Thursday, 21 August 2014

Giveaway | DotComGiftShop Baking Goods!

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Good morning all! 

I haven't done a giveaway for what seems like forever so thought it was about time I gave you all something back! The lovely team over at the DotComGiftShop have given you guys a bunch of baking goodies to win, how lucky are you? I've really been getting into baking this past month and I am rather impressed with my icing skills, who knew!! Haha. Although I've been sticking to cupcakes, I did tried a batch of cookies which didn't end up too great and a little burnt..but next week I will be attempting a victoria sponge! Woo! I didn't realise just how much amazing and adorable bits and bobs there were for baking from retro scales to paisley cake tins, lots of cute and girly bits perfect for every taste!

Above I have picked my favourite bits from the category from the website, I think my absolute favourite has to be the adorable cake tins, great for storage and drums for Abbie haha :)

So what are the prizes for this giveaway?

T H E    G I V E A W A Y


Set of 3 Regency Cake Tins (number 1 above)
Pantry Design Cotton Apron (number 2 above)
60 Paisley Flower Cake Cases (number 3 above)
Set of 4 Pantry Measuring Spoons (number 4 above)

How do you win?
Enter the rafflecopter below, the more options you complete, the higher your chance of winning! What are you waiting for? Read the T&C below and happy entering :)

1. All entries will be checked and verified so don't waste your time cheating :)

2. If the winner does not respond to my email within 28 days, another will be chosen! :)

3. Open to UK residents only (including Rep of Ireland!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My NHS Maternity Care Experience

As any first time mummy to be you're anxious about what to expect, from the pregnancy to the labour and delivery, through to the aftercare and support over the coming weeks. I’ll admit I was rather naive, I've got all the support I need at home after I've given birth so I’ll be fine, but I didn't actually give a second thought to the care I would receive during and shortly after...I watched many programmes with women giving birth in their own rooms and being looked after around the clock and being shown how to do certain things. But boy was I in for a shock, things were so different to what I thought, I actually felt like a nuisance on what was meant to be one of the happiest times of my can read my Birth Story here if you're interested! 

When I phoned my local hospital the morning I went into labour, I asked if it was possible to get checked over before we make our way to the chosen hospital 30 mins away (something that had been discussed with them previously), but I couldn't actually get through to anyone for almost half an hour, when a midwife finally answered, her tone made me feel like I was being dramatic, I mentioned I might just go straight to our hospital, to which she replied with 'oh I wouldn't do that, if you're not in established labour you'll be wasting their time, I've heard they're chocker this morning...' Great attitude there, I then felt obliged to stay home as I didn't want the hospital to get funny with me... 

Cutting a rather long story short, we headed to the hospital only to be sent away at 2cm (fair enough, 4cm is considered active labour so I was happy with that), we stayed local and headed back after 2 hours, I phoned them before we paid for parking to which I was told with a huff, "well if you're not in active labour well just send you home, were so busy!" Again I was made to feel like a nuisance, we sat in the car park debating whether or not to go in yet, but I could feel I was progressing rather quickly. I was at 4cm, almost 5, and we were almost instantly shown to our delivery room, a lovely light room with a separate ensuite with a giant bath which my midwife ran for me, everything seemed a lot calmer and relaxed now, just what I needed! Our midwife was lovely, helpful and checked in on me regularly! Everything was actually perfect, it was coming to the end of her shift so she hugged both Ben and I and wished us luck, that extra touch was lovely! Our new midwife again was wonderful, within an hour of meeting us she was delivering our baby, we were looked after so well, I was given a toe to toe sponge bath and cleaned up, Abbie was all snug on my chest and off we went to the delivery room...that's when things went back downhill... 

I was in a room with 3 other women and 4 other babies, to be honest it felt like we were animals, sectioned off from each other with a curtain and no privacy in the slightest..I was just left there, given some tablets for any pain and woken up every few hours to get my blood pressure I had an epidural I was told to buzz for a midwife to help me over to the toilets, after she arrived she looked at me and asked why I buzzed, I explained to her and she replied with "well you haven't had a caesarean so you can make your own way over there, why do you need me.." I couldn't believe I was having to explain to her that the epidural numbed my legs and I haven't stood up in a few hours, she huffed and helped me up and didn't say a single word to me again, even when I had thanked was clear they were lacking in staff, they didn't have enough midwives for people coming in.. 

