Friday, 25 February 2011

The Baby Show Part 1 – My new career as a lingerie model....

Me being papped with TJ!
So, last Friday I went to the Baby Show at London ExCel. I was originally going because I had won some tickets and as I didn’t go to a Baby show when I had my daughter I thought I’d go for a browse now I’m expecting 2nd time around.

Then I spied a shout out from TJ at Bras4mums on Twitter, she was looking for a pregnant lady to show off her bump on her stand at the Baby show for a couple of hours. I have to say that standing in my underwear isn’t something I’ve done before (well unless you count a handful of times when I’ve been a bit drunk in my Uni days.....lol!) but I just thought what the heck, I’m proud of my bump. It’s something to tell baby number 2 when he’s older and also while I’m feeling good about myself I should do it before everything goes completely south!

A couple of weeks before the show I got the nod that they’d love to have me and filled me in on what was needed. I would be fitted for a nursing bra and I would represent Bras4mums, having my photo taken by press and chatting to mothers who were interested in a fitting. The hope was that I would draw attention to the stand. As the day approached, I was nervous but also excited!

On the day I dropped Isla off at nursery and began my day out, really looking forward to meeting TJ and her team and also having a day all to myself to indulge in looking at baby goodies. On arriving at London ExCel, I found Bras4mums and met everyone on the stand, TJ, founder of Bras4mums, Liz from Weston Comms, Alison, one of the fitters and Keira from Mamascarf.

TJ got me trying on all different nursing bras (styles/ colours/ brands) and we decided on a gorgeous blue one from Womana. She gave me a quick education in her line of work, so that I could chat to the ladies who came by the stand for a fitting. It’s so important to get a well fitted bra as the changes in a woman’s body when pregnant and after baby has arrived are hard enough to deal with and so feeling comfortable and avoiding health problems like blocked milk ducts are crucial. Also looking at the ranges that are available there is no need for any pregnant woman or new mum to feel like a frump in maternity underwear, there were some really lovely pieces available from HOT Milk and Womana that I will definitely be checking out.

Once I was fitted I was all ready for my debut as a bra model!! I lurked behind the fitting room curtain for a couple of minutes, peeked out and saw......MEN! For some reason when I had agreed to do this I had not once considered that there would be men there! So I lurked for about 1 more minute before emerging into my home for the next 2 hours.

How did it go? Well it went brilliantly! The Bras4mums team were lovely and all made me feel really comfortable, I handed out discount cards to prospective buyers and chatted to mums to be. The stand was so busy in the time I was there. All 3 fitting rooms were buzzing and there were always more ladies waiting to get some advice or get fitted. We had some photographers and filming people at one point, so I was in the spotlight showing off Bump and Bra and to be honest I loved it! I would do it all over again in a jiffy!
Enjoying some more papping!
The time came for my stint to end and I felt so exhilarated and confident, I think that’s the power of a good bra and being proud of your baby bump. I got dressed, said my goodbyes and then headed off to enjoy everything the baby show had to offer.... See Baby Show Part 2 post, coming soon.

As a thank you for helping TJ at Bras4mums I received a Lingerie Set – it’s gorgeous and I’m really grateful for the opportunity I had.

For more information about Bras4Mums, check out their website http://www.bras4mums.co.uk/

For more information about Mamascarf, check out their website http://www.mamascarf.co.uk/index.html

Photo's included in this post were kindly supplied by Liz Weston of Weston Communications

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Sterimar Baby Launch


Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Stérimar Baby at Nobu in London. It was a product that I was unfamiliar with until then but one that I cannot wait to try in our household. When Isla was little she used to get so many colds and they played havoc with her routine, sleep was disrupted (for the whole family!), she wouldn't drink her milk and once she started on solids she wouldn't eat. We have gone through a few different methods to help Isla when she's had colds, plug-ins, raising the head of her mattress and using menthol drops around her mattress and so we're willing to try things that will relieve congestion for Isla and for the new baby boy when he arrives!

When the product was described to me I was intrigued as it's for clearing and unblocking little noses from birth to 3 years but it's made from 100% natural sea water! It's a concept that until I attended the launch and had it explained by Dr Catherine Hood, I wouldn't have considered.

