10 little things that make me happy (that are NOT baby related!)

The Fourth Trimester – it’s all consuming, right? Everything in my world has been baby, baby, baby and although obviously, Violet is my world now, I’ve realised that a really important part of being a happy Mum is remembering who you were before babies.

I feel like a different person now, my body feels different, my daily life is totally different – it’s so easy to lose touch of who you were beforehand. So, in the last week, two of my favourite Mummy bloggers have given me a much-needed nudge in the right direction into remembering who I am, underneath the maternity sized stripy tops and messy Mum-bun.

Firstly, I attended a styling event with Bethanie Lunn, who got me trying on clothes to flatter my new body shape and although I felt hideously embarrassed of my lumps and bumps at first, she really gave me a boost and showed me a few new styles that suit my new figure. It was also fab to have a baby-free night out with my blogger friend Aine, we always have a giggle together, I shall miss her when she whizzes off to Bali very soon!

Secondly, Lauren has tagged me in this post to write 10 little things that make me happy – so I thought this would be a good time to write 10 non-baby related things to remind myself of the little joys outside of being a mother. So, here goes!

  1. Wearing my Rose Gold trainers with glittery toes and watching my feet sparkle in the sunshine as I walk along.
  2. Salted Caramel Ice Cream
  3. Being on maternity leave during the summer and living right on the beach – I know what I’m going to be doing every day once the weather warms up! 
  4. Pouring my heart and soul into my blog again – I missed it during my break, I realised how much of an outlet it is.
  5. The smell of a burnt out sparkler (or party popper!) – sort of stealing this one from Lauren, but she reminded me in her post talking about matches!
  6. Looking back at holiday snaps and reliving the happy memories of the places we have been
  7. Mojitos – I haven’t had one in over a year, I think the time has come!
  8. Wearing bright lipstick – even if I’m feeling low, a slick of colour always perks me up
  9. Robbie’s biscuit paws – yes, his feet paws like cookies baking in the oven (really)
  10. Striking everything off my to do list and putting my feet up to some trashy TV

To carry on the happiness tag, I tag the following bloggers:

Maisie of Love, Maisie

Aine of Honestly Aine

Holly of ClosingWinter

Sarah of SunshineSarah

Bethanie of Bethanie Lunn

Plus anyone who’d like to join in!

 

What little things make you happy?

 

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

When it comes to pushchairs and travel systems – I knew which one I wanted way before Violet had even arrived. We were at the Baby Show in London, where there was a huge array of pushchairs in all shapes, sizes and colours and as we walked around stall after stall, it all seemed a much of a muchness, I was left feeling lacklustre – nothing seemed to stand out to me. That was until I discovered Cosatto and just knew they were the brand for me! The vibrant colours and designs immediately caught my eye and after this, I spent nearly and hour trying different prams, ooohing and aaahing over designs until I finally decided, the Giggle 2 in Fox Tale was the one for us. We absolutely loved the design as it’s bright, fun and could be used for a boy or girl, so it was perfect!

That seems like a lifetime ago. For months our Giggle 2 stood boxed in the nursery awaiting our arrival and I honestly couldn’t wait to give it a spin. So, now Violet’s here I’ve been proudly pushing her here, there and everywhere and not sure which gets more compliments – our pushchair or the baby! Maybe both, but I can tell you we stop nearly every old lady in her tracks, that’s for sure! Here are some of our adventures so far……

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel system (and keep reading to the bottom as I have a fabulous special offer for you too!) – it’s not just the carrycot you see in the pictures, thats just the mode we are using at the moment whilst Violet is a wee nipper. The travel system is a complete package with three modes – the carrycot, the pram and a dual-facing pushchair seat. This means she’ll be using this for quite some time now and it will grow with her over time. The chassis also fits the Group 0+ Hold Car seat, which we have too (in matching Fox Tale pattern, of course!) so it really is a versatile system. Each mode clicks on and off with ease, so at the touch of a button you can assemble and go, even in a hurry. The big buttons a clearly marked with yellow or red – so even I can do it and I am not technical – at all!

