Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Ophelia's 6 month update

Well as I sit here writing this, I can't help but feel a bit sad. My baby is 6 months old already. I honestly cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. I just want to savour every moment.

She has had an incredible 6 months and I feel very lucky to have been able to share some amazing experiences with her. As you know we stayed in Australia for 3 months when she was just 5 weeks old which allowed us to have some quality bonding time together.


Milestones:
Ophelia can now roll over from front to back and back to front. She always seems so pleased with herself when she does. She can sit up unattended for short periods of time. She is very vocal and loves the sound of her own voice. She's either squealing, laughing or repeatedly saying baba. 

Teeth:
Ophelia cut her first teeth at just 12 weeks old. We are now on her 6th tooth. She does seem to be suffering with it at the moment.

Feeding:
I am still breastfeeding Ophelia and I am still loving it. She doesn't feed as often as we have now started to wean her. She's currently on the puree/mash stage and is doing really well. I've written a post about her weaning journey so far, if you want to read more just click the link, Ophelia's first tastes

Sleeping:
You may remember that from quite a young age, she used to sleep all through the night. I used to dream feed her around 10pm and she would sleep until around 5.30am. However, this is no longer the case. She now wakes around 3 times a night. I think it's her teeth giving her grief.
She still sleeps in our room in her snuzpod. I love having her in the room and if i'm honest I want her to stay in there for as long as she can. We have a small bedroom so she will have to go into her own room once she outgrows the snuzpod, which unfortunately won't be long.

Clothing:
She is wearing clothes that are size 3-6 months. I love her in dresses and I really like seeing her in pastel colours.

My favourite things:
There are a few things that Ophelia does that I just love. I love it when she grabs my face and pulls me in for kisses and cuddles. She loves rubbing her head against mine and then giving me kisses. 


I love hearing her talking. She is just like me and her big sister and she talks for Britain. 
I adore the way she looks at Eva. She absolutely idolises her. You can tell she has total admiration for her.

I love the way she scratches the side of the snuzpod to get my attention. It's so cute. 
I love watching her play with a tambourine we have in the house. Her little face is a picture when she shakes it. She thinks she is chocolate.

My not so favourite things:
Her nappies at the moment are awful. When I say awful I mean awful. I think it's a combination of teething and weaning but we are having lots of atomic bomb moments lately.
She seems to love pulling hair. Either mine, her sisters or the dog. Needless to say, none of us are fans of that.

As i've already said, I can't believe how quickly time is going. I'm sure i'll be writing her one year update sooner than I think. 


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Friday, 27 May 2016

Our Weaning Journey - Ophelia's First Tastes

Towards the end of our trip to Australia, Ophelia started showing signs that she wanted some real food. At the time she was 4 months old. I must admit this really alarmed me (even though we weaned Eva at that age). It felt as though she was growing up too quickly and my newborn baby was not so newborn anymore. 

She would frequently stare at whatever we were eating and drinking. She wouldn't take her eyes off it. She used to grab whatever she could get her hands on and and aim straight for her mouth. She was also breastfeeding more frequently. This was one ready baby.

We made the decision to not wean her until we were back in our own environment so we began her first tastes at just over 5 months old. Even though I had done this all before I felt I had forgotten everything. I found the whole experience with Eva quite stressful, rather than fun and enjoyable. This time around I wanted a more relaxed approach to it. 

Luckily we are part of Babymoov's weaning team this year for their campaign for #stresslessweaning. I now have a fantastic support network around me which includes other bloggers, peers and a nutritionist. Having people that you can talk to about anything, no matter how silly it seems has been so beneficial. Ensuring you have someone to share you weaning process with is a great piece of advice. You can bounce off ideas with each other and also have a giggle at the not so great moments.



For Ophelia's first tastes we started with porridge. We decided to use formula milk even though she's breast fed as that would be a good way for her to get used to it if ever I had to stop breastfeeding. We were all around the kitchen table when she had her first taste of solid food. Eva thought the whole thing was fab. I think having her around made Ophelia enjoy the whole experience even more. She did the usual funny faces at first but then loved it. 



Next up we tried fruit and vegetables on their own. One thing I've learnt from my support network is that you can try a new taste every day. I hadn't realised this with Eva as I used to make her eat the same thing for days to get her to try and like the taste. 