So, what's it all about? Well here's the 'science' bit (as they say in the ads!): In young children the respiratory system is still in development and cannot fully protect the body against breathed-in contamination, making them more susceptible to colds. As babies mainly breathe through their nose and cannot blow it, a blocked nose can be so disruptive which then leads to problems with eating, breathing and sleeping. Stérimar works to gently unblock and clear little noses using sea water, with a reduced salt content for extra gentleness, a method that has apparently been common practice in France forever!

It comes in a spray can with a special nozzle that has been designed to fit small noses. The nozzle is shaped so that it can be sprayed at any angle, which is handy if you have a wriggler like I have! Stérimar has no known side effects, is anti-histamine and steroid free. It also has no preservatives or additives. These are all really important things to consider when you're a mum as we all want to resist the urge to use lots of chemicals on our babies.

Some people may be put off by the thought of using sea water but we were told that the water is pumped near oyster farms, offshore at high tide, no where near boat traffic nor pig breeding. These solutions have been used for many years in France and are also popular in South Africa, so if its good enough for them, then it's good enough for me!


Stérimar is available from Boots and most pharmacies across the UK and I for one can't wait to give it a go and see if it makes life in our family a bit easier when our little ones have colds.
This is a Sponsored Post

Monday, 21 February 2011

Swim Baby Swim UK - Review

So we're nearly at the end of Isla's swimming lessons with Swim Baby Swim UK and it's been brilliant, this week was so enjoyable, it was such a great start to a Sunday. We're all really enjoying the lessons and may need to keep them up - still to decide on this.

I was really looking forward to this lesson as last weeks hadn't been the best due to me feeling a bit tired due to pregnancy and Isla really missing me being present with her and my OH in the pool. She wanted to get out and be with me and so it cut short the lesson. I wanted this Sunday to go really well and I couldn't have hoped for it to be any better!

As usual there was no stopping her from trotting round the pool to the steps, she just loves the water. Once in we went up and down holding the float a couple of times and she was really kicking her legs, like more than she's ever done before and I kept saying 'kick, kick, kick' and she was really going for it with lots of smiles.

She also learnt to get out of the pool on her own by climbing out from the side. This a is bit tricky from the point of view of her age and how she quite often doesn't listen to what we're telling her, because once out she wants to run around, but we managed to get her back to the edge and encouraged her to plop back into the water with a big splash! She's getting so comfortable with having her face under the water now. We had a couple of goes of putting her under the surface and then encouraging her without help to swim between me and Daddy. I have to be so brave to do it as it's easy to freak out a bit and grab her but her big blue eyes are open and you can see that she's holding her breath until she surfaces. She looks unsure when she comes up but she gets so much praise when she does that she is fine. Anne's presence by our side is so reassuring and she's so encouraging.

We did 'piggy back' rides up and down the pool and she now holds on to us tightly without help while we swim underneath her. She loves this and says 'giddy up, giddy up!'.

I always encourage her to look at the other children as they are all slightly older and they are all jumping in and doing bits of swimming on their own and given that children love to imitate other children, it's good for her to see what they are all doing.

The best bit of the whole lesson for Isla was when she got given a badge at the end of the lesson, she loved that, it was such a nice touch. We're so pleased with her progress that we're considering continuing with Swim Baby Swim lessons. It's the last lesson next week, so here's hoping it's as brilliant as all those that have come before it.

We're also going to be testing the Swim Baby Swim Swimming app on the iPhone, where we can practice things we've learnt in the lessons and follow the advice in the tutorials in the app.

As per previous 'Swim Baby Swim' posts, I have to add that this course of 6 lessons has been provided to Isla without charge.

Bump Watch...Week 21

So we totally missed week 20! But week 21 has proved to be MEGA exciting!! For the first time on bump watch we know whether we have a blue bump or a pink bump......

It's a BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Daddy's Girl

Just lately in our house I've felt like the invisible man (well, invisible mum). Isla is going through a phase of loving Daddy the most. And I really do hope it is a phase, because it's a well known fact that eldest daughters are generally the Daddy's girl.

It started recently when it came to the bedtime routine. My OH and I do bath time together with Isla, and then we get her in her jammies. She has her milk either on mine or the OH's lap while chilling to Balamory and then it's upstairs to bed. I only get home from work at the point where the bath is being run, so Daddy spends a few more hours with Isla before I get home and so I look forward to putting my baby to bed. However she's so stuck on him by the time I get back that she won't be prised from him. The first time this happened, I said 'ok time for bed now' went to scoop her up to go upstairs and she went MENTAL!! So, OH picks her up and she looks all jubilant and puckers her lips, making kissing sounds at me and says 'Night, Night'! Clearly, that's my cue to give her a kiss and bugger off to go and make dinner.....while they continue their love-in. Since then it's happened a few more times, I go to pick her up, she goes berserk and I'm at a loss to change things.