The fold down is super smooth and popping the chassis into the boot of the car is a piece of cake as it folds flat and is light and easy to pick up.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel SystemReview: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

The Giggle 2 is amazingly smooth and easy to manoeuvre, the three wheel chassis allows you to swing round corners and curves like a breeze, although it doesn’t unfortunately stop you from being a bad pram driver, I think I still have my L plates on when it comes to taking it into shops (crash, bang, wallop) but thats not the prams fault, I just need a little more practice! The handle has a soft foam coating which gives great grip and comfort, plus the handle height is also adjustable too.

The chassis has full all round suspension – where we live has cobbled pavements and a pebbly path along the seafront – all the bouncing over the pebbles doesn’t seem to stir Violet from her sleep, in fact I think she finds the smooth movement calming as she often drops off to sleep.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

Under the carrycot is a spacious basket, perfect for shopping and carrying the all important rain cover. Whilst we are talking about the weather I should mention the hood is also UPF50+, so your little ones are super protected, come rain or shine. Included with the travel system is a matching change bag with change mat and wet bag so you can look super coordinated at all times! I’m still at that stage where having a pushchair for my bags and shopping is such a luxury, the novelty hasn’t worn off at all – I don’t have to carry anything around, it’s fabulous!

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

We’ve got so much use out of our Giggle 2 so far, mainly because the carrycot is so comfy we take her everywhere in it plus it’s so handy that it’s suitable for occasional overnight sleeping – although she’s never slept in it overnight we do use the carrycot in our living room for naps as it’s a safe place I can let her sleep in the house during the day. Robbie our sweet black labrador loves to snuggle up to her, which is so cute but for her naps I’m pleased she has a safe place, high off the floor where he can’t try and snuggle in too! Also to mention, the carrycot has a washable lining, which I haven’t had to utilise yet, but I’ve done a few nappy changes on the run (or ‘danger changes‘ as I like to call them) in there, we might have to wash it soon as I’m sure she’ll catch us out doing that soon enough!

Violet loves the design on the inside of the carrycot, she spends so much time fascinated by the bright colourful pictures – they really catch her attention and as she can’t look out yet, it keeps her occupied as we go along. If the Fox Tales design isn’t your thing, they also do the Giggle 2 in a range of bright and colourful designs – my other favourites are the Magic Unicorns and Space Racer prints.

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

At 8 weeks, we haven’t used the pushchair mode as she’s still a little small, but in my excitement I have assembled it and have given it a go around the house –  just to test all the different settings. The pushchair mode has both front and rear facing, with 4 different recline settings, it looks so versatile and something we will be using for quite some time yet. I can’t wait to try her in that one when she can look out and about – I think she’s going to love it!

So, overall we give the Cosatto Giggle 2 the big thumbs up – we are impressed all round. I have to say as a new parent I had no idea what I’d look for in a travel system, I was suckered in by the colourful prints and design, but now I’ve tried and tested my Giggle 2 non-stop for over 8 weeks, I can safely say this pram is built not just for the design but is lightweight, easy to manoeuvre across a multitude of terrains and so simple to adjust, fold down or interchange the parts. Cosatto have literally thought of every little detail, from adjustable handles to additional rain covers, cosy toes for the stroller and attachments to clip on the Hold Car Seat. Bravo Cosatto!

Review: Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System

The Cosatto Giggle 2 costs £484.94 which is fantastic value for money, bearing in mind how much is included within the system. The matching Hold car seat is an additional £154.94, although here’s a heads up – the car seat is FREE with any Travel System in May, so snap one up whilst the offer is on! Also, whilst you are there…. take a look at the wonderful range of pushchairs, car seats and high chairs over on the Cosatto Website, I just love the bright colours! My eye is on the unicorn print for our next purchase – maybe the highchair or a stroller when she gets a little bigger! We shall see!