I've been preparing all of Ophelia's purees in our amazing Nutribaby. It's made the whole weaning process so easy. It's a 5-in-1 machine so it really does everything for me. It can defrost, steam, blend, sterilise and warm bottles and jars. I've been busy chopping up fruit and veg, throwing it in and it's as simple as that.

Ophelia's favourite vegetables are sweet potato and butternut squash. She wasn't fussed on carrot. In fact we had quite a few faces of disgust with that.



She pretty much likes all fruit. I'm guessing she has a sweet tooth already. She adores apples and strawberries.

After a couple of weeks we combined fruit and vegetable flavours and this opened up a whole new world of tastes for her. She loves a combination of things such as broccoli, peas, spinach and apple. Very weird but she thinks it's great. I tried apricot mixed into veg but she isn't too fussed on that.

We are looking forward to giving her meat, fish and dairy which is the next step. I think it'll make the whole weaning process much easier as I won't feel like i'm making lots of different meals for the different members of our family.

Have you started weaning? What has been your favourite flavour combinations to use?

I can't wait to share our weaning journey with you. Our next post will be up soon. If you have any questions to ask me or the nutrionist please leave them in the comment section below.
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Sunday, 22 May 2016

TotsBots EasyFit Star Cloth Nappy Review

Using cloth nappies has honestly never occurred to me before. I never used them with Eva and I hadn't thought about using them with Ophelia. I have to admit the idea seemed very alien to me. I had been hearing a lot of good things about them and started to wonder what all the fuss was about. 

TotsBots got in contact with me to see if Ophelia and I would like to try out their latest launch which is the Easyfit Star. I decided to give it a go to see why everyone I know who uses them raves about them.

We were sent 5 nappies and the first thing that caught my eye was how bright and bold they were. Gone are the days when they were just simple plain cloth with a nappy pin attached. These were modern and trendy. More of a fashion statement.

We've been using them for just over a month to make sure we could get a good feel for them.


One thing that really surprised both hubby and I was how easy they were to put on. They are exactly the same as a regular disposable nappy with velcro fastening. I got the impression that they would be a bit of a faff to use but it seems they have evolved. There are no liners to replace and nothing to tie, it is simply a nappy. 

The material is strong and durable but is very soft against Ophelia's skin. The fabrics are all natural so they are very gentle.




The nappy has held absorbency for about 1.5 - 2 hours. As the material is nice and thick we haven't had any leakage problems onto her clothes. We've only been using them during the day as Ophelia has always been a very good sleeper and more often than not sleeps all the way through at night. I wouldn't want to wake her to be changing a nappy every couple of hours. 

We didn't pick the best time to start using these as in the last month Ophelia has cut 2 more teeth and we have started weaning her so you know what's coming....atomic nappies. We only have 5, so with them needing to be changed every couple of hours for urine and then with all the pooping that's been going on, we simply haven't been able to keep up with the washing. We have had to use normal nappies as well as the cloth ones.


They wash very well and can be placed in a normal load with your other items. I found that if I washed them the same day they were soiled with poop the stains came out straight away. I was also given a tip of hanging them on a washing line in the sun to dry to help with any stains and I have to say this works.

They are a lot bulkier than a normal nappy so bare that in mind for when you are putting them in a change bag. Luckily for me I always have a Mary Poppins style huge bag so there was plenty of room for them.

I'll be honest and say I was gobsmacked at the price of these when I first saw them. They are either £15.99 for a plain style one or £16.99 for a pattern one. However, when you compare that to how many reusable nappies you would use it would be a massive saving. Yes the initial outlay is a lot but the benefits for your pocket and the environment are much better.

Overall, we have been really pleased with them. The only thing I will say is you do need a good stash as we haven't had enough for a day. I'm definitely going to buy some reusable swim nappies from them as I think they will be a definite money saver. We don't go swimming that often so they will be perfect for us. They will also be ideal for our upcoming summer holiday. 


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Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Weather - An Insight Into My PostNatal Depression


I wake up and the sky is clear. There isn't a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining. I feel its warmth wrap around my body and I smile.


As the day progresses I feel a change. There are suddenly hints of grey in the sky and the clouds begin to appear. I can sense there is a storm on the horizon. The wind starts to pick up and it circles around me like a full force tornado. I feel trapped. I can't escape its power. It's constantly circling around me. Around and around. Its strength keeps me from breaking free. I just want to get out. I feel scared.

