed our little family perfectly and is already so loved. Isabelle is already proving to be a very doting big sister and shows concern for him if there’s not somebody by his side at all times.

She’s been quite tearful this week which I think is a mixture of tiredness and excitement so we’ve had to be extra patient with her and make sure that we involve her in things.

As I thought, our lovely dog, Charlie is slightly confused and curious about this new arrival. Although he’s four he’s still quite a bouncy boy and likes to give licky kisses. He’s also quite clumsy when excited so I was a bit worried about him knocking the baby seat when people arrive.

He’s doing really well and we’ve made sure that we’ve given him attention as well as allowing him to have a little sniff of Freddie.

Feeding

Freddie was born at 1.24 and came out with an already rumbling tummy so within half an hour he was feeding, and pretty much did that on and off until about 5.30. After that he slept and showed very little interest all day long, repeating the all night feeding the next night.

Day three this changed and he didn’t feed from 5.30am until 2pm the next day despite numerous attempts at getting him to.

I was a bit worried about my latch so asked the midwife to come and watch me feed him. Of course, when she arrived at 2pm she just grabbed my boob, grabbed Freddie and plopped him on. Annoying!!

Since then the feeds have become a lot more frequent and not for so long which is a lot better.

My poor nipples though feel like they’ve been chewed by a rabid wolf. Thank god for lanolin cream. The latch still stings like a bitch but I’m still feeling quite positive.

Day five I stood in the bathroom after my shower and rinsed the bath out nearly gagging as I rinsed away what was the end of my nipple………

The rest of the week has been hit and miss with good feeds and bad feeds. He’s a fighter and it takes ages to get him to latch on which is so frustrating for both of us.

I’ve already got a good supply of milk which is so different from last time and the midwife mentioned donating milk, but I think I need we need to establish our own rhythm before thinking about things like that.

Midwife Checks

So far so good. He had his first post-birth weighing on Friday and is currently weighing 7lb 15oz which means that he only lost 4% of his birth weight. They allow up to 10% before there is any cause for concern so he’s doing well.

He was slightly jaundiced so he was checked on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It’s going down so we don’t need to be worried about that.

On day eight he is only 40g below his birth weight so hopefully we’ll be discharged on Monday.

Nappies

We had the pleasure of our first poonami on his first day. It was spectacular coating all his bits and up his back. It was an absolute nightmare to clean as the meconium poo is like marmite and trying to clean it off is a nightmare, it just moves around.

Turns out that this is the way that Freddie Pooh’s. Full on bum blasts every time with the most horrendous smell for someone so small.

Sleeping

Obviously we’re not on any kind of routine as yet. He sleeps and feeds on demand but we have had a couple of three hour gaps which usually follow a marathon on/off feeding session beforehand.

I have been really naughty and had him in bed with me for the last couple of nights simply because I’ve barely been able to keep my eyes open long enough to persevere with getting him to settle in his crib.

I know the saying ‘start as you mean to go on’ but I’m more bothered about getting the feeding going at a nice and comfortable pace before adding another thing to get fretful about. I also know that co-sleeping is not for everyone but I’m happy to go with it for now.

However, by day six he slept in his crib at night and we’ve carried this on since.

Getting out and about

We had our first outing with Freddie and Isabelle on Saturday. Only to the hospital to check his jaundice and we managed to get out of the door and to the appointment on time. We felt like we deserved a mini fist pump for that!

We’ve been out a couple of times but it’s been tricky with the feeding but we’ll get there.

All in all it’s been an emotional week which has gone by so quickly. Isabelle has taken her role of big sister very seriously and gives him lots of kisses and cuddles.

We’ve had lots of visitors and spent a lot of time snuggling him and taking in his newborn smell.

At the moment Freddie had a full head of dark hair and green eyes. He’s still very curled up and loves to be cuddled. He’s a ‘hot baby’ and feels like a hot water bottle.

I’m sure everybody says it but this past week has gone so fast……Take your time Little Mister xx

Free Baby Products And How To Get Them

Free Baby Products And How To Get Them

Free Baby Products And How To Get Them – Welcoming a new baby into your world can be a joyous and exciting time.  However, it can also be incredibly daunting when it comes to adapting your finances to the new addition to your family.  Fortunately, you can take advantage of some free products which are available so you can worry less about the money and spend more quality time with your new bundle of joy.

