Saturday, 26 December 2015

4 month baby update

You're going to be turning 4 months old on boxing day and I expect we'll be a bit busy that day so I'm writing this update a couple of days early this month.



Sleeping
At the moment I think you're probably going through a little growth spurt, you're eating more (more on that later) and waking up a little bit earlier. Don't get me wrong we are still absolutely spoilt, the very earliest you've woken up is about half 7 which is still amazing for a 4 month old baby but you were sleeping til 8 or 9 (sometimes even 10!) a couple of weeks ago. We had your last lot of injections last week so that disrupted you a little bit and you woke up once in the night for a couple of nights but we don't mind. You're so good normally, we know if you wake up it's because something is the matter.
You still nap a lot! Usually at least 2 or 3 a day. If I let you sleep on me sometimes you'll sleep for 3-4 hours but we usually try to put you down for a nap in your big girls cot now when we notice you start to get grumpy, or you sleep whenever we're out and about - especially in the new car!
You're still in your crib in mummy and daddy's bedroom at the moment but I think we'll look at putting you in your own room in the New Year maybe. You love your bedroom, we always get changed in there and you have your naps there now. I'd feel better if you could roll so I know you won't get stuck on your front!

Feeding
You're up to 8oz bottles now and you polish them off no problem. You're not sick very often anymore which is much better and you're obviously keeping more milk in you're tummy. You normally have between 4-6 bottles a day depending on how much you've napped during the daytime but you wake up earlier if you haven't had much milk in the day. If you're awake you don't like to go as long between bottles now, you scream every 3 hours whereas last month you'd happily go 4, as I said I think you're having a little growth spurt.

Weight
14lb 6oz when we got weighed this morning (Wednesday)....a whole stone already! That's crazy. It won't be long and you'll be double your birth weight.
Still on the 50th percentile as well.

Development
You absolutely love the sound of your own voice! You just constantly chat & smile the whole time you are awake which is so funny and you are so cute! 
The two main developmental things we are really waiting for you to do this month are rolling and laughing. Both of which you have sooo nearly got!
We practice you're rolling everyday with lots of tummy time but you hate it. You like you lie on your back and wiggle, or kick everything. You can lift your hips up & sort of get half way into a roll but I have to give you a helping hand for the last little bit! haha
You do laugh a little bit now, mostly at yourself or when I pull your vests up over your head but it's adorable and I can't wait for it to be a more regular thing.
You want to sit up all the time now. You get upset if you have to lie down, apart from for a nap of course. You've started to enjoy sitting in your bumbo seat and hardly need any support at all.

Clothes
You're still in 0-3 month clothes but I'm going to get the 3-6 bits out soon because I'm sure it won't be long. You seem to be a month behind when going into bigger size clothes so far. 
We're literally on our last couple of size 2 nappies just using up what we've got left and then you'll be in size 3! How did that happen already? I had to exchange a load of size 2s because I'd stocked up so much when you were pregnant and didn't expect you to grow this quickly!


XOXO

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas everybody!!

Hope you all have a lovely day.

Lots of love,

Squishy, G and Me
XOXO

Thursday, 24 December 2015

First visit to see Santa

Last Wednesday was a very special day...... it was Brooke's first trip to go & see Santa!
I know it's crazy and everybody says don't bother the first year because obviously she has no idea about Santa, or even what's going on at all, but I love Christmas and was determined to get little B in on the action as soon as we could.

We booked to go on the 16th for a couple of reasons. Firstly I thought it would be near enough to Christmas that the atmosphere would be good, but not near enough that it would be crazy busy with all the kids broken up from school. Secondly it was that exact day last year that we did a pregnancy test and found out we were having a baby so being the silly sentimental girl that I am I thought it would be nice to take our baby girl somewhere exciting on that day to sort of mark the occasion.



We went to a garden centre not too far from where we live which I booked a couple of weeks beforehand. I didn't fancy going to a busy shopping centre grotto so this was ideal for a quiet mid-week visit for us.
The grotto area was separate from the main garden centre and had a nice little walkway lined with Christmas trees leading up to it. About 5 other kids came in at the same time as us which was a lovely small group.
We went into a large room with decorations all around it, benches in the middle for us to sit on and Santa in a little stage type area at the front. We all sat down and Santa told all the kids a story which was really sweet and made sure he interacted with each one and asked them questions. Then each child got to go up and see Santa individually, have a chat about what they wanted for Christmas (of course!) and have some photos taken.