The morning after was pretty much the same, I hadn't eaten anything in 24 hours, and was starting to feel hungry but I was told that a midwife would help me over there and let me know when breakfast was ready..7am came and went, 8am, 9am, so I buzzed and asked if I would be able to have something and was told it’s a self-serve system which has been open since 7am..I couldn't believe it, everyone around me had already eaten after being taken around to the canteen, and I was forgotten about...I felt so lonely and isolated, luckily Ben then turned up so I went off to have something to eat...Abbie had all her necessary checks and we were told we would be shown how to bathe her and wash her hair as we had asked previously...we waited..and waited...until a midwife turned up at 1pm and told us we were being discharged..great! I couldn't wait to get home to be honest, somewhere comfortable and safe feeling where I had help and support! 

Overall I feel like the care could've been so much better,  I felt rushed to have my baby and made to feel guilty for even being there, you could tell they were understaffed, but I saw no passion at all from anyone, I understood it was busy and I wasn't the only person there but to feel like I was being a nuisance seemed too far...I have even contemplated the idea of going private next time, even if it means having to travel to get to a private hospital, they say you get what you pay for...we will see! The Portland Hospital (can we have a link here to the maternity section of our website in London are actually one of the only completely private maternity hospitals in the UK, offering you lots of different options and private rooms as well as; 

A choice of consultant led or midwife led care
One-to-one care throughout labour. 
A resident obstetric consultant anaesthetist based on the labour ward 24 hours a day. 
3 operating theatres for planned procedures and a dedicated emergency operating theatre on the labour ward. 
Onsite emergency facilities including an Adult High Dependency Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Baby Unit and a Transitional Care Unit. 
A planned transfer policy with our sister hospital, The Princess Grace, should the need arise for a woman requiring Intensive Care Treatment. 
A full baby check prior to discharge by a consultant paediatrician. 
Obstetric Ultrasound and Foetal Medicine Unit offering both a Consultant and Sonographer led service. 
Exclusive antenatal and postnatal classes run by our in house Midwife Child Birth Educator. 
Dedicated lactation consultants to offer practical breastfeeding advice. 
24 hour nurseries with nursery nurses to support you and help you to care for your new-born. 
A range of private en-suite rooms including standard, deluxe and double rooms as well as 4 exclusive suites. All with the option for your partner to stay with you overnight. 
A full range of hotel services including 24 hour room service for you and your guests. 
Exclusive Portland Hospital benefits including photography and personal shopping services. 

For me personally, everything there sounds exactly what I would love, I always have this little niggle in the back of my mind about having to go through the whole aftercare again, but if I can be guaranteed all the above points, I know I’ll be able to instantly relax and enjoy my newborn without feeling like a nuisance, having my own room and being able to rely on people as opposed to forcing myself out of bed because no-one was answering my buzzer calls! 

What are your experiences? 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Ordinary Moments | Sleeping in the Car

Ok I know what you're thinking, a child falling asleep in the car, that really is ordinary, but for the first time in 14 MONTHS, Abbie did just that. It was an amazing moment for us, if you can imagine the stress of an over tired baby/toddler, you'll probably know that taking them out in the car is going to be your best option in getting them to drop off, not for us, Abbie point blank refused to sleep in the car since she was about 9 months old, this meant we weren't able to go for family days out as she'd just scream and be pretty inconsolable for the entire journey back, whilst enthusiastically reaching for my tshirt shouting 'BOOBY'. So our days were spent working around nap time, meaning we could go out for the morning but would have to be back for 11.30 and nap time, and not being able to do anything until about 3.30 either..

We had been out for the morning for a little walk and as usual started heading home at around 10.30 and Abbie was unusually quiet, she's usually belting out some sort of cbeebies song or reciting the alphabet and/or numbers, the radio was on and we were just enjoying our drive. Considering she was so quiet I looked over at her to see her little head bopping up and down as though she was drifting off to sleep, she noticed me and sat back upright again, I didn't quite believe it, but although we weren't actually going to let her sleep, we wanted to see if she really would just drift off, and she did, luckily we were about 1 minute away from home so kept her awake for the rest of that, we got inside and got ready for nap time and she fell asleep almost straight away. Suddenly our lives seemed to drastically improve, now we can stop looking at other people having family holidays and days out and feeling envious, now we can do it all, and it feels amazing!

