12/31/2016

Project 365 - Week 52


25th December - 31st December

25/12/16

26/12/16

27/12/16

28/12/16

29/12/16

30/12/16

31/12/16

It's Christmas! Well it's been and gone but what a lovely Christmas we've had! We spent the morning opening and playing with toys at our house and then my Mum paid us a visit with a second dose of presents. Then after lunch we headed over to Nick's parents for Christmas dinner with all his family and the third lot of present opening. Christmas Day was absolutely fantastic, surrounded by our loved ones and Noah just had the time of his life. He was so excited for Christmas this year. On Boxing Day we usually have our annual party at my Nanna's house but sadly she passed away earlier in the year. It was really surreal not to go round to her house on Boxing Day as this is something I've done every year for the past 27 years. As we were unable to do so this year my Dad held a similar party at his house and although it was different I'm sure my Nanna would have been looking down at us and smiling as we were all together just as she'd have liked us to be. Even though Boxing Day was bitter sweet for that reason we all still had a wonderful time and of course came home with even more presents and plates full of party food too! The rest of the week we pretty much took it easy as the festivities really took it out of us. Today it's New Years Eve and we've had a lazy family day in, followed by a Chinese take away! 

Here's to 2017! Happy New Year everyone! 


12/29/2016

Mummy & Me - December



I can't believe we are heading towards the end of the year already. I think 2016 may possibly be the fastest year of my life and it was filled with many fantastic things, our holiday in May, big blogging opportunities, Noah turning three, lots of family days out and of course the biggest being conceiving our baby girl.

For our final Mummy & Me post of the year I just had to use these two photo's although there was quite a few to choose from this month. A quick selfie of Noah giving his Mummy a big kiss, can't beat those moments. Then the photo below, Mummy with both her babies. I'm so excited to see what 2017 brings! Have a wonderful New Year everyone! 



Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

12/28/2016

Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment - Review



When you become a parent there are endless amounts of worries which run through your mind on a daily basis. My son is now three years old and I'm currently pregnant with baby number two and I'd like to say the worries subside a little as they get older but that isn't the case, there's always something to mull over. I suppose as parents it's our job to worry and it shows how much we care.
One of the things I worried about especially as a new parent was nappy rash. I'd read and heard a lot of stories about babies in discomfort with nasty rashes on their delicate behinds so I did a little bit of research and discovered Bepanthen. A lot of parents apply cream and ointments once the nappy rash has reared it's ugly head but with Bepanthen it's all about prevention and not just the cure. 

Our little ones bottoms go through so much when wearing nappies, especially with their night time nappy which they can wear for up to 12 hours a night. Imagine having a damp nappy on your bum for that long whilst you sleep, it's no wonder some babies are prone to nappy rash. This is where Bepanthen comes in.


What is Bepanthen?
Bepanthen is an ointment containing Pro-Vitamin B5 which gently aids natural skin recovery, while keeping it soft smooth and moisturised too. It forms a breathable transparent layer protecting even the most delicate skin from the causes of nappy rash. Bepanthen doesn't contain perfumes, antiseptics or preservatives and is clinically proven to protect from the causes of nappy rash.

How does Bepanthen work?
It cures. Bepanthen's ointment contains Pro Vitamin B5 which aids natural recovery of sensitive skin while keeping it soft and hydrated. Bepanthen also works by helping to seal in the skin's natural moisture, providing optimal conditions to allow gentle skin recovery without drying out your baby's delicate skin.

It protects. It's clinically proven that Bepanthen works by forming a transparent layer protecting even the most delicate skin from irritants and rubbing. The water in oil ointment keeps the skin healthy and hydrated, which is essential to help maintain its natural protective barrier.

How do I use Bepanthen?
You simply apply a thin layer of Bepanthen to your baby's clean, dry bottom after every nappy change. You only need a little ointment at each change because a little really goes a long way. Bepanthen offers additional comfort for your baby as it is non-sticky and is easy for mothers to clean.