On Saturday night, the OH was doing some late food shopping and so bedtime fell to me. There was a chance that he could come back in time to put her to bed and I really think she sensed this. Before we went upstairs, she said ‘Night, Night’ to everything! I mean everything, every toy, the TV, even the lights, it was like a stalling tactic, where she thought, maybe just maybe Daddy will come through the door and rescue me from the evil clutches of Mummy putting me to bed....Silly I know, and when I’m thinking rationally I know that her behaviour isn’t personal, but some days when I get home from work I really like the small amount of time we have to be special and like to give her bedtime cuddles. It has had me in tears on some days which I know is ridiculous.

It's not only bedtime, when she wakes in the morning, the first call out is 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy' eventually this tails off into 'Mummy, Mummy, Mummy'.....

However this weekend, for the first time in a while I was the preferred parent but it ended up putting an abrupt end to her swimming lesson. I wasn’t feeling up to going in the pool this Sunday and so we decided that she’d just go in with Daddy and not both of us as we’d done in previous weeks. This was a bit too much of a change for her and so 20 minutes into the lesson, and hearing her call out ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy’ and pointing at me and then trying to scale the pool side to get to me, she came out for Mummy cuddles. Although it was a bit of a shame that her lesson was cut short it was so nice to be wanted, even if the cuddles were soggy!

Both the bedtime and the pool scenarios demonstrate that little kids don’t like change and they only feel comfortable doing things the way they know them, so Isla prefers Daddy to do bedtime and Mummy to be in the pool. It's nothing personal and I just need to pull myself together!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Silent Sunday - Swimming Sunday


Silent Sunday

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Hygiene Range Launch Event


Isla and I were lucky enough to be invited to a recent launch event for the new Closer to Nature Hygiene range by Tommee Tippee and I have to say it was a great success from all angles!

Firstly it was held at a brilliant venue, Maggie and Rose a members club for families in Kensington, where kids can play, cook and be creative. This was perfect as the mums could listen to the presentation about the new products, and chat to the Tommee Tippee team, and the guys at Maggie and Rose concentrated on ensuring that the kids had a good time. I was dubious at first that Isla would leave my side as she'd only just woken up as we'd arrived there, but after 5 minutes she'd disappeared only for me to see her about 15 minutes later with her face beautifully painted..


After she'd had her face painted all the kids were in the kitchen, up on stools making cookies. Isla seemed to love this especially to chomping on the chocolate chips that were meant to be in the cookies!


The end to her fun was made all the better when she was given a balloon as we left - it's the simple things in life that make her happy!

And so to the new products in the Closer to Nature Range which are designed to offer long lasting, powerful and gentle protection against bacteria and viruses. It contains a revolutionary UK made ingredient, Byotrol, which is exclusive to Tommee Tippee and the key thing about it is the barrier it creates against germs and bacteria, lasting for hours, long after other cleaning/ hygiene products have stopped working.

As a mum the sound of a product that keeps kitchen surfaces free of germs for up to 24 hours sounds brilliant, as it is so important when you have a newborn baby to keep areas where you prepare bottles and feeding equipment immaculately clean. Babies have such vulnerable immune systems that anything you can do to protect them is worth doing. All the products in this new range cater to make your daily routine easier.

In the range are Steri-fluid for cold water sterilisation of bottles, soothers and teethers. We haven't used cold water sterilisation that much in the past, only when we're on holiday or staying somewhere away from home, but what I liked about this product was that it didn't have that bleachy/ chemically smell you get with other well known brands. The fluid sterilises within 15 minutes and items can be kept in the solution for up to 24 hours and they will still be sterile.
The surface spray again has no potent smell and gives a 99.9% protection from germs and viruses for 24 hours. The ingredient Byotrol forms a microscopic barrier, actively killing germs and protecting surfaces hour after hour.
There is also a hand serum for use on the go. It's a great replacement for all the alcohol based hand gels that are on the market. It doesn't contain any alcohol or fragrance, therefore kinder on those well worn, chapped hands that us mums get! And finally wipes for cleaning feeding equipment on the go.
These new products feel like a really sensible progression of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature range. As we will be having another newborn in the house this summer I will definitely consider this new range for use in our house. It is attractive to me for the reasons that it doesn't contain alcohol or bleach, hence making them a gentler option.