Then comes the rain. The dreaded rain. It hammers down and I feel every hit. Every drop keeps hitting me. It runs down my face. A constant stream like a waterfall. I can't protect myself from it. I become frustrated.

What's that I hear? Rumbles or cracks. I feel confused. I hear it again. It keeps coming and going. It gets closer. The closer it gets the stronger I feel it. Now the storm is in its full glory. The thunder and lightening are battling each other. I can't concentrate. How can I make a decision on how to break free from the storm?

Now i'm angry. The storm is getting to me. It's attacking me from every angle and breaking me. The only way I can save myself from the storm is to hide. I withdraw from the outside world and I seek sanity in my own loneliness. Now it's just me in a room. I've escaped the storm. I close my eyes and tell myself tomorrow is another day.

When I open them I notice the storm has cleared. I look at the sky and it's bright blue. Everything is calm and quiet. It's almost serene. The sun is shining again. 
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Friday, 20 May 2016

It's SUPAcalifragilisticexpialidocious

We recently went on a little holiday to the amazing Disneyland Paris. We knew we needed a good stroller for Ophelia that would meet the needs of a busy trip. We travelled there by Eurostar so we needed something that was easy to use for train travel and something that would stand the test of time being used pretty much all day, in a variety of weather conditions. 


We were very lucky to be sent a Supa stroller from the fantastic company Cosatto. This is the first product we've used from them, so we were very excited. They have great goals when it comes to baby products and that is to create fun and quirky products that allow baby to enjoy the ride and be happy. 



Here's how we got on:

I Love To Laugh

One thing I can say about this stroller is it's a showstopper.  The print is called Kokeshi Smile and everybody who turned their heads to admire it all had a huge smile on their face. You can't help but smile at the print. It's bright, bold, fun, eye catching and cute all at the same time. The little dolls on it actually reminded me of Ophelia. They are adorable.




The colours on the stroller are right up my street. Pretty pinks and pastel greens, absolutely ooze summer and happiness which was a perfect match to use in a place that brings such joy.


A bonus of having such a bold print on a stroller in a busy theme park is that when you have to leave it to go on a ride, it stands out upon your return. It's very easy to find.

Step In Time

The Supa stroller handles and drives very well. It's very easy to manoeuvre and feels light but sturdy to push. This is probably because it has front and rear suspension. 

The brake is very easy to engage. So much so that Eva, who is 3 was able to do it. 

It is very lightweight which makes it ideal for travelling. It actually won an award last year for being the best lightweight stroller. When it's folded up I can easily carry it with one hand. I also managed to carry it up and down some stairs when Ophelia was in it and I am by no means a bodybuilder. 

It's easy to fold up and down and you can do it one handed. Once folded it's compact and has a clip to keep it secure. it also has a very useful handle which makes it easy for carrying on your shoulder. It can also stand on its own when it's folded which again was great for travel. I have to say I was rather impressed by this feature.

Stay Awake

Disneyland at times can be very over stimulating and both Eva and Ophelia couldn't always keep their eyes open to enjoy it all. As much as they fought the temptation to fall asleep, the 'Supa' comfortable stroller was just too enticing. 


Ophelia always looked extremely relaxed, content, happy and chilled whilst in it. It was certainly comfortable and she was as snug as a bug. The stroller itself comes with a lovely soft cosy toe which has a very handy kangaroo pouch for placing arms in. Ophelia was too small to enjoy this luxury but if ever Eva was in it she placed her arms in the pouch which kept them warm during the chilly nights. Something I only realised when we came back is that the cosy toe is actually reversible. Silly mummy.




The stroller can be used from age newborn and therefore has a complete recline option. You can adjust the recline easily with one hand into 4 different positions. I found this very easy to do when either of them was asleep and it didn't wake them up.

A Spoonful Of Sugar

The stroller is most definitely a boredom buster and comes complete with a multimedia  gadget pocket and speakers. This is going to be like marmite in the parenting world. Some people will love it and some will hate it. We are on the love it camp.

I'll admit, in everyday use where you are just going for a walk, I don't agree with its use but when you are at places like a theme park, it's a godsend. Waiting around for parades and fireworks can be very boring especially for toddlers. I can't begin to tell you how much of a lifesaver it was to be able to pop Eva in the stroller when she was bored of standing still and allowing her to enjoy a Disney movie on the iPad to keep her occupied. It kept her calm when she was tired and cranky from waiting around.