Why Do Companies And Brands Give Away Baby Freebies?

All companies want you and your baby to try their products and want to offer you support in the early months of your new life.  To do this, they have to introduce you to their products.  By doing this, they will also be looking to achieve their goal of making you a loyal customer.

There is a lot of competition out there and there are new baby brands coming onto the market every day.  To get attention to their products, they will give away baby freebies which they hope will make you choose them over the competition.  By providing a freebie, they hope to stand out in your mind the next time you have to buy nappies or baby food.

Where Can You Get Free Baby Products?

Almost all baby brands and supermarkets have some form of Baby Club that you can join which offers freebies and support.  You will be able to find independent sites as well which are not affiliated with any particular products that offer coupons and free giveaways.  Freebies and discounts will often be featured on these websites.

Most of these websites will require you to sign up for an account if you want to get all of the benefits.  You should not worry about this because it will generally be completely free to do.  The company or website will then send you an essentials pack with a selection of free baby products that you can use and that will help you in your new role of parent.

It is important to note that each of these websites will work differently.  Some of them will be forums with threads that you can follow where members post the best freebies and look for competitions.  Others will be websites dedicated to listing freebies and other baby product deals.

It is worth signing up to a number of different sites to ensure that you get everything that you need.  This will ensure that you get all the offers that are available and always find the products you want.

How To Claim Freebies, Samples, Coupons And Vouchers

There are a lot of places that you can visit that offer baby freebies, giveaways and expert advice.  If you are unsure about where to head, you need to look at some of the most popular baby clubs and what you can get from each of them.

Amazon Prime – if you are a Prime member and create or currently have an Amazon Baby Wish List, you could claim a free Baby Box.  To do this, you will have to make a minimum purchase of eligible baby products.

Aptaclub – This website offers a range of checklists, how to guides and 24-hour support.  You can also get personalised emails which are very helpful.

Babies R Us Mother and Baby Club – Here you can get free discount vouchers, exclusive discounts and personal shopping services.

Beaming Baby – Beaming Baby offers a range of free eco nappies as well as organic baby wipes.  You can also get baby bath sachets and advice on disposable versus washable nappies.

Boots Parenting Club – When you join this club, you will get free gifts for you and your baby.  You will also get a free magazine, 10 points for every £1 you spend with your Advantage Card and personalised offers.

Bounty – You can get a newborn pack or a free mum to be pack from this club.  You can also get try before you buy products and samples, 24 pack of newborn nappies, extra sensitive wipes and money-off vouchers along with a lot more.

Cow and Gate Baby Club – The first freebie is an adorable cuddly cow toy followed by a pregnancy diary and weekly emails with personal advice.  You also get access to the C&G Careline as well as the friend finder tool so you are never alone on your journey.

Emma’s Diary – Here you can get a free newborn essentials pack from Johnson’s baby and Pampers.  You also get a free photo book voucher, vouchers for Argos and more.

Heinz Baby Club – This club provides you with coupons and exclusive competitions.  You can also sign up for exclusive competitions and product trails while getting recipes and nutritional guides.

HiPP Baby Club – This club offers free photo prints from Snapfish and a personalised baby calendar.  You can also find exclusive offers, competitions and a Facebook page with exclusive access where you can talk to other mums.

Johnson & Johnson Caring Everyday – When you sign up for this club, you will get access to free printable offers and coupons.

Johnson’s Baby Club – This club offers free advice and some exclusive rewards when you collect points from Johnson’s baby products.

My Mothercare – You will be able to get hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers with this club along with 20% off maternity clothing.  You can also get medical and GO advice 24/7 and gain access to an exclusive sales portal.

Nestle Start Well Stay Well – This is a baby club where you can tack the growth and development of your baby.  You will be able to get free Nestle Cerelac baby goods as well as free nutritional advice.

SMA Baby Club – This club gives you a free welcome pack along with development emails at every stage of your baby’s growth.  You can also get treats to celebrate the milestones in your baby’s life.

Tesco Baby & Toddler Club – You can get free life insurance from Tesco Bank when you get Parent Life Cover and tailored offers.  There are also free competitions as well as giveaways and expert advice.