All in all it was a very successful event and we'd like to say thank you to the team at Tommee Tippee, Red Consultancy and Maggie and Rose for making it so enjoyable. We look forward to trying out the products we took away on the day.

All these products can be purchased in store and also from http://www.tommeetippee.co.uk/ and they also have a fab new parenting club you can join!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bump Watch...Week 19


Bumps coming along nicely, not so happy about my boobs heading south!!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Toddler Eating Habits

My daughters eating habits are my current bugbear/ worry. I worry about the lack of variety in her diet and wonder when we will start eating the same things together as a family? I just wrote down in black and white all the things she eats to see if I really should be worried at all. Here goes:

Bread/ Toast
Pasta
Fruit - likes all that she's tried so far
Yoghurt
Jelly
Tinned Spaghetti - with toast
Baked Beans - with toast
Cucumber
Spread Cheese
Porridge
Rice Crispies
Tomato Pasta sauce
Bolognese with beef mince
Biscuits - of course!!

You can see from this list that vegetables are pretty thin on the ground, they are mainly hidden in pasta sauce. Potatoes are also absent from the list, and in my quest to get her to like potatoes I've even offered her chips, but still they get sampled and then chucked on the floor or handed back. I thought, I know I'll try a bit of tomato ketchup on the side to entice her to eat things, but then all she does is eat a spoonful of the yummy red stuff!

When I worry too much about it I only have to look at her to realise that she is not underweight and certainly not malnourished, but I'd just love a meal time to go smoothly without refusal after refusal. At the moment I put a lot of her issues with food down to the fact that at 18 months old she still only has 9 teeth and I'm so eager for the rest to appear so that at least I know she has the nashers to cope with all manner of foods.

What are your tips for getting your little darlings to eat their greens? Is it normal at her age to be so limited in the range of foods she will eat? I'd love to hear your views and tips, it might stop me from worrying and just accept the status quo as it is.

Swim Baby Swim UK - Review

At the weekend we had our 2nd swimming lesson with Anne from Swim Baby Swim and it was brilliant! We came away on a real high and in fact it was the beginning of a really lovely Sunday spent with family and friends!

This week the Hubbie got in the pool with us and joined in which was great as Isla really is in this 'Daddy's girl' phase at the moment! We'd been saying to her all morning that we were going swimming and she knows what that means and once through the changing room doors there's no stopping her getting into the pool.

Firstly the kids were given dive sticks that they were to drop to the bottom of the pool to encourage them to look down into the water. At first it was quite hard to get Isla to drop it but once she did and saw that it meant Daddy had to go under the water to retrieve it she was happy to do it and more importantly she was looking down into the water watching the dive stick sink to the bottom and watching Daddy fetch it.

We also went up and down the pool holding Isla, encouraging her to 'kick, kick, kick!', which she did. This week it was Daddy's turn to swim the length of the pool with Isla holding onto his back, and again she thoroughly enjoyed it.

The best part about the whole lesson though was that she went under the water on 2 or 3 occasions and it didn't phase her. The best one for us being when Anne 'swam' her towards the side with her head just under the surface. Once she reached me at the side and came above the water we clapped her and although she looked a little bit uncertain once she saw the clapping and praise she was getting she started to clap herself. The fact that Anne did this really took the heat off us, because as parents it is really hard to not be fearful and Isla wouldn't have felt any panicky vibes from her. Anne is so calm and patient and that transmits to the children.

The kids in the lesson who are more practiced with their swimming all really trust Anne, so when she's asking them to take a hand off the side of the pool and come to her they know they won't come to any harm, likewise when they jump in the pool from the side. They are confident in the pool. The parents also learn to get their children to focus on them.

The principle with these lessons is that there is no need to use buoyancy aids as these really hamper the natural ability that children possess. They keep the body in un upright position which isn't helpful when eventually the child has to learn to swim in a horizontal position. Anne's lessons teach the importance of breath holding and floating.

For more details on Anne Hawley and Swim Baby Swim, go to:
http://www.annehawley.co.uk/index.html

Isla and I are taking part in the lessons as a trial and they have been provided free of charge for the purposes of the review.

Bump Watch...Week 18

Looking a lot bigger, but then it should do after only eating Italian food all day - Pizza & Spag Bol. Definitely reduces by morning....