You could also use things such as flashcards or photos in it. The choice is yours. Perhaps you could put nature or animal themed flashcards in there to encourage a game of spot what's on the card.

Let's Go Fly A Kite

In an ideal world, the sun would always be shining when we go away. However, that doesn't always happen. On our first day at Disney we were wandering around in t-shirts basking in the sun but on the very same day, it absolutely hammered down with rain in the evening. 



Luckily, the stroller comes with a very large raincover. When it was fully on, It was big enough that it pretty much covered the entire stroller. This was exactly what we needed. The raincover fit well into the basket underneath the stroller whenever it wasn't in use.


For when the sun was shining the canopy provided good protection from the rays as it has an extendable feature which makes it drop down more than most strollers. This is also great for when it was windy.


Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

I thought this song was very apt for everything else I have to say. It's the word you use when you don't know what to say. The problem is I have so many things to say about the stroller that i'm worried i'll miss something out. 

One thing we really loved was that we were able to use the stroller for both the girls. When Eva was tired, as Disney is a lot of walking for little legs, we were able to put her in the Supa and carry Ophelia in our baby carrier. This saved us so many times. It would have been awful to have had to take two strollers with us. The less you have to take when travelling, the better.

The storage basket for the stroller is a really good size. We managed to fit quite a few things in there such as the raincover, spare coats and blankets. The only problem we found was that when the seat was fully reclined we couldn't really get anything out of the basket which was rather annoying. 

There is a handy viewing window on the top of the stroller which has a magnetic fastening. I love to be able to have a sneaky peak at them when they are asleep to make sure they are safe. 

The seat section is fully removable and easy to wash. 



Jolly Holiday

Overall, we loved using the stroller on our trip away. It was lightweight and easy to use on the Eurostar journey and a joy to push around at the parks. I now use it all the time at home.  Just today I had an admirer come up and ask where it was from. You can buy the Supa stroller here for £210, Cosatto or browse the other quirky designs they have available.

There's not much more left to say other than the SUPAcalifragilisticexpialidocious stroller is in our opinion just like Mary Poppins herself 'practically perfect in every way,'. 



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Thursday, 12 May 2016

A Food Journey At The Celtic Manor Resort

You may or may not know that hubby and I are complete foodies. We adore food and everything that goes with it. We love to cook and play with flavour combinations. He makes his own chocolate truffles and I enjoy eating them. 

We also love nothing more than eating out whether that be in a Michelin starred restaurant or at a local deli. Our finest foodie experience to date was when we ate at restaurant Gordon Ramsay which is 3 Michelin-starred. It was incredible. Whenever we go out for food we always aim to try something new or something we can't cook at home.

I was delighted to have recently had the opportunity to try out some of the latest food offerings at The Celtic Manor which is my favourite hotel in South Wales. Hubby was gutted as he couldn't attend but I got to go with a lovely blogger friend of mine Leanne who writes over at A Slice Of My Life Wales.

The first stop on our food journey was at the new Signature Lounge for drinks and canapés. The lounge is part of an exclusive floor that has been created for adults only. There are newly refurbished bedrooms, the lounge and a restaurant as part of this collection. The lounge was modern but has a cosiness about it. The views were beautiful. 





The canapés were a selection from the brand new restaurant, Steak On Six. The whole Jamón Credo De Campo was my favourite. It comes from acorn-fed pigs and has been matured for up to 3 years. My mouth is salivating just remembering it. 
I also really enjoyed the asparagus, pea and welsh feta panna cotta. It was something unusual that I haven't seen before. 



We then had a tour of the restaurant which is uniquely decorated, combining cow print with modern decor to create a relaxed and rustic vibe. There are floor to ceiling windows which provide a stunning backdrop in which take in views of the lovely Coldra woods and countryside.

Next up was something very special. We were treated to a dish from The Epicure Experience by chef Richard Davies. Richard Davies is a Michelin-starred chef who has previously worked at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, (no wonder I enjoyed the food so much). 



Our dish was taken from the starter menu which was scallops with beetroot and cauliflower. I am a huge fan of scallops and these were some of the best I've ever tasted. They were a good size and the combination of flavours created a party in my mouth. There were different cooking techniques and textures on the plate which created a unique but mouth watering dish. 

We then had a masterclass by chef Larkin Cen on how to prepare and cook Peking duck. Chef Larkin Cen was a finalist on Masterchef in 2013 and is passionate about pan Asian cooking. This was clearly reflected in his demonstration.