Bepanthen recently launched a new e-book called What the Parenting Manuals Don’t Tell You. This book shares genuine tips for new or expectant parents from mums and dads who have experienced it all. It even includes a tip from me, so you'll have to keep a look out for that one! Not only does this book share invaluable tips from fellow parents but it was created in collaboration with parenting expert, Lisa Clegg. It's an excellent book, especially for new parents and it's also free to download. 

We've always sworn by Bepanthen and it's certainly a product we will continue using once our baby girl is born in February.

Have you used Bepanthen before?

- Wrote in collaboration with Bepanthen. 

12/27/2016

30 & 31 Weeks Pregnant - Baby #2



Baby
Baby girl has grown from an estimated 15.7 inches to 16.25 inches long. On average she could have grown from 2.75lb to 3.3lb and is really starting to fill out now. Over the next few weeks it's all about bulking out and forming some fat beneath her skin. I can really tell she is growing rapidly now because there's less room for her to wiggle around and her movements feel different, it's like there's a baby dolphin swimming around in there! She's hard at work practising to breathe and often gets bouts of hiccups which is such a strange but lovely sensation! Her eyes can now dilate and change in the light and she often responds to hearing our voices, especially Noah's.  


Mummy
This Mummy is aching from head to toe! This pregnancy has been so similar to my first in some aspects but so totally different in others. I've had a lot more symptoms, aches and pains this time around and I think that is mainly because it's my second pregnancy, labour and pregnancy the first time around must have wrecked my body! I have quite bad pelvic and lower back pain at the moment and when I wake up in the morning I can't walk for a few minutes. It also makes it difficult to be on my feet for a long time and getting asleep at night is quite tricky too. Nausea has also returned and heartburn is still rearing it's ugly head. I've also got low iron which I had with Noah so I'm on the supplements again which also add to the not so pleasant symptoms, ha ha. All this aside I'm still really enjoying pregnancy, I don't think much could ever change that. Even now on the last stretch of my second pregnancy I'm still totally in awe at the whole experience, I think it's incredible. I'm really trying to savour every moment as I know this will probably be the last time I will be pregnant and I know that I'll really miss it.

I still can't get my head around how quickly this pregnancy has flown by. It only feels like yesterday when we were trying to conceive and I was documenting my first trimester of pregnancy. To think that she could be here in just 9 weeks time is just crazy! I feel so unprepared this time around because with Noah I had everything sorted quite early on. I think with your second pregnancy you are a lot more relaxed about the whole thing and you have another child occupying your attention too so there's not as much free time. As soon as we get into the new year I have to start getting everything ready for her because I have a feeling she may come early. We will have to wait and see!

See you next week! 


12/24/2016

Project 365 - Week 51


18th December - 24th December

18/12/16

19/12/16

20/12/16

21/12/16

22/12/16


23/12/16

24/12/16

This week has been all about the lead up to Christmas and we've been doing lots of festive things to get us all in the spirit. We've been reading Christmas stories, making Christmas decorations, watching Christmas films, we've visited Santa and talking lots about the day too! Noah had nursery on Tuesday afternoon as usual and did lots of Christmas arts and crafts. On the Wednesday he had his Christmas party at nursery which he really enjoyed! When I went to drop him off they were sat with the head mistresses who was playing the acoustic guitar and singing Christmas songs, it was so lovely! Thursday was spent shopping and Friday we took Noah to another Santa's grotto. It was absolutely terrible weather wise but we just had to get out the house and fit one more festive activity into the mix before the big day! Today is Christmas Eve and I plan on finishing all the preparations before visiting family later tonight, we are so excited for tomorrow! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

What have you been up to this week?

12/21/2016

Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff N Stuff - Competition



Christmas is fast approaching and the big day will be here before we know it. Are you organised this year? I'm not at all, I'm so behind with everything but I'm still so looking forward for it! Noah is at the age now where he's so excited for Christmas day and I've already lost count of the amount of times we've sang Jingle Bells!  

To add to the Christmas excitement we were invited to take part in a rather fun and festive campaign with Lalaloopsy. We were sent the Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff N Stuff doll to keep and a craft set to create our very own Christmas decoration.

Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff ‘n’ Stuff Doll is busy sewing snowflakes into her dress, because there’s a princess ball coming to Lalaloopsy Land! Mittens and her friends have sewn their unique style into their magical gowns. They look sew royal! Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff ‘n’ Stuff Doll was sewn on December 21st. She was sewn from an eskimo’s scarf. Lalaloopsy Dolls live in a colourful, silly world, and it’s your job to keep the magic of their world alive!





Noah insisted on creating his Christmas decoration first thing in the morning, straight after his breakfast (hence the PJ's!) We were sent a big snowflake decoration, glitter pens and lots of different shiny gems to decorate with. Noah really enjoyed getting messy with the glitter pens and placing all stars, hearts and circle gems on the different parts of the snowflake. I did wonder if they would all be still stuck down once dried but much to my delight they did and the decoration is now hung proudly on our Christmas tree! 

How would you like to win a Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff N Stuff doll? I'm have one to give one away to one lucky reader! To enter all you need to do is use the Gleam form below! Good luck and don't forget to enter my other blog competitions!
Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff N Stuff Doll

Terms & Conditions.                                                                                                 
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize sent directly by the PR. 
3. Competition ends 15/01/17
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified. 
5. UK entries only.

Pampers Unicef Campaign - #PampersUnicef



I've been blogging for quite a few years now and over this space of time I've worked with some great brands on some fantastic projects, one of which is Pampers and their UNICEF campaign. 

I was recently asked if I would like to be part of the very first Pampers Baby Board. I was delighted to be considered and of course accepted the offer as Pampers are a brand I've been working with for quite some time now and are a brand that I truly believe in. Over the next few months I'll be bringing you lots of news and features from Pampers HQ and I'm really excited about it!


I find it fitting that one of the first posts I write about is probably the most important one that I will write as a member of the Pampers Baby Board, their partnership with UNICEF. The Pampers-Unicef "1 pack = 1 vaccine" campaign raises money for the lifesaving Maternal & Newborn Tetanus vaccination programme (MNT). With such a short time left on this year’s campaign it's so important that we continue to spread the word.

The Pampers-Unicef partnership has been running for 10 years now, since 2006. In this time Pampers have donated enough money for 300 million vaccines, helping to protect 100 million mothers and their newborns against Maternal & Newborn Tetanus thus eliminating the disease in 19 countries, with 19 left to tackle. They are now half way to their goal of eliminating MNT from the planet and although it's a great start there are still 67 million mothers and babies at risk of the disease. 


Did you know?
Newborn tetanus occurs when newborns are infected as a direct result of unhygienic birthing practices.


Mothers can also be infected with Maternal Tetanus during an unsafe or unsanitary delivery.


Once newborn tetanus has been contracted there is no real cure. In rural areas of developing countries, almost all infants that are infected with newborn tetanus die.


Tetanus is the same disease the world over. 
Here in the UK babies are vaccinated against it as part of routine newborn vaccination programmes and we receive boosters as adults. It is not a common disease here due to the vaccinations we are given, and the advanced medical care we have for women in labour.

Anyone can contract tetanus if they are not protected by vaccination.


How you can help
If you are like me then you'll want to get involved too and there are two simple ways in which you can. Here's how you can do your part in helping to eliminate MNT.

1 pack = 1 lifesaving vaccine:
For every purchase of a pack of Pampers nappies or wipes with the UNICEF logo.

1 share of your baby photo = 1 lifesaving vaccine: By sharing a photo of your baby, Pampers will donate the equivalent cost of one vaccine. Tweet the hashtag #PampersUnicef alongside your image.


- Wrote in collaboration with Pampers as part of their Pampers Baby Board. 

12/20/2016

Win a £350 Prize Bundle With Graco



Another hobby of mine alongside blogging is entering competitions. There's nothing quite as exciting as entering a competition in the hopes of winning the prize and well when you win it, it's just amazing!

As part of my Generation Graco ambassadorship I've been asked to let my readers know all about a fantastic competition that Graco are currently running, it's one not to be missed! Graco are currently giving away a prize bundle worth over £350 which contains three of their most popular products. The prize bundle consists of the 
Milestone Car Seat, the Swivi Booster Seat Highchair and the Nimble Nook Carry Cot. 
If you'd like to win this bundle of fantastic prizes then look no further. To enter all you need to do is head over to Graco's facebook page and follow the instructions on their competition post. It's very easy to enter but with the competition closing on the 31st of December you'll have to be quick! Good luck!