We were sent the Cosatto Giggle 2 Travel System in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are my own.

Violet’s Nursery Tour

Violet's Nursery Tour

Welcome to Violet’s nursery! She has the best room in the house! It’s light and airy with beautiful seaviews – I’m rather jealous to be honest! We were working on it months before her arrival, lovingly choosing the colour paint (which is called Violet White, nonetheless) and carefully assembling furniture, dreaming one day she will be here to enjoy it all and now here she is! So, come take a look around her gorgeous room – she doesn’t sleep in here yet, but we play with her and change her nappy in here as much as we can in here so she’s used to it when the big day comes. I’ve also included a few recommendations in this post on things we are loving so far, so I hope you find that helpful too!

Violet's Nursery Tour

Violet’s Room with the playmats out – usually these are only on the floor if we are using them, or else a naughty black puppy dog thinks he has a new bed!

Violet's Nursery Tour

Rottingdean Seafront

The view from her nursery – she loves watching out of the window, the sun setting over the sea and the traffic passing by

Baby clothes in the wardrobe

This girl has more clothes than me, seriously! Luckily, most of this was given to us second hand from friends, we’ve been so lucky! It’ll be so sweet to compare photos of our babies wearing the same outfits too!

Star wars itty bittys

Scan Pictures (top left – 12 weeks, bottom left – 7 weeks (how tiny!!!) and bottom right – 20 weeks) plus her super cute Star Wars Itty Bittys, which I’m sure she will love when she’s old enough to hold them and cuddle them!

Basket of toys for a baby

Mothercare Lulworth cot bed

Violet’s cot is the Lulworth Cot bed from Mothercare, we bought this one as we wanted a cot she can grow into and will last a while. This will eventually turn into a toddler bed so it should do us for quite some time! She isn’t in it yet so at the moment it’s a place for all her teddies to live, but we plan to transition her into this cot at around 6 months old if she’s ready. We’ll have to see how we feel at the time as her bedroom is on a different floor to ours, so it’s not just next door, there will be a whole flight of stairs between us. We are also a fan of Dex the Dog Sleep Toy, he plays heartbeat sounds, waterfall sounds and 4 different melodies and is a lifesaver when it comes to bedtime. I love these toys as you can shake them to turn the sound on, rather than fumbling around for a switch in the dark.

Dex the Dog Soother Toy

handmade baby blankets

Beautiful Handmade Blankets

Police bear

Like all parents, we are keen to get reading to Violet and although I’m sure she doesn’t quite understand yet, we have a growing reading shelf which we already read to her. She does enjoy bright colours and pictures and I’m sure the sound of our voice is soothing – it’s never to early to start reading! We started her reading shelf at her baby shower, my friend that organised it asked everyone to bring their favourite children’s book, so she has quite a few already! Favourites have got to be That’s Not My Puppy
and ‘The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name‘.

Favourite book & gorgeous personalised Fantastic Firsts Cards

Violet’s changing table is from East Coast Nursery and is just the perfect addition to her nursery. You may remember I did a post before she was born on Changing Table Essentials? Well, here it is in action, months down the line! My top tips now for a changing table are to have everything close to hand, keep a large supply of nappies and wipes (see ours peeking out from behind the table and along the bottom shelf!) as you’ll go through them FAST. Also, keep hand sanitiser nearby in a pump form as you’ll need it after a messy change.

I also added a couple of Infantino Go Gaga Sensory Toys above the change table for her to look at, it’s just a home made mobile (nothing fancy!) but she loves it. She’s starting to bat her toys so this is the perfect time to practice and a distraction from her nappy/clothes change.

Another recommendation for the change table would be to have a good nappy bin! We have the Korbell Nappy Bin in Mint Green which is great as it’s hands free, has a double lid to keep in an odours and liners are biodegradable and easy to change.