We were allowed to take our own photos in the grotto as well which I loved. It's definitely a nice touch and means you don't have to fork out for the pricey professional photos if you don't want to. Obviously with it being Brooke's first Christmas they were obligatory for us!

We were over the moon that Brooke actually seemed to really enjoy herself. She loves all the twinkly lights and Christmas music and was just in the best mood for the entire morning which I was so pleased about. I was a little bit worried she'd be too young and find it all overwhelming and get upset but it was the total opposite. She wasn't too sure what to make of Santa so wasn't her usual smiley self but she wasn't upset about it either. While Santa was telling his story she sat there good as gold, cooing away and seemed quite interested in what was going on! haha 
After we came out of the grotto she was squealing with happiness all the way round the garden centre and shouting chatting at everybody we saw. Strangers always comment on how vocal she is it's so funny, she gets really loud!! 

It was G's birthday last week as well so we ended the day with a trip to Toby Carvery as a treat and B slept the entire time AND the whole way home so all the excitement must have worn her out!

Did you take your little one to see Santa when they were small? We'd love to hear about your experience.
XOXO

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Palmers Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze Tan Lotion - Review

I've always been a huge Palmers fan and absolutely love their body butter products and have been using them for years! I've even got my boyfriend hooked on their good old cocoa butter.
 Cocoa butter is without a doubt one of my favourite scents when looking for new products and definitely one I am always drawn too.
I am also a serial fake tanner!! Being a natural redhead (but my hair has darkened somewhat over the years) I obviously have your typical ginger skin - annoyingly freckly and pale. There is nothing I love more than laying out in the sun for 2 weeks solid, somewhere exotic and hot on our summer holidays trying to tan, but I really do just have to accept that even though I love the sun....it DEFINITELY does not love me back!! *sniffsniff*.
There probably aren't many brands of fake tan I haven't tried and tested over the years and I do 100% have my favourites (Fake Bake & Laurens Way I'm looking at you!!) but every now and then I like to mix it up a bit.
I've got to be honest gradual tanners aren't a product I am usually a fan of. I definitely started out with them at the beginning of my tanning experience (to ease myself in gently...or so I thought at the time!) but I'm often left thinking why bother tanning at all if you're not going to tan properly! I like it to be noticeable not barely there. However loving Palmers like I do I thought I'd pick up Natural Bronze Tan Lotion when I saw it on offer in Boots.
Image: Superdrug
I have to say I am really really impressed. Sometimes when I'm not planning any nights out in a while, or getting my legs out and generally being a bit lazy, I can't be bothered to properly fake tan - yes you heard it hear first, never thought id be saying that - so a gradual tan lotion is perfect for maintaining a slight glow but also only needs minimal effort.
Natural Bronze Glow is a moisturiser that develops into a subtle tan and can be built up over x number of days. Firstly unlike actual fake tan products gradual tanner tends to be white in colour, which makes it seem much more like a regular moisturiser. It also doesn't have your typical fake tan smell. Natural Bronze Glow does have a slight scent to it, certainly more than the regular cocoa butter product but equally its not unpleasant in the slightest. My boyfriend kept telling me i smelt like chocolate if that makes you feel better about the smell? ha! And you can definitely smell the cocoa butter running through it which also leaves a really pleasant smell.
Now I've just been slapping this on willy nilly after my daily showers, not thinking too much about it. I can't remember exactly how long I've been using it now, maybe a fortnight on and off but not once have i had any sort of streak. Each day I notice I am getting browner and browner, subtly and naturally. The colour is long lasting and fades very evenly. I've only needed to exfoliate a little around my ankles and elbows.

The top picture is after using Natural Bronze for a couple of days and the bottom picture is after a week. I think you can build up a really nice and natural, but definitely worthwhile, tan with little effort or maintenance. Maybe a winner?