- Wrote in collaboration with Graco. 

12/19/2016

Graco Evo XT Pushchair - Review



I've been part of the Generation Graco team for the past few months and as my contract with them draws to a close I bring to you my third and final review. Before I get onto that though here are my first and second reviews of the Graco Milestone Car Seat and Graco Modes 3 Lite Trio in case you missed them the first time around. 


As previously mentioned the final Graco product I was sent to review was the Evo XT Pushchair and although Noah doesn't use pushchairs like this anymore I was invited to share my initial impressions of the model.


The Evo XT was very easy to set up once out the box and straight away both my partner and I were impressed. We noted how perfect it would have been for us when Noah was a little younger as we love to explore and the all terrain rubber tyres would have been a godsend for us as a family. Just steering the pushchair around the house I could tell how easy it would glide over both smooth and rough surfaces as the tyres are so large on both the front and the back of the pushchair. The front wheels can also be locked which is of course down to preference as I don't tend to use that option myself. The pushchair also has all round suspension to ensure a comfortable ride for your little one even when exploring off road.



Another great feature of the Graco Evo XT is that the seat can be used both rear and parent facing, this is always something I always look for in a pushchair or travel system. It's great to have both options so you can switch it around to your child's age or preference. The seat unit is comfortable, has a five point harness and is easy to recline with three different settings. You can adjust this using a button feature rather than a toggle which is another aspect I always prefer in a pushchair, so another thumbs up there.

Not only does the Evo XT have good tyres and a great seating unit but it also has a large hood to protect your child from the elements and has a really generous sized shopping basket too. The pushchair also comes with a rain cover and cosy toes which I think is brilliant as sometimes you need to buy these separate at an additional cost.



Features:

Suitable from birth to a maximum weight of 15kg (approx 3 years)
Reversible forward and rearward facing seat
Three position recline for comfortable snoozing
Includes raincover and luxury footmuff
Ergonomic height adjustable foam handles
Front and rear mudguards to keep you pushchair clean
Removable front swivel wheels
Compatible with Graco XT carrycot and Graco Snugfix car seat (sold separately)
Large shopping basket under seat
One hand easy fold
Long wheel base for added stability
Large wheels with rubber tyres and a multi terrain tread to handle rough ground
Refined suspension on both front and rear wheels
Extendable sun canopy in hood
Pushchair Weight: 10.5kg
Folded Dimensions: H106xW60xD41cm


The Graco Evo XT can be used from birth (with the additional purchase of the Graco Evo XT carrycot) through to three years old. It's priced at £399.99 which I would have been more than happy to pay as it has everything that I look for in a pushchair and more.  

What features do you look for in a pushchair? 

- I was sent this product for the purpose of this review. However all opinions are my own.

Christmas Treats for the Interior Lovers in Your Life



If you’ve got an interior design aficionado in your life, then you’ll know how hard finding them the perfect Christmas gift is. From picky friends who have their own individual style, to self-confessed interior snobs who only want the best name brands in their home. Here are some amazing present ideas to make sure that you put a smile on their face this Christmas:

Scandinavian Style
A huge trend throughout 2016 which looks set to continue into 2017, Scandinavian design is so hot right now when it comes to homeware. Something from any of the leading brands will be a big hit with any interior lovers. Take a look at the offerings from Muuto at Skandium, where you’ll find amazing quality interiors ranging from bowls, to tables, shelving and light fittings in the cool and minimalistic traditional Scandinavian style.

Copper
Coppers has taken over rose gold as the favourite metallic hue and is great for adding a warm glow to the home. Interior lovers will probably already be on the back of the trend so a copper present should really go down well. Depending on your budget there’s scope for all different types of gifts from copper cutlery to martini glasses, vases and light fittings. If your interior lover is a bit of a stationary enthusiast

Marble
The Instagram lovers favourite surface, marble is a real interior staple right now. Whether you’re looking to gift someone a marble iPad cover or other marble accessories as a smaller gift, marble themed items make great stocking fillers. If you’re wanting to find that dream gift for someone really special, a marble round table for their kitchen or a marble and gold light fitting makes a perfect expensive interior gift.