Free Cash For Parents

Cashback websites are great when you want to claim free money while you do your daily shopping.  This is not a scam and you will be able to earn free money.  Cashback websites will have hundreds of retailers that they work with which makes them perfect for shopping online.

You should look at signing up to Quidco and TopCashback to start earning free cash on your purchases as soon as possible.  If you are looking for something that is a bit more specific to baby products, you should consider KidStarts.  This cashback website has been designed to boost your child’s savings and not your general savings.

With this website, you will earn money while you shop as with other cashback sites.  However, this money will go into a savings account.  While you shop, you can watch your child’s savings account grow.

Free Baby Food & Drinks On Supermarket Cashback Apps

There are a lot of free supermarket apps that you can sign up for such as Shopmium, Quidco ClickSnap and CheckoutSmart.  These apps will give you discounts and freebies on your next shop.  They are also very easy to use.

All you have to do is download the free app and check out which freebies are on offer which you can get for your baby.  You will then have to head to the closest participating supermarket and pick up the item.  When you get home, scan the receipt and you will earn 100% cashback which makes the item free.  You can also pick up items from other stores such as Boots, but you need to read the terms and conditions first.

Free Pregnancy And Baby Books

An essential part of your child’s growth and development will be reading.  This is why you can get a free Bookstart pack at 0-12 months and 3-4 years for every child you have.  You can find out more about the packs and the pages for the whole family on their website.

You can also find interactive storybooks and activities.  This will help you turn you little giggling baby into a giggling, reading, rhyming and singing genius.  Reading to your baby while they are in the womb is believed to help with your child’s development as well so it is never too early to get started.

Free Baby Furniture

Websites such as Freecycle, Gumtree and local Facebook selling groups are ideal for these freebies.  You will need to keep an eye on the listings to find free furniture.  You can also find a lot of other useful products for your baby on these sites.

If you are on a tight budget, you will want to look into this.  Baby items can be very expensive and this will save you a lot of money.  When you sign up for these sites remember to turn on the email alerts so you can get in there early and grab the free items that you need.  When looking at these sites, you have to keep in mind that you will need to collect the items so always ensure that you have transport and that the item actually fit in your home.

Free Parent Testing Websites

Do you like to give your opinion on things?  If you do, you should consider joining a testing panel where you can exchange a review for an emerging or popular baby product.  All you will have to do is sign up to the website and apply for the baby-related campaigns, which only takes a few minutes.

Are You Eligible For Free Fruit, Baby Formula And Vegetables On The NHS?

A lot of people do not realise that you can get free essentials from the NHS.  The Healthy Start scheme is provided by the NHS and offers families free weekly vouchers to spend on formula, milk, vegetables, fresh fruit and vitamins for your baby.  However, you need to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for this.

Your family will need to make less than £16,190 including any benefits that you receive.  You claim income support, jobseeker’s allowance or any income-related employment and support allowance.  You are getting child tax credits or you are a parent under the age of 18.

In these cases, you will get £3.10 per week if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant and £6.20 per week if you have a baby that is under a year old.  Each child that you have who is over the age of 1 and under the age of 4 will provide you with £3.10 per week.  To apply for the scheme, you will need to apply on the website or get a form from your midwife.

Free Prescriptions And Dental Care For New Mothers

If you are currently pregnant or have had a baby in the last year, you do not have to pay for any prescriptions or NHS dental care.  All of this will be provided to you free of charge.  To get this, you will have to get an FW8 application form which your midwife will need to sign.

You will then receive a maternity exemption certificate.  This will cover you for up to 12 months after your due date.  If your baby is born after the due date, you can apply for an extension of the cover for the entire first 12 months.

How To Win Free Baby Stuff

If you have some spare time between all of the chaos that maternity and a newborn bring, you should enter some competitions.  This is a great way to get some free baby products for your child.  There is a lot of amazing stuff out there that you could win from a free pram to toys and hampers full of baby essentials.

A lot of people find entering competitions to be daunting, but it is all about what you are comfortable with.  You could retweet or follow a brand on Twitter and they will direct message you if you are the winner.  If you do not use social media, you can fill in a simple form with your email and skip any competitions that ask for your phone number.