Palmers Natural Bronze Tan Lotion retails at £5.35
Have any of you tried Natural Bronze Tan? I'd love to hear your opinion on it?

XOXO

** this post first appeared on my original blog Sparkle Bug which you can read here **

Youngsies Monkey Onesie - Review

Last week we received a little pre-Christmas treat from the lovely people at Youngsies, one of their baby monkey onesie costumes* for Brooke to try out.

Youngsies are a company specialising in animal onesies and towels for babies and toddlers. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 0-36 months.



We absolutely love the monkey onesie! Is is so cute, cheeky and totally unisex.

- It is hand & footless
- Has an attached hood
- Is costume style
- Very soft & fluffy
- Thickly padded
- Has both zip & popper openings
- Machine washable



This honestly is one of the thickest, most snuggly and padded onesies that Brooke has, and she has quite a few! We've found 0-3 months to be an awkward stage where shops don't really offer coats yet for babies so small, so onesies and pramsuits are our go to outfit on a cold day.

The monkey onesie is size 0-6 months so as Brooke is coming up 4 months there was still plenty of room for her to grow further and I expect it will fit her for a good while yet. Being handless and footless in a romper style (if you chose to open the poppers) definitely means the onesie will fit for longer because often clothes become too short in the leg for Brooke before they're too small in the body.



Everytime Brooke has worn the onesie she has seemed really comfortable. She's had it on for hours at a time if we've been out in her pram and has fallen asleep all cosy everytime so it's definitely a hit with her.
A lot of all-in-one snowsuit type outfits we've used make her too hot and she's gets all upset and sweaty, especially considering how warm winter has been so far. Somehow the monkey onesie doesn't have the same effect. Brooke has never seemed uncomfortable or too hot, which surprised me considering how warm and thick the onesie is.

We've already washed the monkey onesie and it came back out of the machine just as soft and cosy as when it went in. No bobbles or loose threads, it's honestly such great quality.

The only negative I can think of is that Brooke probably wouldn't be able to wear it as the weather starts to get warmer because it is really thick and padded but that definitely isn't a concern at the moment. The monkey onesie is going to be perfect for the next few months and lets be honest you probably wouldn't be looking to buy onesies in the summer anyway would you?

We absolutely love our monkey onesie and will definitely be purchasing some more of the animal onesie range. Now I've seen how soft the onesie's are I'm dying to try out one of Youngsie's baby towels!

The baby monkey costume onesie retails at £17.99 and you can find it on Youngsies website here, along with plenty of other fab animal styles to chose from (the duck onesie is just tooo cute!)

Does your baby have any animal outfits? We'd love to see pictures!
If you're enjoying our updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'

XOXO

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Mummy and Me - November 2015

I've just realised I never posted our Mummy & Me post for November! Ooooops. Only half a month behind...

Last month I had two favourite pictures

11.11.15 (11 weeks old)
Brooke first time swimming. We started swimming lessons with Turtle Tots last month so G and I wanted to take Brooke swimming together for the very first time so that neither of us missed out. She loved it! (Despite her face saying otherwise!) 

19.11.15 (12 weeks old)
Poor B! This was sitting in the waiting room of the doctors waiting for the nurse to call us in for her second lot of injections. This little hat is my favourite!! We were wrapped up all warm to go and watch the Christmas lights be turned on afterwards.

XOXO

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes


Monday, 30 November 2015

Baby's First Injections

Now we've been to 2 out of the 3 appointments for Brooke's first lot of injections I feel like I can share our experience and hopefully be of some use to anybody who has their baby's first injections coming up soon.

As a new mum I was vaguely aware that small babies have to have vaccinations but that's about it. I was pretty clueless about when they happened and what exactly they were for.


So far Brooke has had her 8 week vaccinations and her 12 week vaccinations - the 16 week ones (which will be the last until she is 1) are coming up just before Christmas.