Novelty Interiors
When it comes to those really picky interior loving friends and family members sometimes it can be a good idea to go for a novelty themed item which can be a bit of a gamble. From the pineapple themed candles and ornaments that dominated 2016, to quirky photos and hanging plant pot holders, there’s an array of affordable novelty interior gifts for those people who are too hard to please.

With all these great gift ideas for the interior lovers available for a range of different budgets, you’ll be sure to pick up something special when it comes to finding the perfect gift.
- This is a guest post.

Tips on How to Manage Your Studies and Your Family Life



Having a young family should not stop you from studying. However, it does complicate things and you need to find time to study and still be able to look after your child or children properly. With some careful planning, you can balance your studies with your family life by taking on board the tips below.

Study Online Instead of at a College or University
Enrolling in a course in a college or university means you need to attend classes or lectures on a regular basis. This takes up a huge amount of your time because you need to prepare for these lectures, travel to the college or university, sit through your lectures and then travel home.

However, if you take an online course like the MSN to DNP online program which is provided by colleges and universities like Bradley University, you avoid all of this hassle and get to spend much more time with your family. Every part of these online doctoral nursing programs can be completed from home and the time you save over the course of a year can be substantial.

Timing
There are certain times of the day when you definitely won't be able to study effectively. You need to identify times when it will be possible to get some peace and quiet, so that you can focus on your studies. For instance, when your child or children are asleep, this is the perfect time to learn and do your coursework.

Don't Bring Your Work Home 
If you attend a local college or university, they usually have the perfect facilities for studying. It may be a good time to do your work in the library or other study area and focus entirely on your family life once you are at home. However, to manage this balancing act, you need a babysitter or family member who will take care of things at home while you’re at the local college or university.

Become More Efficient
You need to find ways to cut down on the time you spend doing certain tasks in your home. This will free up more of your time for you to study and also take care of your family members. This is particularly important in the run-up to exams or other special occasions. For example, if you cook a dinner every day it probably takes up a lot of your time. You could cut down on the time you spend cooking by cooking in bulk for a couple of days and just reheating this prepared food as you need it.

Use Your Spare Time Wisely
Despite all of the time and effort it takes to raise a family, there are times when you may be at a loose end. This is time you could put to better use. For example, if you can access your coursework on your smartphone, there are many situations where you can spend some time studying or learning something new.

If you intend to study and look after your family at the same time, you need to prepare properly so that neither one of these responsibilities gets neglected. Following the tips above will make this task a lot easier.

- This is a guest post.

12/17/2016

Project 365 - Week 50


11th December - 17th December


11/12/16


12/12/16

13/12/16

14/12/16

15/12/16

16/12/16

17/12/16

Another week, another Project 365. This week has flown by in a hectic blur despite not even being that busy really. The start of the week was a pretty lazy one as I've been taking it easy as I'm currently struggling with pregnancy related pelvic pain. On Sunday we did visit Gordon Riggs which is a local garden centre which goes really over the top at Christmas, it's fantastic. Monday my Mum took Noah out for the afternoon so I spent the free hours catching up on some blogging. Tuesday Noah had nursery and he cried when I left him again, I almost cried too! When I went to collect him his new key worker said that he'd had a great time though, which is a relief. Wednesday was Mummy and Noah day and when Daddy came home from work we all went out for a nice dinner at one of our favourite places, The Ramm Inn. I won't tell you what I ate because it was a lot, it's so good through! Thursday was nursery again and thankfully Noah didn't cry! I think it had to do with the fact one of his favourite members of staff was in charge of his group, as soon as he saw her he went and sat on her lap. Friday and Saturday seem to have gone really fast even though Noah is unwell again, with another epic cold. I've spent the last few days trying to have a clear out for Christmas and although I've gotten rid of a lot of things you can't really tell! I think the rest of the weekend will be spent wrapping presents and trying to prepare for Christmas.

What have you been up to this week?