We keep her pushchair and carseat in her nursery, so we can get everything organised in one place before a day out. She currently is using the Cosatto Giggle 2 travel system in Foxtales, which I’ll be fully reviewing in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that one! Again, as she’s starting to look around all the time I’ve added another sensory toy to her car seat. At first she wasn’t great at being in her seat, I think she was so small she found the straps quite daunting, but this little spiral of colours and toys keeps her busy if she wakes on a journey, so she’s getting so much better at being in her car seat now.

The last things I wanted to mention are her bouncy chair and playmats. We use these ALL THE TIME and they have been a lifesaver for me when I’m on my own with her in the house, as she can now entertain herself for a few minutes allowing me to get on with a few bits like washing up or maybe even a spot of blogging. She has the Chicco Balloon Bouncer – it’s fun, colourful with lights and music to keep her entertained for hours – I’ll be doing a full review on the chair, so watch out for that post soon!

Tutti Bambini Garden Party Play Gym – She loves this one as it’s so super soft and comfy. The only problem is keeping Robbie away, he likes to think this is his new dog bed too!

Lastly, is her ‘Say Hello to Tummy Time’ mat – it’s so fun and colourful. She wasn’t a fan of Tummy time for quite a while as it just looked like she was face planting the floor, but with this mat there is plenty for her to look at and a lovely soft moon shaped cushion for her to rest on (although she likes to just lick it continuously!) There is a mirror, crinkly bits and sounds too for extra entertainment – it’s a hit with us!

Thanks for taking a tour around my nursery!

 

Contains PR samples, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

 

 

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding – it’s a tricky subject isn’t it? So much pressure, so much judgement and all that everyone wants to do is their best. That’s all I was aiming for, I naively thought it would be a simple, natural process – little did I know it would be way harder than I could ever have imagined. So, I thought I’d share our story along with the trials and tribulations we’ve faced so far, so show that breastfeeding is not always a walk in the park, it takes determination and a strong will – don’t I know! This might be a bit of a rambly post, so bear with me. Here is our story so far…..

THE FIRST WEEK

When Violet was born, she immediately latched perfectly and fed really well, we were off to a great start. It felt natural, right and just like it was meant to be. In hospital I was impressed by the level breastfeeding support –  they have volunteer breastfeeding support workers that will visit you once a day, plus the midwives were so lovely – I even had a  full lesson on latching at 4am! Our first couple of days feeding went perfectly. Things took a turn for the worst when Violet’s jaundice had progressed. Her condition had worsened so we were taken to a private room where she would be in her own incubator with the special lights to cure her jaundice. I was then told I could only take her out of the lightbox for a total of 20 minutes, so I could offer her 10 minutes per breast only-  she would then need to be topped up with formula as this was an important step of flushing out the jaundice.

This was a really tricky situation for me. I had got off to such a great start feeding her, I didn’t want to give her the formula topup, but of course under the advice of the medical team I had to do what was best for her health and agreed to start topping her up. She took to the bottle immediately and gobbled down her first bottles of formula like it was a chocolate Easter egg, she seemed to really love it. On day 3 after birth, my milk fully came in. I was engorged and in pain and unable to feed my baby properly left me feeling devastated as she took the formula infront of me, the hormones rampaging probably didn’t help either.

WEEKS 2-3 – CLUSTER FEEDS

Our Breastfeeding Journey

When we got home from hospital, I continued breastfeeding Violet on demand, giving her one bottle of formula before bedtime as this would be her most unsettled time with her colic and reflux (theres a whole other post coming up on this!)