The class was very insightful and I learnt a lot. I had no idea how much effort went into preparing a dish like this or the best places to buy some of the ingredients. I also learnt a fab way to peel a cucumber, although I have to say, I haven't been brave enough to try it yet. 




Last on our food journey was our dinning experience at Larkin's restaurant Cen. I have been coming to the Celtic Manor for years and this is a very new food concept for the hotel. It's fantastic to see them adding in an Asian restaurant which is something I have never seen them do before. The menu is inspiring creating modern dishes but with traditional pan Asian flavours. 


We got to enjoy the wonderful dish that Larkin had demonstrated to us. I'm so glad this was on the menu because my senses were driving me wild during the class. The smell was tantalising. The dish completely lived up to my expectations and more. The duck was so tender and the skin was divine. I could've eaten a whole plate of the skin. 







For desert we were presented with a chocolate dish which was made with dark chocolate, chocolate mousse, chocolate aero, malt ice-cream and mandarin. It was just the right amount of sweet and sour. The dark chocolate didn't make the dish to rich which meant it wasn't sickly at all.


Finally, we had an ice cream bao slider which was made with salted caramel and coconut. Oh my goodness!! It was so tasty and so refreshing. A perfect desert for spring/summer and a great dish to end a meal on. 

Overall, I had a wonderful evening. The Celtic Manor has lots of exciting new food experiences available which shows they are keeping up to date with the latest fusions and flavours. I am itching to go back and dine in all of the restaurants so I can appreciate them further. As previously mentioned, this is my favourite hotel in South Wales and with these new food adventures, it will continue to be for a long time.

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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tony and Eva's day out at Taronga Zoo

It was a beautiful sunny day in Sydney. Today was a special day. It was mother's day and all of the family were going to Taronga Zoo to celebrate. Tony the taxi knew he would be needed to help make the day as enjoyable as it could be.

Tony ensured he was packed up with snacks and drinks for the whole family for the day. He knew it would be nicer for them to not have to carry heavy drinks bottles around all day, so he made sure they were secure inside the Taxi.

Tony jumped into the boot of the car for the journey to the zoo. He found it very comfortable in there. He was just the right size for fitting in the boot alongside Ophelia's stroller and various other bags. He wasn't cramped at all.




The sun was almost excruciating and the heat took its toll on the whole family, especially Eva. She became tired very quickly through so much walking around and the immense heat. Luckily Tony was around to aid her little legs. She lapped up having rides on Tony. She spent hours laughing, giggling and shouting for him to go faster. He of course obliged.







One of the best parts of their day was viewing the penguins. Eva spent a long time admiring them. So much so that she felt she needed to sit down. Tony appeared to the rescue and made a wonderful seat for the rest of her viewing pleasure.

Eva is only 3 and is very petite. Tony knew that at times she needed a step up to be able to see all the wonderful animals. He allowed her to stand on him whilst holding on to her mummy or daddy.




Eva was the envy of all the other kids at the zoo. They couldn't take their eyes of Tony and they all wanted to play on him. Parents were commenting on how much of a good idea it was to bring him along for a day trip.



Look out for the next instalment of Tony and Eva's adventures coming very soon.

**We were kindly sent a Tony the Taxi from Trunki to review for our trip to Australia
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Me and Mine April 2016

In terms of taking family photo's, April has been a brilliant month for us. We've made the most of any dry weather that we've had by walking in our local woods which are currently carpeted with bluebells. They really do make for a beautiful walk, even the dog loves them. It always amazes me how much the kids love doing the most simplest of activities. I don't think we were ever going to manage to get everyone looking at the camera when we were trying to take the pics ourselves but I love the photo's anyway.



This month we also decided to be tourists for a change and enjoy things that were right on our doorstep. We spent an afternoon at our local castle which is Castell Coch. Eva loved it and believed she'd been to Elsa's castle. 


At the end of the month it was my birthday and we took a very magical trip to Disneyland Paris. We've been a few times before (hubby and I are disney enthusiasts) but this trip has got to be the best one we've ever done. To see Disney through Eva's eyes actually made me cry. She was so happy and believed in all the magic. We are desperate to go back asap.





Together this month we have loved:
  • The Sun finally showing its face
  • Disneyland
  • Family walks
  • Dancing - Eva seems to love to dance with us so we all join in, even the dog


The Me and Mine Project
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