I was completely flabbergasted that she actually fell asleep in the car that I forgot to take a picture, that, and I was pretty emotional about it and welled up! Silly things eh! So the picture for this Ordinary Moments is her sound asleep on the sofa (don't worry, I lie next to her!)

So you can expect to see lots of days out photos soon now we can finally get things back to normal again, so proud of my big girl :)


Join in with the Ordinary Moments linky here :)


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Autumn Bedroom Decor Ideas!

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Autumn is just around the corner and as someone who loves changing their bedroom decor each season, I wanted to share some of my Autumn inspiration ideas with you all! Last year I started with a red and white theme for Winter, then moved onto a Monochrome design, then finally for Summer we had a pretty floral design with polka dots and pastel colours! 

This is probably my favourite thing to buy for bedrooms, the amount of patterns and design are endless, whatever you imagine in your head you'll probably be able to find, no matter how abstract or unusual! I think bedding is the statement for a bedroom, firstly its something you sleep underneath every night but it's also usually the first thing someone notices when they walk in, so whether you're looking to redecorate your own room or the guest room, you can find tons and tons of gorgeous Yorkshire Linen's duvet cover sets online, which usually include pillowcases, duvet and even a bedspread/runner! I particularly love the 60's style patterns at the moment and picture 1 is definitely on our wish list this autumn! 

Probably the second most important part of the room, you can choose to light your room in so many different ways, from dainty fairy lights wrapped around your bed or strung across the wardrobe to funky patterned lampshades that project stars across your ceiling, the possibilities are endless and you really don't need to spend a fortune either! If you're feeling crafty why not have a go at making your own? It's really not as hard as you first think, have a look over on Pinterest for some ideas to get your cogs spinning, remember, there's no need to start from scratch either, you can always buy a cheap basic lamp and decorate if as you please, make it your own and one of a kind!

These are what makes a house a home, when it comes to the bedrooms you don't need too much, just little homely bits that make the room feel a bit cosier! I have a bit of an obsession with bird cages at the moment, not just as decorations but as candle holders too, cushions are probably my favourite decor items, to say I'm addicted is probably an understatement, our bed alone has 9, our sofas have 4 and Abbie even has 2 in her bed (which she is yet to sleep in may I add). They make the rooms look so cosy and snug, perfect for the cooler weather and adds that extra homely touch any guests staying will love! The same goes for throws, blankets and rugs, anything fluffy, soft and snuggly is exactly what is needed during autumn and especially the winter months too! You can usually get accessories at amazing prices, check out eBay and Amazon for amazing daily deals, especially the first week of September, grab yourselves some bargains!

What makes your house cosy?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Ordinary Moments | Snuggles

This weeks ordinary moment actually came today, after a pretty stressful start to the afternoon I instantly put a negative outlook on the rest of the day, I think it's just what happens sometimes, one thing goes wrong and you think it's going to produce a dominos effect, sometimes it does but today it didn't.

A lot of you will probably already know that we co sleep with Abbie, she sleeps in our bed at night and it works for us all..Well this afternoon she decided she only needed a 40 minute nap instead of her usual 2 hours, which made me super anxious and made my mind stress out with what the afternoon would bring, I was imagining a grumpy overtired toddler gripping onto my leg & crying for the whole avo, dinner was going to be almost impossible and I was going to need to cry into a pillow on more than one occasion...But I was pleasantly surprised.

We've had fun and games, as well as giggles and quiet time, we've had some time on the iPad and I even managed to clean the bathroom! Yay! She has been an angel to say the least and has made me feel at ease and anxiety free which is amazing! So our whole day has pretty much been ordinary, but there was one moment in particular that stood out for me the most..We were sat playing and I asked Abbie if she wanted a nap (obviously knowing she wasn't going to and it was my ploy to get the bathroom cleaned), she suddenly got excited and screamed YES! So we went upstairs and I got the black bag ready for the bathroom, I then got dragged into her room (literally), followed by Abbie climbing onto HER bed, covering herself with the duvet and saying "goodnight mummy"...seriously one of the cutest moments ever, not only is she learning that her room is for sleeping in but we then spent the next 40 minutes snuggled on the bed listening to the wind up music box and watching ourselves on the reverse camera on my phone! It's moments like that, that make me realise that the small things that go wrong shouldn't impact me so much, because for every thing that goes "wrong", 3 good things will happen in return which will make me forget the bad, being a parent is tough but amazing and I can't wait for all the ordinary moments we have to come, sometimes the smallest things mean the most and today was definitely one of those days!