I was absolutely dreading the first appointment, like really really dreading it. I know vaccinations are done for such good reasons and of course 2 seconds of pain is so much better than a serious illness, plus Brooke obviously won't remember these AT all, but there is still nothing more heartbreaking than your babies little face looking at you, screaming out in pain, wondering why mummy - the one person who is meant to protect them from anything bad - is letting somebody hurt them! :(

At the 8 week appointment Brooke had three injections, two in one thigh and one in the other, and one oral medication to vaccinate against rotavirus.
The injection that I was particularly anxious about was the one for Meningitis C. It is a very new vaccination that had only been offered for around 6 weeks by the time Brooke had it so I had no friends to ask for advice about it.
NHS advice with baby vaccinations in general is to have calpol on hand in case baby develops a fever later on that evening but with the new Men C injection it's not IF baby gets a fever, it's WHEN baby gets a fever because it is almost a certainty that baby will react badly to that one in particular. You are advised when you book to actually bring the calpol with you to the appointment and to give some straight away after they have the injection, plus twice more through the night.

We have been very lucky and thankfully Beooke has coped incredibly well with her vaccinations so far and hasn't had any major side effects.
After the 8 week jabs we gave her calpol at the doctors as advised, she was a little sleepier than normal but was absolutely fine. She amazingly didn't develop any sort of fever and slept as normal that night. We only felt the need to give the calpol that day and by the next morning she was her usual happy self. She did actually come out in a bit of a cold a few days after which I've mentioned in a previous post, so I expected that was a delayed effect of the injections.

At the 12 week appointment 2 injections are given (no nasty Men C this time - Yay!) and one oral medication. Again Brooke reacted well, had a slight temperature later in the evening and flushed rosy cheeks so we gave her one dose of calpol but was good as new after that!

I'm a bit worried because her 16 week injections are the week before Christmas so I'm hoping she doesn't have a nasty reaction to them that will ruin Christmas for her, so fingers crossed! Plus we have to have the nasty Men C one again next time!

Obviously the actual moment when the injection is carried out and Brooke screams her head off completely breaks my heart! BUT we definitely feel it is for the greater good and will continue to get her vaccinated as per the NHS recommendations. Luckily we have a super brave little girl and she has only cried for 30 seconds max and cuddles from mummy and daddy really seem to help.

Have you had your little ones vaccinated? I'd love to hear about your experience? What do you think of the new Men C injection?
If you're enjoying our updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'
XOXO

Friday, 27 November 2015

5 Things Friday: Newborn must haves

Thinking about doing some new bits on the blog I thought it'd be fun to start a 5 thing Friday theme. Each Friday I'll be writing about 5 things...sometimes a shopping list, sometimes a wishlist, sometimes some advice, sometimes things we recommend and sometimes just some thoughts.

So this we we have...
5 Newborn must haves

Now Brooke is 13 weeks old she's no longer classed as a "newborn" and is now an INFANT! (which is crazy!) so I thought it would be useful to pass on our recommendations for the top 5 products that we could not have lived without in those early days.

1. Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine


For anybody that has been living under a rock and somehow hasn't heard of the perfect prep machine it basically makes perfect body temperature bottles for baby in under two minutes so there's no phaffing around waiting for boiling bottles to cool or cold bottles to heat.
You put an empty sterilised bottle under the tap push the button and a burst of boiling water comes out, it then beeps to let you know that part is done, you remove the bottle and add your scoops of formula and give it a shake/swirl so all the powder mixes with the boiling water, then you put the bottle back under the tap again press the button again and it is topped up with cool water to make the perfect temperature and amount in each feed.
The dial at the top of the machine can be adjusted to make feeds between 4-11oz. The only bad thing I have found is that the smallest bottles you can make are 4oz because when you bring your newborn home from the hospital you will probably be starting on 2-3oz but to be honest they move onto bigger feeds so quickly it really wasn't a problem. We simply made bottles the old fashioned way with boiled water from the kettle for a few days & then moved onto using the machine & wasting a teeny bit of milk each time.
The perfect prep machine does divide opinion, with a lot of people deeming it a waste of money but honest to god this thing is an actual life saver! I know it's not too difficult to wait 10mins for milk to cool down but at 3am having warm milk on tap is amazing when even 2 minutes of baby screaming feels like a lifetime. 
It is a little pricey at around £120 but you can usually find it for around £70 in the Asda Baby Event or on Amazon or like me you might be able to pick one up secondhand. We only paid £35 - possibly the best £35 I've ever spent!