During the day we would sit on the sofa for hours upon hours and during the night I’d sit bleary eyed as she fed for 2-3 hours in a row as everyone slept around me. She seemed to just want to feed and feed and feed! I did quite a lot of googling at this point, asking ‘is it normal to breastfeed for 6 hours straight?‘. The midwife visited and stated it was cluster feeding and totally normal, so I continued on – each day rolling into the next in a haze of cluster feeds. All I seemed to do was sit on the sofa, watch TV and feed Violet, all day, every day. Her feeds were so long and so random I also felt I couldn’t leave the house as I couldn’t predict when she would need feeding and when Vee went back to work I started to feel pretty isolated. Whenever anyone visited the house, I’d just be feeding her continuously – they wanted to hold her for a cuddle but she’d just scream to be put back on the boob. It felt like a lot of responsibility to be the only one that could feed her and I needed to be available for her 24/7.

I was also getting quite sore. I bought some Medela Nipple Shields which worked a treat to help me heal up, although when I went to remove them after a couple of days, Violet just would not latch naturally anymore. She would just bob about, unable to find where to latch, even if I showed her, she wouldn’t suck or latch on. She would get so frustrated with this that she’d scream and beat her tiny arms and legs like a swimmer doing the front crawl. So, I ended up putting the nipple shield back on (even though I no longer needed it!) and she’d latch onto this immediately and feed happily again.

So, for around 2 weeks we used the nipple shields full time, which is not recommended – but I think it was better than giving up feeding or putting her through the stress of being so frustrated every time! I did try and take them away numerous times, but she never did learn to latch again.

MELTDOWN

It was Thursday evening of Violet’s 5th week, I remember the exact date so well – Vee arrived home at 5pm to find me still on the sofa in my pyjamas, this is where she’d left me at 7am that morning. I told her I hadn’t eaten all day, I’d only managed to nip to the loo once or twice and Violet had spent the day feeding. She would scream if I put her down. I was exhausted and Violet was completely overtired too. I just broke down and said ‘I can’t do this anymore, I don’t think I’m giving her enough!‘. I gave Violet over to Vee and we decided she’d try her with a bottle of formula. I ran myself a hot bath and closed the bathroom door, I needed a time out from motherhood, just for 30 minutes to collect my thoughts and recoup. I sat in the bath and tears of frustration rolled down my cheeks, why can’t I just feed her naturally – we had got it in the hospital, how and why had it gone so wrong?!

When I came out of the bathroom, I found a content, sleeping baby in Vee’s arms and breathed a sigh of relief. Finally she had settled. Vee told me that she’d drunk the bottle of formula like she’d never eaten before. She must have been starving, I felt so guilty for letting her get to that point, but I thought I was doing the best thing to keep trying to breastfeed her.

MOVING ON

That evening, Vee and I had a long chat about what we were going to do, moving forward. No one was happy with the current situation, I was completely depleted, exhausted and felt like I couldn’t leave the house – this was not a healthy place to be. Violet would spend her days screaming if she was put down, she wasn’t happy either. I didn’t feel ready to give up breastfeeding entirely, I still wanted to try, but I needed to make sure she was happy too.

We decided we would exclusively bottle feed Violet. This was the best decision we could have made as literally it changed everything in an instant. Luckily, as I’m part of the Medela Mum project, I’d been sent the Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump to review (which I’d been using on and off) so I decided I’d pump regularly to create a stash of breastmilk in the fridge, ready for each feed.  We’d also give formula at bedtime and during the night.

Our Breastfeeding Journey

PUMP, PUMP, PUMP!

So, from weeks 5-8 I have been pumping breastmilk for Violet and its working really well for us all. Don’t get me wrong, pumping is still pretty hard work but in a different way – so much washing up and sterilising! But ultimately, we all are happier, have had more sleep and have  much more contented baby, so thats all that matters. V has also been able to help out with feeds too, which has been lovely to watch and to share those moments.

I was pumping around 4-5 times a day, with one pump at 3am, which produced SO much milk. The pump stimulated my supply so I was producing more than ever. I have since dropped my 3am pump as it was just so difficult to do at that time of night. I couldn’t feed her and pump at the same time, so the ‘night shift’ would be so long, feeding her, settling her and then getting the pumps out. Since I dropped the night pump, my supply has decreased a little but nothing too drastic.