Oh and as I write this, Abbie came out with yet another sentence, after we played bouncy bouncy on the sofa earlier (don't tell Daddy), she came out with this..
"I want to bounce" perfectly, every letter pronounced perfectly, I won't lie, I welled up, it was amazing, and definitely was the cherry on top of a pretty good day in the end! :)

Join in with the lovely Katie's Ordinary Moments linkup here :)


Friday, 8 August 2014

How to house train your dog!

In collaboration with More Than

Generally house training refers to puppies, and it should be started as soon as you bring your new puppy home, but sometimes it is necessary to house train an older dog. More Th>n Pet Insurance offers some tips on house training your dog.

This is most likely to be the case with a rescue dog that has never been properly house trained, for instance it might have been kept out of doors all the time and used as a guard dog, or it might simply have regressed due to trauma and forgotten about its previous house training. Don’t worry too much if the rescue dog that you are considering falls into this category, despite the saying to the contrary, with a little patience you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, especially when it comes to house training.

With an old dog the first thing to do is establish the dog’s personal space, for instance a den that is entirely his. As dogs avoid doing their toilet in their own space, they won’t do it in the den. Establish a place where your dog can do its toilet and establish a schedule for it to do so. Once your dog has become accustomed to its den, you should move it to different locations around your home so that each place becomes marked in its mind as a place not to do its toilet. After a while it should have learned only to go in its designated space.

With puppies a different kind of house training is required. Puppies need to urinate frequently, around once every two hours, so be prepared for some sleep deprived nights; it’s a bit like having a new baby in the home. You also need to be aware that often it takes six months or even longer to house train a puppy.

You should always take your puppy out to do its toilet as soon as it wakes from a nap, has eaten, or starts to look a little restless. When it goes in the right place, reward it but if nothing happens just ignore the situation. If your puppy makes mistakes and toilets in the house, don’t punish it. Just make sure that you clean up the mess using disinfectant which will discourage it from using the same location next time.

The objective is to create a den instinct for your puppy. If you are lucky it will already have picked up much of this from its mother. Typically you will take possession of the puppy when it is around eight weeks old, and as soon as you do you should begin to house train it. This is also a good time to take out a dog insurance policy and preferably one that has third party liability cover. Never scold your puppy for any mistakes it makes; doing so will only frighten and confuse it and nothing will be gained. There are plenty of videos which can help you with this too.

Be firm, assertive yet kind; and house training your puppy will be easy, but if you are nervous and ill tempered about it you will only make it more difficult for both your puppy and yourself.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Ordinary Moments | Holding Hands

This week i have decided to join in with the lovely Katie @ MummyDaddyMe's link for The Ordinary Moments. I realised I post a lot of pictures from my camera from throughout the week but when it comes to the 'ordinary' moments I keep those for Instagram and my camera roll! I loved the idea of sharing an unplanned, completely natural photo from the week and sharing it with everyone too!

Ben didn't start work till 12.30pm on Friday so we woke up and randomly decided to go for a little family walk, we knew the rain was due around 11ish so wanted to miss that preferably! So we popped off to Heavens Gate, a gorgeous open area of fields with views of Longleat, no matter what time of the year you go here, it always looks amazing! Abbie is a big fan of walking, if she can run around and wear herself out then i'm a happy bunny too, so we walked along the pretty little gravelled path towards the open area, along the way Abbie looked at me, looked at Ben and said 'Gimme your hands', with that, she reached up, grabbed one hand from the each of us and held it, for the entire walk, not just a few steps, but for a good half a mile, it was possibly one of THE cutest moments ever.

It's so easy to get caught up on getting used to the little things they do, but when they do something out of the blue, completely on their own accord, it makes you realise just how much they learn every single day, one minute they're these tiny babies who smile in their sleep, the next they're telling you what they want, stomping their feet and giving you the biggest cuddles in the entire world..I used to laugh when people would say 'oh enjoy the newborn stage, they grow up so fast', to me, I wanted sleep, i wanted to feel normal again, so I kinda wished the newborn days I understand just how quickly they grow and change, and in just a few short weeks, my tiny baby will be a beautiful 2 year old, and there is no way on this earth I am going to wish away anymore single days.