2. Baby sleeping bags

Each to their own obviously but we always knew we wanted to put Brooke in baby sleeping bags to go to sleep. Originally I planned on using cellular blankets for the first couple weeks until she was a bit bigger and filled out her sleeping bag a bit but the first two nights when we got home from the hospital Brooke didn't want to sleep... At all! 
She'd sleep anywhere else during the day, on us, in her bouncy chair, her swing, a cushion but just hated her swinging crib for bedtime. It was like she found it too big and open after being in my belly all that time. So much so that I was this close to rushing out and buying a Moses basket for her so she could have a smaller sleeping space!
On night 3 we put her in a baby sleeping bag for the first time and haven't looked back since. Ever since then she only woke up once each night and seemed so much more content and snug. We have 4 at the moment so there's always one clean & dry even when I'm behind on the washing!
NB baby sleeping bags are recommended for baby's 8lb and over. Luckily Brooke was 8lb 9oz when she was born so this was never something we had to worry about.

3. Ewan the Dream Sheep

Speaking of sleep, this little guy quickly became one of our best friends!
I didn't initially buy a Ewan before Brooke was born. Even though they are so highly recommended I thought he was abit expensive for what it does and thought free white noise apps on my phone would do the job just as well - which to be honest they would, but Ewan's cute, cuddly & can strap onto the cot bars so when I saw him on a secondhand selling site for £10 we thought we'd give him a try.
Ewan plays soothing harp, womb, hoover & heartbeat noises on a 20 min cycle and had a red glow. Ever since we started using him Brooke definitely falls asleep quicker. She's always self soothed herself to sleep quite well, before we had Ewan she'd chat to herself for at least 30 mins before falling asleep but now she's easily asleep in 5.

4. Nursing pillow



Even though we didn't chose to breastfeed we found a nursing pillow to be a godsend in the early days.
It was perfect for putting baby down before she could hold her own head up. We could wrap her up and position her on her side and it still felt like she was being cuddled so she'd stay asleep.
I loved being able to lay Brooke in this to feed her just so you have a free hand!
Nursing pillows are great for tummy time and now Brooke's older we still use it on abit more of an angle to support her in more of a sitting up position.

5. A foam bath insert
We quickly discovered that one of these would be really useful. Whether you start bathing your baby in a little baby bath or the big bath I think it really really helps to be able to lay the baby in something so you have a hand free to be able to wash them.
We didn't give Brooke a bath until she was a week old and then the first couple of times I had G to help me but I was really nervous to start bathing her on my own once he went back to work and this was a god send!
We bought this cute fish shaped one from Boots, it came with two little fish sponges and was £6.99. Brooke has only just stopped using it recently, now she goes in a seat in the big bath.

So there has it, the 5 items we found most useful in the early day - obviously not included things like nappies/wipes/pram/clothes etc... The unexpected must haves let's say!

What were your newborn must have products? Did you use any of these?

If you're enjoying our updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'
XOXO

Thursday, 26 November 2015

3 month baby update

Currently snoozing away on me, our baby girl will be 3 months old in the morning (probably by the time this goes live) and I can't quite believe what a little person she has become. Our squishy newborn is long long gone!


Sleeping
You're still sleeping absolutely perfectly and we still can't quite believe it! I'm constantly pinching myself and expecting to wake up to the sleepless nights that everybody warns you about because *touch wood* we still have no idea what they are like. I honestly know how lucky we are and I'm totally expecting you to be a nightmare teething and as a toddler but for the time being it's amazing!
You tend to either go 7pm to around 7am or sometimes you haven't been settling as well in the evening, will stay up with us until we go to bed and will go 10/11pm to 8/9am which is a lovely lie in.
When you wake up in the morning you'll only be awake for an hour or so before you're first nap of the day. This is always the longest, sometimes 3 or 4 hours!

Feeding
At the moment you're drinking 7oz bottles, very occasionally you might finish an 8oz but usually if we try that you leave some. Depending on your naps - and sometimes not waking up in time for a feed - you usually go about 3 or 4 hours between feeds so have 4 - 5 a day.