* This is a collaborative post with www.wowfreestuff.co.uk

5 Ways to Raise a Family on a Tight Budget

5 Ways to Raise a Family on a Tight Budget

5 Ways to Raise a Family on a Tight Budget – Saving money is hard work these days. It seems like the cost of living is constantly going up, while things like wages remain frustratingly static. When you’ve got a family to look after, figuring out how you’re going to make ends meet becomes even tougher. It’s no wonder that so many parents spend most of their time printing out coupons and counting pennies.

budget5 Ways To Raise A Family On A Tight

If you’re one of the many families that need help making the most out of their cash this year, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Here are just some of the ways that you can raise your family on even the smallest shoe-string budget.

1.    Remember that Less is More

Since the cost of housing is one of the biggest expenses that today’s families worry about, it’s worth thinking about whether you’re over-spending on your mortgage or rent. Maybe you started off in a bigger house when you had two large incomes to help pay for the bills, but something in your lifestyle changed, and now it’s getting harder to keep up with the expenses.

Switching to a smaller house and asking your kids to share a room for a while might be a great way to lower your costs monthly. On the other hand, if you love your home and would rather do anything but give it up, then you can always consider re-mortgaging to see whether you can get a better price from a different lender. Financial comparison sites like Readies.co.uk can go a long way to helping you find the right deal.

2.    Make Meals at Home

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that you can save a lot of cash by making sure that you don’t eat out at takeaways, restaurants, and fast-food joints as often. Planning your meals in advance allows you to prepare for the week ahead more frugally, by stocking up on the food you need. For instance, if you know you’re going to have chicken twice in one week, you can buy a bulk amount and split it up into two portions.

The great thing about making meals at home is that you can also improve your healthy habits by ensuring you only stock up on good ingredients. Though it’s important to have a treat from time to time to make sure you don’t go off the rails, you can ensure that the majority of your food is low-fat and nutritious.

3.    Cut Your Childcare Costs

If you’re a single parent, or both you and your partner work, then you might have a hard time finding someone to affordably look after the kids. The good news is that the government will help with this to some extent, but even their support only goes so far. Try to look for people in your friends and family circle who can handle babysitting for you a few times a week.

If all your network is busy, then you could discuss your options with your boss. A larger number of employers are starting to embrace concepts like flexible working. If they don’t let you change your hours, then they may allow you to work from home now and again.

4.    Make the Most of What You Have

When you’re worried about money and bills, it’s easy to get so caught up thinking about what you don’t have, that you forget to prize what you “do” have. If that sounds like you, take a step back and try to take stock of your situation. For instance, if you have a backyard then you also have something to keep your kids entertained. A garden can be a place your children can run around, explore new hobbies like gardening, and more.

Additionally, there are plenty of local places to visit in almost any neighbourhood. Simply look your city or town up on Google and enter the phrase “Things to Do for Free” and you’re sure to find a handful of exciting ways to keep the kids entertained.

5.    Remember that Experiences Trump Possessions

Finally, although it always seems to be the people “with” money that say it doesn’t matter, the truth is that cash really can’t buy happiness. Although it helps to know that you can pay the bills at the end of every month, don’t get so caught up in feeling like you have to have endless supplies of cash to keep your kids happy. It’s easy for negative thinking to lead you into dark places as a parent, and it’s your job to stay positive for your youngsters.

The things that matter most to your children – like spending time with their parents – don’t cost any money at all.

*This is a sponsored post.

 

A Father’s Day Gift Guide

A Father’s Day Gift Guide

A Father’s Day Gift Guide – Father’s Day is nearly upon us and all our thoughts are on what do we buy that shows that we care about the great jobs that they’re doing. Gone are the days where the Dad went out to work and the Mum’s stayed at home and looked after the children and the house.

We have way more choices in this day and age with regards to the splitting of childcare, work patterns and household duties. Dad’s work relentlessly to make our lives easier and expect little in return so selecting a Father’s Day Gift can be a challenge.

I like many find it quite tricky to buy for men so I’ve put together a few gifts that I know will go down well with the menfolk in my family.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Personalised Leather Notebook Cover

Daddy is a Salesman and giving a first impression makes a huge difference when meeting with potential new clients. He goes through quite a lot of notebooks for taking details so this Personalised Leather Notebook Cover would be perfect for turning any usually supermarket notepad into a much more professional finish.