FED IS BEST

So, that is where we are at the moment. It’s been a rollercoaster, but we got there. I’m really pleased I managed 5 weeks of breastfeeding. Although I’m sad it didn’t work out for longer than that, I’m proud I continued on, even when things were tough. I am 100% in the ‘fed is best’ team, so seeing Violet content and happy is all that is important to me, however we feed her.  Continuing on, I’ll carry on pumping and giving formula so she’s getting about half and half. I honestly think having that pump has saved our breastfeeding relationship, I would have given up without it. Combination feeding seems to be our happy medium so we’ll continue with this and see how we go!

 

Did you have a bumpy ride with breastfeeding? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below 🙂

 

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

A couple of weeks ago, we took Violet out for her first official trip out of the house. We headed into Brighton to register Violet’s birth at the Town Hall and to celebrate afterwards, we headed to The Jetty for Afternoon Tea to toast Violet’s birth over tea, cake and prosecco. Plus, with a baby of less than two weeks old at the time – we were in dire need of the caffeine and sugar hit too!

The Jetty is located within the newly refurbished Harbour Hotel, located in prime position on Brighton’s seafront. With gorgeous sea views, The Jetty is the perfect setting for meals and drinks at any time of day – Brunch, Afternoon Tea, Cocktails or dinner with a bottle of wine, they cater for it all. Inside is bright, airy and spacious, with a clean, modern vibe. For a more intimate feel, there is also a cute ‘snug’ area tucked away with comfy sofas and a bit more privacy too.

Registering Violet’s Birth

We opted for the Harbour High Tea (priced at £19.95 per person) which comes with a bottomless selection of Teapigs tea, plus we ordered a glass of prosecco on the side too, as you know it would be rude not to raise a glass to our daughter, even if I did risk falling asleep on the spot from my first sip of alcohol in over a year!

The afternoon tea includes a lovely selection of both sweet and savoury treats, beautifully presented with side serving bowls containing jams and clotted cream for the scones. As we are both vegetarian, they also amended the menu to cater for our requirements, offering a selection of sandwiches with cheese based fillings, rather than chicken/ham/salmon options on the menu, plus a couple of cheese scones (which were SO delicious) and a guacamole and sundried tomato canapes too.

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Our sweet treats were my favourite part (of course!). I was pleased to see there were two plump buttermilk scones, which came with plenty of clotted cream and jam on the side, it wouldn’t be afternoon tea without a good old British scone. There were also two dark chocolate praline eclairs, which were utterly divine, a refreshing twist on a classic eclair. The White Chocolate and Passionfruit trifle added a burst of zingy flavour and lastly, the cherry bakewell, another classic and baked to perfection.

I really enjoyed our Afternoon Tea experience at The Jetty, although if I’m honest my favourite part was just great to get out of the house and eat something other than takeaway pizza and wear clothes that weren’t pajamas! We found the staff friendly and accommodating, they changed the menu for us and also gave us a secluded spot with room for the pushchair and privacy as this was my first attempt at breastfeeding in public too.

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Brighton: Afternoon Tea at The Jetty

Whilst we were at The Jetty, I was given an exclusive behind the scenes peek at the new spa that has opened at the hotel. Located in the original regency building cellars, the spa is an absolute hidden gem away from the hustle and bustle of the busy hotel. The Spa offers extensive range of luxurious spa treatments along with everyday beauty needs, including facials, manicures, pedicures and massages. I think as soon as Violet is old enough to be babysat for the day, I might treat myself to a spa day there – what do you think?

The Harbour Hotel is located on the Kings Road Brighton (just on the corner of West Street) – to book Afternoon Tea at The Jetty call 01273 916916 or email brighton.jetty@harbourhotels.co.uk

Post written in collaboration with The Jetty