Weight
We actually went to baby clinic to be weighed this morning because I'm keen to keep up with the stats in your baby book :) and you're 13lb 2oz BUT you've dropped down a centile from the 75th since you were born to the 50th so you're bang on average for your age.

Development
You change so much every single day! At the moment you love to chat and smile all the time. As soon as anybody pays you any attention you won't stop smiling and squeal with delight. You're generally a really really chilled out baby and rarely cry unless you're in pain with wind which luckily doesn't happen too often.
You have giggled a couple of times but I don't think it's because you found anything in particular funny it's just one of the noises you've discovered you can make and did it randomly. I can't wait until you laugh properly!
Literally the last couple of days you're constantly trying to pull yourself upright into a sitting position, you don't like lying down at all! It's so funny, it looks like you're trying to do little sit-ups.
We've also started swimming lessons, we've only been to two so far but you seem to be enjoying it which is so sweet.
We've also put you in the big girl bit of your pram which you love because you can look around at everyone and be nosy. We don't use your carrycot on the pram at all anymore, only for the occasional nap during the day in the living room.

Clothes
You're definitely in 0-3month clothes now, all the newborn stuff is well and truly packed away :( in fact a few 0-3 bits are pretty snug already but some are equally massive. I think it must depend on the shops sizing like adult clothes do. I'm worrying all your Christmas outfits won't fit because I got them in 0-3, it going to be one of those awkward stages where you're in between sizes.
Still in size 2 nappies with lots of room to spare and size 2-3 swim nappies with even more room to spare!!

XOXO

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Baby's First Cold


For the last week or so our poor baby girl has been suffering with her first cold and it's breaking my heart.
Subsequently I've discovered that before 8 weeks old there really isn't anything you can give a baby to make them feel better, something that I never gave my thought to until I had Brooke.
I think as an adult we just take for granted that we can grab some cough medicine or vapour rub, pop a paracetamol or even blow our nose but poor little B has definitely not had such an easy time.

Luckily it hasn't been anything too serious. To begin with she had a horrible snotty nose and temperature so I was able to give her some calpol which seemed to help. The worst thing was definitely that she couldn't breathe through her nose. She would have to spit her dummy out in the night so she could breathe and then she'd cry because she wanted her dummy again - it was so sad! That along with a nasty cough was ensuring poor little B was up most of the night which is unheard of for our sleepy bear.

After a few days suffering I ventured up to Boots to find out if there was anything we could give her. Annoyingly vapor rub, plug ins, olbus oil, cough medicine is all from 3 months plus. At this point Brooke was 9 weeks so I asked if it really makes that much difference? Personally I can't understand it? Surely a product is either suitable for tiny baby's or it isn't? What difference is a 2 month old baby to a 3 month old baby? ....but anyway off we went with our recommended saline spray to try to decongest B's little nose so she would feel more comfortable.
Luckily this did seem to do the job and after a day or two Brooke was feeling much better. That along with the amount of Vicks that G and me were smothering ourselves in must have had some secondary effect on her.

Unfortunately we're just left with a little cough now that keeps waking her up in the night but fingers crossed that'll be gone soon, it seems to be getting better everyday.

Did your little ones get poorly at an early age? What did you do? I'd love to hear about it
XOXO

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Mummy and Me - October 2015

18.10.15 (7 weeks old)

06.10.15 (5 weeks old)
Mummy and B hiding from the rain.
If you're enjoying our updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'
XOXO

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Optimalprint Birth Announcement Cards - Review

Before B was born we decided we'd like to get some birth announcement cards printed. A friend of mine did something similar when her little boy was born last year and I thought they were brilliant.

I actually came across the company Optimalprint on Facebook originally during the early stage of my pregnancy. I bookmarked the page & forgot all about it until after Brooke was born and we were looking for a way to tell all our friends and family that our little madam was finally here.
I know these days everybody texts or uses Facebook to announce their baby being born, which don't get me wrong we did as well, but I think birth announcement cards just add a special touch. They're a lovely keepsake and I know older members of family, like my grandparents for example really cherish their card and don't use Facebook or anything like that.


We actually combined a birth announcement and thank you card in one as we were lucky enough to receive lots and lots of amazing presents for Brooke so thought this would kill two birds with one stone.
We left the back of the card blank so we could write our own personal message to everyone but you had the option to have anything you liked printed on any side of the.card.