Father's Day Gift Guide

A Subscription Box

Subscription boxes have become the thing to do since it’s lovely having treats tailored to you sent through the post and it’s quite exciting when you open them to see what’s  inside. There are loads to choose from, but this Coffee Subscription Box caught my eye since Daddy doesn’t even function in the mornings until he’s had his second cup of coffee. Plus this Three Month Coffee Subscription Box can be personalised with messages on each coffee packet. You also get to choose what the brew and if you want the beans whole or ground.

Father's Day Gift Guide

A Tomahawk  Steak

What is it with men and huge hunks of meat! Daddy very unsubtly mentioned that this would be the perfect Father’s Day Gift. A Tomohawk Steak is one of the largest steak cuts that you can buy. It looks like something you would see on the Flinstones. The steak has it’s French-trimmed rib bone attached and is marbled which makes it a juicy if not pricey option. This is definitely something you would only buy as a treat. They aren’t readily available but we’re lucky in Devon that we have a lot of lovely  Farm Shops around that sell locally sourced Tomohawk Steaks and there’s also the option of having one delivered.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Personal Grooming

Personal grooming is serious business with men as well as women and Daddy has always looked after his skin. He has really dry skin so uses a variation of products to help with this. One of the problems that he’s always had is shaving which leaves his face red and sore. He has a love hate relationship with shaving and has tried so many products to alleviate shaving burn and redness. Spending a little bit more on his shaving tools definitely makes a difference. He only really likes to shave in the shower as the steam seems to help reduce redness so the Braun Series 3 ProSkin is a great choice. Braun creates industry-leading grooming tools that combine state of the art technology and sleek design. No matter what his look, there is a Braun shaver for him. The Series 3 ProSkin can be used wet or dry and the way it’s designed will capture more hairs therefore reducing the chances of redness. Once charged it should give a week’s worth of shaving capability which makes it a great choice. Braun is designed for what matters just like Dad.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Xbox Headphones

One of the things that Daddy does like to do to chill out is have a gaming session which he usually does when the rest of us are in bed. There’s nothing worse than having to listen to the sound on the games so a nice pair of sound controlling Xbox Headphones like these Turtle Beach ones would be the perfect present both for Daddy and us.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Craft Beer

Beer or in fact any kind of alcohol always seem to go down well. There are loads of craft beers available which are readily available even in your local supermarket. I found Father’s Day Beer Gift Bundle which has 12 varieties of beer and comes with a glass and a bar blade. This would go down very well on a nice sunny day with a BBQ.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Trainers

It’s fair to say that when it comes to spending money on ourselves or the kids, the kids definitely get the better deal. The kids are the ones walking around in the brands and we tend to spend very little on ourselves when it comes to clothes and shoes. Daddy likes his trainers and it’s been a while since he’s bought a pair just because he likes them that aren’t on sale. He’s quite picky when it comes to footwear so it would have to be a family trip into town so that he can try on a gazillion pairs but I like these Nike Trainers from Schuch.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Chocolate Gift Hamper

I love the selection of Chocolate Hampers that you can buy from Hotel Chocolat. As well as chocolate they also have a range of other things including cocoa beer and Salted Caramel Vodka. Isabelle would definitely pick something fun like this ‘His Nibs’ Chocolate Dog but I would choose the Beer and Chocolate Hamper which has a lovely selection of chocolates and a bottle of Cocoa Beer.

Father's Day Gift Guide

A Desktop Charging Station

Probably like most households you have oodles of plugs sticking out of plug sockets for the various tablets, phones and watches that we all have. Daddy has everything from his phone to his kindle all in need of charging so this Bamboo 5-Port Fast USB Desktop Charging Station would make a great gift. Not only is it super useful but it would look stylish in any home.

Whatever you choose as a gift make sure that you let them know how special they are and that you appreciate the things they do whether they be big or small.

Here are a few words that Isabelle had to say about her Daddy.

*This post was developed in collaboration with Braun and we received a Braun Series 3 ProSkin for the purpose of inclusion.