I am over the moon with how the cards turned out. We got 20 printed for around £27 which I don't think is too bad at all. The quality was amazing, the photo just can't do them justice. The cards were printed on thick, high quality card and were lovely & gloss. The photos we chose to include came out beautifully and they were only iPhone snaps.
Postage was incredibly quick, I think our cards arrived the day after next once I ordered them - and I ordered at about 11pm!
Optimalprint had tonnes of different templates and styles of birth announcement cards to chose from along with plenty of other types of card - Christmas cards, birthday invitations, wedding invitations, thank you cards , party invitations. 

We would highly highly recommend Optimalprint for any personalised cards you may need. We will definitely be using them for Brooke's christening and first birthday invitations next year.

How did you announce your baby's birth?
XOXO

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Brooke's First Halloween

Even before Brooke was born I've always loved Halloween! I know it's not for everybody and is very American but that doesn't bother me. In fact last year I was lucky enough to spend Halloween in Las Vegas with work and it was in-cred-ible! Literally the craziest night out I have ever had - the Americans go all out for Halloween and I'd never seen fancy dress costumes like it.

This year is Brooke's first Halloween so we couldn't resist getting her some cute little outfits to mark the occasion.

Brooke's Nonna found this for her in a charity shop for the bargain price of £2!
It's actually size 3-6 months so I was expecting it to swamp her but it wasn't too big at all which is a little bit scary.

Today we've just gone for a casual My First Halloween babygrow which I picked up for £5 at Asda. It's actually really lovely quality and has the helpful fold over sleeve/mitt things which is always good because Brooke's hands get SO cold during the night!

We did actually get invited to a Halloween/birthday/fireworks party this afternoon but I didn't think Brooke was really old enough this year. All the other kids going are quite a lot older and will be able to enjoy the fireworks where we would have to stay in the warm and watch through the window/or be asleep so we turned down the invitation.
Daddy is at work today so me & B are staying in the warm & having cuddles tonight but I can't wait until she is a little bit older & we can go to parties or go out Trick or Treating!


Brooke's Nonna bought her these lovely little Halloween presents which I thought was so sweet! Even though the candle holder isn't really baby friendly as such I think it's great that we can get in out every year & light a little candle to "spooky" the house up. The little owl puppet book is just adorable and I'm sure B will love it by next Halloween and again it's something we can get out every year.


Are you doing anything special for Halloween? I'd love to see your baby's costume?

Happy Halloween everyone!
XOXO

Me and Mine - October 2015


My favourite and actually the only photo of the 3/4 of us this month. This was just a random Sunday at my mum & dads and we thought it'd be nice to have a couple of photos of all of us <3

If you're enjoying our updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'
XOXO
dear beautiful

Friday, 30 October 2015

Benefit "They're Real" mascara - Review

I know there are a million reviews for this product already out there but as it's probably my absolute favourite and most used product in my make up bag I couldn't not do it! Plus it's been a while since I've done a beauty review.

Benefit's "They're Real" Mascara was a total game changer in the beauty industry. I honestly don't think there has ever been such a big hype around a mascara. Everybody has either tried this mascara or knows somebody who uses it. 
Even the advertising on the packaging speaks for itself. 
- 94% of people saw dramatic length and volume 
- 90% of people saw base to tip curl
- 94% of people saw visible lift
- 100% of people saw long wearing results (100%!!!.... That is crazy!)



I completely and utterly adore this mascara and wouldn't dream of using anything else now.
I completely agree with every claim Benefit make. When I use They're Real my lashes are longer, more curled, lifted and this mascara really does last all day. If it can handle one of my 13hr flights at work then it's a winner in my opinion.
Even though it's super long lasting They're Real is still really easy to remove and a light swipe with a make up remover wipe will remove all traces.



The tube is gun metal colour and even though it contains 8.5g of product it still appears quite compact and delicate. The mascara just looks so stylish and sleek and would fit perfectly into any makeup bag. 
The wand is also perfect for the type of application I like. It is flexible enough but not too bendy. It has short spokes in a comb style, perfect for applying the product to the length of your lashes and then the sphere shape at the end means you can reach even the teeniest smallest lashes in each and every corner of the eye.

I've always used They're Real in the shade Beyond Black which is very very black which I love but it is now available in Beyond Brown and Beyond Blue aswell.

Above is my left eye with no makeup and the bottom picture is my right eye with just one coat of mascara.

They're Real mascara retails at £19.50 which is obviously a little pricier than your average high street mascara but I definitely think it is worth the extra spend. Benefit products are amazing quality and They're Real in particular lasts forever. 
If you haven't already tried this life changer of a mascara I highly recommend you do. It can be found at any Benefit counter or online here

I'd love to know what you thought of They're Real?
XOXO

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Baby by Chad Valley Deluxe Swing - Review

Before B was born I was pretty adamant that I wanted to buy a baby swing. It was one of my must haves! I wasn't fussed by a bouncy chair or playmat but I thought a swing would be a really useful product to have.

They seem to vary in price a lot ranging from around £50 right up to £200+ so being on a budget I was after a bargain. 
The swing has 3 different speeds, 7 different songs, is lockable whilst you get baby in and out, folds down smaller so it can be stored more easily, has a 5-point harness strap, has a head hugger for smaller babies and has a detachable toy bar complete with three animal toys.
Pretty much all the features that you could look for in a swing - in my opinion.

Pros:
- It comes in turquoise green or cream so is unisex and perfect to keep for anymore babies
- the toys are really cute & detachable so can go on a pram/car seat if you want them to
- it folds down for smaller storage. Great if you don't have much space like us!
- secure 5 point harness
- it's the cheapest baby swing on the market which was a big plus for us
- simple controls
- swing motions are gentle but strong enough at the same time


Cons:
- the green/turquoise colour is probably a little more on the blue side if you're looking for something truly unisex but it doesn't bother us
- even at their largest the arms straps seem quite tight. Brooke has to sit in an unnatural position for them to fit her comfortably so I don't strap her in very often.


Brooke says:
Brooke has a love hate relationship with her swing. Sometimes she loves it and sometimes she hates it.
I was hoping that the swinging motion would help to soothe her when she was upset but this isn't the case. She definitely just screams more if we put her in when she is already upset. 
BUT when she is already happy and content which is 90% of the time - we are very lucky - then she absolutely loves it. She will happily swing for ages and ages and it will quite often send her to sleep.
We've found it particularly useful for when we are eating dinner or both busy with something else and need to put B down awake for a little while.

I was more than prepared to pay full price of £43.99 for the swing but I actually really luckily came across the exact swing we wanted second hand on my local Facebook buying site for the bargain price of £15. Unfortunately this meant that the music has never worked but that's not necessarily a bad thing! Haha

Our rating: 9/10
Would we recommend it: YES

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

6 week checkup

Last Wednesday we went to the doctors for the first time so that Brooke & I could have our 6 week checkup (even though B was 8 weeks old by then!)

Our happy little lady was as good as gold and was babbling away to her new Doctor. She had her eyes, ears, heart, lungs and hips checked as well as being weighed and measured.

The little chunk is weighing in at 11lb 13oz now which the doctor was more than happy with. She usually screams her head off when she has to get naked to have her nappy changed or getting out of the bath because she hates being cold so I wasn't expecting the weighing to go well, but Brooke pleasantly surprised us all and was smiling away the entire time.


Our doctor was laughing at her because she wouldn't be quiet while he was trying to listen to her heart. She was coo-ing and chatting away to him for ages!
Overall our Dr was really pleased with B's development so far and says it's really good that she "talks" so much already and that she will interact and "talk back" when people speak to her. He said she is very aware of her surroundings and super curious which is lovely to hear.

My 6-week check consisted of 
"how are you feeling?"
"Fine"
"Any problems?"
"No"
"Are you healing okay?"
"Yes"
And that was pretty much it! I'm sure my doctor would have checked out my stitches if I had asked him too but to be honest I don't have any concerns. I feel 97% back to my old self now and I can tell everything has healed well and isn't infected.

How was your 6-week checkup? I'd love to hear if it varied a lot from ours?

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XOXO